Triumph at Brunch- TT Transformation Challenge Week Three

Back in the Spring of 2011 I thought I held all the keys to permanent fat release.  After going from a top weight of 185 pounds at 5’1″ the day I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my son, to a stable, maintainable weight of 123, and keeping it off for three years, I thought I was home free.


I had discovered Turbulence Training, and a whole food nutritional approach that managed carbohydrate intake, along with indulgences on special occasions.


Speaking of occasions, a number of events where I would be speaking in public about my transformation gave me powerful incentives to keep my eye on the ball by training and eating consistently in the way that had worked best.


In the Summer of 2011 I started to teach Zumba and train clients, and I was lured into the false sense of security that some personal trainers succumb to.  I was putting in plenty of hours at the gym or studio, I was practicing my routines in my spare time, and I was under the extra stress of wanting to make good in my new profession.  I had invested a substantial amount of money and time getting certified, licensed, and insured, and the harsh voice in my head (that I could definitely do without) was suggesting dire consequences if I failed as a Trainer/Instructor.


Because I thought I was training enough to get away with it, I began to turn to food as a comfort and a reward again, and the place I would find the fancy, tempting, indulgent food was at brunch.  About every two or three weeks, my husband, son, and I would go to the lovely brunch at the Seven Sisters in Tuolumne.  We had a lot to celebrate: the business, birthdays, anniversaries, the change of season, the fact that it was Sunday, just about any reason would do.  I had all kinds of rationalizations for why I could eat whatever I desired in whatever quantities I wanted at these meals, and they caused some visible collateral damage.


Where for the past three years my weight ceiling had stayed at 123, between the Summer of 2011 right through to this month, my top set point had moved up to 133.


(I just used the BMI calculator at the CDC website, and that weight would put me at 25.1;  just inside the overweight category.  Yes, I know, BMI makes no accounting for muscle, and I have plenty, but as a professional who helps individuals release fat, and as a proponent of techniques for permanent change, I was sensing a growing disconnect between what I was teaching and what I was doing.)


Up until yesterday, my recent pattern has been: Eat well and train well during the work week, indulge and overeat on the weekend.  Two weeks ago, I ate according to that typical pattern.  I was going to do a two week “Cleanse” starting Monday, so I ate whatever I wanted at Sunday brunch.  I must have had four different desserts, and I felt awful the rest of the day.  I started the cleanse on Monday, and my withdrawal headache was so bad, and my brain was so foggy, I blew off the cleanse project the very next day.


Now there is a bright spot here.  I did add back my morning coffee, but I didn’t add back sugar, flour, and other foods that had triggered overeating in the past.  I went back to what was working in 2011: High quality whole foods and moderate carbohydrate restriction.  The result?  A feeling of energy and well-being and the easing of my grinding hunger and cravings.


Yesterday’s brunch was to have been a reward for making it through the cleanse, and a chance to catch up with a young friend we had invited to join us.  I had ditched the cleanse, so the meal wasn’t going to be a reward for anything.  What was I going to do, treat the occasion as a sugar/flour/fat/salt-fest, or eat within the sugar and flour free boundaries I had been so happy with for the past 12 days?


Triumph!  I ate a good breakfast and I made the decision that I would enjoy the delicious foods that were going to help me feel good long after the meal- not just for the short time I would spend eating it.  I had some fabulous dishes, and a small plate of cheese and yes, asparagus, while the rest of the table enjoyed dessert.


I have complained loudly about that fact that while there are plenty of nutritional approaches available that can help us release fat, there don’t seem to be enough techniques available to put them into practice.  Diets, menus, and Cookbooks may tell us what and how much to eat, but they rarely tell us how to motivate ourselves to choose in our own long term best interest.


Do you have a tempting meal or situation coming up?  Find a quiet moment to think about how you want to behave in that situation and make a plan.


The satisfaction you will feel from following that plan will give you ten times the pleasure you could get from any kind of food or drink.  This is not the hollow victory of denying yourself.  It is the deep satisfaction of staying true to yourself.


The triumph?  At three weeks into the 15th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest I am happy to see that I weigh 125 pounds this morning, and I am more confident every day that I can achieve my authentic ideal figure again.




Please Note:The highlighted phrases are affiliate links to the Turbulence Training For Fat Loss Program.

Dopamine and Appetite

Ever since I was around six years old, I knew I was different.  Where my brothers and sisters were content with two cookies, one piece of cake, or even one reasonable slice of meat, I always wanted more.  Unless it was meatloaf, but that’s a meatloaf issue.

By seven years old, when I started swim team with my sister, I discovered something was really wrong with me.  No matter how hard I tried or how much I pushed myself, I was worn out after swimming one length of the pool.  I had plenty of energy for playing on the playground, especially when it came to tether ball, jumping rope, or foursquare, and I could ride my bike on the flat like a champ- no hands most of the time, but when it came to biking up hills, running, or swimming, everyone else passed me like I was standing still.

To make things even more odd, I simply adored dancing.  I could dance around the living room, skip, and gallop down the hallways with joyful abandon, but skipping and dancing don’t get you picked for any teams at school.

What was going on with the way I ate and the way I moved?  If we look at eating, I was born in the first generation that regularly ate sugar for breakfast.  I remember Capn Crunch, Froot Loops, and Trix being three of my favorites, and it usually took two bowls to satisfy me.  I was a small kid, why did I need to polish off two big bowls of cereal?  The answer may lie in the neurotransmitter dopamine.  In my latest issue of “Fitness Journal” I read an article by Dr. Pamela Peeke on how dopamine and it’s receptors are affected by food.  Dopamine is connected to the pleasure we feel while eating, and the urgency we feel when we think about food.

I was not surprised at all that studies of obese subjects showed that they had fewer dopamine receptors than the lean individuals who were studied.  The lack of receptors was likely a cause of greater and more urgent appetite, and an effect from overeating.  In the same way that we can become insulin and leptin resistant, we may also become dopamine resistant.  What’s the worst offender when it comes to messing with dopamine?  Sugar appears to be enemy number one, and when you mix it with fat and salt look out- edible crack.

On top of the dopamine response, sugar acts on the same parts of the brain as cocaine and heroin, and the cravings and obsession it causes can lead to the kind of behavior that packs on pounds of fat in spite of the best intentions of the susceptible individual who eats it.

What solutions does Dr. Peeke offer to this dilemma?  She cites meditation to lower stress and cravings because it builds up the Prefrontal Cortex of the brain, an area that is responsible for “Executive Functions” like organization, creativity, and self control.  She also writes about the power of exercise to increase beneficial neurotransmitters like BDNF.  On the nutrition front, omega 3s are helpful in their ability to keep dopamine receptors healthy.

For the past four years I have managed my cravings and obsessions with a diet that’s low in sugar, white flour, grains, and processed fats.  I meditate daily, and as a personal trainer I teach my clients the forms of exercise I love and that leave me feeling energized and vital, not worn out and wondering why everyone is going faster and farther than me.

Here is the affiliate link to the program that turned me into the athlete I always wanted to be on my terms: Turbulence Training For Fat Loss.

In my next post, I will write about what it means to be a “Non Responder” to endurance  exercise, and why that absolutely does not have to keep you from building your authentic ideal body.

Abs Ahoy!

Two Weeks and my Abs Are Back

We’re going into week three of the 15th Turbulence Training transformation contest, and lo and behold my abdominal muscles are starting to show again after about a six month hiatus.

Why is this?  The power of metabolic interval training is still something of a mystery to me.  One theory of why it works so well is that by using relatively brief periods of effort and recovery we become willing to work more intensely in the work periods.  If I know I can rest in 60 or even better, 30 seconds, I become willing to seek the edge of my ability, for example by doing more push ups or burpees.  Believe me, if I know I have to do a physical exercise for more than 10 minutes straight I’m going to hold back and pace myself.

Years ago, when I used to hit the gym for a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio before hitting the weight machines, I remember what a drag it was to slog along and push myself on the treadmill.  I remember the guilt and regret I would feel whenever I got off before 40 minutes was up.  I used to think that if I could just build up the stamina to run or at least jog for an hour straight, that the fat would magically melt off of my thighs for good.

Then I would head over to the weight machines to do bunches of hamstring curls, chest presses, and endless reps on the adductor machine- when there wasn’t a long line for the machine!

The visible effect on my body or the scale?  Zero.  It simply did not work.

Why does TT work- especially the 30 minute thermogenic training sessions I’m teaching now?  Maybe it has to do with the big band of sweat around the torso and down the back we all get in class.  Let’s face it, sweat comes from intensity, and when class is only 30 minutes long… you bring it.  It’s also effective because we alternate working the major muscle groups.  One paradox of effective fitness is that you have to know how to use rest and recovery as well as you use work and progression in order to see results.  Surprisingly enough, rest and recovery have to be built into the training session itself- even if it’s for no more that 30 seconds at a time.

On a side note, back in 2001-2002 I took a lot of spinning classes.  I lost a few pounds at the beginning, I got stronger, and I had more stamina, but I didn’t release any fat after the first few weeks, even though I stuck with it for a year and I worked really really hard.   Now I strongly believe it didn’t work because although it was billed as an interval class, we never fully recovered between work intervals, and the work intervals were so long I had to pace myself.

What gets me so excited about short TT classes is that they are effective for someone like me: someone who has struggled with excess fat storage for a lifetime, and someone with very little natural endurance or strength.  I couldn’t do a single full body push up until I was 44 years old, and here I am banging out push up burpees in front of my classes.  (Showing off?  Maybe a little.) What’s more gratifying is seeing my clients acquire new skills, and keep improving every week.

I know I have to give some credit to the fact that I’ve been eating clean, and sticking to a moderate amount of caloric restriction by doing the Lipman Cleanse, and stopping before I’m stuffed at all meals.  More on that later, as I’m kind of conflicted about the plan I’m following.  Deep down I’m convinced that moderate, satisfying meals made up of real food are the best way to go, but I paid for this thing so I’m going to stick it out.

Check back here to see how it goes.

Finally, if you want the Turbulence Training For Fat Loss program, Click Here!.  This is the training I used for my transformation, and yes, it’s an affiliate link.

Diet Deal Breaker

There is a raging debate going on right now in the world of weight loss as to whether the force that drives fat release is calories or content.  In other words, is fat storage ruled by what you eat, or how much you eat?

As someone who has released a significant amount of fat and maintained a new weight for more than four years now, I’ll be bold enough to say that it’s both.

To achieve a permanent reduction in the amount of fat that your body wants to store and carry around for fuel and protection, you have to choose foods that nourish and satisfy you without triggering overeating.  What’s more, if your body and genetics are pre-disposed to more fat storage than you would like, a certain amount of vigilance will always be required to keep the quantity of food you eat in the right range.

Ultimately you will discover that certain foods work for you, and some foods don’t.

That’s all well and good, but there’s one more kind of food you can’t ignore.

Deal Breakers: The foods that might not be optimal for fat release, but that you just won’t go without.  I was supposed to eliminate caffeine for two weeks for the Lipman cleanse.  I caved on day two.

I’ll say this for myself.  My experience with compulsion and the absolute unwillingness to give up certain beverages does give me some compassion for anyone who is following a plan to change their eating habits.

Sugar? Dairy? Tomatoes? Cherry Coke Zero?  No problem, I’ll happily kick them to the curb for two weeks, but coffee?

I have a life to live, and I really don’t want to try to function with that awful headache and the mental fog I felt Monday.  Maybe I’m a big baby, but it was awful, and I won’t do it.  So there.  I’ll drink the shakes and take the supplements, and maybe the cleanse won’t work so well now but I don’t care.

I will, however, accept the fact that I’m dependent on caffeine.  As I wrote in my last post, it’s a crutch.  But sometimes we need to use crutches to keep moving forward.  I have an 8:30 Turbulence Training class to teach today, and now that I’ve had a cup of coffee, I can’t wait to get down to the studio and train my students.

Worth every drop.

This is my brain off coffee.

Getting Off of Crutches

Last month I managed to break my Diet Soda/Sugar Free Gum habit for a few days.  I was eating clean, and drinking plenty of water and herbal tea too, so it’s no wonder I lost a few pounds,  but it didn’t last.  Right now I’m enjoying a minty piece of Trident.

Plenty of people who want to release fat run into my current dilemma.  They’re sitting at a reasonably healthy weight, they’re active, and they’ve eliminated traditional diet busters like sugar, trans fats, and processed foods from their eating plans- at least 80% of the time.  Things are going pretty well, but there’s a nagging feeling that some sub-optimal habits are putting off their fondest wishes for more vitality,  a  glowing appearance, and natural alertness not supplied by Starbucks or the Keurig.

I feel good right now.  Really good.  Is it because I just ran through some new Zumba dances for tomorrow’s class, or is it the lingering effects of the three cups of coffee I drank this morning?

I’m going to find out.  I’ve invested $199 in Dr. Lipman’s 2 Week Cleanse, and it starts tomorrow.  The cleanse is a program that includes 2 shakes a day, supplements, and a whole food meal plan that eliminates alcohol, sugar, flour, eggs, dairy, caffeine, nightshades, and artificial sweeteners.  Ahh, plenty of my favorite triggers and crutches in that list.  The plan doesn’t restrict calories by the way, but the idea is that the elimination of toxins and man made appetite simulators will cause a natural down regulation of hunger.

I sure hope so.  My family is a little bit scared of how I’ll react.

I’m a little bit scared of how I’ll react.

I honestly can’t  say when was the last time I didn’t wake up and walk right to the coffee machine for my morning cup of joy, I mean joe.

I have herbal tea and my morning shake to look forward to.

I also have lovely dreams of effortless loss of bloat, mood swings, and yes, a bit of fat release would be nice.  It also occurs to me that I do eat a lot of eggs, bacon, and nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant).  Who knows, there might really be something to this cleanse thing.

I’ll let you know.

Transformation Contest: Week one results

Weight Up, Inches Down

So I bounced out of bed this morning, fed the cat, dog, and fish (in that order), started a cup of coffee, and hopped on the scale.  It must be Friday.

What happened after my first week of the 15th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest?

I gained a pound.  Yep.  Back up to 128.  (I’m 5’1″ tall by the way if that puts it in perspective.)

So yeah, I’m wearing my FitBit every day, tracking my eating, and I know I’m in a calorie deficit, so what gives?  Well, first of all I’m lifting some weight and doing muscle stimulating exercises like squats and push ups again for the first time in a while.  I must confess that my focus on Zumba, Zumba Gold, my Yoga Alliance certification, and opening Gordon Studio has pushed out my regular Turbulence Training since I started personal training and leading group exercise back in January.

I have also put some more carbs back in my food plan in the form of fruit since my body was simply crying out for it.

On Wednesday I had a craving so strong for the slightly over-ripe banana on the kitchen counter you would have thought it was a street drug.

The fact is that training, teaching, and studying for  eight hours a week minimum means that I need more fuel in the form of food, but not too much, and I’m finding that balance.

The good news is that I pulled out my tape measure, and my waist and hip measurements are down in spite of the fact that the scale is up.  Even better, I can see definition in my arms and upper body returning.

Although most people see a gratifying weight loss at the beginning of healthy eating and training program (By the way, congratulations Melinda on your amazing start) I have seen plenty of people gain when they start to train.

If this is you, can you take a moment, think about your goals, and feel good about your successes that don’t involve the scale?

This is a good time to remind my clients and readers that non-weight goals are crucial on a transformation journey.

Do you want to do your first pull up or full body push up?  Do you want to make fitness a regular enjoyable part of your life?  Do you want to increase your confidence, vitality, and sense of well being?

The gifts of fitness are so much more reliable than the gifts of weight loss.  Ultimately fat release isautonomic.  In other words it is controlled by involuntary physiological responses to our actions.  Eat what we will, move how we will, ultimately the body decides when it’s ready to let fat go.

Let’s enjoy our training, relish our healthy eating, and trust that the rewards will come.

Transformation Step Three

Transformation Step Three: Get Real With Food.

I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had with my clients in this first year of being a trainer.  The most important thing I’ve discovered from their experiences is that, even though they have trained similarly, their diets have all been completely different.

One was vegan.
One did Atkins.
Another counted calories.
Another eliminated sugar and wheat most days.
Another stopped all eating between meals.

What did they all have in common?  Not one followed the eating plan that I follow, and they all ate more whole unprocessed foods.  Across the board they ate more vegetables.

Oh yes, and they all became more mindful of what they ate, and the truth is when it came to calories they ate less.

In all of these cases I believe that by eating real food they avoided constant exposure to foods that are so hyper palatable that they drive overeating.

A while back I read “The End of Overeating” by Dr. David Kessler, and I found a great deal to agree with in that book.

My personal fat release journey has been greatly affected by Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat, and What to Do About It”, Dr. William Davis’, “Wheat Belly”, and by personal stories written by members of Overeaters Anonymous.  I have had to come to grips with the many reasons why I overeat, and I will read anything I can get my hands on if I think it will help free me or one of my clients from the foods and behaviors that stand between me and my dreams.

That being said, I am convinced that one diet does not fit all, and that means Dear Reader that when it comes to food, you have to make your own choices.

Luckily, there are some free websites and tools that can help you to structure and keep track of your eating.  I personally have used  Simply Google “free food diary online” and several good options will come up.

My advice on food:  Get real with yourself, be true to yourself, and follow your best instincts.  What constitutes junk food for you?  What leaves you feeling guilty and hung over the morning after you eat it?  Is it a matter of content, quantity, or both?

Now for some practical advice.  Make a plan, and write it down so that you have the tools to be honest with yourself.  For those of you who are doing the 12 week transformation contest this is a time of honesty, focus, and faithfulness to your goal of developing the figure that frees you to live authentically.

Again, what do your best instincts tell you?  Are convenience foods crowding vegetables and fruits out of your eating plan?  Is that extra cup of morning coffee dulling your appetite for a wholesome breakfast- leaving you ravenous at 12 or 1PM?  Are you willing to get a book of slow cooker recipes so you can feed yourself and your loved ones well at dinnertime in spite of your busy schedule?

Getting real with food means bringing your behavior in line with your best personal wisdom about eating.

If you honestly are at a loss when it comes to knowing what to eat, then ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist who will listen to you.

Once you have a plan commit to it, and be honest about how closely you follow it.  What you learn from this time of honesty and commitment will be priceless- no matter how much weight you lose.

Transformation Step Two

Transformation Step Two: Your Before Picture

The truth is that I am small.  I stand just 5’1, and as I type this I’m wearing my size small Green Apple yoga pants, and an extra small tank top from the Junior department at Kohls.  So what is going on with my thighs?

I know, I know, I’ve got vanity issues, but I’m a trainer now and I want to represent a certain ideal.  In the right clothes, makeup, and lighting I can convince myself that I look the same as I did in the Spring of 2011 when I was firing on all cylinders in terms of eating and training, and I’ve learned not to blindly trust my bathroom scale to tell me how I’m doing health and fitness wise.  But now I see yet again that a picture is worth a thousand words.  The tight, shapely contours of 2011 have softened due to the happy stress of getting three fitness certifications, opening a business, and playing fast and loose with my eating and training.

Now that Turbulence Training Transformation Contest #15 has begun, it’s time to get honest and accept where I am fight now in terms of fitness, and I want you to do the same.

The before picture isn’t about punishing yourself for not being a model of perfect heath though- quite the opposite really.  The idea is that if you can take a clear look at your image and accept it, you can take steps to bring it into line with your authentic self.

It’s important to remember that your authentic ideal won’t look the same as anybody else’s, but when you do see your image, I want you to feel at ease with it.  The goal is to bring your image into line with your identity on your own terms.  In my case, I want to be able to train, coach, and dance safely and with confidence.  Yes, I can do that now.  I’d better be able to because I’m teaching Turbulence Training and Zumba tomorrow, but I do want to increase my confidence by becoming tighter, stronger, and yes, a bit lighter- with all of that lightness coming from the release of fat.

What do you want to do that would be enhanced by a higher level of fitness, and the improved appearance that would bring?  I do believe that beauty is the physical expression of well being, so what do you need to do in terms of your well being that would bring your looks in line with your hopes?

Your before picture gives you perspective, awareness, and honesty.  In order to get the most out of the coming 12 weeks of transformation you have to accept yourself right now in this moment, and bring the body you have right now to the table, the gym, the garage, the grocery store, or wherever it is that you practice health and fitness.

Is it hard to take a before picture and put it up on the refrigerator? Your computer screen? The bathroom mirror? Your Blog?  Maybe, but once you’ve taken this picture, taken a good look and a deep breath, everything else on this journey will be a little bit easier in comparison.  Trust me on this.

Here is my affiliate link to the Turbulence Training For Fat Loss program for any of you who wish to buy it in order along.

Step One on Your Transformation Journey

The First Step in Your Transformation

I have some good news and some bad news.  Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Exercise may not be all that great for weight loss.  There are plenty of studies that indicate that committing to a fitness program without  changing dietary habits doesn’t make the scale move in a downward direction.

So why in the world would I claim that your fitness program is the most important element in your physical transformation?

Simple, a well designed exercise program that includes resistance training will help to ensure that any weight you lose on your transformation journey will be fat, not lean tissue (i.e. muscle).

Just last night I was reading about a study that compared diet alone, diet with endurance exercise, and diet with resistance exercise, and the results were gratifying for anyone who trains people for a living.
The subjects who did diet alone over the course of 12 weeks lost 9.6 kg- 69% of which was fat.  Those who added endurance exercise lost 9kg with 78% as fat, and those who added resistance training lost 9.9kg (not much more that diet alone) with 97% of the weight loss coming from fat.

Now those are the kind of numbers that would make any trainer smile, because that kind of change in body composition is going to create an obvious and highly visible improvement in appearance and performance.  Look hotter and get stronger in 12 weeks?  Sign me up.

So for those of you who are joining me in the 12 week transformation challenge that starts today here is step one.

Get out your calendar and schedule your training sessions.  A few of you will be coming to Gordon Studio to train with me.  Some of you will be going to your local gym, and many of you will be training at home.  Regardless of where you will practice schedule that time now.  You may not know exactly what program you’ll follow for all 12 weeks, but you should make a specific choice for the first four.  My local clients and I will be using the TT 30 Minute Thermogenic plan for the first four weeks.

Fot any of you who want to purchase the Turbulence Training for Fat Loss program, here is my affiliate link:

Turbulence Training For Fat Loss.

Please note that you don’t have to purchase the program to enter the contest.

Now go grab your calendar or your phone, or open your scheduling app and enter those training sessions:  3 per week for 12 weeks.  Remember, TT style means those training sessions are only 30- 45 minutes long, and the return on your investment of that small amount of time will astonish you.

Now it’s time for me  to get ready to take “Before Pictures”.  Another crucial element of transformation that I’ll be writing about tomorrow.

15th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Why am I entering the 15th TT Transformation contest, and why should you?  Here are my top three reasons.

#1.  It works.

I was listening to a podcast last week with Dr. Stephen Phinney, and he called anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for more than a year part of the .01%.  who have succeeded at losing weight long term.  Not 5%, not 1%, but .01%

Is it really that rare to to release fat for good?  If it is, than it’s imperative for me to keep following, teaching, and writing about the program that keeps working for me.

My Turbulence Training Affiliate Link.

Yes, if you click that link and buy the program I earn a commission, and I’m proud to encourage you to do so because my favorite training programs are all there, including the famous TT 2K3 which made me believe for the first time ever that I could build the body of my dreams, and win the 2nd Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.

#2.  I’m joining to encourage and support my clients.

We live in a world that surrounds us with the temptation to just sit and eat, and I never managed to keep positive fitness changes until I stopped trying to do it alone.  I always thought if nobody knew I was trying to get fit, nobody would know if I failed, and I would have nothing to feel ashamed of.  I was a prisoner of the kind of foolish pride that kept me from asking for help, support, and encouragement.  After I joined the second transformation contest, I learned that lo and behold the best way to get support for your goals is to give support and encouragement to someone else.

#3.  The Transformation Contest Keeps Me Honest.

I am so good at fooling myself.  I am a master of the kind of self talk that says, “I’ll start tomorrow, “Just one won’t hurt”, and “These must have shrunk in the wash”.

For whatever reason, I find it a lot easier to lie to myself than to lie to clients, colleagues, and friends.

The truth is that I have allowed my focus to be pulled away from what created my transformation in the first place:  Turbulence Training, Optimal Eating, and Social Support.

So here I am, back for the good stuff.  On Friday we will be taking “Before” photos and measurements at Gordon Studio, and for the next 12 weeks I will be writing about what we discover on this latest journey towards the authentic ideal body that is the vehicle for our dreams.  Join us for some serious fun.