Are you going to that camp?

I like to feel fit. I like it when not too much on me sags and I can go up a flight of stairs without feeling winded.

Palos Sag Valley Forest Preserve 005

There are always more stairs to run.

I want all my muscle groups to be worked and strengthened and exerted. Swimming and running are both great ways to get a cardio workout. But I’ve also felt the need to try other forms of exercise. I don’t want to train so that I have just highly developed -but also highly specific- muscles that only let me run forwards. Then again, who really needs to run backwards?

So, I started to go to boot camp. When I did my first boot camp almost 6 years ago it appealed to me for the focused workouts. I do strength-training at the gym, but at boot camp you have someone who tells you what to do, for how long, and then yells at you to keep doing it. Nothing like having your own cheerleader and audience to ensure you don’t stop performing.

There are many different kinds of boot camps where I live, most of them being available outdoors all year round. Generally it is an hour or longer class combining cardio (running) and interval training (body-weight exercises and core work). It is generally seen as a total-body workout.

Here is what I have learned:

1. your hands (and face) will get dirty

You may need to get down -and get dirty- to do all your exercises. Almost anything that works your upper body will involve some kind of prone position. Your hands will have to touch the ground. If you want to develop some definition in your muscles, you should stop worrying about that manicure. If you are really tired, you may also loose control of your arms and fall on your face. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do these kind of exercises on the softest ground available.

2. an audience is helpful

Bengals Cheerleaders.

Having others suffer alongside you is always motivating. Strength in numbers also applies, because you will work harder with others than alone, and you will not feel like such an idiot having signed up for this kind of torture. If nothing else, there are others who are motivated by the strange desire to self-inflict pain; all 15 of them are right in front of you.

3. someone will always yell at you if you stop to look around

Everyone has those days where they don’t feel as strong. Your muscles scream at you and you wonder how you can possibly do another push-up so that you don’t fall on your face (see #1). To draw strength from the group you wonder how everyone else is managing. At times you may be tempted to take a quick glance around you: maybe everyone is taking a break without you knowing it? Before you can even focus on one person, the instructor has spied your pause and is yelling. Usually the words spewed out are, “Suck it up buttercup!” or some other kind of endearing words of encouragement.

4. when you thought you were done, you were just getting started

Sometimes even the warm-up feels hard. Running hill sprints to get warmed up before the workout begins can be torturous. When you feel like you just can’t go on and  are questioning your sanity for the 10th time that day, you are actually just warming up to something that is even harder.

5. variety is what makes you stronger

The workouts are never the same. They make you stronger because your muscles can never get complacent. You may use the same muscle groups, but in different ways to ensure they are always being taxed and used to their full potential. Sprawling along the ground trying to gracefully mimic the movement of bears or frogs are common examples of variety.

6. the harder the exercise, the slower time goes by (you are on ‘trainer time’)

My office clock runs backwards!

The harder an exercise is and the more you want something to end, the longer the interval seems to take. There is some kind of inverse reaction of pain vs time — as the pain increases, time slows. Then you tend to be on ‘trainer time’, where another 15 seconds can take 30 seconds and the final 5 seconds can stretch out to be at least worth 20 seconds.


This almost looks too serene to be serious.

The other day I was getting ready to leave the house, wearing sporty-like clothing. My son asked me if I was going for a run. I said no, my legs were sore and I needed to work on getting my other muscles stronger.

“Oh, so are you going to that camp to work on your booty?”

* Do you go to bootcamp?

* How do you prevent the sag?

(Photo credit: bloggo chicago), (Photo credit: slworking2), (Photo credit: Urban Mixer)


41 thoughts on “Are you going to that camp?

  1. i’ve been trying to get my girlfriend to join me in something like that, but i can’t get her motivated. we’re both 50 now, (she’s 51, actually) and the exercise you do today will help you 20 years from now. i keep telling her that if she wants to take the grandkids to disney in 15 years, then we’ve got to work now to be in shape to do that. i’m not going through disney in a walker, wheelchair, or motorized scooter thing. that’s embarrassing and i won’t go.

    • Disney in a motorized scooter would not be much fun. You’d never be tall enough to go on any of the rides!
      I think they key to get moving and get active is to do something you like. Try out a few different kinds of activities: dance, yoga, walking groups, tennis, etc and then find one that you may find tolerable. Going to things with others is also really motivating. Nothing like deciding you want to go to the gym but wasting all your time not knowing how to use the machines.
      Anything you, or she, particularly interested in?

      • i have no trouble finding things to do. tennis, biking, walking, running, all good. but her activities are tv, tv, tv, and sleeping. it’s hard to motivate her. in the past 5 years, she’s joined two different gyms and maybe went a total of 10 times total. i don’t want to give up and just go myself, but maybe i have to.

      • Sometimes one needs to lead by example. My husband could barely run across a parking lot when I first started running. Now, he runs a 10km almost as fast as I do.
        I’m thrilled to see him out and getting fit. And I’m also glad I’m still faster.

      • good one! as for my gf, she procrastinates about everything. you should see her closets, the basement, anywhere her stuff is. ugh. so she procrastinates about taking care of herself as well.

      • That’s usually a typical pattern. When we don’t take care of our ‘outside’ world the motivation to take care of yourself really falls off as well.
        But when you see someone doing well and feeling look and LOOKING good, you tend to want to do more for yourself as well. You may just be the inspiration she is needing.
        (it’s like when women diet and lose 5 lbs watching everything they put in their mouths the men in the house lose 15 without even trying).

      • about three times a year i mention exercising. each time, she always says, “it’s just not a good time right now. too much work.” meanwhile, her boss regularly tells her to go home because she spends too much time at work. workaholic. it’s about time i try again. thanks.

      • Good luck with it.
        Maybe she’s avoiding things by working so much? Me, I have the opposite problem. I avoid things by working out before all else. I guess it’s more of a healthy addiction.

      • healthy addiction. sounds good. she’s got a desire to be the “top boss” of her company. right now, she’s #2. she’s also got blood pressure and breathing issues. i and her best friend have told her that if a week from now she’s in the hospital suffering a stroke, absolutely nobody will be surprised. i hoped that would shock her, but it just rolled off her back.

      • It’s hard when we hold ourselves in a certain position and put so much effort into maintaining that. I’m not going to say I know what’s going on with your gf, but working so much that it stresses you out is prob not good for anyone.
        It’s hard to change if we are scared of what we might find. We worry about being less, when we never consider that we might be more.

      • she’s always been career driven. i’m more “life” driven. she is more successful with finances. i’m more successful with “fun.” all a matter of priorities.

      • in my opinion, yes. and yours too. she has a stressful job and often comes home in need of just “vegging” in front of the tv. then she falls asleep for a couple of hours. then she has a poor night’s sleep because of the extended nap. then she wakes up late because she had trouble falling asleep. this is rather daily. i’ve tried to point out that instead of vegging to relax from the stress, let’s go to the gym and use an elliptical, work out that stress, burn some calories, and then she’ll sleep far better.

      • I get that cycle (no pun intended) of TV “vegging” and then poor sleep. It’s a hard one to break, but every little bit does make a difference.
        She is lucky to have someone as patient as you.

      • that’s a very kind thing to say. and i heartily agree. tonight is a typical night. every other tuesday and thursday are usually meeting nights, she’ll get home about 9:30 and will have mcdonald’s wrappers on the floor of her car. i don’t need to explain what that leads to.

      • her car is a filing cabinet. and it echoes her closet, her dressing room, the basement, etc. she bought a lovely convertible but can’t put the top down because there are so many papers and files and folders in there, it would litter the highway something nasty.

      • when i’ve tried, she hasn’t followed. then i fear that she feels bad that i’m stepping forward and she’s not. she once looked at me sadly – knowing what i was thinking about her inaction – and said, “i don’t want to lose you.” how would you answer that? i don’t even remember what i said.

      • she’s a great person, but i worry about her health. i think i’m going to have to just start going to the gym and tell her she’s got two choices – go with me or watch tv/sleep. i don’t like gyms, but i know it’s the most likely think i’ll get her to do. the few times she went, she liked the room where there were ellipticals and treadmills in a dim room with a movie showing, so you run while watching the movie.

Sharing is caring.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s