The Winner of Le Tour de France Challenge 2018 ~ Jillian Frank

“Looking back on the challenge, the first few days were very clear and then it turns into a blur of rides, climbs and grit.” Read the story behind her journey of 771km to the top / by Jillian Frank

Accepting the challenge:
I decided to accept the challenge to push myself and to see if I could complete the 21 Tour stages in 23 days. I spoke with Asaf to set a distance goal and to keep myself motivated. Based on my prior performance we set a 500 kilometres goal.

I then told all of my friends and family that I was taking part in a Tour de France challenge – this was to make sure that I didn’t quit. Everyone needs motivation to keep going.

Preparing for the challenge:
I checked my calendar to see if there were any days that I would not be able to ride and started planning my rides around my work and personal schedule. There are 13 bikes in the room and I knew that I needed to reserve my rides in advance to ensure that I could do all 21 stages. I was ready to go and reach my goal!

The challenge:
Looking back on the challenge, the first few days were very clear and then it turns into a blur rides, climbs and grit.

The First week: It felt like my normal workout routine only with more cycling. There were several strong cyclists ahead of me and this was the outcome I was expecting. As the first week continued, I continued to ride each stage and do my best. By simply showing up everyday, I had rose to the the top five. Asaf mentioned that I could do a double session on the second Saturday of the challenge (about 60-65km). because I had missed one of the days in the week, I decided to go for it.

I believe this was the turning point in my journey.

The first double session was a weekend class, which meant that I would be on the bike for almost two hours. My husband supported me on the ride and told me I was crazy and he was proud of me. When I completed that Saturday morning ride, I knew I could do doubles during the week as well and exceed my original 500km mark.

The second week, I continued on my schedule, I didn’t take the two rest days and threw in an extra double or two. Barbara encouraged me to take an extra class or two pointing out that I might not be able to ride to the top of the leaderboard with one ride, but two rides would always produce a higher end result. This strategy put me in the lead position for the final week. I wanted to win and I had a network of people cheering me on; other club members and coaches, my family, friends and colleagues. They all knew that I was operating out of my comfort zone.

The final week I set an aggressive schedule. I was cycling everyday until the end and in order to win, I predicted I needed to do five doubles. I was simply trying to go to more rides than my competitors. The coaches gave me advice on how to have ‘rest days’ while still cycling 40 to 50k in a day. I cycled and cycled and cycled. On the final three days I could see the finish line and victory, I was happy and my legs had not given up on me.

There were lows on the journey; wondering if I maintain the schedule, an insatiable hunger, melt down Wednesday of the last week (I was ready to quit).

In the end, I won so much more than first place. I was stronger, more confident and I realised that going outside of my comfort zone only makes me stronger. People who had not spoken with me before wanted to know how I approach the Tour Challenge, others told me they were afraid of the cycling programme (SCC) in the club. This surprised me as I always felt welcome, even when I could not get my cycling shoes out of the clips for the first few weeks. I was a non-cyclist and now want to encourage everyone to come to class (read more reasons why here).

If you are afraid and want a cycling partner, I am in on most Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I’ll be on my favourite bike, number five.

Top 10 Leaderboard:


Meet SOMA Member: Duncan Coombe, PhD.

At 45, Duncan Coombe is a teacher, researcher, author and advisor. He also knows to look at the big picture. After joining SOMA House 6 months ago, Duncan feels stronger and faster than any other time in his life, and has the results and data to prove it. We met him for a chat after his Saturday morning routine of SCC Cycling and Hot Detox 26.

What’s your weekly workout routine?  I try and get in about 5 workouts a week. Saturday is a big one for me, with 2 back to back classes. The rest of the week is a combo of cycling, hot yoga and TRX. I travel a lot so it’s less “routine” and more about being flexible with my training. Saturday mornings though are my ritual!

Describe your training philosophy.  I try to remember that it’s about my long term health and wellness more than short term goals. Training is for life, not for my ego.

What would you say is your top secret for committed training?  Have I ever regretted training? Not once. Have I ever been less than enthusiastic before a session? Many times! The secret…JFDI!

It’s a place where good people gather and train hard.

Dr. Duncan Coombe

What is the best part of your SOMA experience?  I love the seriousness of the place. The concept, the founders, the coaches, the other participants. Not serious as in, “I’m not fun” way, but in a “we are here to work and to take that seriously” way. Also, we are developing a real community and it’s great to see familiar faces.

What is the hardest part of your SOMA experience?  The intensity – there is no such thing as a chill workout.

Biggest fitness challenge so far.  I just wish I could lock in my fitness for a few weeks…with all my travelling, I often feel like I’m starting over again, which can be frustrating. Also, with travel, staying disciplined with sleep and nutrition is a challenge.

Your biggest achievement so far.  I’ts a big picture thing…I’m super happy that at 45 I feel stronger and faster than any time in my life, and have the results and data to prove it.

Which class challenges you the most?  Double classes are the killer!

SOMA House, in your own words.  SOMA House is for the committed amateur athlete who is looking for a holistic approach to health and wellness, backed up by science and professionalism. It’s a place where good people gather and train hard.


Meet Tommy - In 5 weeks reached his first 2018 goal

Meet SOMA member, Tommy Daskus

I know Tommy best by sweating next to him in Dr. Theo’s always epic Monday Hot Detox, 6pm.  After Christmas, he decided to become a SOMA House member and finally put into action what he’d talked about for so long: lose some weight but more importantly increase his feeling of wellbeing.

He joined and jumped right in to all classes before finding his best integrated training plan. We measured his total body composition 5 weeks ago and again last Friday.

The results? Dropped 2.7% body fat (6.9% down from 9.6%) and increased muscle composition by  2.4kg.

The numbers are great, but we care more about his overall mindbody wellbeing. So we spoke with him more to hear about his experience.

What was your personal goal this last month?

My main goal was to lose some of my body fat, and increase my feeling of wellbeing. After 8 weeks of consistency, I have had good results from 9.6 body fat it dropped to 6.9. My second goal I have achieved was to move from the back row to practice in the front, which I am enjoying it so much. The next one is The 30 day Challenge.

What is your typical weekly workout?

During my first month at SOMA house, I have tried out everything from the class menu, for to be able to understand what works best for me, and to pick the classes I love the most, so I can plan my weekly workouts. Monday is my favourite work out day starting with BARRE Ballet Blast and straight after jumping to the hot room for YOGA Hot Detox 26. Tuesday – YOGA Elementals FIRE + PILATES and straight after YOGA Elementals SOUL. Wednesday would choose between TRX, YOGA or CYCLE (in depends on my body and mind), Thursday – YOGA Elementals EARTH, Friday – my favourite YOGA Elementals WATER with Jennifer, Saturday  – YOGA Hot Detox 26, Sunday – rest day. This is the best workout for me and I could see big changes after one month sticking to my plan.

Did you change diet as well or just different work out?

Whenever anyone asks me about the diet, it makes me laugh. I always eat what I want to eat, never count the calories. I am a big fan of Chinese take away, potatoes, biscuits and ice cream. It is genes, as I was born in a sports family: my father is ex professional footballer and mum – ex gymnast.  The combination of my weekly work out is the answer for the results I reached.

How do you balance with work?

Working in retail can be difficult, but I made a commitment to get up early and do the early shifts, so I can make it to the classes. Practicing yoga 5 times a week helped to calm me down in stressful situations with difficult clients and I noticed that I am much calmer in handling those situations stress free since.

Unexpected changes?

I always struggled with Bikram practice. There were times I walked out in the middle of class. Once I was asked to leave the class, as I was having a panic attack. This is so funny now to remember. The day I tried out Dr. Theo’s Detox my mind unexpectedly changed. His way of teaching, excellent music choice made the big change for me.

What is different about SOMA that makes you want to come?

There are many things. I been to different studios around the world, SOMA is my top one. The variety of classes and workouts, the owners of the studio practicing and sweating next to the students, excellent teachers, friendly receptionist, cold face towels, best mango smoothie, cow shed products, waterfall in the hot room and one and only studio when you enter the yellow Labrador Obree comes to meet and greet you. You just feel like at home.

What’s the biggest injury challenge you overcame? What helped?

12 years ago, I was involved in a car accident, which left me with broken bones, slipped disc back pain and difficulty to walk. Strong painkillers was my only solution until I discovered yoga 5 years ago. Hot Yoga helped me to get of the painkillers in 3 months, and back to my normal body with zero pain. It just proves that yoga not only going to make you strong and flexible, but also it can fix you.

When do you feel at your best?

During the yoga practice, I leave the day behind and enjoy the moment of stillness and calmness of my mind.

Most challenging posture?

Standing Head to Knee my most challenging posture, as I do not have a strong back muscles, but I am working on it, and hope that one day this pose will be my most enjoyable pose.

Most enjoyable posture?

Side Crow is the posture I enjoy the most. It helped me to strengthen the arms and improve my balance.

Toe Stand – being a long distance runner previously, I had loads of problems with my knees; practicing Toe Stand helped to strengthen my knees and took the pain away complete.


Top of the Leader Board - Hitomi Kato-Moore

Inspiring Women. Since 1 January, SOMA member Hitomi has taken 46 classes which puts her at the top for most classes completed this month. Typical weekly workout includes Cycling, TRX, Hot Yoga and Barre.

What’s your secret to making time for training?

I’ve put training in the same category as drinking water, it’s my human necessity. Just as I don’t question taking big gulps of water when I get thirsty, I don’t make training ‘a thing’.

Favourite class/es?

Cycling! Soul Yoga! Hot Yoga! And And all of Vanessa‘s classes she adds so much soul to every class!

Most challenging part of training?

For me it’s about respecting the pose, movement. Doing things properly instead of rushing through them. I really struggle with Savasana because I want to be the first one in the shower!

How does your body and mind feel after training?

Pure love! Self love, life love, all beings love.

Most surprising result of training?

That I am more powerful than I think … whenever I push myself past what my mind limits me too I think ‘jeeze I’m powerful!’

 I've put training in the same category as drinking water, it's my human necessity.

Hitomi Kato-Moore


SOMA House Member: Dr. Helen Kim

SOMA House unveils the fierce grace of our women members who prove that what you will, you can become and what strength you desire you already embody.

What personal milestone have you achieved this SOMA term?

I’ve learned that I like hot yoga! This is a personal milestone for me because I never liked it before and would start to panic in the heat. Now, I feel like I’ve achieved something significant in being able to withstand the heat and in enjoying the practice!

Give three words that describe SOMA.

Excellence, dedication, process/practice. I think SOMA is really about developing a practice or a set of practices rather than solely focusing on one’s goals.

How do you feel after a SOMA workout?

After a SOMA workout, I feel really elevated . Moreover, I feel incredibly grounded. Finally, I felt energised.

After a SOMA workout, I feel really elevated. Moreover, I feel incredibly grounded. Finally, I felt energised.

Dr. Helen Kim

My training

Mondays  | Hot Detox 26
Tuesdays  |  TRX Spartan or Yoga Elementals Soul
Wednesdays  |  TRX Yoga Core
Fridays  |  Barre for Athletes
Sundays  |  Yoga Elementals WATER and Yoga Elementals SPACE

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