“The term ‘boot camp’ is currently used in the fitness industry to describe group fitness classes that promote fat loss, camaraderie, and team effort. They are designed to push people a little bit further than they would normally push themselves in the gym alone.”
Thanks Wikipedia, I couldn’t have said it better myself. This probably doesn’t describe every boot camp, nor does it describe why everyone decides to join a boot camp, but it does suit me so I’ll take it.
Like most of us that aren’t super duper fitness fanatics, but that continue to truck on down the road to good health I often get bored with my own workouts. I know just enough to get by at the gym…a few good upper body and lower body routines, a couple different core strengthening moves, and an email folder full of random cardio routines to attempt on the treadmill or elliptical. I am pretty good with form on these few things I’ve practiced over the years, but I’m always wondering if I’m doing things right and what else I could be doing.
A few months ago my friend started attending a morning boot camp, and after a few sessions she was hooked and raved about it. I don’t do 6am, especially outdoors in mid-Winter, but I was still intrigued and kept my eye on the camp’s Facebook page. I kept talking myself out of it because of money, and because it was early, and because it was Winter, and because because because!
Then one night after we came back from a vacation in Mexico both my boyfriend and I were feeling particularly motivated to get in shape and lose a few pounds (funny how bikinis and too many pina coladas can force the motivation!) so I just decided to bite the bullet and try the camp.
I magically found the money in my bank account (moved from the ‘entertainment spending’ budget…shocker!) and signed up for the next 4 week session. Turns out there’s a 6pm timeslot, Winter is over, and I had no more excuses. I schedule my weigh-in with the trainer, took some scary starting measurements, and had a good chat about what I hoped to achieve:
- lose a couple pounds
- lose some inches
- lean down
- tame my out of control cheat meals
- show off some muscle
When I showed up for that first camp I knew I would struggle a bit, but honestly thought I’d be middle of the pack fitness-wise. I hit a mental wall when it turned out I was easily the slowest person in the group and could barely get through the warm-up (in all fairness the warm up is cardio on a hill!). I was seriously all WTF!?! But I pushed through and modified where I needed to and stuck it out.
Turns out that maybe the group environment is what I’ve been missing in my fitness journey. I have never been keen on group classes, and never take advantage of them at my gym (except yoga, but that isn’t really social). I found out having those other people there is good for me. I won’t quit, or slow down, or let my brain stop before my body does when everyone else is still going. Having a trainer there to motivate and encourage and check form and plan the workout has turned out to be invaluable. Who knew?!
Funny part is, if I think back…my favourite and most successful fitness adventures were the year I took kickboxing with three of my girlfriends, or when I lived in Halifax and there were enough of us blogger gals to always be putting some sort of fit adventure together. Camraderie for the win!
Now that I’m on round 2 of boot camp with many of the same gals that were in round 1 it’s even more fun because we’re all getting to know each other and really working together (even if it’s just smack talking our trainer). I can now run to the top of that warm-up hill, I’m not always the slowest, and I challenge myself to keep up with the fitter, faster girls. And guess what? No one gives a shit if I’m slow.
Fancy that, I’m a people person.