Ten short weeks ago I was feeling super sluggish and with the holiday period nearing, I knew it was time to make a change – but I was in a bit of a workout rut. My gym membership was nothing more than a debit order, I wasn’t making my fave yoga class before work anymore and I was tired of beating myself about not running outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather.
As if by magic (or maybe it was my fairy godmother tired of my internal whining) a mail popped into my inbox asking if I’d like to sign up and try out Adventure Boot Camp’s (ABC) #JourneyToSummer 12-week programme.
Now, for anyone not at their peak of fitness, the idea of ‘boot camp’ isn’t entirely enticing and, to be honest, I felt a little intimidated. But I knew I needed to make a drastic change to kick my A into gear, so I reluctantly accepted the invitation.
Thankfully, my housemate was more or less in the same state of lazy as I was, so when I mentioned the challenge to her, she agreed to sign up immediately. “This is something we’ll motivate each other to do… Beach season is almost here!” she warned. And so, we bought our required 2kg dumbbells and headed to Green Point Park in the hope of transforming our minds and bodies.
The first class went pretty smoothly. We introduced ourselves to the group, which was mixed with both newbies and seasoned ABCers. Most women were in the same boat as us, a final (almost desperate) goal to feel our best by the time holiday season hit. Our trainer, Jason, was super friendly off the bat and not nearly as scary as I’d expected a boot camp leader to be.
From there the experience really has been filled with highlights. From meeting a supportive group of new women to learning a fair amount about my own body, here are a few of my own high points:
Gaining a fit squad
Without really realising it, I’ve gone through phases in the gym – either doing my own routine or sporadically attending various classes offered. At most, I’d recognise a few faces either in a class or on the treadmill and give a vague smile or half-hearted wave. I’m not an unfriendly person, but I certainly didn’t see my exercise hour as a social occasion.
I’ve read multiple articles about finding a workout buddy to force yourself to commit to specific days and times of exercise. I hadn’t ever done it.
Without a doubt my favourite part of ABC is the group of women that pitch up every day. Whenever I wasn’t totally in the mood or felt a little flat, I’d think about this group and get my butt there to avoid missing out.
But don’t be mistaken, this is an understanding and motivating fitsquad. They wouldn’t shame me for missing a class or judge me for having to put a few extra hours in at work some evenings. Instead, they’d welcome me straight back like we were old friends catching up for a coffee.
Personal training for a fraction of the price
The group was big enough to form a community, but not too big that you feel like you’re lost at the back of a gym class of 30+ people. Jason was able to sufficiently assist each of us with our form.
I’ve hurt myself in the gym before by following workout programmes and not conducting the proper form when it came to weight training. Ideally, we should all have a few sessions with a personal trainer to teach us these things, right? But let’s be honest, PTs come in pretty pricey.
For me, ABC was a really great solution to this. At R28 a session (R1 700 for the full 12 weeks) it’s a much more affordable way to gain assistance from a trainer and eliminates the cost of a gym membership too. Plus, Jason counted and timed every set for us.
Call me lazy, but this is something I hate doing in the gym. Am I the only one that gets lost in their thoughts and forgets to count reps?
Location, location, location
First of all, our session in Green Point Park is right on my proverbial doorstep. Equal distance to my nearest gym, but way, way more picturesque.
And with camp sites dotted across five different provinces (Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and North West) the idea is that you should never have to travel too far from either your office or from home to make it to your session.
Besides the odd hike or stroll on the promenade, it had been a while since I really exercised outdoors. Working inside an office all day, it was so refreshing to be outside and feel real grass below my mat.
One session I was actually stung by a bee – not something that would happen inside a gym, sure, but as I continued to give my all during the session I felt even more motivated and accomplished afterwards!
Variety is key
Kudos to our trainer, Jason. There was practically never a repeat session. In fact, each evening we’d arrive not knowing quite what he’d have in store for us. Warm-ups ranged from short jogs to netball matches, and even a game of tag. Shouldn’t all cardio be fun enough to disguise that it’s actually cardio?
And when we got down to it, every circuit worked various muscle groups in new and exciting ways. Jason mixed things up with resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and bodyweight movements. Some weeks we completely switched things up and ditched the park and our mat exercises altogether for a hike up Lion’s Head instead.
In essence, Adventure Boot Camp did everything that I needed it to do. It eased me back into exercise and got me feeling good about working out again. It kept things varied enough not to get bored and it showed me that working out with a group of like-minded and similar goal-orientated people is a sure-fire way to get myself to commit.
Heading into the holiday period, I’m determined to keep up my ABC workouts, and I’ll take my mat and dumbbells on holiday with me. You don’t need super fancy equipment to get a good sweat session in and you certainly don’t need an expensive PT – all you need is a group of motivating women egging you on!
Wondering how you’re going to achieve your 2019 fit goals? In case you hadn’t already guessed, I’d highly recommend signing up for ABC’s next camp. Find out all the details here.
This article was originally published on Women's Health.