The term “bootcamp” never fails to strike fear into my heart. It seems to be such a buzz word lately – fitness bootcamps, parenting bootcamps, diet bootcamps, business bootcamps…..it all sounds so hard-core and intense. I always picture a drill sergeant standing over me pointing out my flaws and demanding that I do 10 more push-ups to atone for my wimpiness.
And to be honest, I’m more of a “if it’s too hard I’ll pass” kind of exerciser. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone is not my strong suit and I’ve never bought in to the run-till-you-puke workout mentality.
So it took the right class at the right time with the right instructor (who I trust) to finally take the leap and try out a bootcamp-style exercise class. I was terrified stepping in to that first session – worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish, that I would get yelled at, that I would be the slowest and weakest or that I’d make a fool of myself by wimping out or passing out- whichever came first.
But I am here to report that it wasn’t really so bad. Yes it was freakin’ hard but I did it. I actually did it and I am still doing it- sometimes twice a week. And it is mainly due to the amazing instruction by my friend Sue Abell and her firm and friendly approach to working out. Sue is the owner of Tread Powerfully and an absolute dynamo in Burlington, Ontario. She has single-handedly amassed a devoted following of women and men of all sizes and ages who follow her power walking throughout the city, weight lifting and boxing at various community centers and bootcamping at a local gym. She is truly an inspiration as she lives her fitness message of being strong, balanced and healthy…. and in class she is 75% lovely and 25% tough-as-nails which keeps us all motivated and on our best behaviour ; )
Here is what I have learned about myself from bootcamp:
- I am much stronger than I ever thought I was and I actually kind of feel like Wonder Woman after class
- Because everyone is so focused on their own workout – no one is looking at me or judging me
- I have more energy and I’m a happier wife, mom and overall person when I work out hard on a regular basis
- It really doesn’t matter if I do the fewest reps or if I am the slowest as long as I have the guts to show up and try my best
- It is inspiring to watch my fellow boot-campers push themselves beyond what they thought they could do
- I don’t have to be a size 2 to participate – bootcamps are for people of all shapes and sizes
- Drinking copious amounts of red wine the night before a bootcamp class is very, very unwise
- Burpies and hanging pull-ups really suck
- I can be proud of my crazy sore muscles the day after my workout and it’s ok to swallow my pride and ask my husband for help getting out of bed or tying my shoes if my legs, butt and/or arms are too darn sore to do it myself
- The right instructor can make a fitness bootcamp fun, inspiring and worthwhile…even at 6am
I can’t speak to all bootcamps but in Sue’s classes we do a variety of exercises ranging from chest presses and tricep dips to plank walks and kettle bell swings- all mixed in with push ups, sit ups, sprint runs and medicine ball slams. It’s intense, individualized and challenging. And because everyone mostly works at their own station and at their own pace, we all get out of the workout what we put into it. Sounds kind of scary right? Well it is – but trust me if I can do than anyone can!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to rush out and join every bootcamp I see but I’m not going to be so afraid of the term anymore. I want to show my kids that I can push through my fears and discomfort and come out the other side stronger and wiser…..and a fair amount sorer. Thanks Sue!