Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New 2 U Cross Training Challenge - February

I apologize in advance for the length of this post - apparently I am not succinct in describing the torture that is bootcamp.

As of Monday I am officially over halfway through my bootcamp, and there have been many mornings on the drive home that I think "I'm going home to write a post about this," but then inevitably I got lost (only the first two days,) or had to take a record-time shower and get out of the house to meet a friend for bagels and thrift-store shopping, or had to high-tail it to get the 12 year old to school relatively on time (after homeroom but before the tardy bell for 1st period totally counts as "on time",) or got swept out on a spur-of-the-moment trip to San Francisco with my husband and kids. And by the time I've been back by a computer with time to write, it has just eluded me. But I am bound and determined to have this post written before the end of the month, as I am not going to be a New 2 U Cross Training Challenge slacker in February.

The bootcamp I am attending was chosen based mostly on the fact that it was on Deal Chicken for $25 for 12 classes - three each week for a month. It is a little bit further away than I would like, but when I first looked at the map of the location it seemed closer - I've lived in the city of Sacramento for almost a year now, and yet the proximity and position of things still eludes me. I am somewhat directionally challenged when it comes to location. What can you do? So I drive about 25 minutes to get to class, which starts at 6. I leave my house at 5:30 to be sure I get there in time, and I wake up around 5 to get up and get dressed and get myself awake enough to drive (I was waking up at 4:50, but after the first week I gave that up and realized I don't need quite that much time, when I need the extra 10-15 minutes of sleep more!) 

When we get to class, it is still dark. Pitch black kind of dark. Can't see anyone else's face kind of dark. And it is freezing. It has gradually begun to get light earlier, but the temperature on average is still freaking cold. One morning it was drizzling. Oh yeah, we're hardcore. Or at least the instructor is.

The class is on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the workout is new each Monday. We always start with a short warm up walk together, then do abs, then some strength, and then cardio, sometimes with more strength mixed in. I will not attempt to describe the ab work to you all because I can't remember what the exercises are called or exactly which ones we've done - suffice to say they are horrible and I wipe them from my mind each day in order to convince myself to go back the next time. One of my favorite parts of bootcamp is probably the 30 seconds of rest I get between each ab set, during which I lay on my back on my mat and look up at the stars. Up until he says "next set."

Strength has included lunges and squats with shoulder presses and lateral lifts, lying face down and doing T, Y, and I raises with the dumbbells, and other such things. My arms are getting toned, which is nice. I like strength training in general, and like it better when someone who knows what they are doing is telling me what to do. 

That leaves cardio. Cardio in this class is normally either pairing off/facing off with someone and/or running drills. And it always involves cones. And usually pain. The first week, Terence (our instructor) set up four cones in a field in a large square shape. A fifth cone was set some distance off from the square, and that was where we started. We did high knees to the middle of the two cones on one side of the square, and then ran around the perimeter of the cones, bending to touch each one as we rounded the corners. We did it several times, increasing in reps each day of class. After that exercise, we ran sprints against another person - terence lined us up in two teams. Again, the number of times we did that increased throughout the week, but it started out with several anyway. The class is comprised of 9 people and then Terence. When we pair off and it is uneven, someone has to run against him. One girl in the class has been going for five months and is undeniably in the best shape in our group, so it is usually her who runs against Terence. I fall somewhere in the upper-middle stamina and agility wise, and I am happy with that. I may not be near the fastest, but I'm not the slowest. 

Anyhow, the more people who attend the class, the more of a break you get in between your set, which is nice. Conversely, the fewer people that show up, the less of a break you get, if any. 

Last Monday, Terence announced that as the first part of our cardio we would be doing "suicide line drills." Does that inspire confidence in anybody? It didn't in me. And with good reason. There were four cones at varying distances away from the starting line, and you ran from the start to each one, touching the ground, then turning around and going back to the start. So the first time you went to the closest cone, touched, then ran back, then turned right around and ran to the second cone, touched, and ran back, so on and so forth. The squat that you were doing when you touched the ground seemed like no big deal at first, but after a couple times and combined with the sprinting in between, I thought it might kill me. Those were followed by more line drills, these ones with side stepping. 

Tuesday I attempted to go for a 3 mile run - my legs were so sore and tired that it was mostly walking with some running. Tuesday night I had gotten to bed really late, and only got 5 hours of sleep. I felt crappy, and didn't even set my alarm, figuring I would skip class. But at 4:56, my body woke up on its own, and 20 minutes later I had talked myself into going to class. It was AWFUL. My body couldn't perform, my quads hurt the whole time, and I was SLOW. I have not stayed up late again since then.

Monday of this week, we switched it up again. Now we are doing a drill that starts with 10 push ups, from which you go directly into sprinting down and back, before doing 9 push ups, and then sprinting again, all the way down until you do 1 push up. So it is a total of 55 push ups and 10 sprints. We were paired off again. Only three of us regulars came to class that morning, thankfully two more came from another class to make up one they missed. Still, with only 5 of us, there wasn't much breathing time in between. And someone had to run with Terence. Guess who the lucky one was?

After the 4th set, I honestly thought I was either going to throw up or pass out. Each time I finished my sprint my stomach would seize up and I'd get a little dizzy. I barely recovered before it was my turn to go again. And I couldn't slow down my running, because Terence was right there with me, telling me to keep pushing. The thought ran through my mind that at least if I passed out, I wouldn't have to finish. In the end, I didn't pass out or puke, and I was pretty proud of myself. But my whole body is sore, and even thinking about going back tomorrow morning has me in a state of dread. 

Overall, with only one week left in bootcamp, despite all the pain I've felt, I will really miss it when it's over. I wish I could afford to keep taking it, and that it was closer to my house. Each time I survive the class, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and am really proud of myself. And sometimes I feel a little bit like I rock. I am a little worried about the weigh-in and re-measure at the end of class (oh yes - I forgot to mention that we did those things at the beginning) as I know I haven't lost much (or any) weight, although I am sure I am toning so maybe the inches will be good. With only one week left in February, I'd better start looking around for my next cross training experience - hopefully another deal will pop up!


  1. WoW!!! Pat yourself on the back! Nice job! You did it!

  2. I love bootcamp - I am motivated by people shouting at me!! When you first said about Terence I thought oh god when is she going to be paired up with him ... Well done! Looking forward to your March challenge - I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet.

  3. When of the companies I worked at had a totally deluxe gym - with fitness classes - and I took the boot camp class.

    It was six weeks - three times a week like yours, and in the end, while I had only lost 3 pounds - I lost FOUR INCHES all over my body.

    I tend to push myself harder in group situations, which helped. Good for you for sticking it out!! You are a rock star!

  4. Such activities as bootcamp are really motivating, but they require great deal of strength! In order to be prepared for the most tough workouts I am trying to make my food as rich in nutrients as possible. Still, our everyday life sometimes does not allow receiving all vitamins and minerals from the food we take. I have read the article about nutritional supplements; it stated that supplements are necessary to support your body. After some research, I've decided to try military grade nutritionals - supplements which i considered natural and safe. Within 1 month I have already noticed the results. My tone went up, I was sleeping much better and my energy increased considerably. Now I am feeling better and stronger than ever before.