I Tried It: Boot Camp

This military-inspired workout is not for the faint of heart. 

Posted: 06/20/2014 12:47 PM EDT

Juggling working for BET.com and film school hasn’t been easy. So much has fallen off my radar: Dating, friends and, sadly, working out. Perhaps this is why I have gained a ton of weight.

But the second I graduated, I got real about getting back in the gym. It was now or never. And so I did. I joined a new gym here in Chicago—Wicker Park Fitness/Logan Square Fitness—as part of reclaiming my health.

I’ve always been self-motivated, but this time around, the thought of running on the treadmill and doing strength training on my own wasn’t appealing. I needed someone to tell me what to do and take it there.

Really I needed something that was going to kick my rear.

So I looked at the gym’s class schedule and saw that they offered boot camp classes numerous times a week. A light bulb went off: Maybe this is what I needed to jump start my weight loss.

Now I did have reservations. I’ve never been someone who likes the pain like those annoying people who do Insanity for fun and love completing triathalons. Girl, please. Plus, I hadn’t worked out like this in years, and I feared that I would end up puking or passing out in the middle of class. Plus, when I think of boot camp, I picture super buff men who are over six feet tall screaming in my ear to stop crying. But, I sucked it up and showed up. If I didn’t like it, I never had to go back. Hey, there’s always Zumba.

First, let me tell you, boot camp is hard as hell. Anyone who tells you differently should never be trusted. Ever.

Between the series of God-awful Burpees, jump squats and ab workouts named after countries in Europe, I thought I was going to have to dip after 30 minutes. But I reminded myself that I’m no quitter. I kept on, doing what I could, modifying when needed, but still pushing myself. And then the hour was over.

As we stretched, I couldn’t believe that I did it. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming and, dare I say, addicting.

What was also really great about my experience was that Scott, the class instructor, plays great music and doesn’t yell at you. Now, he won’t let you get away with slacking off, but he is inspiring, not obnoxious. Which makes it easier to keep coming back, which I have been doing. And let me tell you, I am definitely stronger than I was a month ago. 

So what exactly is boot camp and is it for you?

Usually boot camp classes consist of a series of high-intensity strength and cardio exercises designed to seriously challenge your strength and endurance. Most of the moves are pretty classic: crunches, pushups, squats, mountain climbers, etc.

You repeat one series three times and then move on quickly to the next series. These workouts work almost every part of your body and can be done with weights, steps, Bosus, yoga bricks—or just with your own body weight. Most important, boot camp classes can burn some serious calories and fat, letting you see results in as little as a month, if you are consistent.

Sold? Well, there are some cons, too.

You have to be careful to not hurt yourself—so proper form is really important. If you are in class, ask your teacher to make sure you are doing it right. Also, this workout is HARD, so if you are someone who isn’t trying to really go there with your fitness, take something else that you can do and enjoy.

But for me I am kind of addicted, so boot camp at my gym is here to stay!

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