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Nope – this isn’t a super late post about Halloween. I’m taking about the holiday season and the endless party that kicks off at Thanksgiving and goes until January 2nd. Fake blood and ghosts are nothing compared to the terror that lurks in these weeks. It seems that this time of year there is no shortage of the pitfalls that await people (ok, me) who are trying to stick to nutritious eating and an ambitious workout schedule. Between the cold weather, the busy schedules that just beg you to skip the gym, the gluttonous and delicious treats that pop up everywhere, and the “it’s the holidays – who cares?” attitude, it’s like the perfect storm of weight gain. Throw in those heart-warming holiday moments like your second-cousin twice removed (or something like that) stating that you have (and I quote) “fat legs” and then asking why you aren’t married and frankly I think it’s a miracle that I don’t just spend the last part of the year in a dark room with a box of wine and multiple packages of raw cookie dough (luckily for the offending relative, he happens to be a super cute four-year-old who also made me a car out of construction paper and wrote “I love Jen” on all of his drawings – but still!). I read somewhere that the average American gains something like 6 pounds in the last two months of the year. And frankly, I have above average talents in this area. This all leads me back to my original point: the potential for backsliding on my fitness goals at this time of year truly frightens me- give me zombies and vampires any day!
In an effort to combat this fear, there are a couple of steps I know I need to take right now and I’m putting pen to paper (metaphorically, of course – but cursor to word document just doesn’t have the same ring) to make sure I follow through.
- I need to make sure I have a workout schedule in place. I do very well when I know I have to go to the gym for a particular class/task/workout/etc. I’ve been struggling this with September (I’m slow) when I lost my Wednesday and Friday workouts with Shauna. I still have Making the Cut (which I erroneously always call Boot Camp) on Tuesday and Thursday – but I need to fill the gaps. I either need to write out a plan for my non Boot Camp days every week or enroll myself in another class (I’ve been trying to work up the courage to take Spin classes and I also have my eye on those TRX contraptions they just put in upstairs at Healthworks Back Bay).
- I need to limit the holiday parties. This one won’t be that hard because there really are not that many people who want me to come to their parties. But my work party is a perfect example of something I should probably avoid. It’s huge and loud and I never talk to anyone – I just eat my way around the room (whilst also skipping the gym) and then go home. Now I know there are people that would tell me that in a perfect world, I would be able to go and limit my food choices to healthy options (or at least healthy portions). I don’t think that’s true. In a *really* perfect world, I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about it. And I would also have a job that somehow paid me to travel and read books – so I probably wouldn’t even have an office Christmas party to attend anyway.
- As kind of an addendum to point two, I also want to pick out a few events that I *do* want to attend and maybe allow myself a small splurge. Keeping these in mind will make it easier to say no to the other temptations. I’ve already got my eye on my friend’s Parisian-themed Christmas party and dinner at my favorite restaurant at my parents’ house (because nothing says Christmas like tacos in Omaha). Of course, I’m not taking about going crazy – I just want to know where there a few occasions where I can indulge just a *tiny* bit.
- I need to make sure I continue to make time to do all my food planning and preparation on Sunday nights so that I have a week’s worth of healthy food ready to go.
- And perhaps the most fun….Find the joy and celebration of the season in places *other* than the bottom of a vat of mashed potatoes. Even if it is just putting up some lights in my living room!
Stay safe out there….
This morning started out promising when I stepped out of the house and saw the sun for the first time all week. However, it quickly went downhill. It bottomed out during a two hour lunch meeting when I ended up eating the lunch that was provided (giant chicken parmesan sandwich, chips, cookie – and a mint). I then spent the rest of the afternoon feeling guilty and bloated (and I think we can all agree that those are two of the more unpleasant feelings). To add insult to injury, eating like that did simply not provide me with the fuel to face bootcamp (the bloat and the guilt didn’t help either). I couldn’t jump rope to save my life, my pushups were horrible and one point I found myself just standing and staring into space instead of doing jumping jacks (luckily Lauren didn’t see me!). So instead of leaving the gym feeling invigorated, I left feeling defeated. Making poor eating choices is like the prank gift that keeps on giving. And you know what a (very evil) part of me thinks the solution to this is? Ordering pizza (you know theory, right? The day is shot to hell anyway, so I might as well enjoy some cheese and
pepperoni). This is one of those times when I need to sit myself down and have a serious talk with myself. It would go something like this:
Me: Why on earth do you think that pizza is going to make anything better?
Other Me: Um, because it tastes good? And it tastes even better with beer?
Me: Look, we ate crap for lunch and then felt like crap all afternoon. And then felt even worse after our pathetic performance in bootcamp. Can you not see the cause and effect going on here?
Other Me: Whatever. It was a TWO HOUR meeting with a 67 page PowerPoint presentation and the sandwich smelled awesome. What was I supposed to do?
Me: Not interested in your excuses. You were supposed to NOT eat it and instead eat the nutritious lunch we brought with us and then be ready for bootcamp.
Other Me: Um, can we finish this later? I think the pizza place stops delivering at nine.
Me: Sigh. You are not getting it. Eating pizza is just going to continue the crap feelings. It is a very dangerous road to travel. This is stupid – every pre-schooler in world knows that two wrongs don’t make a right and that is exactly what you are suggesting we do, thunder thighs.
Other Me: Ok, ok. I get it. But by the way, every pre-schooler also knows that you aren’t supposed to call people names. The thunder thighs thing was out of line.
Me: Point taken. I feel we’ve really grown tonight. Now let’s go have a good dinner.
So I successfully avoided compounding the error of my ways with pizza and beer. And I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for the transgression (no more name calling!). Struggling through sprints in bootcamp was punishment enough – I just hope I remember that the next time I’m face with food I shouldn’t eat! Whenever I am on the fence about working out, I always tell myself that I have never once regretted *going* to the gym, while I have many times regretted skipping it. Similarly, I have to start reminding myself that while I have many times regretted what I’ve put in my mouth, I don’t think there has ever been a time when I got to the end of the day and said “Damn, I should have eaten that sandwich.”
I’m a long time fan of personal training.
As a bride, training with the late Hungarian Olympic runner, Maria Kovacs, I lost 12 inches in 6 weeks.
As a mother of toddlers, I trained with Radu Teodorescu, Cindy Crawford’s trainer, who taught me to ‘be fit where you are.’
In my 40’s, I trained with Mike Lalor, the Montreal Canadiens, Stanley Cup-winning defenseman, who prepared me for a wild ride, dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies.
And finally, I trained with Shay Pastick, Healthworks‘ own Level 3 trainer and physical therapist who led me to realize that all my accumulated injuries and issues were a poor excuse for not working out.
So there’s no misunderstanding, I’m not a descendant of Jack LaLanne (though my earliest memories of physical fitness do date that far back). I am a woman in my fifties with a few extra pounds, a muffin top, not much cartilage left in my knees and a bad case of tennis elbow. Dr. Oz says my “real age “ is a couple of years younger, but I’m no athlete and have my share of trouble remembering my vitamins.
Finding an alternative
With the economic free fall and three college tuitions looming, individual personal training was no longer part of the personal care budget. It’s little wonder many top fitness experts pointed to group personal training as one of the hottest trends for 2010. In search of an affordable alternative, I found Cody Harter’s “Lose It to Win it Boot Camp.”
What is boot camp?
Boot camps, in general, are no-nonsense, intense group training sessions. Modeled after soldiers’ physical training, workouts are fun, intense, varied, and a great way to burn lots of calories. They are remarkably efficient, giving participants of all ages a full body workout in just 50 minutes
In fact, Cody Harter’s six year stint as a Marine is evident in everything from his intense preparation to his no goofing around attitude. This is serious business. People take these intense measures because they want results. Cody delivers.
How it works
You’ll find us somewhere around Route 9 in the early hours most Tuesday and Thursday mornings. You’ll see ten to fourteen ladies of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities, likely lugging 25 pound body bars through the back roads of Chestnut Hill. We’re counting off lunges, squats, push ups and jumping jacks. You might even see the dreaded 12 kilo green kettlebell passed around between team members, a cruel reminder of what it’s like to lug around any additional weight. There’s homework too. Add in a minimum of five additional intense cardio workouts each week… grueling calorie burning combinations of step mill, elliptical, arc trainer, and treadmill. Already spinning, swimming, hiking or walking as part of a personal fitness regime? It doesn’t count. Cody claims those activities are just part of living an active lifestyle. This is different. This makes you hungry and sore. It also makes you sleep like a baby.
No workout is ever the same as the one before, so boredom is never a problem. That is frequently a very good thing. As a boot camp member , I now expect that I’ll do plenty of things I don’t think I can, and plenty of things I don’t really want to. But most of all, I am amazed at the things I can do. And, after ten weeks of this, I know that as long as I stay focused and give it my all, I’ll be okay…maybe better than okay.
Are you up for the challenge?
Cody Harter’s “Lose It to Win It Boot Camp” concludes its current six week session, on April 1. Plans are to extend the sessions for an unprecedented third consecutive run with a fitting theme of “Performance Fitness.” The six week, 12 session program begins April 13, meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 am – 8:00 am and costs $209.00 for Healthworks members. At just shy of $18.00 a session, it’s a great alternative to individualized personal training. Non-members are welcome at a fee of $270.00. To book your space or for more information, contact Healthworks Chestnut Hill at 617-383-6100. Book your space on line. Or try a special demonstration class on Thursday, April 8 at 7:00 am for $10.00 (pre-registration required).
Hope to see you there!
Roberta Balder has been a Healthworks member since 2005. As a mid- career marketing manager and social media anthropologist she enjoys helping small businesses grow their market share using digital media. Roberta muses about her experiences using new media in her blog.
This past week I tested out Jakki’s Bootcamp Blast. Though my morning started way, way early, I did pick up a new workout technique.
I learned about add-ons and after trying them, I think they are a great way to change up an exercise and work more muscle groups.
An add-on defines itself. You start with one exercise and then add on another and another.
Here’s a good and simple one to try:
1- Inch worm (walk hands from feet out to a plank and then walk hands back to feet) repeat 5-7x
2- Inch worm and push up, add on a push up at the plank stage of your inch worm and then walk hands back (repeat 5-7x)
3- Inch worm, push up, add on T-pose by staying in plank position and raising one arm toward the ceiling, creating a T shape with your body, switch arms and return to plank and inch back (repeat 5-7x)
4- Inch worm, push up, T-pose and then add on a burpee by jumping forward in your plank and then into the air, then jump back into plank and walk hands back (repeat 5-7x)
Do you have an add-on exercise that you like to do?
Do you know Fiona Fit?
She wants to see if you have what it takes!
Fiona is hosting a challenge at Healthworks for you and your friends! Time is running out to apply, have your applications in by the end of the day on Monday August 24th.
What does it take? Well, it doesn’t take this (click “this” for a funny example of what it doesn’t take). It does take you and 5-9 of your closest friends/enemies/coworkers/family members/cohorts (they do not have to be Healthworks members) who share your passion in living a healthy lifestyle. Selected teams will compete against the other teams in a four week Bootcamp style workout program at Healthworks for FREE! Best of all, the winning team will receive a shopping spree at CitySports worth $1500!
PS. There’s more! All teams that have applied are invited to an exclusive Fiona’s Challenge Launch Party at Eastern Standard on Tuesday September 1st from 6pm-8pm. All selected teams will be announced at the party.
For the Boston folks: This week Healthworks launched Fiona’s Challenge– women form teams with their friends and apply online. Healthworks members and non-members are welcome to compete!
Healthworks chooses 2 teams per HW location to compete in a four week bootcamp (teams get full access to the clubs plus one bootcamp and one FOCUS session per week). The team with the greatest percentage of change wins a $1500 shopping spree to City Sports.
If anyone is looking for a team member, please let me know!
Does anyone want to form a team with me for this challenge? I need at least 3 non-members of Healthworks (my gym), but if chosen, you’ll have access to any of the 5 Boston area Healthworks!
Once my road race is over (August 9th) I need something else to keep me going … this looks like a perfect opportunity. Anyone? Anyone? Leave a comment or email me at jenny [at] this domain dot com.
Get ready…for Fiona’s Challenge! The latest Bootcamp Challenge brought to you by Fiona Fit and Healthworks. And to make things a bit more interesting…teams will be competing for a $1500 shopping spree to City Sports!!!
Want to enter into the Challenge? It’s easy! Form a team with 6 to 10 of your friends and check out my new blog for information about applying and registering!. But make sure to hurry, because the application deadline is August 24. After the deadline, we will choose two teams per club to compete.
Want to give your team the best chance of getting into the challenge? Make your application stand out! Pick an original team name, tell us an interesting story in your application, we’ve even gotten a poem before! Make them as funny or as serious as you like. And we love getting videos! Although none of that is required, it IS highly recommended. Be creative!!
So what happens after your team gets picked? You’ll be competing against each of the other nine teams in a four week fitness challenge! The challenge includes a weekly bootcamp, a weekly FOCUS session (BURN, Gravity, or Pilates Reformer), and full access to the club while the competition is going on. Plus, you’ll have a personal trainer encouraging you along the way and checking in weekly. (And for those teams not chosen, don’t be sad! There will be special prizes for every team that applies!!)
Also be sure to pick a team captain. The team captain has a special job: reporting back to the trainer about their team’s progress! We’ll post the updates online so other members can follow the competition and encourage you to succeed!
Want to see the full list of rules and important dates? Visit this page.
Also, visit our list of FAQs (if you have an additional question you can ask it here as a comment).
Be Happy and Healthy,
My wedding was on June 20th, the only Saturday in June that it did Not rain! I couldn’t believe my good fortune, and the sun even came out just for the brief 20 minute ceremony. Wedding planning was not my favorite thing in the world, but it was very satisfying to see everything put together and perfect on that day. What was even more satisfying was being able to zip up my dress in complete comfort! I really did feel great, and how was I able to feel so good on my special day?
– Lots of water and daily vitamins
– 2x a week bootcamp in May
– 2x a week bosu challenge classes at the gym: April, May, June
– Balanced lunches and dinners without going too wild on the weekends
– A trip to the dermatologist
Counting down the last few weeks, I kept thinking to myself: I wish I had done more. Now looking back, I think that I did the right amount. Going overboard would have probably stressed me out even more with my time constraints. I think they key is to be very productive with the time you have, for example doing exercises that target more than one area of your body. I also tried to make a little bit extra at dinner time and packing some of the leftovers for lunch to save time/money.
Since I’ve been back from our honeymoon I started training for the Nike women’s half marathon in October. It’s about 13 weeks away, so my training is currently slow and steady and I’m just trying to get back into shape after a week of sitting on the beach doing nothing. Does anyone have any tips on training for a half marathon? So far the only advice I’ve gotten is to make sure my long runs are hitting 10 miles by the last month, and to really make sure all the other long runs are good distances. This is my first long race, and actually only my third road race so I’m a bit of a novice!
Laura M Cho
Leave your comments here!
How many weddings are you going to this summer?
Did you have a special routine that got you ready for your wedding?
I completed a full month of 2x a week bootcamp sessions, and I also participated in the special Healthworks Shape Day bootcamp class on 6/6. I’m finding that it’s a lot harder to keep up with my workouts now that i’m only 12 days to my wedding, so the Shape Day bootcamp was a lot more intense than I imagined. I really enjoyed it though, it was interesting to see three different styles teaching by trainers. My favorite part was the core exercises, I’m always looking for new core exercises so I don’t get bored. Right after class, I had a bunch of errands to get done and I looked in my drawer and saw my “skinny jeans” sitting in there. Just for fun, I decided that it would be a good day to try them on. My reasoning was that if they didn’t fit, then I was going to donate them already. They’ve been mocking me for way too long and taking up precious drawer space. I put them on, zipped them up, and they actually fit without cutting off my circulation. The timing could not have been any better! The scale hasn’t moved much at all in the past 6 months, but getting into a pair of pants that I haven’t worn in ages really makes me feel good – that’s all the verification that I need. I wore them all day, and I really do feel good right about now. In 12 days, I can take my skinny jeans on my honeymoon!
Question of the Day: What exercises have helped you to fit back into a pair of your jeans?
(Images: from Flikr, Ro/Wererabbit)
June bootcamp with Tina starts soon if anyone is interested! I have only one more bootcamp session left for the month of May, so how did I feel about it? I think I need to list some pros and cons of bootcamp from my perspective:
· Excellent strength training with form correction
· The best calorie burning you can find
· Personal attention
· I learned lots of new exercises
· I learned which weight worked best for me (I was using too light before)
· You can actually feel fat melting away
· All over toning with fast results
· It is on the more painful side!
I’m really glad that I did it, and I would do it again. Generally after I work out on my own, I feel a little tired and fatigued. After a bootcamp session, I feel like J-E-L-L-O, but doesn’t everyone want to feel like they accomplished something at the end of a workout? It’s exactly what I needed. I feel all around tighter and leaner after just 7 sessions. I wish I could continue into June, but my wedding would be half way into it so it just didn’t really work out for me unfortunately. I’m looking forward to my last wedding dress fitting next week. At my last fitting, the dress was very uncomfortable. I think the seamstress took to much in because, I’ve only gotten smaller since I purchased it, so she’s just going to let some out for me and hopefully next week I can bask in the glow of awesome arms and a flat tummy in a mermaid dress.