Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bootcamp Wrap-up

My month-long membership at EA All Day Fitness is coming to an end; in fact, tomorrow will be my last workout!  The past four weeks have literally flown by.  I would venture to say that these workouts have probably been the most intense I've had to date and I'd say they were on par with the workouts I did last year during my month-long CrossFit trial in terms of intensity.   This experience has definitely proven to be one of my best Groupon purchases to date! 

It's not often that I feel really challenged or pushed to my max during a workout; I guess mostly because I work out solo.  I guess I go too easy on myself!  The only class I take regularly at the gym is Body Pump and while it's a great strength training class and I occasionally up my weights, it's pretty much the same succession of moves every week and the level of high intensity bursts of activity is just not there.  When I run, I mostly run for distance, meaning I rarely (if ever) do speed training.  Now of course some runs are harder than others, depending on the day, terrain, etc, and I do push my pace on occasion but again, I'm not sprinting and I'm not carrying around any weights with me so there's no resistance training there.  When I swim, I swim for time.  I'll usually tack on some sprints at the end of the workout but I'm not sprinting the entire time.  On the other hand, I've definitely maxed out several times during the past month at some of these boot camp workouts, but in a good way.  I think the combination of the instructor's enthusiasm and support throughout, plus the team atmosphere in the studio, allowed me to give just a little bit more than I probably would on my own. 

In addition to being challenged, I've also learned some new moves and picked up a lot of ideas that I can incorporate into my own workouts going forward.  To give you an idea, here is the basic framework for each hour long workout session:

- Most sessions would start off with a 10 minute dynamic warm up that consisted of 60 seconds each of 8-10 different exercises including:  plank, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, running in place, high knees, inchworm to cobra, among others.  The warm up would also sometimes include an 800 meter run.

- After the warm up we'd get into the circuit for the evening.  Sometimes we would do the whole circuit for 45 mins, sometimes there would be 2 or 3 different circuits that we would rotate between for the duration of class. 

- The circuits were pretty much anything our trainer could come up with!  One class we had to go through this obstacle course for 45 mins straight:  Several box jumps in a row, 15 burpees, jumping over low hurdles with a band around our feet all the way across the studio, plank-walking under a series of high hurdles back across the studio and then long jumps all the way back across again - over and over again!  That one nearly killed me.  I could run 5 miles in 45 mins and not feel even remotely as wiped as I did in 20 mins of doing that crazy man course!

- If the weather was decent, sometimes he'd take the workout outdoors for the day.  One night we did a partner workout.  We had to run 400m across the parking lot, then each do 10 burpees over each other while our partner held a plank.  Then we had to run 600m back across the parking lot and do 20 partner push ups (clap hands with your partner in between).  After those, we ran down to a tire flipping station where we had to flip monster 80lb tires about 20 times before moving onto the final station which was holding 45lbs in each hand and walking 100m each!  Phew.  My partner was pretty awesome though so we kept each other motivated.  And even though I was freezing when we stepped outside, about 2.5 mins later I was sweating like crazy. 

- Some other moves we did throughout our workouts this month:  one legged burpees (try them!), using 30lb sandbags to run stairs, suspension cables for arm workouts (pull-ups, curls), squat thrusts, wall sits with weighted medicine balls (kill me). 

It would be impossible to recap everything I've done over the month, but I hope this gives you a good idea what the workouts were all about and what I've been up to for the past month.  The workouts were varied, intense, and fun, and I enjoyed every minute of it!  Almost...

I would consider myself to have a fairly high fitness level at this point, and the studio instructor actually said the same to me one night, however, he mentioned that at this point it's more about getting stronger and faster for me.  He works with people of all fitness levels, from those just starting out to athletes trying to improve their performance, and these boot camp workouts can be scaled for people at every level.  I want to condition myself and my body not just to benefit my running, but because I want to reach a bit higher and see what else my body can do.  I want to see how lean and strong I really can become. 

I'd really love if I could continue on with this studio, even if it's just a couple of days a week between running and other workouts, however I think just like CrossFit the cost is going to be much too prohibitive!  If I purchase a few basic items I could probably do some of the workouts at home.  If I had all the time and money in the world, I'd really love to spend it conditioning my body, however that will probably never be the case for me, or most people.  Between work, family obligations and life in general, most people can't devote hours to working out.  But I think if you do an hour or even a half hour of super high intensity workouts like this a few days a week, you can see pretty incredible results.  Just like this guy:

Your turn!
What's the last workout you really enjoyed?
What do you do for cross-training?
Have you ever done boot camp style workouts?

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