Fitness Bootcamp Realness! [A Tall Glass of Shame]
I set out to lose weight last year and have succeeded by losing 55 pounds since October of 2011. Eating better was how I started things off, the usual lower carb/ higher protein diet worked wonders. I cut out all junk and processed foods and quit my habit of daily soda consumption. Once I joined the Gold’s Gym downtown and kicked myself into high gear the pounds have faded away fairly quickly. My current gym routine has felt a little stale lately, and they always say that there comes a time when you need to change things up to continue on that path to weight loss. My answer to shake things up has been to join the Fitness Bootcamp at my gym here in Los Angeles. I love and hate every second of it, and I keep going back for more… Let me tell you why.
The term “bootcamp” might bring up some pretty intimidating images: An angry drill sergeant barking out orders like “Drop and give me 50!” And for some types of bootcamp training, that’s not so far from reality. But don’t let that scare you. In general, “bootcamp workouts” simply mean circuit training – a routine that has you perform several different exercises, one after another, mixed with longer endurance routines like running or swimming. Of course the trainer might be barking out those orders and adding in some motivational call outs if you are doing something incorrectly, but in the end you work harder and push yourself further than you ever would on your own. There is something to be said for the group dynamic that helps you overcome the obstacles you place in your path. I know in the middle of class I feel like I just can’t go on and I start to think of ways to just stop and rest, but somehow seeing the others work so hard makes me run that little bit harder, or do that extra lunge. Simple words of encouragement from my fellow “bootcampers” seem to propel me on and give me a second wind I don’t think I could ordinarily muster alone. Everyone in the class keeps each other accountable and motivated. One member said it was the reason he kept coming back to the class session after session for the last 3 years.
I have never sweat so much in my life. I have watched more water pour out of my body in the last few sessions and have begun to wonder where it all comes from. I am starting to feel like a bizarre creature leaving a trail of sweat throughout downtown Los Angeles as I run. I guess it shows I’m putting in my full effort, but I feel bad on the days when we get partnered up for any exercises as my partner has to slip and slide around on the floor due to my fluid condition. (Not that they are bone dry themselves!) As things have gotten easier for me in the gym I have not sweat nearly as much as I used to, and now that has shown me I wasn’t pushing myself as hard these last few months as I should have. According to the trainer: “No sweat? You aren’t working hard enough!”
One of the things I love about bootcamp workouts is that they guarantee you are never bored. The night before class I often wonder what on Earth our trainer will have us do the next day, it could be running for miles or it could be the most intense morning in the exercise room you have ever imagined. My regular gym routine never incorporated so many types of exercise, and I know that is why there are muscles in my body I feel pain in for the first time ever. It is scary and fun, and I know from class to class I will not be able to predict what is in store for us.
My class starts at 6am and goes for one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “THAT early?!” you might ask, but I love getting my workout done so early in the day. For the rest of the day I usually feel achy in a good way and so filled with energy from the crazy workout, it gets kind of addictive. I have never been a morning person, but if you change up your routine to incorporate a morning workout, I promise after a week or two you will be able to get into the rhythm of it. You might even prefer it like I do.
The one drawback I have found in the Bootcamp class (besides being in a constant state of ache every day of your life) is that the bar will constantly be raised. This is a good thing if you think about it actually, you will never be one hundred percent satisfied with where you are at. As certain routines get a bit easier you will need to go further or faster to truly be pushing yourself. This is a recipe for good fitness and longevity when it comes to not getting bored and giving up. I may always be in the tail end of the class when it comes to running, often finding myself last, but it will start to get easier for me… I will be able to have more endurance and keep going faster for longer and before I know it a whole new set of goals beyond just surviving the exercise will open up as my newest challenges. I have never been this excited about exercising, and frankly I’m not sure I have been this physically fit ever before. I can’t wait to push myself further through this class and keep surprising myself at every turn. I highly recommend getting into a class like this for anyone wanting a good challenge or needing to lose some weight. Don’t be afraid of the idea… I looked at the people in this class beforehand and thought to myself: “Those people must be insane!” These classes are tough, but people from any fitness level can do it.
I sat on the couch eating chips and felt like losing weight was just impossible for so long over the last several years. (I even remember sitting down to watch “The Biggest Loser” while wolfing down half a pizza.) I have read countless magazines, blogs and manuals to weight loss and reality is: you gotta just do it. Get off the couch and start! So many people have asked me how I did it, some diet? Some special pill? Nope, the one thing we all know works but don’t want to admit: Better Eating, and Exercise! Once I got the ball rolling it has gotten easier and easier to keep it up and adopt it into my daily routine. I have always been intimidated by physical activity and sports, but this year I have decided not to let that stop me. I will be trying other exercise classes and seeing what is fun out there to do. I will no longer be afraid to look stupid or not be the best at something, because for too long that was my biggest roadblock to getting out and starting this journey. If my fat lazy ass could do it, so can you! You might even enjoy it…
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