Review of Chrysalis + a giveaway

So, as I told you yesterday, I had the opportunity to test out The Sufferfest‘s new triathlon-specific video “Chrysalis” before it gets officially released on 4 February.

2014-01-23 18.04.36Yesterday I had some running intervals on the schedule, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit and give “Chrysalis” a go–I mean, how much suffering could there really be, right?


So, “Chrysalis” is no joke! The video left me absolutely shattered, and I was seriously wondering if I had enough energy to walk home from the gym afterwards. Loved it! I am really happy that today is a recovery day. I got on the trainer this morning, but just for some slow zone 1 HR action.

Interested in “Chrysalis”? Thinking, “What on Earth is a triathlon-specific exercise video?”

Here are the things you need to know about “Chrysalis.”

1. “Chrysalis” guides you through a triathlon. Or, at least, a bizarre version of a triathlon.

There’s no swimming in “Chrysalis,” so you can put your goggles away. You do watch swim footage of Challenge Roth while doing your warm-up, though.

2014-01-23 18.13.14

After warm-ups on both the treadmill and the bike, the video guides you through 4 bike-run bricks with :30 “transitions” between each leg.

After the fourth brick, there’s a cool-down on both the treadmill and the bike, set to footage of people attempting to recover after they’ve crossed the finish line.

2. Each of the legs in your triathlon is broken up into smaller intervals of various speeds and intensities.

This is my favourite aspect of this video, and, frankly, of all of The Sufferfest videos. I like my workouts broken up into manageable chunks. It keeps me engaged.

As you might have noticed in the screenshot above, “Chrysalis” gives you a lot of on-screen indicators of what you should be doing and how long you’re going to be doing it. They are very specific.

I explain a couple of them below with my superior Microsoft Paint skills.

2014-01-23 18.18.06

You’ll notice in the screenshot from the swim that there’s sometimes an additional clock in the bottom right corner. That clock tells you how much time you have remaining in that leg.

When you’re on the treadmill, the number above the effort indicates the percentage of incline for your treadmill instead of RPM.

3. The intervals in “Chrysalis” can take you to a pain cave you’ve never seen before, but only if you let them.

Curious about what the numbers for effort correspond to? The Sufferfest provides you with this handy advice before the video starts:

2014-01-23 18.07.37 2014-01-23 18.07.55

If you’re not going to be honest with your effort, than the video is not going to rock your world. I promise the intervals are designed to be entirely possible–the workout doesn’t have you running 10/10 for 4 minutes in the first interval or spinning at 120 RPM for an entire cycling leg. Match your effort the way it tells you to match it, and you won’t be sorry. I promise. It’s designed to work.

The fun part about the intervals is that they’re keyed to actual things that happen during a triathlon. You speed up when you’re chasing someone; you jack up your bike gear and get out of the saddle when you’re climbing a hill; you slow down to a jog when you pass through the aid stations.

2014-01-23 18.18.03

4. You’ll need some stuff. Like clothes.

Dress yourself in appropriate attire. You’ll thank me later.

2014-01-23 17.58.01-2Do as I say, not as I do. Running shorts? Not recommended.

This is a triathlon video. Wear your triathlon clothes. Next time, you better believe I’m going to wear something a bit more comfortable for sprinting on the bike!

Your shoe options are at your discretion. You have :30 to switch between the bike and the treadmill, and you do that a number of times. Like, 8 times. I’d recommend ditching the cycling shoes unless you really want to practise your transition skills.

I wore some Mizuno Evo Levitas, and they worked just fine.

2014-01-23 18.31.35

5. You’ll need some other stuff. Like electronics.

You’ll need some accessories, if you don’t have a big screen TV (that you have control over) set up in front of both a treadmill and a stationary bike. If you do have that set-up, you’re a rock star! If you don’t, you’ll need a portable media player of some sort, onto which you can download the video, as well as some headphones if you’d like to be polite to others around you (optional.)

2014-01-23 18.01.54Throw in a towel and a water bottle for good measure.

I was able to watch and listen to the video on my phone, which was cool. A tablet would have been better because the video would have been easier to see, but the phone was more than adequate.

6. You’ll need steady access to a treadmill and a stationary bike.

This part was actually a bit tricky for me, not because my gym doesn’t have treadmills or stationary bikes, but because they’re usually in high demand and you often have to wait for one. “Chrysalis” has you on the treadmill for 4:00, off for 9:00 (8:00 on the bike plus a :30 transition on each side,) and then back on the treadmill, back on the bike, back on the treadmill, etc.

2014-01-23 18.15.45If you belong to a busy gym like me, try to schedule your “Chrysalis” time during off-peak hours.

Also, you don’t want your fellow gym-goers to see you cry.

Things I loved:

  • The music and race footage kept me focused. I got into it, and the hour of suffering passed a lot faster than I thought an hour of suffering would pass.
  • This video offered more guidance regarding form and effort than some of the other videos from The Sufferfest. That was nice.
  • I loved loved loved that the intervals were designed to reflect real situations that arise in triathlons. Because I could relate to them, I could channel the appropriate effort, and I knew what it should feel like. If only I could have dumped a cup of water over my head when we went through the simulated aid stations…that would have been awesome.
  • And as I always do with videos from The Sufferfest, I love when they put snarky comments in the mouths of people who are obviously not saying those things.

2014-01-23 19.04.33

Things I didn’t love:

  • It takes a minute to get the hang of it. There’s a lot of location switching–i.e. from the bike to the treadmill and back–and it can be jarring at first if you’re used to spending more than a couple minutes on a machine. Just when you’re settling in, it’s time to switch.
  • The end of the video is full of fast-paced music and funny comments on the screen, but the video takes its time getting there. Perhaps owing to the fact that triathletes seem to a be a more serious folk compared to cyclists, the video is a little serious in the beginning. Thankfully, it loosens up!

Overall, I think it’s a hell of a workout, and I recommend that y’all give it a go when it’s officially released on 4 February!

Want some free videos from The Sufferfest?

The friendly folks at The Sufferfest were kind enough to provide me with some gift codes for free videos in addition to an advance copy of “Chrysalis.” Aren’t they swell?

Leave me a comment below sometime between now and Wednesday, 29 January, at 3:59 PM Sydney time (that’s Tuesday, 28 January, at 11:59 PM EST in the U.S.), and let me know what the temperature is where you are now. I’m sure all of you freezing friends in the U.S. could use a good indoor training session!

The Sufferfest provided me with 5 codes. I’m going to keep 1 for myself, and I’ll give 2 codes to 2 lucky commenters, who will be selected randomly.

The Sufferfest also gave me stickers. I’m keeping the stickers.

Talk to you soon, friends!

ETA:  Giveaway is closed, friends!  Thanks for playing! :)

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47 responses to “Review of Chrysalis + a giveaway”

  1. bradleyhaubert565 says :

    Great review! I just recently became a Sufferlandrian and have been having a ball suffering! Your review is fun to read – while super informative! Thanks for taking the time to let the rest of us know what to expect.

    Oh – it’ll be a high of 20 here in central PA today!

  2. Owen Delaney says :

    42ºF here in a grey London. Can’t wait to try out Chrysalis leading up to my first ever Tri this year.

  3. David Haynes says :

    Well right now in Kentucky it’s 2 degrees before you factor in the 10 mph winds with snow and ice on the ground. Definitely not the kind if weather we are used to around here.

  4. bradleyhaubert565 says :

    Reblogged this on WeekendWarriorMag and commented:
    Here’s a great review of a soon-to-be released Sufferfest video – from a fellow blogger. (Oh the envy of getting the sneak advance preview!!)

    Great review with a fun writing style! Check it out!

  5. Shoogs says :

    I can already imagine being absolutely shelled… I’m doing my first tri this year and this is probably exactly the prep one would need. Nice review!

  6. Pete P says :

    Great Article! I can’t wait to give it a go, my tri training is the only thing getting me through my exam revision. Sufferfest is a great tool when it’s miserable and rainy here in Sheffield, UK

  7. oeuftete says :

    It’s -12C here in Halifax, NS, Canada. Thanks for the review. Love the Sufferfest videos, use them as part of tri training… and ironically this video probably won’t be for me since my trainer setup isn’t conducive to a quick switch to running. Oh well!

  8. Jesse - Questionably Texan says :

    These videos look great! I don’t have the motivation to stay on the bike trainer for more than 30 minutes or so, but I’ve also never watched anything other than normal tv shows. Perhaps I need something like this to give me a kick in the ass.

    It’s 14F/-5C here in Dallas this morning. I still biked to work, despite my complete lack of cold-weather cycling gear (I don’t own a balaclava or anything to cover the skin on my face, so I slathered my face with vaseline before heading out the door – worked surprisingly well!) My boss offered me a ride home yesterday, since it was below freezing and I was riding straight into a 30mph headwind. I declined. Worst bike commute ever. Should have taken him up on his offer! I definitely should be riding inside instead!

  9. DanielT says :

    -25 with -32c windchill in Ottawa Canada. Great for riding the bike to work with an extra layer of tracky-dacks. Love me some Suffering (Angels and AVDP are favourites) but I like to bring it outdoors when possible. Great review – thanks!

  10. Tim Knight says :

    16 degrees in Dallas this morning while I read your thorough review of Chrysalis. Excellent tips that I’ll be using in setting up my own Sufferfest dungeon of sweet, cruel physical punishment in my garage. I’m interested to see how Chrysalis compares to other tri/multi-sport training videos. Sufferfest puts out quality videos that make me WANT to train so I reckon this to be a winner of epic suffering glory! All hail the birth of a new champion of multi-sport training videos, Chrysalis!

  11. Chris Powers says :

    Great review, can’t wait to add this one to my collection!

    13 here in Atlanta, supposed to warm up this weekend (above 40) but then drop back down again. Days like this are perfect for Suffering!

  12. Nate S. says :

    12 degrees (F) with a windchill of -10F. Iowa.

    Thanks for the review. I use Sufferfest for triathlon training on my bike interval days – it’ll be interesting to see how they incorporate running. It’d be nice to have a treadmill at home as the way you describe the transition in the gym seems a bit odd – fortunately I attend a “not so popular” gym.

  13. Drew says :

    -18c feels like -24 when I got up this morning. Great review, I think this will be a lot of “fun” once it’s available.

  14. Brian Olson says :

    I’m in Tucson, Az and it’s been mid 70′s all week!! Great training weather!

  15. Tritrigirl says :

    Windchill had us down to about 20F in Austin, TX. Thanks for the review after reading some of your other posts about Sufferfest I’m ordering the Starter Kit to see how it goes. I think it’s great that they’re going to do a Triathlon series too! Since it’s too cold to go outside and ride or run it’ll be indoor work outs for a while and I loathe the treadmill.

  16. Gavin says :

    This is great news, been looking for something to help for triathlon training in the long indoor training months. Tour of Sufferlandria tomorrow, as soon as its finished we can get cracking on Chrysalis! Its a balmy 15F here in NY today

  17. Josh says :

    Great review. Thanks for the info! I absolutely HATE Sufferfest videos… And by that I mean I love to do them and kill myself every time. I live in San Diego where we are just getting through this cold front with 72 degree weather today :-) would love a give away!

  18. erin says :

    Sounds awesome! Surprisingly, it’s 27ºF here today, but that will be falling come Monday when it’s only supposed to climb to -10ºF!

  19. Victoria says :

    This sounds…amazing. I kind of want to try a version of this with a bike trainer and a track…

  20. Vicky says :

    It is -18C (0F) with the wind chill. Absolutely brutal to run outside in so training indoors would be nice! Working toward my first tri this year so am looking forward to trying out Chrysalis :)

  21. Vicky says :

    It is about -18C (0F) with the windchill in Toronto, Canada. Absolutely brutal to run outside so training indoors would be nice! Looking forward to trying out Chrysalis as I’m training for my first tri this year :)

  22. Simon Isaac (@SimonGIsaac) says :

    Nice review, just started the Tour of Sufferlandria very interested in Chrysalis.We are having a very mild winter this year. Currently it’s -20C with a -30 windchill. Mongolian winters are tough. You can run outside if the air in Ulaanbaatar allows, but it has been
    really poor air quality this year. Once the tour is over I might need to find a gym to run in.

  23. ryangl says :

    It is a *comfortable* 32F right now in Chicago. Preparing for a dreadful -16F or whatever tomorrow will be. Luckily the ToS is going on to keep us occupied! I’m very interested in seeing this nasty workout when it is released!

    - rglov @openendurance

  24. Justin says :

    60F and rainy in Orlando,FL. Hail the Sufferlandrians!

  25. Tom van de keere says :

    In Belgium +-2C and this morning it was snowing, when i was on my turbotrainer :-)

  26. Dimitri Kiselkov says :

    this video sounds nice ! I’m a triathloner doing the Tour of Sufferlandrian and could use some cool videos to motivate me. Here in Canada, the water temperature should be about 4deg Celcius. So yeah, trainer time for me !

  27. Ben Ursel says :

    I did my own Triathlon workout indoors yesterday (during a Blizzard Warning in Minnesota) using The Sufferfest: There Is No Try, and my treadmill.(15.26mi bike and 3.2mi run) I would really LOVE to have Chrysalis!! I’m doing my longest race yet, this September, and I need all the training aides I can get my hands on.

  28. Devon Van Beek says :

    Thanks for the review, will definitely look forward to purchasing this video! I’ve been waiting for Sufferfest for a long time to come out with something like this so I’m very excited! I have ‘There is No Try,’ ‘Blender,’ ‘and Extra Shot: The Long Scream’ and have enjoyed them immensely. Extra Shot after either video will drain you of any little bit of energy you may have left in you. Right now I’m in school at Chicago where it’s a balmy -2 degrees with a windchill of -24. Better than where I live in Wisconsin though where it’s -7 and the windchill is listed at ‘Dangerous.’

  29. Kristin says :

    Good review-I’m not sure I could take the switching between bike and dreadmill! It’s a mild 0 C and cloudy here in Bavaria…hopefully it stays like this until spring thaw!

  30. JMS says :

    We have worked our way almost back to freezing in New York after weeks of single-digit-Fahrenheit temperatures. Good time to be a Sufferlandrian.

  31. Tom says :

    Great review. -13 in Columbus, OH where I’ll be doing stage 5 of TOS today.

  32. Steve Taylor says :

    Great review. It’s 22F here in Meridian Idaho. Come on sunshine!

  33. Sabrina Haun says :

    Excellent review! I’m 1 minute late here in Houston, Texas where it’s 36F. Finally settling into bed after run. I find out if I got selected for Ultraman Canada on Saturday! I can use all of the Sugfering I can get!

  34. Steve Erickson says :

    Thanks for the review. -23 today

  35. Ben Berry (@Ben_M_Berry) says :

    I like how you wrote all over the screen to explain the various things going on. What a good way to point out all the things he throws at you in those videos

  36. Tom Richter says :

    About 58 F here in Orange County California!

  37. Troy R says :

    12 degrees in Salt Lake City. I need all the help I can get. Have a 1/2 and full ironman in the next 20 weeks.

  38. Jeramie says :

    Thanks for the review! Currently 6 degrees in Des Moines, Iowa.

  39. Mandy Collie says :

    Great to hear all your feedback. Dig Deep Coaching is the company who partner with Sufferfest to devise the coaching for the triathlon specific video. Delighted you enjoyed…if that is the right word…having it more specific for indoor training.

  40. Mark raharuhi says :

    Brilliant videos looking forward to this one
    33 here in laverton Western Australia

  41. Keenan Clark says :

    The Minions are smiling!!! Canton Georgia 17 degrees F

  42. Phillip says :

    Greetings from Norfolk Virginia. It’s a balmy 19 degrees f. Here. It’s the morning of snowmageddon. There is a foot of snow outside. This place hasn’t seen snow like this in a long time. A perfect day to log some time in the pain cave!

  43. David Wilson says :

    Thanks for the review, i’ve been looking forward to this Sufferfest release.

    -21C today in Ottawa, Canada… I’ve been getting very well acquainted with the cv machines.

  44. Daniel says :

    Can’t wait until Feb 4. Already have the basement set up with my bike and a treadmill!

    It’s a balmy 16 degrees F here in New Hampshire.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. This Week in Training: WC 20 January | Running the Stats - 27 January 2014
  2. Winners | Running the Stats - 29 January 2014

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