“Now we’re going to do an exercise created by Lord Burpee” Dr. Jordan Metzl declared, preparing the sea of all-level athletes in front of him for the next challenge.

Ten years ago when I started running I didn’t call myself a runner and I certainly never dreamed of swimming, biking, and running all in the same race. Even after graduating from 5Ks to half marathons and from sprint triathlons to half Ironmans, I wouldn’t have called myself an athlete. Back then, I would have considered faking an allergic reaction to avoid doing burpees to whistle commands. 

I made friends with the Burpee. Avery Pontell-Schaefer

"Today, I am a runner and a triathlete. I set new goals each day; I conquer them because I have found my IronStrength."

IronStrength is a total body workout consisting of body weight plyometric exercises to strengthen your kinetic chain. When I first heard the words “plyometric” and “kinetic chain” I was sitting in Dr. Metzl’s office – a first time marathoner-in-training with a foot injury. He explained that the kinetic chain is how all my joints and muscles work together. Literally, moving your muscles and joints causes a chain of events throughout your body. How can you ensure that chain is strong? Plyometric exercise – movements in which your muscles contract and rapidly explode, building strength along your kinetic chain to execute movements more flawlessly. Science.

I don’t always do IronStrength, but when I do it’s on the deck of the USS Intrepid, New York City. Dr. Jordan Metzl and Avery. ©Roni Chastain Photography

"IronStrength is not just found in my muscles; It’s between my ears too." Avery

While IronStrength might be the name of Dr. Metzl’s workout, it has taken on new meaning to me.  Doing the workouts have given me the confidence of knowing that I can do whatever I tell my body to do because I know how to properly train and care for it. I experienced the euphoria of pushing myself distances I once thought impossible when I crossed the finish line of my first Ironman in 2015 in 12 hours and 36 minutes (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). Two weeks later, I ran the New York City Marathon, setting a PR.

This is what IronStrength looks like at mile 140.6

"Just when you think you've found your limit - push it again and set a new one." Avery

Since Ironman, the single biggest compliment I received was being asked by Dr. Metzl to be one of his models for The New IronStrength Workout DVD. He assembled a pretty impressive group of accomplished athletes. I was humbled to be a part of the crew. While our backgrounds and athletic journeys were much different, we all had one thing in common: We found our IronStrength.

"I picked my crew, all of whom are former patients and now IronStrength attendees, to reflect the diverse nature of our IronStrength community. They all are different but all benefit from the concepts of total body strength." Dr. Jordan Metzl

(left to right) Dail St. Claire, Philip Lang, Meghan Mizrachi, Jordan Metzl, Sam Sipler, Avery Pontell-Scahefer, Greg Macken.

"Your body will do what your mind tells it to." Avery

A fun video clip of Avery demonstrating a few moves on the New Dr. Jordan Metzl – IronStrength DVD produced by Runner’s World.

#WomenofIronStrength, Avery, Dail, Meghan, Sam.

The Human Spirit is Indomitable." Roger Bannister

Behind the scene at the new IronStrength Video shoot.

Dr. Jordon Metzl’s IronStregth High Intensity Workout 

Cover lead photograph by Roni Chastain