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Yes, Drill Sergeant

July 13, 2010

Growing up in a military household, I can’t say I’ve ever had to the motivation to attend a boot camp fitness class. But last summer one of my writing clients was all gung-ho about doing them and asked me to join her long before the sun was up and newspapers delivered. Strangely enough (pretty sure wine was involved), I agreed. Of course I overslept badly and got in a explosive screaming match with my GPS who was giving me poor directions in his British accent to it’s-anyone’s-guess-where-the-eff-I-am-park a good twenty miles from my house.

I knew I was in the right spot when I pulled up to a lot packed with people decked out in running clothes and clearly pumped to be there. I managed to double-park as the crowd waited on me and my unbrushed teeth and raccoon makeup from the night before to join them. They may’ve even clapped in that, “so glad you could join us” way, which is what I also like to call “the sarcastic clap.”

In the end, the workout proved to be really hard, but really fun. Two days later when I was itching from the fertilizer rash I had from all the rolling around in the grass for sit-ups and squat thrusts, I was second-guessing my initial excitement about the camp.

Fast-forward a year to when I’m burned out big time on my usual workouts–yoga, Pilates, and running. I’ve peaked. Beyond a plateau, my body just stayed the same and I was plain bored. And don’t even get me going on lack of motivation when my husband was laid off and both of us were working freelance; let’s just say there was lots o’ sleeping in at my house and not enough working out.

I needed something to boost my workout enthusiasm and kick me back into shape. So, for four weeks I decided to do a boot camp series. That’s twenty classes, five days a week for four weeks. Plus, nutritional support. I decided to go in with an open mind; forget about the actual military father, and my usual course of action when someone is screaming in my face of either hitting the road or completely shutting down. None of the above happened. No one yelled, no one cried, no one stormed off in a huff.

First day–I felt really strong after finding out I can actually run a 7-minute mile. First week as a whole, wow it’s hard to wake up at 6 a.m., and damn, I’m out of shape. It reminds me a lot of high school with all the squats and lunges I did during cheerleading practice. I wish for my senior year cheerleading butt. Also I’m feeling really embarrassed about what I’m writing down in my food journal. I mean, I had to put a scotch lunch on there loaded with calamari, spinach dip, fried green tomatoes, and oh right, five different kinds of scotch at one in the afternoon. Just a normal day at the office folks, nothing to see here.

Week two—More than once I thought I would either A) pass out or B) throw up (neither happened) during a workout. This was the week I also realized I eat like pure garbage with all these media events and such and started being really hard on myself and my Oprah arms, marshmallow tummy, and cottage cheese legs (mmm marshmallows). The other girls in my class looked like L.A. Laker girls and did two-a-day workouts with boot camp just being one workout a day for them. Also slightly annoyed with my husband for buying a berry crumble from Trader Joe’s for a photo shoot, which we both devoured in about two sittings. Ridic. We may or may not have wrestled for the last piece.

Week three—I overslept (Monday Monday, can’t trust that day) and was sort of mad at myself all day. I missed the group’s camaraderie and encouragement about helping whip each other back into shape. By Friday of this week, one campmate’s calorie watch said she’d burned 630 calories in 60 minutes … I can’t even burn that running for an hour–talk about good incentive. This week I also got used to having bone bruises on my knees and palms of my hands from all the pushups and mountain climbers. This was also the first week I truly started to feel like I was getting in shape and my body was getting toned. Lastly, I learned that throwing a medicine ball against the wall of a racquetball court is incredibly liberating.

Week four—I’m starting to feel really strong. Running in place with high knees … no problem. Frog jumps … I’m a pro. No seriously, people in the class started commenting on how amazing my frog jumps were; don’t be jealous. After talking with some of the other boot campers, it seems that most people invest in at least two months because just towards the end of the first month is when you’re really starting to notice change. I would agree. Overall, it was a fantastic workout change of pace, both fun and challenging. I’m thinking of signing up for one more month, but my schedule is beginning to get a little spotty with some upcoming travel, which, you’ll read all about next week…