Molly’s Pre-Christmas Boot Camp Challenge – WEEK 1

Our guest columnist Molly is doing a 4-week get buff boot camp, check back every Tuesday for updates.

Let me clarify: I’m doing a boot camp, but it’s a different breed than ones you may have signed up for last spring, or have seen advertised on telephone poles. Instead, this is a cornucopia of different specialized fitness classes, organized with a maximum class size of 4 people – intimidating? Yes. But worth it? YES!

I’m trying to be realistic here, so the plan is four days a week, four different workouts. While Get Spun obviously sounds like (and is) a spin cycling studio, they offer so much more – and that’s what I’ve signed up for. As a “boutique gym,” Get Spun is small, so are the classes, and the size and comfort here is what sets it apart from larger chain gyms.

First thing’s first: Measuring success
A mandatory reality check is in order I suppose, if my body and mind are to be like the Radiohead lyrics: “Fitter, happier, more productive…” So I weighed in and had my measurements taken. Biceps, thighs, hips, waist, chest, bust. Call it vain, or call it paranoid, but while Christie (talk about motivation, you should see HER measurements…) took my stats, I didn’t even look, and told her not to tell me. We’ve agreed to check in half way through my journey and at the end.

Monday: Spin class
Good way to start my journey, because I DO spin regularly, so I can’t be afraid. If you owe your heart a favour – try a spin class. The first few minutes were like a shock to my polluted system, but the 45-minute heart-pumping workout helped take my mind out of the office. The downside? Such a hard workout reminded me of the indulgent weekend of eating and drinking I had indulged in before my month of boot camp.

Tuesday: Gravity
I think of it as a Pilates reformer with a twist. Officially, it’s Gravity Incline Resistance Training. The workout is basically using your own body weight as resistance against the pull of gravity, on a single unit. I’m thinking great, no cardio, a lot of sitting down… how hard can this be? HARD, and boy did I sweat. It’s probably sweat from fear, because after each set of exercises, I don’t know what’s coming next, but I know it’s gonna hurt. Christie leads the class explaining every exercise clearly, and I find myself asking extra questions just to buy myself time between sets. The sliding Gravity machine can be scary looking, but no matter your experience with weight training, this class is awesome once you get the hang of it, as it targets major muscle groups as well as all the teeny tiny little muscles I apparently forgot existed.

I have tomorrow off; I have a feeling I’m going to be sore…

Wednesday: Day Off
Thank. God. ‘Cause the simple movement from standing to sitting is almost impossible. My bad attitude screams, “This is only week one!” Positive attitude screams, “No pain no gain, slacker! Suck it up!” Everything hurts where it joins – that’s the only way I can explain. Where shoulders join my arms: sore. Where my legs join my body: sore. Where my calves meet my thighs: sore. Especially where my forearms and biceps join. Ouch…..

Thursday: Sports Conditioning Class.
I went to sleep fearing I’d be quitting boot camp after only 2 classes, but I woke up shockingly limber (or at least mobile). Not gonna lie, I’m still in pain, but it feels like progress.

This class sounds scary: balance training, anaerobic conditioning, pylometrics, and speed and agility drills with a ladder-like rope and cones, medicine balls and Bosu balance trainers. The reality? The fastest 45 minutes of my life!! I think this is the first fitness class in my life where it ended and I actually said “really? That’s it? It’s over?”

I was by far the sweatiest participant (again, only four of us, 3 of whom were athletic toned boys who could kick my ass in any race), but the diversity of exercises – skipping, jumping, lunging – was fun! And, I felt like a million and a half bucks when it was over.

While I’m not the most coordinated or graceful person in the land of aerobics, the instructor (more on him later) was patient and encouraging as I grumbled through some fancy footwork. Actually, I had truly expected a bit of a militant drill sergeant for this class, but Chris Cecile was patient with my grumbling, and so nice! And if you want motivation? Just look at him. I think his body fat must be less than 0%. Clearly he practices what he preaches.

Friday: Gravity Upper Body and Core
All I can think as enter the class is I’m lucky no legs are involved in this workout, because the lower half of me feels like I’m 100 years old and in slow motion.

This is an upper body version of the gravity incline workout. The instructor, fit and funny Sarah Phelps seems to know I’m in pain and laughs lightly (wickedly) at my warnings that I can’t move below the waist, so please don’t make me. I’m at the gym at lunchtime with three others who look like they do this all the time, so I’m motivated and terrified all in one. A whole hour of upper body is intense, but every exercise feels like it’s doing a makeover on my muscles and I daydream of strapless dresses and toned shoulders.

TGIF – I’m embracing the weekend feeling firmer and actually a lot more energized, but admittedly 100% pumped for two days of rest!

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