Boot Camp Blogger is a look into the life of Boot Camp participant Tara. Follow along each week as she experiences the challenges and successes of Boot Camp the Extreme Fit way!
In the final week of Month No. 2 into my journey with Extreme Fit Training’s Boot Camp, Coach Valerie was on a mission. She freely admits that she is a fitness nut and a “little bit crazy,” and when we heard our goal for the last few nights of Boot Camp, we began to believe her. We were to burn 900 (yes, I did say 900) calories per night. OK, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s a lot of calories to burn in one hour, and I’m pretty sure it’d be quite the feat to actually accomplish this goal. But Valerie believed we could do it (no doubt she could do it, but I’m not sure anyone in our class believed we could), so after a few grunts and groans from class members, we set out to accomplish our goal.
One of my classmates wears a heart-rate monitor, which shows how hard your heart is working and how many calories you’ve burned. Although I haven’t yet made this purchase, it seems like a good investment, especially if you’re into this fitness thing for the long haul. Our plan was to keep up with my classmate’s calories and to assume that we were all on track with her. So we began our first class, and we hit it hard.
After a gentle warm-up of running stairs (see “Don’t Learn the Hard Way: Eat” about running stairs) peppered with a few hundred push-ups, we were ready to start burning calories. Valerie had set up stations for us, with the dreaded center station right in the middle of the pavilion. In the center station, one person does 75 to 100 (depending on the move) reps of one cardio move while everyone else does the station of their choice until the center person is done performing his or her move. The first center station move was the dreaded sideways-step-hop-over-the-ball-then-squat. We were to do 75 nonstop, and no one could stop their chosen exercises until the center person was finished (Coach Val has taken the advice of current and former class members to become a bit harder on us, so every now and again she implements a punishment if you stop before it’s time).
Now, I’m the kind of person who likes to get the hard stuff over with first, because I know once it’s over, I get a nice break (well, as nice as the breaks get during Boot Camp) from the heavy-on-the-legs cardio, which is the toughest part for me. So I always tried to jump in there first and get it done. Like I said , the cardio that’s heavy on legwork—running, stairs, frog leaps, the sideways-step-hop-over-the-ball-then-squat move—is always the hardest for me. Arms are easy-breezy; squats and lunges are a walk in the park; abs are a welcome respite. But the second Valerie mentions jogging or running stairs, my heart skips a beat. But I got in there and did it, and then watched as the rest of my classmates struggled through.
The center station for the second challenge included a new move Valerie saw on some fitness show I’m sure she watches every chance she gets to find new ways to challenge us. The punch-punch-punch-jump move. This move has to be one of the hardest we’ve done in the second month. The punch-punch-punch part isn’t so tough, but then you have to jump with both knees together as high as you can and slap your knees with your hands. After about 10 of these in a row, you’re pretty much ready to quit. Only 65 more to go! So the second challenge was just that, a challenge.
After each challenge, we’d check the heart-rate monitor to see how many calories we’d burned, and no matter how hard we worked, they just didn’t seem to climb as quickly as we’d like.
The center station on the third challenge consisted of lunges. 35 on each leg. This doesn’t sound like it’d be too hard, but after all of the cardio we’d been doing (don’t forget that while one person is performing in the center station, everyone else is performing another move, like the mountain climber, jump-turn-squats, or triangle push-ups), our legs were like noodles, and lunges burned like fire.
So after our final challenge, when we checked the heart-rate monitor for calories burned, needless to say, we were a bit disheartened. But Coach Val wasn’t discouraged at all. “OK,” she screamed, “let’s go run!” So off we were to run laps.
The second night was much the same as far as challenges, only our final push after not burning quite enough calories was relay racing (again, not so easy with legs like noodles). Our final night consisted of the 100-point challenge, which is basically to choose challenges from a list and do them as quickly as possible until you’ve garnered 100 points. The last night is always a nice end to a challenging month.
Needless to say, we never made our goal of 900 calories in one hour, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. In my opinion, an hour just isn’t enough time for a bunch of people just beginning a fitness routine to burn that many calories. We haven’t yet developed the skill and determination to reach such a lofty goal. But I know that will come in time as long as we keep working hard and keep believing in ourselves, as I know Coach Valerie does. Why else would she give us what seemed like such an unattainable goal unless she knew that we could, eventually, reach it?
Thu, November 5, 2009