As part of my new-found positivity and enthusiasm (and possibly with a touch of insanity) I signed up to go to bootcamp this morning. Previously on the rare occasions (I’m usually in bed) I’ve come across these wondrous creatures who get up at the crack of dawn to put their bodies through the wringer and pay for the privilege with huge smiles plastered all over their faces I have had one thought – “nutters!”. Why would anyone want to do that? Surely it’s not fun? I had visions of military style dictators barking orders, screaming in their faces, pushing them beyond their limits until they collapsed in a screaming heap.
So it was with some trepidation that I got up at 6am (yes 6am ON A SATURDAY and ON MY WEEKEND OFF!!!!) so that I could have some fruit at least half an hour before training and get myself into gear. I did think of cancelling as I’ve started to develop a head cold last night, but I’m sick of my body testing me with things like blisters, colds, etc whenever I start trying to move it so this time I’m not giving in to it. By the time I arrived at the park, a little before 7, my stomach was doing flip flops, nausea had set in and I was sure those strawberries were only going to be making a temporary visit to my stomach. I felt a little intimidated too. There were around 25 in the group this morning. At least half of them looking absolutely fit and gorgeous in their Inner Westies JFDI singlets, the rest just looking fit and gorgeous. At first I couldn’t spot anyone I know and felt a bit like a shag on a rock. But then I found someone who looked almost as nervous as me, and not quite as fit as some of the other ladies so went over and said hi.
Carol (I so hope that was her name – I’m bad with names at the best of times but right now my brain is mush) is lovely and welcoming and we decided to partner up for the partner activities. Then the warm up started. It sounded relatively simple…. walk between the cones whilst raising your knee to your chest on each step. Well let me tell you, after all the squats I’ve been doing for the squat-a-thon, and walking 30km this week it was HARD. From the first step my quad screamed when I lifted it. After knee raises were side steps which weren’t too bad but certainly got my heart rate up (even though I was slower than everyone else). Next were walking lunges WTF!!!! This was warm up. Now I hate lunges with a passion. Back in the dark ages when I worked out semi regularly and even had a personal trainer for a little while I would offer to do 100 squats instead of 10 lunges… and I don’t exactly love squats. Oh yeah and then we started jogging. This body is built for comfort not speed. Lifting all my weight off the ground each step? You’ve got to be kidding me. But I thought, its only in the warm up, it’s not a race, I can take it slow (if not easy) and then that will be all the running out of the way and we can get down to something easier right? Wrong.
By the end of the warm up, I was dripping with sweat, breathing hard and wondering how on earth I was going to get through the rest of the session. I will admit that the thought of quitting crossed my mind briefly. The humiliation that would have caused me though was way worse in my mind than the physical exhaustion I was currently feeling. In all honesty the rest of the workout is a bit of a blur. I know there were lots of relay type activities where one partner would run up and down between the cones while the other partner did squats, star jumps, or pushups or something. I remember feeling really bad for my partner as I was so much slower than everyone else in the runs which meant she got stuck doing the pushups etc for longer. Then I thought about it… I may be the slowest here, but I’m still a hell of a lot faster than those people who are still in bed, like I usually am at this time on a Sat morning. There were time I wanted to vomit, there were times I was close to tears. Tears of frustration, anger at myself for letting me get to the stage where I couldn’t do 6 push ups in 20 sec… even on my knees (best I got to was 5… mind you there were lots of 20 sec sets!) There were even times when I laughed, although I’m thinking that was more maniacal then joyful.
Eventually our trainer asked us to lay the towels down for a cool down. Thank goodness I thought… until I realised he meant to do abs first. First up bicycle crunches. I’d never heard of these, but basically its where you cycle your legs in the air (a few inches off the ground) whilst bringing your elbows to your opposite knees in a crunch. We alternated these with raising our legs in the air and crunching up to try and touch our toes with out fingers. At this point I did have to laugh…. I couldn’t lift my legs. By the third set I could crunch ok, but my legs just wouldn’t stay in the air to cycle. My quads were officially done. Luckily it wasn’t much longer before we got to the real cooldown and stretch. Oh how good did that stretching feel!!!! On a side note I actually managed to hold my balance on one leg without holding on to something for the quad stretch! That’s a first for me. I don’t think I got as much out of the stretch because I was concentrating on my balance but I’m taking that as a little win. I will stretch more throughout the day though because I think I’m going to need it.
When Sam called time I was actually a little surprised. It didnt feel like an hour had passed. Yes I was stuffed, but I had actually managed to do the vast majority of the exercises (I struggled with mountain climbers and burpees). I had RUN! I am actually really proud to report that I did ALL the runs (or really slow shuffling jogs) that were asked. Not once did I pike out and walk back. I’m pretty pleased with myself for that.
So I was pretty excited to look at my HRM and see the calories I’d burned. Knowing I can burn 700+ on the Bay Walk I figured that had to be at least 1000 right? I was kind of hoping Sat morning bootcamp could be my SSS 1k cal burn for the program. I was somewhat disappointed then to look at my HRM and see only 577 cal burned. I felt ripped off. Then some of the other girls started throwing their numbers around and quite a few were in the 300s so I guess I wasn’t that ripped off. I’m hoping that as my muscles strengthen I will be able to keep a higher level of intensity and thus keep my heart rate up for longer. And I’ll just have to add a walk or something to my Saturdays to get to the 1000 cal mark.
To sum up… it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Yes it was hard – DAMNED HARD, and yes I was disappointed there was no boxing (possibly because we had such a huge turnout), but no one screamed at me, no one belittled me, people were encouraging, genuinely concerned for my welfare when I looked like I might pass out, and pleased for me when I succeeded at something. I can’t say that during it I thought it was the most fun I could have on a Saturday morning, but I do feel great now I’ve done it. Exhausted and sore (tomorrow is going to HURT), but satisfied, and happy. So to anyone who like me has previously shied away from any sort of public exercise thing, I say give it a go. You never know what you might be able to achieve.