I prefer Pilates and dance classes over high-intensity workouts, but a few weeks ago, I decided to try out my gym's bootcamp class. Thinking "boot camp" would consist of a bunch of girls doing some squats and jogging around the room, I figured I could handle it no problem. You can imagine my shock when I entered a room full of beefy men and started sweating profusely within the first five minutes of class as the tough instructor with a buzz cut barked a series of training exercises that had me gasping for breath.
For the next hour, I felt as humiliated and weak as a middle school football player, and even a few classmates gave me supportive high fives as I consecutively came in last place on the relays, outside sprints, and mat sequences. For the next week, my entire body ached, and I could have given up all together. However, I decided to persevere and attend the next class better prepared. The second class, I felt a million times stronger and more resilient, and now I'm on a total bootcamp kick. If you are considering taking your first bootcamp class, feel prepared and confident to dominate this intense workout by following my tips.
- Hydrate one or two hours before class. Definitely bring water or a sports drink to class, but it's difficult to bounce around when your belly is full of liquid.
- Enter with a good, can-do attitude. The workout will be challenging, but it's so important to continue to motivate yourself and keep your mind calm when your heart is racing and your muscles are burning. I try to smile and laugh to help release tension in my face.
- Stay present, and listen to the instructor. If you concentrate on how much it hurts and how much you want to quit, you might forget the next sequence or next relay move. Actively focus your attention on the instructor, and you will distract yourself from the pain.
- Remember your breath and your abs. Breathe through tough exercises, and simultaneously, be sure to contract your abs to protect your back. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, but you will eventually train your body to breathe deeper while your abs are engaged.
- Push yourself to stay up front. Be the first person in the relay race line; stand in the front of the room; and run towards the front of the jog line. Being last will make you feel lethargic and more prone to giving up.
- Don't stop moving. If DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) usually gets you down, challenge yourself to move around rather than take mini breaks. My bootcamp instructor kept yelling at us to jog in place throughout the entire hour to prevent muscle soreness by sending fresh blood to the muscles.
- Load up on electrolytes after class. Intense workouts and sweating cause you to lose essential electrolytes. Be sure to replenish them with an electrolyte-filled snack.