When it comes to fitness, I’ve been around the block more times than Woody Allen looking for the unmarked door to that new daycare. I’ve tried every single piece of cardio equipment, including that treadmill/elliptical hybrid with the commercial where the woman happily exclaims that using it is “easier than running through sand.” I am unsure about a lot of things in life but I am sure I would not want that crazed hardass of a woman as my dentist or tattoo artist. I’ve tried spinning, water aerobics, body pump, zumba and circuit training. I’ve trained weight training and thigh masters and once, during the 90s, I even did Jazzercise.
But a couple of years ago when everyone and their mothers hopped on the crossfit/boot camp crazy, I thought “nah.” I thought “I already have a gym membership.” I thought “that looks really gd scary.” All these ropes and obstacles and people jumping on boxes. And almost everyone I knew that did boot camp had really good bodies so I thought surely it would be an exercise in embarrassment.
For nearly 14 years I have been a member of the same health club, a corporate juggernaut with clubs all across Central California and the Bay Area. When I lived in the East Bay for a few years though the location nearest me was a 20 minute drive each way and I went faithfully then sporadically then finally put my membership on hold. But as it sometimes goes with corporations my paperwork got messed up and I ended up paying for a membership I wasn’t using. I cut ties with the club even after moving back without a few miles of three different locations. This left me in need of a new place to work out but I felt kinda like a new divorcee on the prowl. A really naïve one, wary of the smooth talk and promises of $10 a month deals and lengthy contracts. So when a friend of mine posted on Facebook about her new boot camp, I was ready to really consider it.
This friend is a really low key, fun chick and was raving about how she was sore in a good way and what a cool experience it was and so I thought I’d give it a try. Five weeks later of near-perfect attendance (I missed this past Monday after the holiday weekend because I was out of town) I am a believer. In the three weeks between starting and my first measurements I lost 7 pounds, almost two percent body fat and almost 8 inches off my body including 1.7 inches off my arms. That is just crazy to me- almost two inches and as every girl and every guy just recently granted the legal right to marry knows two inches makes a big difference!
While all of that is affirming and exciting, what I like best is all of the things I can do now that I couldn’t before- regular (as opposed to “girl”) pushups, wall sits for as long as the average commercial break (for those of you who don’t know commercials are these televised ads us old folk used to be forced to endure every fifteen minutes during our stories) and four different kinds of planks. In my real life it means I can do fun things like climb up an inflatable waterslide without using my hands, retrieve my keys when I drop them without uttering a few curse words and wear shorts without making everyone around me suddenly crave muffins.
There are some pretty fit people in my class but there are also senior citizens, people with knee and back injuries and one girl who is 200 pounds overweight and had never joined a gym before. There are some things she can’t do yet but she just does modified versions but that list of things is shrinking along with her body.
While I don’t relish getting up at 5am, it’s nice to know that come 7 I’ll have gotten in a good workout and be just a little bit closer to my goals than I was the day before. Our trainer is pretty zen for a sadist and there’s a certain camaraderie among us participants, not unlike the Sudanese refugees highlighted in the new Reese Witherspoon movie. I kid. Those people were less sweaty after walking through the desert. No really, I’m kidding. They didn’t pay to be tortured.
My point isn’t that you should try a boot camp although maybe you should. My point is that even if you’re pretty sure you know all there is to know about fitness in theory there are still things that are new to you and maybe, just maybe those new things will change your life.