My Bootcamp Fitness Experience: Go Big Or Go Home!

Posted: July 10, 2015

Bootcamps are for the doers, the ones who either go big or go home. Here is an interesting account by a bootcamper herself!

An insistent chirping keeps tries to forge its way through my sleep-fogged brain. I am determined to keep it away, damn the birds billing and cooing at ungodly hours. At the third chirping, the mellifluous notes of a harp in the background also faintly registers. Even as I wonder about the preposterousness of birds chirping to background score, reality sets in and I jerk awake.

It is my blessed morning alarm, one I changed to a more gentle note instead of the usual clanging, upon reading an article on the Internet that jolting awake in the morning is bad for the system. You’d think two years of waking up before the larks would make it less startling. You’d be wrong.

For the time is 4.15 am! Time to rise and er, shine.

And get whipped into shape.

Not a bog-standard one, mind you, a Bootcamp! No guts, no glory! Go big or go home, that is me!

After years of eating like it was going out of fashion and half-hearted attempts at getting fit, a while back I decided to bite the bullet and join a fitness class. Not a bog-standard one, mind you, a Bootcamp! No guts, no glory! Go big or go home, that is me!

In the past two years since I joined the Bootcamp Brigade, I have been on the receiving end of many incredulous looks and frank, “But WHY?”, when I refuse late evening invitations to whoop it up (as falling asleep in soup is not good manners.) What is so attractive about these “bootcamps” that are mushrooming all over the city, you ask?

These – and especially the one I belong to – are run by highly trained and committed professionals, young folk that are getting into the fitness industry because it is where their passion lies. They are of the new breed of professionals, that network with like-minded professionals in their field in the world over and constantly read and train themselves, to keep up to date with their industry. They pride themselves in teaching us basic mobility drills and life skills that we have forgotten along the way. The good ones also provide you with a good support system in the form of nutrition advice and dietary inputs. Above all, the coaches look you in the eye and tell you, you are nuts if you say your number 1 goal is weight loss. (It is fat loss, you noob!)

I am no fan of the regular gyms – many of the so-called trainers there are sub-par, lack social skills and training skills to train people safely and the goldfish bowl aspect of the rooms are majorly off-putting. I have no sense of rhythm and cannot keep up with a Zumba routine to save my life and would look absurd waving my arms about, trying not to trip, even as I attempt to do a step. I do try to take up running on a periodic basis, especially around the time the Wipro Marathon comes to Chennai and while I am not too fond of the gleam in the eyes of the street dogs as they eye me huffing and puffing down the streets, I prefer it to running in the same place on a treadmill, going nowhere fast (or not, in my case!).

I have found that I love group classes, for the bonhomie and the infectious spirit that seeps into you when you are working out with a bunch of kindred spirits.

I have found that I love group classes, for the bonhomie and the infectious spirit that seeps into you when you are working out with a bunch of kindred spirits. And when you have the children’s school bus arriving at your door at 7.30 am and the pressures of your day job beckoning you soon after, crack of dawn is the only feasible time left to get fit.

I am not alone in this thought. I play a nifty game of Dodge ‘Em Cars every morning during my drive to class, trying not to run over the dedicated uncles and aunties with madly swinging arms that take over the streets or the colour-coordinated teams of local running chapters, all fully charged with vim and vigour, proudly socking that flab in the face. In fact, at 5.00 in the morning, it seems like only the very determined husbands are in bed, stubbornly resisting their wives’ plaintive cries to get milk for the morning cuppa.

My BootCamp class, conducted in the great outdoors, is full of mums (and dads) like me, all of us creeping out of our homes in the dark, intent on getting our workout done before the day truly begins. Because, once it begins in earnest, there’s hardly any time to deal with the day’s regular crises, leave alone any “me time”. This is why, such early morning classes are veritable boons for folks with their fingers in too many pies.

When I was 15 years old, a cousin of mine won the first prize in a rousing game of Musical Chairs. When the alacrity with which she grabbed the seats was mentioned by someone, she responded that it was all thanks to the many years spent in running behind buses at peak hours and slipping into a seat before the person coming at it from the opposite end, that enabled her to trounce her competition. There is no exercise routine greater than going through the daily rigours of life, to its fullest extent.

Unfortunately, the more comfortable our lives become, the less we expect from our bodies. Years of ditching homegrown practices such as the morning deep breathing exercise (pranayama), squatting (over the Indian style loo), push ups (saashtaanga namaskaram) and sitting cross-legged on the floor, means that us sorry slobs have to retrain our bodies into performing the moves so vital to our mobility.

And let me tell you, there is no mortification greater than hearing your joins creak in the pre-dawn quiet, as you laboriously lower yourself into your first, ungainly squat.

And let me tell you, there is no mortification greater than hearing your joins creak in the pre-dawn quiet, as you laboriously lower yourself into your first, ungainly squat. As for sprinting, the first time I had to charge around in a circuit, I fully expected to spit out my heart and give up my ghost before I crossed the first 100 metres. Holding on to the least heavy weight, ever so conscious of the lower back, balking whenever it was suggested that I might try the next move, my first quarter was a lesson in humility as I proceeded to straddle the bottom of the class.

Running drills meant that tumbleweed will pass between the chunk of the class and me, bringing up the rear. Two years on though, I have outlasted the sprightly young things that seem to be present for only the first half of a quarter, disappearing quickly as the moves increase in intensity and learning that coming in to class after a night’s hard partying meant puking into the bushes.

It is with no small amount of pride that I – and my fellow veterans – look around us as we get on to our brand new bootcamp session. We are the survivors. Heck, we are freakin’ champions!

People exercising image via Shutterstock

Mother, writer, foodie, margarita lover, Lavanya is the exception to the rule that women are

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