I’m always advocating that people try different things to help them along the road to fitness. Cross training is a great way to maximize benefits from time spent exercising and it does wonders to stave off boredom (which is a real killer for those who make fitness a lifestyle). I’m definitely most happy and comfortable in the weight room but I do like to try new things now and then. Over the years, I’ve done aerobics classes, kickboxing, zumba (where I learned that I should never dance in public) and once upon a time I decided to try a boot camp. This turned out to be an ill-advised decision!
As the class was gathering I noticed that it was full of young men in their 20’s and one bouncy woman, also in her twenties. The instructor walked in, gave us some crazy instructions (like do 200 push ups, then 10 bear crawls across the basketball court, then 200 shoulder presses with the barbells at the front of the room…then come back for more instructions). He turned on some acid rock blasted at an incredibly high decibel level and shouted “GO!”
Everybody dropped and started doing their push ups. The guys on the right and left of me were banging them out like machines. I got to 25 and needed a rest. I started to get up to shake out my arms and the instructor yelled “Stay down! You can’t get up until you’re done!” Oh geez. I rested there on my belly for a minute and then kept on going…and then stopped when I was fatigued for more rest. Meanwhile the instructor kept pacing up and down the line making people start over if they cheated on a rep.
At some point, while I was still finishing up my push ups, and everyone else was on the second or third part of the rotation, the instructor yelled “Get it together! Your cardio conditioning is pathetic. How are you going to run up a hill with all your gear, then recover and fight?” That’s when I knew for sure I was in the wrong class. Running up a hill with gear…to engage in combat was simply not on my list of things to do. At that time I was a 40-year-old mother of two. I was planning to push things like shopping carts and strollers…to pull things like red wagons and thinking about carrying a one year old around in my arms.
At the end of the class when I was rather pathetically finishing up the last of the exercises in the rotation (and everyone else, including the bouncy woman was relaxing because they’d finished long ago) Mr. Instructor walked over to me and asked “Do you want to be buffed or tough?” I looked at him and in all seriousness told him he could keep tough. I wanted to be buffed! I never set foot in that boot camp hell again.
I learned several things that day. I had quite a lot of time to think while I was face down on the floor trying to recover from physical exhaustion. I learned that I prefer buffed to tough. I learned that boot camp isn’t for me. I learned that the wood on the basketball floor had some pretty patterns in it. I learned that the instructor had on ugly shoes and I learned that I’m not quite ready to run up a hill with gear to fight!