One Year (and 100+ Classes) In

by: Craig Sandok
photo by: Jenna Dailey

One year ago, I stepped into the Edina studio.  I was pretty nervous. I had done a little yoga, but was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the class.  After all, I’m not flexible and can’t figure out the more advanced poses.  Also, I wasn’t much of a “weight guy” so the Torpedoes looked pretty intimidating.  I was quickly told that we wouldn’t be using weights but would instead be doing ring dips (RING DIPS?! …. WTF?!)  Then they called me out in the beginning of class as being a first-time Alchemist?  Seriously?  I gave myself every reason to worry.  Why didn’t my wife and I just go for a run?

In hindsight, I was worried for no reason.

I look back on that first day and all of the reasons I thought that Alchemy 365 was for someone else, but certainly not for someone like me, and have to laugh.  Now one year and over 100 classes into my Alchemy 365 journey, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.

  • It doesn’t feel like working out.

I’ve belonged to plenty of gyms and Alchemy is different.  It doesn’t feel like a chore to go to the studio.  I look forward to the classes.  Because the workout changes every day, no two days feel the same (something you can’t say about most gyms).

  • It’s got a great sense of community.

Everyone is greeted at the door.  Not in a cheesy way, but in a way that shows that the people who work at Alchemy genuinely care about you.  They ask about my daughter.  They ask about my travels.  It’s no small feat that they can remember so much about so many people.  It shows that they care and are trying to create something that is different from a regular gym.

  • It’s the fastest hour of my day.

Even when doing an A20, it’s hard to believe that 50 minutes have gone by when it’s over. 

  • It helps me where I need it – doing everyday stuff.

As I think back a year, I was in good enough shape, but playing with my then-three-year-old was a chore.  I ached.  My back hurt.  Lifting, twisting, bending all felt like I was getting bested by a toddler.
Now, 100+ classes later, I have no problem chasing her around the back yard.  Crawl under the table to build a fort?  Perfect.  The jungle gym at the park?  Bring it on.
It’s helped me in other ways, too.  I’ve become more adventurous because I know I can handle whatever is thrown at me.  Backpacking for days with a 50-pund pack?  No problem.  Hiking a technical 13,000’ peak?  I’ll book my flight.  Just the other day a friend called about taking an intense surfing clinic in Malibu.  Sign me up!  Just one year ago I would have paused.  I would have wondered if I was able to do it.  After 100+ classes, I have no doubt that I’m strong enough. 

  • It’s my (only) time to unplug/reset.

As great as the physical benefits are, Alchemy is great for mental health as well.  In fact, I think that this may be the single greatest benefit I’ve received from my time at Alchemy over the past year.
We all are plugged-in every minute of every day. Jobs, families and other commitments all pull us in a million directions.  Alchemy is a full stop.  The only person I’m accountable to is me.  There are no phones, no workout stats, no mirrors.  It’s just me and the workout.  It’s up to me to do my best work.  Somehow that’s refreshing.  It’s my time in the room to get better, stronger and happier, and all of that allows me to be more productive when I’m outside of the studio.

  • Finally, it’s fun.

What more needs to be said?

Craig is a Founder of Sand Search Partners, a legal search firm focusing exclusively on attorneys.  Craig and his wife, Christina, have a spirited 4-year-old who keeps them on their toes.  When not working or hanging out with his family, you can find Craig trying to be an outdoorsman out on the hiking trail or attempting to sail.  He’s a regular in Alchemy 365 Edina’s A10, A20 and Built Body classes. 

ALCHEMY 365 Alchemy combines yoga, strength, and intense conditioning to change the body and renew the mind. A variety of fun and challenging class formats can be mixed and matched to meet any fitness goal.

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