Yesterday I saw a sign for a coupon for a gym membership, which means yesterday I signed up for a gym membership. As part of my ongoing effort to lose 300 pounds (to become negative 200 pounds... I set lofty goals and never use a scale), I thought the extra exercise would allow me to eat more delicious foods, such as the full size ice cream cake and four mini ice cream cakes currently in my freezer. Mariam has previously discussed the darker aspects of gym membership (Part 1 and Part deux), but I learned about a new dark side - bootcamp.
I've always liked going to classes when I join a gym, since they make me do things I wouldn't normally do. When I go to the gym without direction, I listen to this American Life on an elliptical and eventually stop moving to listen more closely when the story gets very happy or very sad. When I go to the gym with the direction of the class, I am forced to do push whats, jump things, and squat ups. I only briefly looked at the classes and saw there was a 7:30 pm class called body pump that fit into my schedule. The class was described as "This class is for every level of fitness. A series of circuit exercises, designed to elevate the heart rate and cardiovascularly challenge the heart and lungs. Add some strength training to the bootcamp and you will have a complete full body workout." As somebody who has done light yoga for a month after not working out consistently (other than Just Dance) for 3 years, I thought this class was for me - I'm "every level of fitness" and I stopped reading there. For some reason, despite the use of the word bootcamp at the front desk, I still thought I was going to body pump.
When I arrived in the class, there was an instructor named David, 4 dudes (maybe better described as bros), and me. I was clearly in some kind of terrible class, and I started to think about how to leave. Then David came up to me and asked my name, and if I had ever done bootcamp before. I told him I joined the gym yesterday, thinking the whole time what kind of insanity or P90X shit have I gotten myself into. He said I could take the class at my own pace, so I decided to stay.
It started with light jogging and then quickly progressed into some strange spiderman stretch that required more upper body strength than my arms could accommodate. Eventually we did high knees into "burpies" with 45 second bursts of intensity. During these clumsy burpies instead of checking out the bros in the class, I had to focus not to slip in my own sweat, truly embodying the Mindy Project at the gym. Eventually we did circuit training which was okay, except for the kettlebell swing. David said, "well everybody knows how to do a kettlebell swing." He then looked at my face, and based on my expression knew instantly that I definitely did not know how to do a kettlebell swing. He kindly demonstrated a building of momentum swinging the kettlebell between your legs, until you thrust your hips forward in the most overtly sexual thing I've seen at a gym throwing the kettlebell over your head just with the force of your hips. When I got to that part of the circuit, David tried to give me pointers that a lady would understand, "think of Legally Blonde and the bend and snap" and "you might feel like you're being indecent if you're doing it right." After the 3rd run through the circuit, he kept saying "good job Farrah" probably because he could see me dangerously approaching emesis.
I did feel like I accomplished something after the workout was done, but I'll probably go to Zumba class next time. The moral of this story is details matter, bootcamp is not body pump.
--By Farrah, who enjoyed a piece of ice cream cake for dinner