Here we are heading into the 8th week of Booty Camp. Booty Camp? Yes, it’s actually called Booty Camp Fitness. Last Christmas I stumbled upon Booty Camp on twitter – and I followed them to see what they’re all about.
Everything I’ve ever heard about boot camp style workouts always sounded more like hell than fun. Boot camp leaders always seem like Gestapo who bullies participants into submission. Booty Camp Fitness seemed just playful enough that it was worth following them on twitter.
They ran a contest asking for winter ideas to stay fit; I entered with a snowshoeing blog and won 8 weeks of boot camp. Just like that I was signed up and was a Booty Camp Fitness recruit. Each segment runs for 4 weeks, so no long term commitment is required. Boot camp is twice a week and each session is an hour-long.
When I arrived for week 1, armed with a yoga mat, a water bottle and a towel, the Booty Camp Drill instructor didn’t look too scary. She was wearing a pink camouflage shirt and wielding her tape measure. Chrissy is in her twenties, cute and perky with way too much energy, and a permanent smile. I knew I wouldn’t like her. We all endured the tape measure torture and then after some brief introductions we starting warming up. Yeah, that much enthusiasm was going to get tired really quickly.
The hour-long class is very loosely structured and each session is different. There’s always a short warm-up and loads of leg work. It is called Booty Camp after all!! Chrissy demonstrates the exercise and then does most of the reps with us. She offers modifications and tips on form – mostly she offers encouragement. There was no yelling, no meanness, and no threats.
There is a little problem with counting – she’s not very good at it. She often gets distracted and 8 reps turn into “Oops, I’m sure that’s enough of those now”. Often we have to remind her that 30 seconds intervals are up because she’s telling us a story. Damn this woman – I was starting to like her already.
My 6 pm group has between 12 – 15 members: all of us are just regular women looking to get moving. The group is mostly returning members, with a few of us newbies. Some are older, there are a few young, skinny women – er why are you even here?? Some of us are heavier but nobody cares.
There’s one member who’s been to a number of camps and the proof is in her endurance and good form. She doesn’t even bat an eye at the dreaded B-word.. ugh… I shudder to even say it. How about I just spell it instead: B-U-R-P-E-E-S.
Everyone pushes themselves while Chrissy motivates us and tells us what to do. Sometimes she gives us an instruction that makes me blurt out, “Surely, you’re kidding” with complete dismay. Her answer is usually, “Of course you can do it.”
One example was working in pairs, when she instructed us to do 150 squat jumps between us, followed by 100 push-ups and then 80 b-b-b-burpees. Since when can I do 3 sets of 25 squat jumps, followed by 5 sets of 10 push-ups and then 4 sets of 10 burpees? Who am I, and what has boot camp done to me?? Oh and those push-ups? The first 4 sets were from my feet before I died and had to drop to my knees.
Booty Camp includes tough moves like the evil burpees, mountain climbers and lots of push-ups and shoulder stabilization moves. Booty Camp also reminded me how much fun skipping is. We do skipping drills and running drills and many lunges and squats, many, many lunges and squats. The best part about Booty Camp is that everyone works together and encourages each other. It’s a really fun, low key environment to work at whatever level suits you.
The fitter people push themselves harder and end up just as sweaty and exhausted as the rest of us. Whether it’s your first set of push-ups from your toes or a strong 60-second skipping drill that you couldn’t finish a few weeks earlier – we each make a little bit of progress each week.
Most nights we all leave boot camp with a huge grin, sweaty bangs and ponytails, and some nasty damp shirts. If everyone could figure out how much fun working out could be, fitness would be way less of a chore.
Thursday will be the dreaded tape measure day again. I don’t know what tale the tape will tell, but the new definition on the back of my arm is encouraging, as is the way trousers fit and sweaters zip up.
Booty Camp Fitness may not be the answer for you – but go find a workout that is this much fun for you, and do it with people that motivate and encourage you.