Making Syphus a Priority

For the next few segments we’ve asked specific questions to our Brand Ambassador Susie Rahaim to get her insight and perspective.

This week’s question: How do you make time for Syphus, or any mode of exercise, priority in your life?

Exercise is a priority in my life because I make it that way. It doesn’t magically happen and it doesn’t come easy. I am busy and wear many hats including being a mom to 4 kids ranging from ages 2-12. Some days take more planning than others but I know that I am 100% responsible for my own health. I have a mentality that if I don’t exercise I’m going to pay for it down the line. If you can’t make this connection between exercise and your overall health it’s really hard to stick with it.

You have to view exercise as you would getting quality sleep or drinking enough water. It’s a daily necessity that can’t be overlooked. You have to make it a part of you and who you are, NOT something you begrudgingly HAVE to do.

My kids inspire me tremendously and by making exercise a priority it teaches them to care about their own health and wellness.

Exercising in the morning is the ideal time for me. It never fails; as the day gets going, excuses pile up, work loads get heavier, and plans change. I make my workouts happen by planning my times for exercise on Sunday before the week starts. It also helps to tell your spouse, family, or friends your exercise schedule. This holds you more accountable and ups the chances you will get it done!

Have an “I can and I will” attitude when it comes to exercise. It also helps to have a “why”. Finding YOUR “why” is a powerful motivator.

Before I started Syphus Training 4 years ago I had tried every exercise class from Zumba to CrossFit. Syphus was different and I was hooked. In sixty minutes you work EVERY.SINGLE.MUSCLE. in your body plus cardio, body-weight, and weight training combined. For this busy mom who only has sixty minutes max a day to commit to daily exercise it’s ideal! Plus it’s fun and highly motivating chasing a higher score with solid form. You CANNOT get this complete package anywhere else!

I see Syphus Training as an investment in my health. I am determined to make it work because I know it’s ultimately savings in the bank of my long-term health and longevity! The health benefits are well worth the monetary cost. The workout lives up to every promise it makes. And then, some even call it “The Fountain of Youth!” If you haven’t experience it yet, it’s time for you to get to Syphus Training and invest in your health.

RELEASED! Survivor 2017 Routines



We’re excited to release our full workouts for this year’s Syphus Survivor competition. Print them off. Study. Visualize. Best of luck!

Important notes:

  • All workouts must be performed in correct sequence
  • Week 1 workouts must be completed by Saturday July 22nd
  • Week 2 workouts must be completed by Thursday July 27th
  • If you’re not competing in the Survivor competition, you’ll do the workout on the date noted.

Survivor 2017




 Week 1:   Monday July 17th through Saturday July 22rd [3 possible workouts]

Week 2:   Monday July 24th through Thursday July 27th [3 mandatory workouts]

Finals:  Saturday July 29th at Turf Shelby; Times TBD

Your seasonal Boulder will determine your division (seen below). In Week 1 each participant must compete in 2 competition workouts but can do 3.  The top 2 scores from these workouts will determine the competition average.  At the end of Week 1 each Turf will determine the 3 top averages (both male and female) in each division. These 3 participants in each division (or 30 total individuals from each turf) will advance to week 2.

In Week 2 each participant must compete in 3 competition workouts.  The top 2 scores from these workouts will determine the competition average.  The 3rd workout will be used in the event of a tie.  Each Turf will send 1 male and 1 female representative from each division to compete in the Survivor Finals.

Tiebreakers – In the event of a tie, the additional workout will be factored into the average and the highest average will advance.

Weight Classes – This competition is not based on weight class, but rather gender and divisions.  Divisions may have competitors using different weight classes competing against one another.  Competitors must compete at the weight they consistently use and must have 14 or more workouts with this weight from May 1 – June 15.  ALL workouts from June 15th on MUST be at the weight class the competitor is going to use during Survivor 2017.   There is no dropping down in class to improve one’s score for the sake of an unfair competitive edge. Likewise, there is no jumping up in weight class to be the ONLY representative of your gender in that weight class.

Divisions – All based on 2017 Seasonal Boulder






Ultimate Survivor – The division winner with the highest difference from their seasonal will be crowned Ultimate Survivor.

Awards – TBD.  To be discussed by Turf Owners.

Power of the Group

Believe it or not GROUP DYNAMICS have a lot of power over our exercise behavior.  The group’s energy and vibe can influence you physically and mentally.

This specific energy of the group is imperative to Turf Wars and other Syphus competitions. But Why?  What is it about the group’s unspoken power that is truly the driving force of our motivation and competition?

The answer is simple. Competition is deeply rooted in our evolutionary heritage. Syphus Training brings this out of all of us. We compete against each other, we compete against ourselves, and we compete as groups against other groups.

The group’s energy combined with our inert competitive nature influences each person to exercise more. Not only will you exercise more but everyone increases everyone else’s activity level. This is a major bonus when it comes to Turf Wars.

A competitive atmosphere makes people focus on different things than just a workout for fun. It brings each other together in a deeper sense and is a more primal way of engaging intensity, stamina, and strength.

The group’s energy stirs a fire within. It gives everyone a mutual incentive to keep going. For a competition, this energy can make or break your game! It’s hard to explain but you can feel it.

Competition, good group dynamics and energy are the recipe for success whether it’s your everyday workout or Turf Wars! When you participate in any class or competition you are contributing to this unspoken energy at your turf. The cool thing is we are all  play a part!

 – Susie

Syphus Training’s Errors in Trial and Error.

Syphus Training itself derived from trial and error. Through the years we’ve experimented with many different ideas, equipment and technology to find out what would enhance your experience. We now realize that simple is better. And while we certainly wouldn’t call these failures as they’ve lead us to perfect our sport, it’s fun to look back at some of the tests we’ve tried:

Treadmill Runs: In the earliest days, when we were in a traditional gym, we utilized treadmills as an everyday aspect of our workout. Ever notice how MOST day’s workouts are comprised of three circuits? That’s likely because before each circuit we would start off with a “treadmill sprint” usually anywhere from a quarter mile to a mile depending on the day…treadmill work quickly became obsolete after a few months into the idea.

 1400 – 1200 – 1000: Anyone remember the days of Wiping the Slate Clean? It was essentially when we scrapped an old scoring system that had a flaw in it. Sorry, forget all that you knew about scores before. Instead we’d throw out all of your previous scores and start from scratch!

I don’t think this would go over too well today.

Initially our score system when up to 1400, then lowered to 1200, before finally being refined to (near) 1000. Even today, we adjust the scoring system monthly to be based on 1000 and anything “off-the-charts” is only for people finishing a board…but don’t worry, the changes are so minor that you’ll hardly notice.

Tic-Tac and Bag Drag: One fun piece of equipment we would use during workouts we punching bag. Nope, they weren’t hung from the ceiling, instead they were used on the ground and flipped head over heel (like a tire flip) until you reached an end-zone, this was known as Tic-Tac. Even more interesting was Bag Drag which was simply dragging the bag backwards…this ultimately morphed into Diablo.

100 Pound Plates: This never got off the ground, literally. In a few workouts, we would utilize a 100 pound plate for our pushing tasks. However, since there were only four in the gym and they were a pain to lug around, we just doubled up on plates which we still do from time to time.

Alter Syphus Options: Did you know that we used to offer a full schedule of different classes – all with different takes on Syphus? It wasn’t until the opening of Turf Brownstown that we discontinued the alternative options and kept with the tried and true Syphus. Here’s a brief description of each:

CardioCore – Syphus without the plate or crawling and a focus on abdominal exercises deemed not appropriate for Syphus scoring purposes. Outdoor Classes – Similar to your standard boot-camp class but with as Syphus twist. Yes, some classes we took the plates with us and actually threw them. Quick Fix – A half hour Syphus. Endure A half hour of nonstop agility and step work. Cronos Circuit 10 stations of traditional strength mixed with Syphus Tasks; 4 rounds.  Greek Gods/Mission Fitness tests that never changed with the idea of completing them quicker over time. Synergy/Quest – A group workout done with the object of collectively finishing certain goals as a group. Gamut – A blend between group personal training and Syphus to help integrate people into Syphus training movements.

Syphus Fit-Band: In the day and age where fitness wearables were just bursting on the scene, we wanted to keep up with the times. However, when we released a branded version of a fitness tracker akin to the original version of the Fitbit, people got excited thinking that we had finally created a wearable that tracks your scores by wearing it during your Syphus Training workout. Sorry – we haven’t been able to merge with that technology yet, but we’re working on it.

 Heart Rate Based Training: Likely the biggest flop we’ve had! In the beginning of 2011 we started using a heart rate system manufactured by Polar that would display each individual’s heart rate on a screen and provide zones, in which the user’s heart rate “should” be in for maximal benefit. If you’re familiar with Orangtheory, they now use newer versions of this system for their workouts. In fact, Syphus Training was highlighted in the July 2011 Polar Newsletter as first independent program to use this program that was previously only used with professional and collegiate sports teams.

The problem?  We were a guinea pig.

The version we used was essentially in beta testing with no ability for updates. Primarily based on the now outdated formula of 220 – Age to determine target heart rate, it provided no tangible feedback, specifically calories burned, unless you had a compatible watch. Likewise, there seemed to be serious errors in reporting accurate heart rates as some of our fittest individuals were registering heart rates as high as 222 and still working out without breaking much of a sweat.

And, above all, instead of listening to one’s body and letting that steer the way, people were relying largely on the technology to tell them how to proceed through the workout. That is, if they saw their heart rate in the RED (non-fat burning zone) participants would essentially stop working out until their heart rates dropped instead of pushing their aerobic threshold. Simply put, it was more of a distraction that hindered the progress their workout. As a side note: If you’re gauging your workout solely on heart rate, you may be buying into a shtick.

 – Hackett


Numerical Illusion

The numbers; they suck you in.

 At first the numbers mean nothing. Your PRO tells you, “Wow, a 413 on Initiation is a great first score!”

Okay, what the heck does 413 mean and why should I care?

Later that night you check your stats only to see your name listed underneath a pile of others who’ve all played in this day’s “game” known as Syphus, and while you know it was your first crack at it, seeing your name near the bottom doesn’t sit well. You demand a better score. You select the ‘Sign Up’ tab to schedule your second class. Hooked.

Numbers keep you distracted.

After several weeks in, you start noticing that your scores are starting to soar along with your consistency to your program. You begin to recall the tasks that are your strengths and those that need work. You start piecing together what others are referring to when they talk about their 30-day, their peak and the day’s slope. The numbers begin to make sense.

But, while you’re deciphering this once foreign number system and striving to boost your scores, there is something unconscious at work. In the past, when you worked out at a Big-Box gym, you moved from machine to machine, counting the calories burned on the elliptical, documenting the amount of weight you benched and using the scale as your ultimate gauge of your progress.

But now, you’re distracted by this number that you’re trying to attain. No longer are you concerned with how your clothes might fit or how aesthetic your look. Instead you’re consumed with improving this number; but in doing so all the reasons that you originally began working out like fat loss, muscle tone, better athletic performance, lower blood pressure and more vitality are all coming to you without you intentionally chasing them.

Your concentration on building your scores has blurred the fact that you now attend a workout on a near daily basis, without dread, and the workout you’ve chosen is notoriously one of most challenging on the map. That’s when you realize that truly how effective these numbers are; they are that dangling carrot keeping you coming back. The physical results are just the by-product. You now work out for the sake of the workout.

The veteran’s plateau; where Form First creates a new number to chase.

Months, or maybe years, into your Syphus journey you’ve hit your peaks, you (may) have finished boards, you’ve participated in competitions. It now feels like you’re just maintaining. You’ve hit a plateau with your scores. You occasionally have “off” days when you score 150 below your average leaving you feeling discontent. There’s no possible way to sustain let alone top the scores you’ve logged. Now what?

Remember; they are just numbers. Why are you beating yourself up over it? As mentioned above, the numbers were a way to keep you committed to yourself and to your workout. Stop. Reflect. And realize that you are leaps and bounds above where you started. The days you consider to be a “poor performance” was an ass-kicking of a workout that majority of the population couldn’t even contend a fraction of what you were able to; and yet you still somehow feel down because of it? Nonsense!

This is a pivotal point for all Syphus-ers. This is when you may start to value form more than your score. You’ve always known that Syphus preaches Form First, and you have tried your best to adhere, but deep down, you were chasing that number first. It happens all too often that the the Form First credo isn’t truly realized until you’ve hit this plateau. Now is the time to create a new baseline with flawless form as your guide. If your scores take a dip; who cares? They are just numbers to GIVE YOU feedback into how you’re doing; only you set that standard – and if your form doesn’t vary – you know the standard that you hold.

Meaningful meaninglessness.

Here is where I must interject personally to explain from the first-person viewpoint as it is only from the perspective of a long-time PRO or a truly die-hard can verify:

The numbers mean everything.

Yes, in the preceding paragraphs I harp on the notion that they are “only” numbers, but without them there is a void.

Try this: After a lengthy career in Syphus, attempt to work out in a traditional gym, it will seem stale. Or better yet, try this, as I do from time-to-time, do a Syphus routine that is not the day’s scheduled workout and not for a score. How does the experience feel?

I only suggest this because it was only the other day when I was doing a separate workout with a client, all cardio based and not for a score, that I realized that other than enjoying the moment, my motivation was shot. I didn’t have the score to chase. I didn’t have my standard. My form was great. But still, I couldn’t put my form to the litmus test of the numbers. Syphus, without the numbers, is not Syphus.

– Hackett

5 Ways to HACK Your Next Workout

At Syphus Training every circuit is designed to be challenging. These 5 Syphus “hacks” that can help make your hard work even more EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE each time you hit the turf!

HACK #1 Do You Have a Rabbit To Chase?

Once you start the class get a feeling as to who is around at your same pace. You will notice a kind of give-and-take rhythm where one person leads you and then the next, you might be leading them. If this person starts to pull ahead they become a rabbit to chase. In this position, you are also known as a leech, drifting off their pace. Pick a rabbit whose form you admire and has a fitness level comparable to yours.

You will find in some classes right off the bat there is that one person who is always just a bit ahead. The whole class you are nipping at the heels and chasing that person.  In the end, sometimes you beat your rabbit and sometimes you don’t.

A rabbit in your class may be just what you need to bust through a plateau and not give up where you may have otherwise slowed down.  Finding a rabbit is a game changer if you like the chase! Plus a GREAT training tool for March Mayhem and other competitions.

Editor’s Note: See HACK #5 as it’s important to not let the need to keep up with your Rabbit diminish your form – remember, the person you select as a Rabbit may be able to do tasks more efficiently and require less recovery time. Don’t push on without first listening to your body!

HACK #2 Humidity = An Extra Special Mountain!

A humid day can wreak havoc on any of the turfs causing the plate to move much slower than it otherwise would.  Don’t get discouraged! Everyone feels the pain and if you keep that in mind you can see it as just another mountain to push through.  In the long run you are only getting stronger. A slower plate can slow you down only if you let it! Keep smiling and climbing despite the conditions of the turf!

HACK #3 Plate Weight Speed & Ivanko vs.Troy

It’s been said that heavier plates move farther! Naturally this depends on ability level and technique, but if you have a circuit with a lot of HIKES the person with the heavier weight may have a slight advantage (if you let them). The game plan of the junkie with the lighter plate should be to pick up the pace and get to their plate efficiently each time between hikes and not slow. Do this and you can easily keep up with the heavier weights.

Veteran junkies know to choose an Ivanko plate over a Troy any day! The Troy plate edges are not quite as rounded as the Ivanko and the lip is not quite as deep. But if you do get stuck with a Troy plate just deal with it!

Psst….Shhh…FYI….. I’ve heard from a source that in the future only Ivanko plates will be considered regulated plates for Syphus Training, specifically for competitions.

HACK #4 Class Size And Energy

If you are in a class with four people and two check out before 60 min your motivation can take a beating. It takes more of a mental push when you don’t have help of the class energy. Believe it or not the class energy provides an unspoken strength and vitality dynamic to your workout. This energy provides physical and mental sustainment something we all benefit from as a class. Try to go to full classes with good energy and hard-working junkies. Over time you’ll find what works for you!

HACK #5 Blinders

A great piece of advice quite possibly one of the best I picked up along the way was to “Put your BLINDERS on and Tap in”. Remember, it’s not your job to correct poor form. That’s what the Pro’s are for; let them do their job so you can stay focused on your tasks ahead. It can get frustrating if someone is skipping tasks and skimming form, but only if you let it. Put your blinders on to keep these types of distractions from keeping you from doing your best. Once you make this a habit, and get in your zone, it can make a huge difference!

Syphus Training is dubbed the #hardestworkout for a reason! But putting these hacks to use can help you get a step ahead when it comes to game time!

– Susie R.



The Calm Within the Storm

It’ll often goes unnoticed until there is a pause in the music – the turf is utterly silent.

Yes, in a room full of Junkies all racing against the clock and pushing themselves to their physical and mental capacities…not a sound.

Ask any of your PROs and they will attest: There is something eerie (yet mesmerizing) to witnessing an experienced group of Junkies all going together at one time. It is as if everyone is working together for a greater organism; like that resembling a swarm of worker bees, a school of fish or geese in a flying V. It appears as if something larger is at work, making these individual cogs work together, and in sync.

That larger thing at work, is desire. When it comes together simultaneously on the turf, it is infectious. It propels the entire group to greater heights.

While it’s true; Birds-of-a-syphus-feather often flock together gravitating to same class times. You will also see these moments occur naturally in a competition like turf wars. That moment where the day’s workout progression is crystal clear. These are the days where the PRO doesn’t have to have to demo a task mid-workout; they just watch in amazement at the product unfolding. It is in these hours, where everyone is focused on the workout rather than side-talk, that greatness happens. It is THIS very thing that you will not find ANYWHERE else in the fitness industry. It only occurs at Syphus given the at-your-own-pace nature of the beast.

Next time you’re on the turf, see if you can sense this. Become aware of the group and your place in it. Do you sense that you’re a part of a flow? Are the Junkies next to you in an almost zombie-like state fixated on their own task? If so, you might be in the calm of a perfect storm; and in Syphus, that’s a great place to be.

If you’re a PRO test it out…drop the music for ten seconds and find out what you hear. Silence really can be golden.

 – Hackett

Top 5 Benefits of Syphus Training

Syphus is NOTHING that you have ever experienced at any other gym or workout class I can GUARANTEE that!

Syphus is the one true sport of exercise. The workout is a unique blend of body weight exercises known as “tasks” to find out how your fitness level ranks among others.  You can track your progress with comprehensive statistics and use those numbers for competition.

Syphus Training combines a unique element of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), friendly competition and a workout scoring system that you CAN’T get anywhere else.

Though it’s hard to sum all the amazing benefits and gains I have experienced doing this workout here are a few to get you pumped:

5 Top Benefits of a Syphus Workout

You Will Get Shredded!

The combination of tasks is a FULL body workout each and every time you hit the turf without even realizing it. The unique mix of exercises including squats, lunges, running, walking, crawling, jumping, and pushing/pulling a weighted plate is where the magic lies. It’s not hard to spot the “Syphus” arms around town. This workout in combination with a clean primal diet and BOOM you have the PERFECT RECIPE to get in killer shape!

You Will Gain All Over Muscle Tone!

At Syphus training there is no “leg” day or “arm” day.  The workouts everyday are designed with the perfect mix and balance for your body as a whole.  The “tasks” requires focus and engagement of many muscles to ensure proper form hence the emphasis on Form First! Many muscles are getting worked which will result in a more evenly distributed physique.

You Will Gain Strength!

Physical AND mental strength are the fruits of your labor at Syphus.  Those who are committed to the workout can attest to this.   Syphus workouts are perfect for adding strength without adding bulk.  The unique combo of tasks in every workout will create a phenomenal amount of strength and muscle development in the entire body because it requires numerous muscles groups.  Mentally you gain strength and grit due to the mental focus needed to perform these tasks FORM FIRST and push through each circuit.

You Will Become a Well Rounded Athlete!

Syphus provides support for other sports and fitness goals. The National Academy of Sports Medicine shares that resistance training, in this case using your own body weight, can improve running economy without added bulk, an important component for endurance athletes such as Ironman athletes and ultra trail runners. Youth sports teams to professional athletes have found the benefits of adding Sypus to their training programs.

You Are Your Biggest Competition!

 Syphus never gets easier. The “better” you get at Syphus, the more you have to do and in less time. Keeping up with yourself – or with your form – is always an ongoing battle.  One thing is for sure, you will know you have accomplished something GREAT each and every workout.

There is something  more within a Syphus workout but you have to experience it for yourself.  It is deep, powerful and truly unique and that keeps people coming back week after week.


– Susie R.

The Flaw in the Myth of Sisyphus

By now you’re aware that Syphus Training was named after the Greek mythology figure Sisyphus who was doomed to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it fall back down once he reached the summit; this was his eternal fate.

But, as it relates to Syphus, and your personal journey, I implore you to look at this myth from a different viewpoint.

I’ll be the first to admit it, one of my greatest character defects is to sabotage moments of success. I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe I like to be the underdog. It’s possible I enjoy the challenge of beating the odds. But unfortunately, as I reflect, somehow at the root of it all it seems to me that I question whether or I am worthy of success and fulfillment.

Now I am not certain if this is a universal feeling shared by others. But I do know that I am worth it; and so are you. And with a little change in perspective to the myth of Sisyphus, you too can visualize this idea clearly.

What if the mountain that Sisyphus is trekking had no apex? He would keep climbing.

Follow me: The result of the myth, with or without a summit is still the same. As the myth goes the boulder would fall back down again once he reached the top. So, he kept climbing. Our “new” view of the myth without a summit; again, eternally climbing.

The point I’m trying to make is that we must not ever rest on our laurels. We must not think that we are at the pinnacle of our potential whether that’s in fitness or in life. We cannot afford ourselves to think that we have reached the top; because then we lose to desire to keep climbing.

And, if you’re like me, you will inevitably contemplate letting that boulder plummet just because you crave that constant push. Instead, envision that you’re scaling a mountain with no end and you’ll keep climbing without losing ground.

With no mountaintop to attain, your potential remains limitless.

 – Hackett


Tap In – Tame It – Let It Out

(Audio version of this Blog post)

Ever notice the Sypher at your Turf? It may be tucked away on a side-board or located above the day’s workout. Sometimes the Sypher will be written in long-form, explaining our “code of conduct” in detail, in some Turfs the Sypher is boiled down to one phrase: Tap In – Tame It – Let It Out.

Remember these three principles and the heart of the Sypher remains intact. Let us dissect:

Tap In – Competition is in your DNA. It is what allowed our ancestors to rise to the top of the evolutionary food chain. Do or die. Fight-or-flight. Call it what you will, but I believe that you have the ability to Tap In to these primal instincts at will – through intense exercise.

Science says that your sympathetic nervous system triggers because of an external source of stress. You’ve felt this before. A near car accident. A roller coaster free-fall.  Possibly a traumatic injury. Any such instances kicked your system into hyper-drive survival mode. Syphus is no different, it creates the same effect, albeit in a controlled and safe environment. Elevated heart rates, peer competition, strenuous (self-inflicted) situations all contribute to the ability for you to unleash this animalistic reaction to such stimuli.

When you feel it creep up; notice it and Tap In.

Tame It – Tapping into your primal self is great, but you’ve evolved into a sentient being. You’re aware that while you’re on the Turf that you’re not in any actual danger. And this is precisely when you need to use your higher self to harness your fight-orflight response and Tame It.

This is in fact Form First. It means not allowing your emotions hijack your natural response to cut corners in attempts to get ahead of your turf-mates. This takes a great deal of practice. In your peripheral, you may notice someone shaving reps on a grueling task, or rushing a movement for the sake of a higher score rather than the benefit of the exercise. Now, that’s okay. Pause for a moment to think: Maybe this person has yet to reach the ability to grasp how to “Tame It”. From this perspective, you’re a more evolved Syphus-er and as you carry on your way, continuing to Tame It, your turf-mates will eventually follow suit. And through your example, you’re leading the pack to help them actualize their higher selves.

 Let It Out – Once your inner animal has met your emotional leash, you are now able to Let It Out. You’ve harnessed the power of your primal self and you’ve mastered the ability to control this beast. Now it’s game time. Let it run free – for an hour. Allow the entire experience of the moment envelope you. This is Syphus. Use the music.  Notice each bead of sweat. Be aware of your breath. Cry, scream, curse. This moment is real; and you have this opportunity to Let It Out, use it and be thankful for it.

– Hackett

5 Tips to a Better Pace and Keep Climbing


If you are determined to get a better score but feel stuck these little tips may be just what you need to break through a plateau!

1. BREATHE! Breathing properly is something many of us forget to do every time we hit the turf. This is so important that it can literally break you down slowly throughout the circuits if you don’t pay attention to it.  Proper breathing will actually help you recover faster, hence quicker turn-around between tasks.  It’s easy- just be sure on slower tasks such as a “swaggin” you take in 2-4 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth (you should feel it deep in your abdominal muscles).  Believe it or not proper breathing will help you optimize performance, endurance, and get rid of that dreaded post-Syphus hangover!

2. HYDRATION! By this I don’t mean stopping and guzzling water throughout the workout. Instead  be sure the day BEFORE you head to the turf you are drinking plenty of WATER. So many of us are actually dehydrated and don’t even realize it.  Coming into a workout already fully hydrated will give you a step up with endurance.  During the workout stop when you need to for water QUICKLY and get back at it.

3. MIND SET! Syphus is a sport. The night before a big game you would definitely prepare, right? So you must do the same when you head to the turf if you want to improve your FORM and SCORE. Be sure you are well-rested, plan, visualize, and get clarity on tasks before you start.

4. FLOW! Try to let some tasks flow right into the other to save time. This was a huge game changer for me.  Start off with something “simple” like lunges and see if you can make it there and back without stopping.  Try it out next with things like tarasq or plate pushes.  Slowly you will build up cardio endurance and get the hang of going from end zone to end zone without stopping on certain tasks. This will save you time and energy!

5. DON’T COMPLAIN! (I’m guilty!) I get it and know that serious frustration can set in at anytime during your workout but you need to train your mind to push through. You’ll see it happen often; people stop mid-workout to complain about how hard a certain task is. This may be true, but it is also a waste of valuable time and gets you no-where except further away from your goals. It’s also a huge blow to the whole energy of the group. Save the chatting and/or complaining for before or after your workout. Part of the fun is the post-workout recap the camaraderie built after you survived the hour!

That’s all for now junkies. See you on the turf!

Susie R.

The Conception and Evolution of Syphus

It’s the question I get most often, “How did you come up with Syphus?”

Truth is, I have a tough time giving a simple answer for something so complex. Syphus evolved over a number of years before it even resembled what it is today. Yes, the broad idea of Syphus, packaged the way it is now, came to me as a flash of inspiration one night in 2010 – however it was a multitude of factors that helped that inspiration take root.

It wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me that the initial imprint of Syphus may have come subconsciously from my college baseball days. Every morning we would have 6:30am workouts prior to heading to class. Some days were strictly weight lifting, others were more focused on agility…but the days I dreaded most were the seemingly simple calisthenic line drills. Five single file lines and 20 minutes of non-stop shuffles, lunges, frog hops, push ups and other like exercises. Upon completion I would be utterly wiped and sore for days to come. For someone like myself who spent hours a day in the weight room, I never quite understood why these simple tasks were so difficult for me.

I now know why. And it’s quite possible I blocked these workouts from my memory simply because of my disdain. Had I enjoyed them I likely would have sooner made the connection between those workouts and the conception of Syphus.

Fast-forward a few years and I am now in a traditional gym setting personal training. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. The gym in which I worked had a patch of turf (roughly the size of your Syphus field) and all Ivanko plates at my disposal. It may sound simplistic, but I am convinced that had I not had the right turf or the right plate, Syphus would not exist today. Dumb luck.

I had a large clientele with a broad range of goals needing to be met but my bread-and-butter was young athletes – specifically hockey players in the collegiate and professional ranks. On our agility days I began integrating light body weight strength exercises like plate pushes or bear crawls for conditioning purposes; soon this became the favorite workout of the week. As traction gained with this group of athletes, other “regular” members in the gym started to take notice.

Usher in the Godfathers.

I was approached by three guys in Bart, Tim and Andy who wanted to do a similar workout that I had been doing with my athletes. They wanted the challenge and I gladly participated with them. Back then, the workout was more like traditional circuit training with stations and structured break periods, until one day I came up with an idea where we would do a progression of exercises all at our own pace and try to finish it in an hour’s time. This progression is what is now known as a FULL MTN which is a MTN and a REV MTN put together. The entire workout only consisted of ten tasks (extremely repetitive by today’s standards) and held 100 tasks in total. We attempted to finish to no avail. We died and we loved it.

From that point on we refined the workout week-to-week with new progressions and far-out ideas for exercises. Since we had never seen anyone else do these exercises, specifically unique crawls or ones utilizing the plate, we had to name them to keep them all straight. This is why many of the early tasks are named after what the movement looks like; think Bulldog, Gremlin and Gimpy Dog.

The name Syphus was also born out of the workout itself. One day Bart, who is to this day infamous for his verbal contributions to a workout, said, “this mountain feels like it’s lasting forever.” Immediately I thought of Sisyphus from Greek mythology. And, since I also didn’t have a name to describe exactly what it was we were doing, I fashioned the name Syphus Training. As much as folks tried to talk me out of that name for various reasons, I felt compelled to stay true to the Sisyphus theme and it ultimately became an idea to build the brand around.

But the “flash” of inspiration alluded to earlier was the scoring system. I was consumed with the idea that Syphus could be used as a non-biased assessment of one’s fitness level. After all, we have IQs to determine intelligence. We have credit scores to determine financial track records. Why didn’t we have this for our physical capabilities? Sure, we have the ability to monitor heart rates, calculate calories burned, find V-O2 and one rep maxes, but there was nothing, not even a stress test, that could assign a number to give a complete picture of one’s fitness level.

This was the objective of the scoring system. This is when it all clicked.

To me, when we were able to start having a real conversation using the metaphor of numbers to describe one’s fitness level – we had arrived. To say that John Doe is a 952 conveyed a tangible picture of his physical capabilities. It was these conversations that elated and excited me. Initally it was almost hard to believe: A single number could explain and bundle together strength, endurance, power, cardio, flexibility, coordination and recovery time.

How the scoring system was created and refined over time? Another post for another day.

But here we are now, in 2017, with a massive database recording fitness levels of thousands of people. What the future holds for all this data, like Syphus, will continue to evolve.

– Hackett



The Objective Vs. Subjective Workout

In light of last week’s False Positive theme, there were a few things that you may or may not have recognized. Namely, the workouts in which people generally scored higher were entirely Subjective workouts and conversely the workouts where people scored lower, these workouts were Objective.

What’s the difference?

Subjective workouts in Syphus Training (and only in Syphus I presume) are workouts that consist of primarily, if not entirely, of tasks that can be performed in a variety of ways based on the individual performing the exercise. This means that interpretation of form can be varied easily from person to person. Range of motion can be limited. Reps can be skipped. Plates can be tilted. All of these will pile up to a higher score if you’re one to cut corners even small ones.

Objective workouts are the opposite. They host tasks that cannot be “cheated”. Think of a plate push or a Big Buck, there’s hardly any way to cut a corner. You HAVE to to get the plate to the end zone and the only way to do so is by performing the task as it was designed.

It is important for you, the avid Syphus Junkie, to know that most of our workouts are a very calculated blend of BOTH subjective and objective tasks. This is the reason why we keep averages (Boulders) and monitor the difficulty (Slope) of a workout. To make workouts completely lopsided with either subjective or objective workouts just skews scores one way or the other based on your ability and (more likely) form.

And here is the take home message: The better you perform Subjective tasks, the slower you will go. The better you perform Objective tasks the faster you should go. That is, if you’re one to short change your range of motion on Rampant or Squat Thrust (subjective tasks), your Revival (objective task) will be greatly hindered because you will have performed the subjective tasks poorly.

To reiterate; if your form is impeccable on subjective tasks, it is going to slow you down considerably and decrease your score, but this should be a desired trade-off for what it DOES do is allow you to then perform the objective tasks more effectively, and with power.

Truth is, the objective workout helps to sift through the masses to find those who subscribe to the motto Form First. More importantly, objectively based workouts are the ones we rely on heavily for our competition workouts like March Mayhem, Survivor and Turf Wars.

So, while you may be able to inflate your individual score during subjective tasks, remember that it could come back to haunt you during crunch time.

Remember the Sypher: Don’t Cheat Yourself.

– Hackett


The Gift of Humility

Certainly I’ve had humbling moments in the past, but it wasn’t until recently where the feeling of true vulnerability had been completely exposed. But with humility and vulnerability comes a great gift; the opportunity for growth.

So too with Syphus.

On the turf, I’ve often said: If you have a weakness, Syphus will find it.

Now don’t let that scare you, let it motivate you. After all, the reason why you started Syphus was to improve something. If you simply wanted to continue the status quo, maintaining the same standard, you wouldn’t have stepped on our turf.

By now, you – the regular Syphuser – fully knows which tasks expose your weaknesses, but don’t run from them, or worse yet skip a workout because the posted Task list doesn’t host your favorites. No, in fact these are the days you should make it a priority to get to the turf and willingly take the tasks that bring you to your knees (except on Inch Worm!) head on.

A goal for all of us should be to actively seek what we need to work on most whether it’s strength, cardio, flexibility or coordination and dwell in the “misery” of the tasks that hit your soft spot. It is only in the struggle through times of tumult can one gain true strength and fortitude.

This is what makes Syphus the complete workout: Everyone will find some sort of challenge in each and every workout. At some point WE WILL feel defeated, wishing the time on the clock to tick away these moments of humility. This is when I urge you to – pause – tap in and recognize that THIS is why you’re here.

Engage in the moment of vulnerability. Put your pride on the shelf and the score you’re chasing out of your mind and instead attack your weakness with Form First. Allow yourself to be humbled and embrace the chance to grow both physically and mentally.

–  Hackett

Your Day 1 Reason

It’s been what seems like eons since I’ve had the chance to put pen to paper with some regularity. Years ago I used to contribute columns to the Grosse Pointe News on health and wellness. And, in our earliest version of our website, I would post weekly motivational nuggets to help the Junkies of Syphus remain diligent in their fitness quest – it is now time to get back to contributing again with some consistency.  I hope you find the content valuable and insightful; for me it’s therapeutic.

One thought that has always helped me mid-Syphus (and often in business) is to recall why I started. Each of us have our own reasons for first stepping foot on the turf. For some, it was to get healthier. Others, it was to improve athletic performance. And many were simply eager to try something new. But at the core of all of these reasons is often something much more personal. What is that core value that you hold onto that keeps you continuing to Syphus? Think about it.

Why do you push yourself to such limits? Why do you get up at 4:45am to make it to your workout before a day’s worth of work? Your answer should be simple and concise. Find a word, a phrase, or a motto that encapsulates why it is you started this endeavor.

And then, once you discover it, recite it to yourself constantly throughout your hour on the turf. Keep that “Day 1 – Initiation” reason close at heart; it will keep you surpassing hurdles you never thought possible. And soon, you will find that this mental fortitude permeates many aspects of your life.

For me, having designed the concept, I never had that traditional “Day 1 – Initiation” experience, instead I’ve had the privilege to witness hundreds, if not thousands, of Initiations to Syphus and each one is uniquely special.

To see the expression on a Newbie’s face when they attempt their first Inch Worm, that, “Wow, this is a completely different ball game” look is EXACTLY why I started this. My Day 1 reason was, and forever will be, to provide an experience – not just a workout.

Concisely: Break the Mold.





Meet Karleah

Coming at you from Turf Brownstown! Karlene and I wanted to give a little introduction of ourselves as you will be hearing from us often through Syphus blog posts. We have been blessed to be running Turf Brownstown for almost TWO years now! Amazing! Both of us hold a Bachelor’s degree; Karlene in Marketing and myself in Business Administration. Along with that we both are ISSA Certified Personal Trainers. We met during a siximg_2181-week fitness challenge and have been a team duo in our fitness and business careers since then.

Karlene and I first tried Syphus in 2014 at the Mothership in St. Clair Shores. That first workout is where our passion and belief in the sport began and continues to grow even today! To date we firmly believe Syphus is the BEST total Mind/Body workout.

Part of our fitness career has included fitness/bodybuilding competitions which has required us to have strict nutritional intake along with a demanding training regimen. Through this experience we have learned so much about our individual body’s, but also have gained first hand insight on how nutrition, weight training, cardio, proper recovery etc. have affected our Syphus workouts and the data (scores) to go along with it.

You will be hearing from each of us monthly, where we will be sharing this insight along with recipes, tips, and responses to any questions or comments our Syphus Family has. Stay Tuned!

Leah Larson
Chief Learning Officer, Syphus Training Franchises, LLC.
PRO, Turf Brownstown

Disclaimer: Leah Larson and Karlene Malcolm are not a doctor or registered dietitian. Any advice provided should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.

March Mayhem 2017


¬ A Syphus doubles competition.
¬ 64 duos go head-to-head to become Champions.
¬ March Mayhem is not about who is the best at Syphus, but about finding the best duo that works well together. Everyone has a fair shot, whether you score 500 or 900.

¬ To score better than your average (+/-) and higher than the average (+/-) of the team you’re battling each round. That’s how you advance.

¬ Find someone who you feed off of that energizes you.
¬ You’ll want to select a partner within 50 points or so from your 30-day boulder.
¬ You need to be able to make it to the same class for each required workout. Be sure to talk out scheduling before you commit.

FINALS: MARCH 25 at Turf Harrison

Rules and Details:
¬ Teams are matched up through a handicapped formula.
¬ FORMULA: Teammate 1 30 Day Boulder + Teammate 2 30 Day Boulder + Trials ROQ / 3
¬ Handicapped formula is also used to determine who advances through each round.
¬ Seeding is done through random drawing. Join us for SELECTION SUNDAY on February 12th via Facebook LIVE.
¬ Trials: everyone competes in trials. Try your hardest. Push a little bit harder than usual.
¬ This year, we will be re-averaging scores after each round to make the tournament as fair as possible.
¬ We don’t post the results of the team you’re going against until both teams have gone. You cannot practice the routine. Can’t go twice.


The Syphus Collection – Winter 2016

It might be getting chilly, but we won’t leave you in the cold. Pick up a new Syphus Training hoodie now on sale via MindBody. We’re taking pre-orders until November 28, 2016. Order now to guarantee your size. These will be a very limited run. Get them before they’re gone! Delivery before Christmas!

See your home Turf for more details or drop us a note at

apparel-mockup-111616 screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-6-06-38-pm screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-5-05-46-pm

Schedule today

Susie Rahaim – Syphus Story

I am a holistic health coach, mom of 4, blogger, Syphus junkie,wellness junkie, and REAL food activist. Primal health is my passionand when I started Syphus Training it was the missing piece of the’fitness’ puzzle I had been yearning to give my body and looking for. Through the years lets just say I had been up and down and all arounddifferent gyms and exercise studio’s piecing together week by weekwhat I thought were good workouts. Then I stepped onto the turf andthe rest is history! What I love about Syphus are the REAL organicprimal movements that are natural and just how the body was designedto move. Running, sprinting, skipping, hopping, crawling, bending,lifting, pushing, pulling is what Syphus is all about rolled up intosome amazing FUN crazy challenging tasks and circuits. Anthropologicalevidence has even proven that these efficient movements are healthyand a better way to achieve an athletic physique by tuning in to howour bodies evolved! Yes!

Syphus brings a unique element of HIIT (high-intensity intervaltraining), friendly competition and a workout scoring system that youcan’t get anywhere else. Honestly there is so much more than a workouthere its hard to describe in words. Its when I am on the brink ofexhaustion at the end of a workout its there I find my Zen. There issomething deep, powerful and truly unique about Syphus that keeps mecoming back week after week. My body and mind LOVE and THRIVE on thecompetition and each new challenging task and circuit. Syphus isseriously a powerhouse for the body and a challenge for the mind. Syphus has made me the athlete I am today strong, confident, andempowered! I continue to pursue each new circuit and task withcuriosity , determination, perseverance, and gratitude! There isNOTHING like the feeling of adrenaline pumping the second that clockcounts down from ten! Every time I do Syphus I come ALIVE in manyways. I know I have accomplished something GREAT each and everyworkout. I encourage you to let go, tap in, and let Syphus Trainingtransform you!

Visit Susie’s blog here:

Check out a blog post Susie wrote about Syphus here:

Sarah Cost-Cox’s – Syphus Story

If you told me a few months ago I would be on the Turf 3-4 days a week, I would have kindly asked if you lost your mind. But the truth is…the Turf is where I learned how to push my body in ways I haven’t done in years. As a full-time school counselor and mother of a 4 year old, my time is precious, and giving myself sixty minutes a few days a week has been a great transformation for my body and my mind. My story starts with one of my closest friends, Katrina, as many of the best stories in life do. Watching the positive results Katrina achieved Syphus Training before, during, and after pregnancy has been amazing. Finally, two years after she began I decided to take the chance and go to my first session. I remember watching the session before and already telling myself I couldn’t do it, but the wonderful and encouraging message I received from Katie helped calm my nerves. After the first session I was sure I needed to try it again, so two days later I was back on the Turf. I have gained confidence that was once lost and love telling my son I’m leaving “to get strong.” I have joined gyms in the past only to take classes, walk on a treadmill, and not be known by name. At Syphus, I am known by name and receive encouragement from the trainers (thank you Suzanne and Terri!!) and the other members.

I am still new to the Turf and look forward to what the next few months will bring.

Jen Mast’s – Syphus Story

When asked to tell how Syphus has changed my life, the first thingthat popped into my head was a conversation about two years ago with afriend. We were talking about wanting to lose weight. She asked me ifI was interested in working out. I laughed and said, “come on…Idon’t workout!” Not long after that I convinced myself to get a gymmembership. I started going to the gym about 3-4 times per week. Atthe time, I felt good because I was going. As time passed, I wasn’treally noticing any real change in my body. I’d lost some weight, butI didn’t feel stronger by any means. I started to realize that my timeat the gym was similar to eating at a buffet. You walk around lookingat everything, weighing the options and eventually taking a smallportion of the items that are most appetizing. That was me at the gym.Walking around looking at the machines, sizing them up and eventuallydoing a small amount of work on the ones that appeared easy to use.Clearly, my approach was not working.

When a good friend invited me to try Syphus I was apprehensive, but Idecided that I could at least go once for free. At that first class, Iremember thinking there was no way I could continue a workout likethat on a regular basis. I felt so out of shape and embarrassed.Surprisingly, when I woke up the next morning (after crawling out ofbed…literally) I decided I wanted to go again. Well, fast forward totoday…what a change. I am addicted to these workouts. I havecompleted nearly 200 workouts in a little over a year (don’t forget 40in a row!!) I love the days that I score well, and believe it or not,I love the low score days even more. I like to be funny on Facebookand give Mike Hackett a hard time on those days, but the hard days arethe ones that make me keep going. It’s not likely that I’ll everfinish a board or even finish in the top 10, and that’s ok. I’mperfectly content in the middle of the pack cheering on the ones aheadof me, and encouraging the ones behind me. I’m stronger than I’ve everbeen and I’m finally a person who cares about being fit. I’ll be atSyphus as long as my body will let me.

Kelli Macleod’s – Syphus Story

I walked into Syphus after work almost a year ago and had no idea I would still be here today. I didn’t know what to expect, I asked questions, got the necessary information and signed up for my free class the next day.

I have always felt lost at the gym, not having a set plan and never focusing on weight training. I wanted to change; lose weight, tone my arms, core and legs, all while gaining more confidence in myself. I didn’t have a main goal of weight loss, my goal was to fit into my prom dress I wore 6 years ago.

I was intimidated as I walked into my first class, not knowing how challenging it would be. I got my butt kicked, to say the least, It really was the hardest workout. The reason I stuck with it was the challenge I face every class in my full hour, the challenge to strengthen and try to beat my previous score every time.

Here I am, a year later with 10 pounds lost (never to be found), more toned than I ever have been and I FIT into my prom dress. My endurance has greatly improved as well as my full body strength. I feel better than ever and have so much more confidence in myself. I have no intentions of leaving Syphus anytime soon. The saying is true, it doesn’t get easier, you get stronger.

Thank you Syphus and to all my trainers!

Roxann Shaw’s – Syphus Story

I have never been an athletic person and didn’t really struggle with weight issues until pregnancy and post pregnancy. I also suffered from
postpartum depression that continued on for years. I read that exercising helps with depression, so two years after my son was born, I decided to
give working out a try to lose the pregnancy weight and thought, “what did I have to lose,” trying exercise for depression.

When I began my journey of working out, 20 years ago, I worked out at home doing DVD workouts and some light weight lifting because I could not
financially afford a gym membership nor did I have the self-esteem to work out in a gym. I did this for many years. I gradually gained enough
confidence to work out in a group setting with friends, but still not confident enough to join a gym. That all changed in 2012 when a CrossFit gym
opened one mile from my home. I decided to give this a try because I was having trouble motivating myself to work out alone and had hit a plateau. As
much as this was a big step out of my comfort zone, I had success in busting past the plateau and I gained confidence. I continued to work out at this
gym for 3 years, but the last year the atmosphere and programming really changed with a focus on heavy lifting that I had to talk myself into showing
up for any class at any time. Also, during this time, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I became his oncology advocate. I was so consumed and
stressed with being his advocate, that when I did show up to work out, I hated every minute being there, but because I was involved in his care, I
didn’t really have the time to research and find a new gym to work out at. It was during the last weeks of my dad’s life; I ate on the run just to
spend time with him and had no desire to work out at the gym I was a paying member. I also began a battle with depression again during all this and
decided to just take a break from that CrossFit gym. After my dad’s death, I decided that gym was not where I needed to be.

My friend Jen Mast posted frequently about her Syphus Training workouts on Facebook, that one day I inquired about it. She told me how much she loved
it; how it was the best and hardest workout she had ever done; and in the few months she had been doing Syphus Training she felt so much better. She
talked it up so well that I signed up for my free class immediately upon hanging up with her. When I did the first workout, I knew I would love Syphus
Training, but I what I truly enjoyed was the challenge and unique mix of movements/circuits and no heavy lifting. Sadly, I had to wait six months
after doing initiation to continue Syphus Training due to my dad’s illness. In January 2016 I began my Syphus Training journey, nearly 30 pounds
gained from eating on the run, no desire to work out and fighting depression. In my short nine month Syphus Training journey, I have lost over 20
pounds love the workouts, the challenges that come with conquering the tasks and the healthy competition and comrade on the turf. The trainers have
been so helpful and really supportive. Most importantly Syphus Training has really been instrumental in helping with depression and grieving.

When I finish that sixty-minute workout, I feel empowered, confident, and stronger both physically and mentally. I am often sore and tired, sweaty and
stinky, some days my score is amazing, other days, not so much, but I know after finishing those sixty minutes I have successfully done what I set out
to accomplish, giving the best of me to have the best of health.

Nicole Gartside’s – Syphus Story

I’m flattered that you reached out to me to hear about my success with Syphus. However, I’m not quite sure I have the “story” that you’re seeking. Don’t get me wrong, Syphus has changed my life. I’m a 36-year-old high school special education teacher and mother of two. I’ve done my fair share of workout programs, 5ks, a couple indoor triathlons, and have had multiple gym memberships. They’ve all had the same result…nothing. I despise running, I burn out at the gym and often don’t know what to do while I’m there anyway, and I come up with every excuse possible not to exercise. After seeing my sister-in-law, Sara, who had been doing Syphus for a few months make a dramatic change in her weight, I was inspired by her to give it a try. I was apprehensive because of both the drive and the cost, but I managed to make it work. Physically, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I quickly realized that Syphus works!!! I didn’t have much weight to lose, but I wasn’t happy with how I looked or how my clothes fit. I did my first class on May 14th of this year and I’ve now completed 54 classes! The expensive cost and 25-mile round trip is worth it for the results. I’ve lost 8 pounds, dropped a clothing size, and feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. The confidence that I have in myself is the best feeling, however. I often bring my kids and they sit on the sideline cheering me on. It’s important to me that Ken and I set a good example for them and hopefully pass on a more healthy lifestyle. So while I haven’t had the dramatic results that you’re probably looking for in terms of marketing, I am very proud of myself and Ken for committing to this program and giving it our all. I am very grateful to Mike and all of the Syphus trainers for welcoming us and giving us this opportunity!

Jennifer Stewart’s – Syphus Story

I have to share my love for Syphus training. I started Syphus training just 5 months ago and started seeing changes/results immediately. It’s a really intense workout using only your body weight along with a 25lb plate. Last month, I competed in and won my first ever competition. It wasn’t about winning, it was about how far I’ve come along in the past few months with my endurance level. A true transformation of my body and my mind. I have been passionate about fitness for the past couple years, and can honestly say Syphus is by far the best, most challenging workout you will ever encounter. People of all types, shapes, sizes, and fitness levels work together; supporting each other and competing only to push each other to improve. The trainers are all about investing in YOU. The members, who I call my “Syphus Family”, are an absolute gift to my fitness journey. I thank you Syphus! I encourage anyone looking for a new fitness outlet to come try it, you will be NOT be disappointed.

An important message from Syphus CEO Mike Hackett


The Syphus Survivor finals are a few short days away It has been inspiring to watch you
push yourselves past your comfort zones in the name of competition, but it is also
important to keep in mind that competition should be a tool for motivation – not your
primary focus!

Six years ago, I set out to create a workout that would provide individuals feedback on
their own person fitness levels and to do so in a way that was done in a fun, team-like
atmosphere. It has been brought to my attention that recently we had a confrontation
where members were calling each other out for poor form and rep-skipping. Please
understand that Syphus Training strives for sportsmanship, not division.

When hitting the turf, please leave any and all exercise critiquing to your Turf Pro
(instructor). Our staff has a plethora of things to accomplish mid-workout from assisting
with forms, helping members navigate the patterns and above all creating a safe
environment in which to work out. It is a very delicate balance for the staff to allow room
for competition while also trying to streamline the “rules” of the game. While we know
that the very nature of Syphus is predicated on elements of competition and scoring the
main idea is that you are competing with yourself – not one another…no matter what
competition we may be hosting.

Your scores are greatly subjective no matter how objective we have tried to make them.
Indeed, your 800 level may be different than someone else’s 800. Not everyone has the
physical ability to perform the tasks EXACTLY as they were designed. All we ask is for
100% effort and integrity in their execution. To that, if someone is “shaving” repetitions
intentionally for the sake of scoring higher, so be it. As frustrating and disruptive to the
collective that this may be, we must remember that it is THEIR workout, too. If you
witness “score-seeking” my suggestion is to keep your blinders on and focus on your
personal task at hand. Leave it for your pro to try to make any adjustments – chances
are your Pro has already detected errors in form and is taking measures to address
them the wait they were trained to do so.

My best bet is that everyone who came to Syphus Training did so initially to better
themselves both physically and mentally and NOT to score higher than everyone. Our
goal should be to build each other up not to call each other out. If this is not in your
nature – that’s fine, you do not need to be a cheerleader – instead, try refocusing on
getting the best workout that you can for that hour. My philosophy is that if you cannot
compliment someone on their form and effort then simply remain silent and harness that
extra energy into your workout.

Above all remember that we are all cut from the same cloth. We are all Syphus Trainers
participating in a truly unique genre of exercise. I implore you to pivot your perception of
competition; we are competing together as a community rather than individuals. As you
will soon discover through Turf Wars and some new website updates on the horizon,
the idea is to better your abilities for the betterment of your Turf. Just as in any team
sport; you need to improve the aspects of your individual game to uplift your team to its
highest potential. While there are certainly all-stars on every team; individuality will only
get you so far.

Learning to perfect the smallest tasks is the first and most crucial step as it will lead you
to perfecting the hardest tasks later. Take pride in doing the small things right. In
Syphus-speak: You will not be able to do a Hack-It until you first learn how to perfect a
Peg Leg, Rev Bovine or a Diablo.

I assure you that if you turn your energy into becoming a catalyst for the group that it will
come full circle in fueling your individual workout. I have been a part of some of the
most amazing workout experiences on the Turf and they were all driven by the vibe of
the group pushing together as one. Take the opportunity to feed off individuals doing the
best that they can do, supporting of one another; becoming cogs in a machine that is
churning out amazing athletes.

Congratulations to the members moving on to round two of Survivor. I’ve seen the
names of who’ve made it past the first round and it will surely make for an exciting
finish. Best of luck to those finalists – if you get the chance to watch one of your turf mates
going this week, be sure to cheer them on.

Form First,

Mike Hackett

Creator and CEO of Syphus Training

Jim DeMercurio’s – Syphus Story

Over the past 15 years I have struggled on and off with sticking to a workout program. In my early 20s I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and was put on medication to control it. I knew exercise was an important part of me being able to keep these health issues in check so I started to run regularly, and signed up for many races, including 5ks,10ks, and half marathons. I didn’t run because I liked it; I actually hated most of the time I ran. I did it because I thought it was the best way to help regulate my blood pressure and to keep in shape. I also liked the competitive aspect of running and the fact I could track my progress race to race.

After years of this, I tried other programs as well, ones that were not just steady state activity, but were more about muscle endurance and high intensity training. I started to see a major changes in my body, but these programs lacked the competition I enjoyed from running. In early October of 2014, my wife heard about Syphus Training from a friend, and did her first workout. She called me on her ride home from the class, and told me that I had to try it. I did Initiation a few days later and was immediately hooked. The combination of muscle toning exercises along with heavy cardio, plyometrics, and flexibility, all within a competitive structure was exactly what I had been looking for all along. From the first day I did Syphus I tracked my scores and monitored my progress week to week. Even more importantly, my wife and I were hooked on Syphus together. For the first time in many years we worked out together. We plan and strategize our workouts together and have grown in Syphus as a team. Since doing Syphus, I have run the fastest 5k and 10k runs, cutting out minutes off of my times. In September I ran my first sub-21:00 min 5k at the age of 43. After one year, I was able to maintain my blood pressure and cholesterol without the need for medication, the first time in 20 years! I am in the best shape of my life in my 40s and owe this all to Syphus.

Darlene Vachon’s – Syphus Story

I had a childhood dream of playing ice hockey, in my late 30s I decided to buy a pair of hockey skates. Thus began my motivated journey to learn the sport I had always loved watching and dreamed of playing. I quickly learned that I needed to supplement my on ice training with something off ice. A friend who I met through hockey told me about Syphus Training during a camp, a newly discovered workout that she had started doing. I was very interested in trying it out and she agreed to come with me for my first workout.

My initiation workout was 4 months post delivery of my youngest child and the workout was truly the hardest thing I had ever done (keep in mind I had just had my third child ☺). I was completely out of shape and struggled to do basic tasks that seemed simple for everyone around me. Despite all that I was completely intrigued and had no doubts that Syphus Training would be great for me. I absolutely loved the variety of exercises, the trainers were always extremely kind, supportive, and helpful.

In the beginning I would come to the turf once a week wondering how anyone could come more often. I would be so sore. Though with all the soreness I immediately started noticing improvements on the ice. I felt stronger and more balanced. Before long I added another day on the turf and found that the soreness wasn’t so bad. After my first season of hockey my women’s team was moved up a division, which meant stronger skilled opponents next season. I knew it would be challenging but I knew with Syphus Training that I could be competitive and help my team in my sophomore season. I wanted to be ready so I recruited a fellow teammate who was interested and we started coming 3 or 4 days a week often bringing other teammates with us. After only one month on my new schedule I shed some weight and gained a lot of strength, which was instantly noticeable on the ice. When practices began in the fall for the new hockey season I was READY. I was rarely out of breath on drills that before left me gasping. My skating was substantially quicker because my legs were so much stronger.

There are so many ways that Syphus Training has changed my life. I am living an active life being an example to my children. Syphus has made me mentally tougher, more resilient, and empowered. I am a lot more confident on the turf than I was a year ago. I keep a positive attitude about my gains on the turf knowing that I am the one who has put in the hard work and I’ve been worth it. When I am sore from a workout I know that my muscles are gaining strength. Syphus Training has become synonymous with strength.

Keith Millard’s – Syphus Story

Surfer dude: It will “transform your body,” he said.. “anyone can do it,” he said..” it’s hard for sure but you’ll be in the best shape of your life” he said…

Trainer Lady: If you stick with it, you’ll never get this tired again…and by the way, tuck your shirt in…just telling you ahead of time…

Guy working out next to me was looking at me with a fear or sadness…maybe wonderment? I don’t know…maybe he was thinking 911 should be on the ready? Who knows…

That’s pretty much how my Syphus story starts…a little fear, a lot of embarrassment because of the shape I let myself get into, and a lot of hangovers. Most have a hangover for a day or 2, mine lasted about 4 months.

In March of 2014 I was just about 310 pounds, I was going to the gym once in a while, really having no idea what a workout meant, or if I was doing anything positive for my health. Treadmill for a bit, elliptical for a bit, some circuit weights and on with my day. I would spend 30-40 minutes there, do a little bike riding, not much, and that was it.

Syphus Training changed everything, for that 1 hour a day I convinced my mind that kicking the hell out of myself was a good thing. I could do it…I could compete again, not with others really, but that 310-pound mindset that rears its ugly head every so often and puts up a great fight. It was a stress relief, a phenomenal feeling when that clock hits 0:00, and a great community of people that are encouraging and a lot of fun to be around.

In October of 2015 I was down to 252 that was the lowest I hit, and the discipline and lack of discipline are my biggest foes now…sure after 20 years of weight gain/loss/gain/loss/gain…and more gain things hurt, joints get sore, but it’s all part of the challenge, you can put weight on in 2-3 days, but it takes 2-3 times longer than that to take it off. I may not take a score every time in, I may not finish the hour all the time, but I’m close to that 30/30 that’s my main Syphus goal…30/30 on the form, maintain that and everything else will get faster.

Overall Brian, it has changed my life, I’ve never been stronger, and Suzanne, I’ve never been that beat up again, and I still wear long shirts, and Hackett so far no 911 was needed, and I’m glad I came back.

It never gets easier; you just get better at it.

Jen Neumann’s – Syphus Story

About four years ago, I was looking for something new. My work out
routine consisted of running and occasionally lifting weights. I had
plateaued and was, frankly, bored with it all. I wanted to find
something that would allow me to move in more ways than a straight line,
make me stronger & faster, change my physique a bit, and be fun. I came
across Syphus and gave it a try. It’s been all I wanted and more.

What has surprised me the most is how Syphus has had a positive impact
outside of the gym. In just 9 months, I dropped 17 minutes off my
half-marathon time. I can take the numerous flights of stairs to my
office without breaking a sweat or being out of breath. I can join
friends for a 10 mile run after not running for months. I can SCUBA
dive in rough waters like it’s a walk in the park.

I may not get the highest scores in Syphus, but it certainly prepares me
for all the fun adventures life can bring!



Syphus Training is proud to announce its first independent owner and operator Tim Kniga who will be taking over Turf – Harrison Township! Effective immediately Syphus Training has entered into a licensing agreement with Tim Kniga and Turf – Harrison to operate a satellite Syphus Training facility.

Tim Kniga first started as a member of Syphus Training January of 2014 and became a Syphus Training Pro in July of 2015.

With this new venture Turf Harrison will expect to see many exciting updates like the addition of new bleachers, wall decals, boosted memberships for added competition as well as upcoming promotions and membership events.

We are thrilled to have Mr. Kniga help grow the Syphus Training name as we keep climbing.

Ally Turner’s – Syphus Story

Syphus helped me achieve a dream!! I love to run! I have a great
running community! When I’m not chasing after my four kids, I’m
running. After completing more than a few marathons, a friend
encouraged me to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I laughed. I
thought that pinnacle race was for elite athletes only. But the dream
became a deep desire so I accepted her challenge. My training plan
started to include speed work, tempo runs and hill drills. I got
faster, but after 2 more marathon attempts (3:48:47 and 3:48:22), I
finished short of my qualifying time (3:45:00) to run Boston. I read
that strength and circuit training were important for long distance
runners, and at the same time I had a friend telling me about this great
work-out called Syphus. Well after a few visits, I was hooked. The
creative combining of squats, plyometrics, lunges and other strength
exercises at Syphus Training were exactly what my plan needed. After 6
months of incorporating Syphus into my training, my dream became a
reality when I shaved 5 minutes off my previous race and ran a
qualifying time of 3:43:21 at my next marathon! Syphus Training
helped me run strong at the Boston Marathon, and now it’s helping me
train for my first ultra marathon… thank you Syphus Training!!

Bill Simonson’s – Syphus Story

I started my Syphus Career in November of 2012. My wife and I met a Syphus trainer at a 5k and my wife decided to go. After her class she called me and told me that she thought I would really like the workout. I went that afternoon and Mike was teaching the class. I talked to Mike and told him that I wanted to get in shape and my current training for triathlons was not helping me keep weight off or cut inches from my waist. Mike said that he thought if I came 4 times per week I would be able to accomplish my goals. I took Mike’s advice, signed up for a yearly membership that day and to date I have done over 780 Syphus classes. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. The results from Syphus have been great for my health and attitude towards working out. I can’t even look at a treadmill anymore.

Syphus has become my sport. Although Syphus has helped my conditioning for soccer and skiing I consider myself a Syphus-er. The 6 hours per week I spend on the turf are my time to compete. Mike has created a sport and I am thankful that my wife told me to try 3 ½ years ago.