Thursday 10 January 2019

Boot Camp 2019

DammitKaren: Boot Camp I am currently lucky enough to live in a climate that allows for all-weather outdoor workouts, so for the past 18 months, I've managed to Embrace Winter!TM.  But this time around, I'm sincere.*

My running group runs in all (London) weather:  sun, wind, rain, rain, rain, and a little bit of snow.  But mostly rain.  Early on, before I found these amazing women, I found local trim trails, and was always impressed by the fitness level and creativity of their superfit users.  I still am, in fact.  There are always people working out at parks, with trainers and groups or alone, with boxing pads, jump ropes, elastic straps, and TRX equipment, no matter how cold and wet the day.  It's wonderful.

My first experience with "boot camp" was circa 1997.  I worked as a fitness trainer, and the gym started to offer a boot camp-style fitness class for the lunchtime exercisers.  I recall the instructor wearing camo-print pants, the music being louder than normal, and the participants shouting "Camp!" as loudly as they could whenever she yelled, "Boot!"  There were pushups, burpees, jumping on and off of aerobic steps... it looked like fun.

About ten years later, I had the opportunity to teach some boot camp-style classes myself, and I liked them; they were simple but tough, with no tricky choreography, full of body-weight, multi-joint movements and a disconcerting-yet-addictive mix of sadism and camaraderie.

A typical (if there is such a thing) class can be done anywhere, with as little or as much equipment as the instructor likes.  Calisthenics are foundational; here you learn how to work with the body you've got and how to make it work for you, with pullups, pushups, situps and squats.  There are challenges, as well, to manipulate very large objects: running with eight other people while holding a giant rope above your head, or climbing over and under a really big log come to mind as "two things that you wouldn't even question at boot camp but probably wouldn't float any other time". 

Tire flipping.  Park bench step-ups.  Relay races. 

Boot camp goes back to not only the basics of fitness (strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and balance), but also the games that children play and the movements that they do naturally, just because they're kids.

Last May, one of the runners suggested meeting with her trainer for a boot camp session.  I agreed to try it out, and four of us showed up at a local park.  Week after week, rain or shine, Shane put us through our paces, quickly sized up our strengths and weaknesses and made sure we paid for them (for me, an inflexible lower back and a weak core).  We did rugby drills and medicine ball slams.  We did pullups and bear walks.  As the summer drew to an end, he approached me to ask if I would be interested in taking on some classes with his studio, Brick Fit House.  I was in the middle of refreshing my fitness certifications to UK standards, and had insurance, and there it was. 

So now, I'm running my own boot camp again, my way.  We currently wear layers and mittens, but we're still there, every week, getting #fittertogether.

Join us, Thursdays at 10 am.

For more details: 
Twitter: @kapowfit 

*unlike past Embrace Winter!TM attempts which, as I may have mentioned, may have been done only to impress a boy (or two).

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