Friday, July 1, 2011

Boot camp

I thought I was getting a good workout in my Ashtanga yoga class.

But then it was cancelled for the summer.

And a local gym slashed its boot camp rates.

It seemed like a sign, so I took the plunge and found myself standing in a park in a heat wave with a drill sergeant and four women half my age, while passers-by licked ice cream cones.

The drill sergeant said, "Fifty jumping-jacks." My brain said, "Obviously you haven't given birth, buddy."

I hurt. I sweat. I worked as hard as I could.

I discovered that, while I can touch my toes with ease, and carrying a child has done wonders for my biceps, I am even less fit than I feared.

Earlier in the day I'd questioned my decision to sign up for boot camp. "Isn't yoga the perfect workout?" I'd asked myself. "They don't make army recruits do nine weeks of yoga, do they?" my brain replied. (Boot camp yoga... maybe that's the next fitness craze.)

Anyway, I went to boot camp today, and I was very, very relieved that our teacher actually isn't a drill sergeant. That no one is going to force me to drop deeper into those push-ups.  That my career and pride are not dependent on being able to do all the repetitions I am told to do. And I was relieved that I did get a little bit stronger in Ashtanga yoga because otherwise this boot camp class would have been even harder.

At the end of it all, I felt good. Hot, sweaty, and very, very weak, but good.

Next time I'll bring a towel so I don't sweat all over the car on the way home. And I need to go shopping -- I've managed to avoid gym shorts since high school phys. ed., but yoga capris are too freaking hot.

Boot camp day 1:
  • Lunge-walking.
  • High knee-stepping.
  • Toy soldier-stepping.
  • Arm circles.
  • 50 jumping jacks.
  • 10 bicep curls; 10 tricep presses; 5 shoulder front lifts; 5 shoulder side lifts.
  • Repeat sets of 11; 11; 5; 5.
  • Repeat sets of 12; 12; 6; 6.
  • ... and so on all the way up to sets of 20; 20; 10; 10. [I was actually feeling pretty confident at this point.]
  • 5 sets of 10 tricep dips, leaning on the knees of a partner who is in a reverse bridge. 5 sets of being the partner. [My last two sets of tricep dips were embarrassingly small. Even the teacher was embarrassed for me. But I really did not want to collapse on my teeny-tiny partner!]
  • Pyramid push-ups: 1 push-up. Pause. 2 push-ups. Pause. And so on up to sets of at least 7 and ideally 10 push-ups, and then all the way back to 1. [I can't even do one solid push-up. Just tiny ones. I did try as hard as I could. This is when I was relieved that I wasn't really in a military boot camp.]
  • 20; then 19; and so on down to 15 repetitions of the following: wrap a resistance band around a pole, grasp each end, extend arms and pull them back to form a T. [I can't remember how many we did. It was challenging, but I should have tried harder. It wasn't push-up hard...]
  • An insane number of insane abdominal exercises:
    • In a high crunch, hands together, lower elbows to opposite sides. If necessary, break for 3 seconds only and then resume. [Way more reps that I could possibly do.]
    • V-sits. [I'd never seen this before. Freaking insane.] Starting on back with legs and arms fully extended and everything but the butt held a couple of inches off the ground, lift legs and upper body into a v. Repeat, repeat, repeat, I have no idea how many times. [As if. Shouldn't there be some sort of starter exercise to strengthen the core before attempting this?]
    • What I'll call inverted V-sits. From a plank, squeeze abs and raise hips into a v. Repeat ad nauseam. Literally.
    • 10(?) inch-worms. [I'd never heard of these before either. My lower back still hurts.] 
    • 100 of what I'll call oblique reaches. [I did all of these without a problem, but most of my back was on the ground throughout. I'm guessing that wasn't proper form.]
    • 30 bicycles.
  • Tricep stretch.
  • Seated twist stretch.
  • Reclined pretzel stretch.
  • A freaky wrist stretch.
The scary thing is, every class will be different, and this one didn't even include cardio...

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