So what happens after 33 weeks of testing a product and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it works? Time to get in front of the camera to film the workouts. This sounds easy enough, right? WRONG! You don’t just get in front of the camera, hit record and film the workouts, a lot of prep work goes into it. First we needed to cast the people that would be in the videos with me. We saw hundreds of fitness professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts all wanting to help me present the best version of my workouts possible. After three days of casting we had our backup people.

A few weeks before I started rehearsals with my background people I went in to rehearsal with Kendall, a fabulous “choreographer” if you will. These rehearsals were to make sure I knew the points I wanted to hit when demoing each exercise, how to move around the set from person to person while correcting form and to make sure I reviewed anything I felt needed it. We rehearsed several times a week for three weeks. Then came rehearsal with my backup people. This is where the fun twists come in. Rehearsal week with everyone was also competition week. Yes, I was competing in one of my fitness competitions at the end of rehearsal week. If your not familiar with how fitness competitions work allow me to elaborate. The week before competition is EXTREAMLY important. Your nutrition has to be on point, everything is timed very specifically, there are specific workouts you need to get in each day. There are some days where you are hardly eating any carbs and others where you don’t get to drink a lot of water. Needless to say it is a rough week in and of it self. Now add in the stress of eight hour rehearsals on something you have been working towards your ENTIRE life. Yes, I was stressed out. But I did my best to take it all in stride and enjoy both the competition prep as well as the experience of prepping for my very first DVD shoot for my own product. After all, the experience of shooting your FIRST program will only happens once. Competition prep was going well and by day two rehearsals were moving smoothly. Then another twist.

My sons dad had a change in jobs and we found out he was moving back to San Diego…WITH ONLY EIGHT DAYS NOTICE! Yep, so that happened. I found out on my lunch break on day three of rehearsals. I lost it. Carb depleted, tired, stressed about putting out the best product possible and he throws this at me. To some it might not seem like that big of a deal but my ex and I have remained very good friends and only lived a mile away from each other. We both saw Dominic every day and worked together to help each other out when our schedules got crazy. With him moving our lives would change dramatically. I had to get rid of all of my private clients to be able to take my son to school in the morning, I had to cut back on hours at Equinox to make sure I was there for my son after school. I needed to hire a nanny to help on days that I needed to be on set or in meetings. It was overwhelming in that moment. By the time I got home I felt like I couldn’t breath, I was having a major onhealthy antidepressants anxiety attack. Right now you might be wondering why I’m sharing such an intimate part of my life with you. It’s because it’s an important part of understanding me as a mom and a fitness professional. I am fiercely dedicated to both, but I also want people to know and understand everyone goes through hard times. Only YOU can choose how you handle it and how you get through it. Lucky for me I have an amazing friend who came to my rescue that night. He let me cry on his shoulder and let me talk it all out. A few hours of crying and talking and I had my head back on straight. I got up the next morning and went to rehearsals with a smile on my face feeling thankful for the opportunity that was in front of me and the ability to take care of my son on my own.

Rehearsal week finished off on a great note and then came competition. I took the stage that Saturday morning feeling amazing. After a long day of competing I came in 6th, top 10. I’ll take it. I trained as hard as I could and was very happy with the improvements I had made from my previous competition.

I had two days off to rest before we officially started filming. Eleven workouts & a photo shoot would be squeezed into six days. WHOA, here goes nothing. You would think I would be nervous, but the night before the first day of filming I went to bed completely calm. I woke up having only one thought, “enjoy this.” We weren’t going to leave the sound stage until we had what we needed so there was no reason to panic or worry. It’s pretty awesome being the star on set. I had the most beautiful bouquet of Lilys from Carl, Heather and my team officially welcoming me to the family, my Starbucks was brought to me while I was in hair and makeup and everyone fusses over you. A girl could get used to this! I stepped in front of the camera to film the first workout. My backup people were ready, I was given a few notes and we were off. EVERYONE was there to make sure the first day went well including Carl (the CEO). No pressure, right?!? Thirty minutes after they yelled action they yelled cut. The look on everyones face was priceless. It was a little bit of shock and a lot of happy. They were shocked because they never had to yell cut during the entire workout. I nailed it on the first take. It was an unbelievable feeling to have my bosses as well as the rest of the team saying “your a natural” “we knew you were good but we never expected that.” That was a great moment for me. It was another moment where I finally felt like my talent was being validated. Filming went off without a hitch. The six days flew by and in the blink of an eye it was over. It felt bittersweet. Everything was finished, now all I had to do was sit back and wait for it to release which wasn’t happening for six more months. The test groups continued but the meat and potatoes of the project was over. All I could do now was watch the days tick off the calendar waiting for February 18 to see how the The 21 Day Fix would be received. Check back next week to read about the release 😉
Your partner in health,
Autumn Calabrese