Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 18

It's Friend Day!

I finally got about 5 hours sleep again, which is not as good as the 7 I was getting at the start of bootcamp but way better than the 4 I had the other night. I did, however, snooze real late, until 4:57am, and shot out of bed after the
3rd snooze, afraid I'd be late.

I figured today would be a fun day, with some folks planning on bringing some friends. I apparently don't have least any real ones who would sacrifice some workout time together! It was an ongoing joke at bootcamp, when asked if we had any friends coming, and who found out they didn't have any true friends and this was just a test. We all laughed. I don't blame anyone for not coming. It's tough work, and well, I guess it's not for everyone and everyone's schedules and I guess I'm pretty proud of myself for doing this on my own gumption. This morning, there were a couple who's friends had last minute excuses for not getting up at 4:30. It was pretty funny listening to the excuses they came up with.

So there were 4 Friends that came. Two were invited by T'ai, and they were returning bootcampers. One has done 5 bootcamps and the other had done 9 bootcamps and currently holds the bootcamp record of 41 regular pushups. Amazing. I should have kept an eye on her form today....I wanted to see if she still had it in her!

We arrived at the outdoor location today, greeted by Drill Sargeant T'ai, all decked out in fatigues! It was pretty funny, but he looked pretty intimidating despite knowing that he really wasn't that way at all. And for you ladies out there, a uniform on a guy, and in this case, fatigues, makes for great eye candy. :) I should stop, before I get myself in trouble here! (Love you, Dan!)

We did four fartlek laps around the soccer field. I can't believe he asked for 4! At least it was around the soccer field and not the track.....that would be more brutal! Our medium fast group was not too big and we went at a good pace.

We returned to grab out hand weights and brought them to the tennis courts. Standing at one sideline, we would squat, place our weights down, run across the court, face the other way, do a pushup, run back to our weights, picking them up as we squat, then run it over to the other side, squat, place them down, and run back to the other side and do another pushup, repeating this several times, probably 8 times.

We went back and did some skipping with some ropes. We stood in a line, sorta facing each other, and pulled each others arms so that we were all supporting each other doing squats. We did some "moguls" and pulsed to Michael Jackson's Thriller (Happy Halloween!) since there were some skiiers in the group.

We went back and did a lap around the soccer field and returned to do duck squats and regular squats across the tennis courts. We took our mats and weights out again and did some tricep extensions, bicycles, crunches while holding our weights high above us, and some others I can't quite remember right now. Oh, yeah, we started out mat work with the dreaded 8-Count Body Builders.

Our last exercise before stretching was The Plank for one minute. I'm happy to say that I last the whole minute without breaking a sweat....though I was darn close to collapsing. Snap's "The Power" was pounding away, and I guess I reminiscing back to highschool to carry me the exercise. I've got the's getting, getting, it's getting kinda hectic...

Today was good. I guess T'ai had to show us off by making us work a good all-around 1 hour workout today, and everything feels good. My quads are killer!

I weighed myself this morning, after my workout, but before breakfast (my "dry weight"). I try not to, since it's really body composition (fat%) that will really tell me the truth, but I couldn't help myself this morning. I'm 129! I don't know how accurate a picture that is, but that sure beats the 138 I weighed at the beginning of bootcamp! We'll see on Friday what my body has really accomplished, when I sit down with T'ai and go over my post-camp evaluation.

Two more days until Puerto Rico!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 17

Small group today. We were a bit chatty this morning, with a bit of friendly debate between T'ai and Paula on why marine-derived sources of EFA's (essential fatty acids, ie. omega-3's, -6's) are not as good as plant-derived. It was getting pretty heated, and one person even commented jokingly that she would really to exercise sometime soon. I would've liked to hear more, but I guess we did pay to exercise.

Warm up was 3 times around the soccer field. Because there were 7 of us today, and not the expected 5 people, T'ai modified the rest of our exercises. He didn't bring enough elastic exercise bands (the ones with the handles) for each of us, so we split into 2 groups, with one group using the bands to do squats and rows while the other group did something like Star Reachers (bend down in a squat and then come up, arms out at the side and up in a circle, reaching for the sky, and standing on your tip toes for calf raises, then reverse the movement to arrive at a tight squat again). We switched over a couple of times.

We did a few more band exercises. We linked two sets of bands together, with one person at either end. We challenged each other with some resistance training, pulling and tugging at the bands, trying to fool the other person and perhaps throw them off balance as they, too, are pulling tugging at their bands, trying to fool you. I was paired up with Lucy, but it wasn't very challenging because she seemed to want to follow where I was going, thus reducing tension in the band. Oh well.

We did some mat exercises, like crunches and bicycles and leg lifts and hip raises. A couple of us stood up suddenly (including me!) when T'ai mentioned, oh there's a mouse, as we watched it scurry away among the pile of leaves nearby. Eww, nasty!

Before we knew it is was over. It wasn't a terribly difficult day, but I was ok with that. I warmed up, not expecting I would since I was sooooo cold (but it really wasn't even a cold morning). I only had 4 hours of sleep the night before and I didn't know how I was going to wake up this morning. I did, obviously, and made it through another day.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 16

My last week!

It was raining real hard this morning so we headed to the gym. We did a bit of running today, but I heard it's not as hard as doing it outside, as there are greater distances to conquer (ie. the track!).

For today's exercise, we were split up into 3 groups: Red, Blue, Yellow. We then were to run 3 times around the gym and when done, we would grab a coloured cone/pylon in our designated colour and head back to our mat and weights, where one person in the group would teach the exercise taped to the bottom of the cone. We would start and finish each exercise as a group, leaving no one behind, and count the reps together, or the reps don't count. Then we would run 3 more times around the gym, where another person in our 5-6 person group would pick up another cone for the next exercise.

Each group had its Achilles Heel, from what I could foresee; I was it for mine! We had quick-sprinting Judy on our team, and also feisty Victoria (for you filipinos out there, you know what I'm talking about if I say she looks like a female Dolphy! Just offence!). So I tried my best to keep up with the group, and I did rather well. Victoria, during some sets, was just not counting with the group, and is always a count or two ahead of the group; she finishes her reps much faster than us. [Aside: she's the one I drive behind when going home after bootcamp....she drives like she exercises: quick and full of energy....very unnatural, if you ask one should have THAT much pep]. We did 8-Count Body Builders, bicep curls, lunges, all in all about 8 different exercises. I think the running did me in more than the mat work.

Then we gathered in the middle of the gym, and did a whole bunch of ab exercises. I managed to do The Plank for what I thought was almost 2 minutes, but when T'ai mentioned "40 seconds left", I collapsed: I was so sure I was close to the 2 minute mark! I regrouped at the "30-seconds left" mark, and managed to make it until the end. I'm getting better at it, but I guess my lower back needs strenthening since that's what hurts most, not my abs.

We did a bunch of hip raises, bicycles, crunches (and holding them before releasing). When he called for stretches, I actually wanted to do more abs because it hurt so good. But I guess the hour went by fast.

Now, when would I have ever said that I want to do more crunches? Not ever....until now.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boot Camp: Nutrition - Part II


So....yada yada....I started writing the "Nutrition-Part I" post on the 10th and now it's the 27th of October. That is probably way too much information for everyone, but I thought I should post it up anyways, since I took the time to draft this out.

For nutrition all these 3 weeks so far, I've been relying on 1-3 portions of protein drinks as my protein source. I don't have the Iso-Flex but plan to get it when I've finished the container I bought from Costco a couple of years ago; I'm halfway done. It's not of a terribly great quality, consisting of whey concentrate instead of manly protein isolate, but I might as well finish it since I paid for it. Otherwise, I've been grilling several portions of pork loin cuts, experimenting with "non-fat" flavourings like lemon, thyme, paprika, etc. I still need to find something I like.

I have been taking the Udo's Oil. I'm almost finished the 250ml bottle we received at the end of Week 1 and on Thursday I bought two 500ml bottles, to tie me over until I take my next boot camp (if ever?). I can also get them at Choices, and they have a pretty good price on them there (on sale right now, in fact). I haven't been as diligent at taking them with every meal, but I will try to be more so, since T'ai mentioned EFA's (essential fatty acids) also help in inflammation too. I heard it also curbs your appetite. :) So everyone needs omega-3's and -6's and -9s, and apparently we're usually deficient in omega-3's. I do highly recommend checking the product out. If you click on the link above, and you click "Back" or "Refresh", you'll get several testimonials flashing in.

I haven't been deleting my carbs, but I have reduced the breads I eat. I try to eat more fibrous carbs, but the preparation to cook each night is tiring, especially if I'm hoping to bed by 9:30.

Nutrition is work-in-progress. I don't want to call it a diet, because that's restrictive. I still do want to eat the things I crave, but I suppose it's learning to eat things in moderation. Besides, "nothing feels good as fit feels" keeps creeping into my head each time I want to sneak something "bad". Perhaps one day, when I have another kid, I'll be more encouraged to slim down faster, with more discipline, and maybe then I'll go on some nutrition plan that will help me enjoy quicker success, but until then, knowing that someday I'll just be gaining weight again because of another pregnancy, I'll just stay as slim as I can and perhaps be a "slim pregnant woman", rather than the rolly-polly kind I felt I was a couple of years ago. :)

Boot Camp: Nutrition - Part I

In the evening of Day 2 in the first week, we had a Sports Nutritional Seminar. I rushed downtown to VATA Brazil for 6:30pm (athletic store for women.....great gear), thinking there were going to be all the ladies there, and I was the first to arrive! And I wasn't even early....I got there right on time, thinking things were going to start away. Another person trickled in within 5 minutes. There were a total of 6 of us who showed up. I guess with many of the bootcampers having gone through it before, they didn't need to come.

T'ai presented some interesting facts to us. Having experience in the fitness and health industry for years, he had lots of information. We interactively participated in creating a chart of "Yucky" and "Yummy" proteins, carbs (both fibrous and starches). An eye-opener, for sure.

(but read on...your health may depend on it!)

He talked about the Insulin Index, a newer, lesser known index comparable to the Glycemic Index. The Index is based on insulin levels in the blood, rather than glucose levels. This measure can be more useful because some foods (like lean meats and proteins) still cause an insulin rise but contain no carbs, and also some carbs have a disproportionate insulin response (foods high in fat, or refined carbs cause a higher insulin spike than the G.I. Index implies). These types of foods aren't mentioned in the Glycemic Index.

Here are 3 P's to follow:

  1. Preserve
  2. Prevent
  3. Protect
  • Preserve...your health. You need to put back what's missing to achieve perfect health.
  • Prevent....fat storage. 'Nuff said.
  • Protect...your muscle. Muscle atrophy is a no-no. Muscle helps in the metabolism of fats. Protect it.

Proteins are composed of amino acids: non-essential aa's are ones the body can produce on its own. Essential aa's you need to provide through your diet. Proteins rich in essential aa's are the ones we need to eat.

And sorry to the vegetarians out there: you have a challenge! The best type of protein is from anything that swims, walks, or flies. Plant-based proteins don't cut it as well as animal-based, apparently. There are not enough quality essential amino acids, particularly branch-chain amino acids, to protect your muscle. Branch-chain aa's get metabolized in the muscle and not the liver, where they can be burned as fuel rather than make protein. T'ai was raised vegetarian but realized that he was not getting the energy necessary for fitness training and made the switch to eating meats. Strength Athletes as opposed to Endurance Athletes need more grams of protein because increased muscle metabolism.

We should be eating 5 meals a day. Not 3, with 2 snacks....but 5 meals.

There are 3 times during the day where we would particularly protein.

  1. post-exercise, since we need muscle-repair to take place. It'll also speed up recovery.
  2. your last meal of the day, eaten 2, preferably 3, hours before bedtime, since the body repairs itself during sleep.
  3. breakast. Your first meal of the day, and your body as been fasting for 8 hours or so.

And the best way to take in protein in quick is in liquid form, by way of a protein drink. More on that later.....

So, let's talk about that "Yummy" and "Yucky" chart I mentioned earlier. "Yummy" are foods that are acceptable sources, foods that don't spike up insulin levels, and is rich and pure, or something like that. Here are some of the things we came up wth as a group.

Protein sources:
Yucky: nuts, soy, yogurt Yummy: chicken (breast), beef (lean), pork loin, cottage cheese (it's only ok), whey protein (better to get whey hydrolysate rather than the whey concentrate because of higher-quality protein percentage...he recommended Iso-Flex as a top brand.

I was helping jot down the protein list while we were shouting out answers, so this isn't an exclusive list, but whatever I can remember.

Starchy carbs:
Yucky: white-inside potatoes, all breads, quick oats, instant rice, pasta
Yummy: sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal (steel-cut or slow cook kind), brown or white rice, condiments in salad (including avocado, onions, celery, tomatoes), peas, acorn & butternut squash

Fibrous Carbs:
Yucky: fruit, carrots & beets (are ok, but should be consumed at end of meal to slow down absorption)
Yummy: spinach, kale, cabbage (red & green), peppers (all colours), broccoli, cauliflower, snowpeas,zucchini, spaghetti & zucchini squash.

Carbs should make up 30-35% of your meal, 5x/day, each meal

Regarding fats, the best cooking oil is water! Then flavour afterwards. Butter is better than margarine, but use butter or extra virgin olive oil if necessary.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 15 - End of Week 3

Super cold and frosty this morning! I hope everyone had a chance to see the full moon last night because it was gorgeous this morning, shining bright above us.

I was counting the numbers today, and there were only 16 of us...I know of a few who weren't there, but it seems still to be a rather small group.

So we split ourselves in 3 running groups for fartlek training. I selected the Medium Fast group again and not the Fastest group. There were about 5 of them there, and as I looked at the group, yup, each one of them are much faster than I am. In the slowest group, there were 3 -- the two oldest ladies and Lucy with her shin splints -- but I skipped that group because I wanted to challenge myself. Everyone was else was in the middle group, too many if you ask me. This only means that while fartlek training, you have that many more people to sprint past to get to the front of the group.

When asked by T'ai, how many laps are we doing today, someone yelled out, 3! Ooh, he says, good work, I guess because he wasn't expecting that answer. I thought, hey, we did 3 laps of the soccer field last time, I guess I could do that again. Then he says to head down to the track. Huh? Um, the track is waaay bigger than the soccer field. Crap!

So we all jog down to the track and we quickly formed our lines we arrived. Naturally, I ended up at the end of the pack, but that's a good thing, since I'm the first sprinter from the-back-to-the-front and I won't be huffing and puffing as much yet. I don't know how I managed to keep up with everyone, but each time I managed to find the energy to sprint past the line to grab that baton. There was one girl, Jenn, who when sprinting past us, sprinted so far past the front of the line, we had to play catchup with her! Whoa, slow down, Speedy! And Judy shouldn't have joined this group again....her sprinting made me just cower. I mean, her posture is PERFECT! You see me sprinting, and I'm like Tazmanian Devil, legs flailing, arms pumping wildly, head bopping frantically and my tongue practically hanging out, hoping I get from A to B miraculously!

As we approached the finish line, I did wish I had my Timex with me. I would have liked to time ourselves to see if I was on target to beat my 1-Mile Run from Day 1. I'm sure we were faster, and although I don't know if I could've sustained the same energy during the last lap, it would've been a valiant effort.

After our run, we did jumping jacks to continue warming up. We were pretty warm already but we were still waiting for a few of the slower runners to come in. Then we took our place by the benches and did some Tricep Dips.

We ran back to where we placed our mats and took our hand weights with us. We did non-stop mat exercises for the remaining of the hour. The first one was a a combination pushup/row. Hold your weights in your hand while in a position to do a pushup. Do a pushup and when done, lift one elbow straight up, carrying your weight with you. Repeat, using other arm alternatively. We did a whole bunch of other exercises that just blew our back and shoulders out to exhaustion. We did that combo pushup/row again afterwards, when we could do anymore pushups. I ended up doing modified pushups instead of standard ones, because I wasn't able to go down far enough; I figure, half the weight, go twice as far? Before we all knew it, it was over.

Today was a good end to a good week. My back/shoulders weren't too sore when I woke up since I finally got Danny to reciprocate a massage at the exact muscle in my back that was tortoring me the past of couple of days.

One more week to go!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 14

It really is amazing, honestly, that I'm able to move my right shoulder at all. I woke up at 5am this morning, super stiff and absolutely sure that I would not be able to exercise at all. I tell you, I have a new found respect for boxers out there, punching away at an opponent or at the bag, because they really do work out every single miniscule muscle in their back. I'm sure Tuesday's pain will subside by the end of the weekend, but it's only Thursday. Lucky for the protein drinks every few hours...recooperating would definitely be a lot slower.

There were only 4 of us today, our smallest Tuesday/Thursday group ever. We brought our stability balls and used them to warm up, ie. no running! I kinda wished we did end up running (who'da thunk?) since it was so friggen' cold this morning! Very, very crisp morning! I wished I had gloves!

We ended up carrying the ball over our heads and doing squats, and then alternating reaching high towards the right and squating and twisting to the left, then vice versa. After doing some squats and calf raises at the wall, I felt warm enough to shed my fleece jacket. We had our mats and did a number of exercises with the ball on the mat, our head and shoulders on the ball, lifting and lowering our hips, or straightening our legs, or some version of. It's amazing what you can really do with the ball. I mean, you could work out your body just as well without using the ball, but it's amazing what using the ball will do.

I won't bore you with the details of the exercises we did; they were pretty routine, I think. We didn't work up a sweat at all....I think my sweat glands were frozen. I don't feel like I've worked out today...and not because it was too fun to notice, because it wasn't really fun. Maybe my hamstrings are a little oiled up since almost every exercise was to strengthen them, but they don't feel exhausted. Maybe my shoulders are still bearing the majority of my pain for me to notice.

Oh, and I did fall off my ball. Well, not so much fell, but slipped off and landed on my butt while catching my footing. My mat, with the cold dew forming on the vinyl, started sliding on the concrete while I was coming off the ball, so T'ai said. Yeah, that's it....the slippery mat....I'm not clumsy at all. But didn't I call it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 13

aka ... The Aftermath.

My upper back and shoulders are killing me! If I've complained before, this time I'm not crying wolf: this really is sore!

How sore? Try this: rolling on deodorant is an unusual ow-but-feels-oh-so-good massage.

I don't think today's workout helped much either. It was Wild Card Wednesday. Fourteen cards left to go, and we have to finish the cards today, because next week is Friend Day. Oh, here's my invite:

Friend Day

When: Wednesday, October 31, 5:30 am sharp! Arrive 15 minutes early to register.
Where: Vancouver, Oak & 37th area. Raining, indoors....not raining, outdoors.
Email me for details! Maybe we can carpool!
Who: Any of my friends or family (females only, though, sorry!) who want to try a free bootcamp.
What: By participating in this free class, you get a chance to experience the euphoria and andrenaline of doing your body right in a fun atmosphere of young and young-at-heart ladies like yourself.

I encourage anyone to come out, of any ability.
Push your body and mind to new limits!
Let me know as soon as you can (hopefully by next Monday?) so I can let the instructor know how many to expect.

Today's pop quiz gave us each a little chinese take-out box of aromatherapy bath salts and perfume stick customized by . What a great gift for a pick-me-up.

For warmup, we ran several times around the gym (it was threatening rain, so T'ai made an executive decision). We also did several running/sprinting exercises like we did previously, like Butt Kicks, Duck Waddling, Skipping. We took our sprinting from 50% to 80% a couple of times each.

The remaining wild cards in the deck were a mix of workouts. We did wide leg squats, forward lunges, backward lunges, side plank, crunches, "superman" -- incredibly simple yet difficult to sustain (on your belly, one arm at your side, the other pointing forward, and pulse) --- "swimming --- similar to Superman pose but two hands forward and also pulsing your legs. We did the 8-Count Body Builder again, which was brutal still, with the shoulders and all.

Tomorrow, the 5-Dayers have to bring a Stability Ball. I hope I don't fall off it, or worse, I hope it doesn't burst on me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 12

Our hour didn't start off very promising, but ended with a POW!

Boxing class!

Our small class stood around for way too long, handing out recipes given by Winnie and Jenn (the "punishment" for 3-Dayers intruding on Tuedays and Thursdays reserved for us 5-Dayers) and listened to T'ai explain the benefit of doing so (nutritionally, more variety and less boredom). After, six of us partnered up and ran one -- only one! what? -- lap around the soccer field.

I never wear a watch, but when I go for my runs I usually do. However, my dependable purple Timex had stopped working on me sometime between my last run in, say, 2004 and now, and I have not replaced that battery yet. But I'm kinda glad I didn't have it with me today, because I didn't want to see how much time had gone by, wasted by chit chat....c'mon, let's get moving: I came here to sweat!

So, like I said, it turns out to be a boxing class. We learned how to properly stand so that our balance is stable when pushed. Yeah, he literally pushed us around to see if we would fall. We learned to jab, punch, hook, cross-punch, pivoting, hips lowering, keeping our hands by our nose and temple. Honestly, though, I didn't really learn anything new, since I had taken a whole bunch of kickboxing classes before and even several Boxer Fit classes while at Fitness World. He never once had to correct me, so I'm gonna take it that my form was fine. The only thing I found real difficult was shuffling left and right and then quickly throwing a jab, punch, jab, cross, jab, hook. My feet weren't cooperating before I needed to swing....I was still kinda shuffling before my arms where swinging away.

While we were in that circle, shuffling and swinging back and forth, we had a chance to spar one-on-one with T'ai, with boxing gloves. Jab, punch, jab, punch. He urged me to go harder because, he says, he knows I've got it in me. Ok. Then faster, he says. Ok. Next, jab and cross. Harder jab! Keep it going! Now, faster, for 10...9...8....omg! My bangs were soaking with sweat and strewn across my forehead and over my eyes, blocking my vision. I must have looked real attractive, up close and personal! I wailed on him with increasing power. My arms were weighted heavy. T'ai is taller than I am (duh!) so I was essentially pounding him from below. Finally, the rush was over. Water, water! Where's my towel?

Then out of nowhere comes this aching, excruciatingly tight pain radiating down my neck....ow, what's going on? I figure all that punching above me locked my neck in a paralyzed position of stiffness that, now as I move around, refused to release. I shook off the pain shortly after, as I resumed throwing jab after jab with the others in that Circle of Shuffling.

I must say, at this time, shuffling just does not do me any good. Really. After yesterday's shuffling around those barbells, my arches are just killing me! I don't think it's plantar fasciitis because I CAN still walk on it, but it sure damn hurts when I massage it. No more shuffling, T'ai!

He mentions to me privately after class that I should see an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) and a Chiropractor and even consider making a call to the Acupuncturist he mentioned in class yesterday. [Oh, yeah....yesterday's pop quiz gave us a certificate to see someone who specializes in TCM - Traditional Chinese Medicine]. They work wonders with aches and pains, especially something resembling plantar. The RMT he recommended will also honour a free session, as one of T'ai's bootcampers....hmmm, when will be getting THAT quiz for the THAT prize? Apparently we only have a month after bootcamp to redeem our free sessions. Hook me up!

So, what started not-so-promising, ended up a real POW! I feel a lot more shoulder and back muscles activated, all on top of the shoulder and back pain I felt from yesterday's pushups. I should have a wonderful day at work!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 11

Was today exercise? Didn't feel like it!

It was raining as I drove out this morning, so I headed to the gymnasium. Thank goodness it rained when it did: I didn't want a downpour in the middle of training.

We did 4 easy laps around the gym. I'm pretty sure I wasn't at the end of the pack, but I was somehow the last person running: when I arrived back to my water bottle on the side lines, I expected others to encroach behind me, but no one was there. Maybe I ran 5 laps? Ha....I'd like to think maybe I'm that fast (never mind that Tammy, The Fast One, did actually lap me. Oh well!)

Our first task was a frisbee game. No, not Ultimate, though maybe it would've been more challenging. The objective was to run/jog/whatever around the gym and someone would throw a frisbee to you (there were about 4-5 going at any given time). If you fumbled it then you would have to throw it back out to someone else, then get down and do 5 pushups! There were a show of hands of who and who cannot throw a frisbee. A majority of us couldn't. Apparently I was one who could (who knew?) I got to throw a frisbee probably about a dozen times or so, maybe more, and not once did the other person fumble it (this could also be due to them being an awesome catcher, but again, I like to think I had some skill - !) I did try not to throw it from a great distance, for surely some of my throws would have hit the ground. And neither did I fumble the frisbees that were thrown to me (thank goodness!). I didn't want anyone to avoid receiving a throw from me simply because I suck! I think we were running around for almost 10 minutes, or so it seemed like, before the whistle blew. I wonder if anyone else was lucky enough to not do any pushups.

Then we had our hand weights out, and five people donated their mats. We formed a large circle, placing our hand weights crossed and at our feet. While we were doing jumping jacks, T'ai lined the 5 mats in the middle of the circle, and randomly grabbed several of our weights and placed them aside. Our next exercise: Musical Barbells (the best-suited title I can think of). Essentially, we would run clockwise or counterclockwise around the circle and when the whistle blew, we would have to stand in front of a set of weights on the floor. The lucky 5 without barbells would do "special" exercises in the middle. So while the outside folks were doing a combination of lunges, squats, bicep curls, the inside folks were doing The Plank, crunches, Bicycles, pushups....basically ab exercises.

I lucked out for most of the game until luck ran out. Of course the toughest exercise yet was mine to tackle: the 8-Count Body Builder. While standing at the foot of the mat, count with me:

One - clasp your hands together.
Two - squat to the floor and crawl forward with your hands
Three & Four - do a pushup (down, then up)
Five - Spread legs out
Six - Spread legs in
Seven - Crawl back to standing
Eight - Jumping Jack



I guess that made up for the lack of pushups during the frisbee exercise! I would have pushed myself even more, had it not been for the break I took to wipe my face because I didn't want to drip on Liz' mat I was using. That wouldn't have been very pretty.

To top it all off, I actually ended up losing the next round too and ended up doing eccentric pushups: Up for one count, down for 5 counts, repeat. Despite my tiredness, my form wasn't too bad.

Today was fun. My ankles are a little sore from the side to side movement while running in a circle, but otherwise I still count my blessings for an injury-free camp!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 10 - End of Week 2

He worked our asses today. Literally.

Ugly rain this morning when I looked out at 4:45am. We're indoors today! I learned torture actually can occur off the beaten track and into the indoors.

Our wamup today was a game of Line Tag. Running around the gym only on the lines provided on the gym floor. Someone is "IT" and tries to tag people. Gradually there are more people IT simultaneously, so the game gets harder. I was IT once but found it hard to tag someone: either they had longer arms and tagged me first or I tagged someone who was already IT. Nice, relatively easy jaunt...just trying to change direction quickly to avoid people was probably the most difficult.

There were jump ropes at one end of the gym. We skipped for a couple of minutes. We would skip several times during the hour, but it got difficult as the hour progressed, because our other exercises were wearing me, ahem, us thin.

We lunged ourselves to near death. I was going to puke. Seriously. I absolutely hate lunges. There's something about them that really, really makes me gag. Yes, gag. I have this lump in my throat when I do them and I feel like hurling. Just thinking about that now makes me want to gag.

I guess that's why I don't have a nice butt. You know, the butts you just kill for? They may not be the smallest butts, but they look just grabbable. C'mon, you've seen then, I know you have. We live in Lululemon town, home of the Yoga-loving Bikrams: there are some nice butts out there. They curve out, curve right back in where they chop your leg and you can actually see where your butt ends and your leg begins. That's a butt. I don't have that. I want that, but I don't have that.

There are actually some girls in camp that do have great butts (yeah, I'm looking, so what?), and they do great lunges. I guess I'll have to work on that if I want what they've got. I got to thinking today, though, maybe, just maybe, they just lucked out, maybe it's genetics or something, and not lunges that got them looking like they do. I thought about asking someone, but thought, how would I pose that question? Hi, you have a nice ass, why is that? I'd probably not be looked at so fondly.

So, back to the lunges. Across the gym, we waddled like a duck, nice and low, keeping our legs bent. We lunged and pulsed for two beats. We did leg extensions, then landed in a lunge. We did regular lunges too. We sprinted fast. We ran doing butt kicks. We ran with our knees up high. We shuffled back and forth, left and right. We power skipped across the gym. There were so many, I've lost track in my delusion.

When we finally lay down to use our mats, we did more glute and ab exercises that almost made me puke too. (Oh, BTW, I had mentioned to T'ai during one of our sets of lunges that I feel like puking. He offered to bring me a bucket, and he was sure that there'd be someone here to hold my hair back. Gee, thanks!) This is a brutal exercise: lie on your back, arms at your side, right leg up in the air, left leg bent, left heel on the ground, left foot toes off the ground, and lift your hips. After all those lunges, these just killed something horrible in my glutes. Great exercise, but couldn't hold it continously. We worked our abs: bicycles, crunches, leg raises and twisting, the plank.

I think this may have been the toughest day yet! Of course, it's Friday, so I'll feel the pain for the next two days.

Wow, halfway through this whole camp! My clothes are fitting better, even though my scale said 132 this morning. I know I'm getting stronger too. I'm hurting everywhere, but it's a good hurt. I hope I don't feel the bad hurt tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 9

I'm sore.

My shoulders are sore, my biceps are sore, my pecs are sore, my hamstrings, my calves, my abs, oh my!

It was raining horribly yesterday, so when I woke up at 4:45 I quickly (ok, not so quickly) went to my kitchen window to check the weather out. The parking lot behind the house was still, and I couldn't see any puddles. I peered again, convinced it was raining, and I just couldn't make it out. Nope, it isn't raining. I went back in the room to start changing, and went back to the window later, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Nope, it's not raining. Damn, another chilly day outside.

I told T'ai I'm cold, but he assured me that I'd be warmed up soon. I raised my eyebrows and nodded in agreement.

We partnered up and ran two laps of the soccer field with Lucy. I figured, she runs pretty easy, and I could use just a light warmup. Turns out she has shin splints, and it takes a toll on her during the running. Ok, I've got to sympathize with that.....shin splints suck, especially if you're told to run through it everyday!

I had helped T'ai bring in some neon hula hoops....when we came back he had them set up on the floor, as if they were tires..hmm, like the Knee Taps we were doing yesterday. Alternating stepping in and out of the hoops on the ground, with our knees high. The other (obstacle) course he set up was a wierd looking set of hurdles. They were low to the ground, and we were going to hurdle over them sideways, clearing the hurdle by lifting our feet high enough.

First, we went to the tennis courts and for the width of the court, we did a drill I recall from basketball training in highschool. We shimmied sideways across the court with our hands up, like a guard on defence. We did that several times. Several more times, T'ai said, now on your toes. Um, yeah, like I was on my toes all those previous times!! That's how you do the drill! So, I did more, on my toes again. Then we did fast grapevines back and forth and until I almost thought I'd trip over my own feet. My feet and calves felt the pain.

Then we split in 2 groups of 3 (small group on Thursdays). Three people were going through the hoops, and the other three doing hurdles. Then we switched.

Afterwards, we did the hoops, but with our hand weights, and then running out about 40 feet and back and repeat. We only did this three time but doing it, your shoulders start to burn halfway through, carrying those weights. I didn't lift knees up as high as the first time we went through it.

Then without our hand weights, we split into two groups again and repeated our hoops and hurdles circuit.

Apparently, T'ai hasn't worked much on our biceps yet this camp (um, then why am I sore?), so we did several different bicep exercises with our weights. Full bicep curls with a rotation/twist at the top. Partial curls from the relaxed stance to halfway up, with rotation. And starting at half-curl, going to full-curl, no rotation.

We did extra stretching today because of extra soreness. Stretched out our pecs, shoulders, and calves. I think I should be stretching my quads too...I don't think we did that today! I'll be sore at work today. Ok, I'm sore at work everyday, but I think I feel it more.

Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 8

Wild Card Wednesday! I called it Cardio Wednesday last week, I think, but it's not all cardio. Wild Card is the correct name.

We did 3 laps around the soccer field for warmup (practicing my ear-to-pocket T2 sprinting at the very end) and then did a series of matwork exercises. I guess today was mainly Pushup Day, because all the cards pulled out of the deck today were variations of pushups. We did regular pushups, Staggered Pushups (one hand higher, other hand lower), wide pushups, Spades (hands real close together). We did variations on counting: up for one, down for two, three, four, five, six seconds, then repeat; and as many as possible in one minute, just to name a few. We also did The Plank, but this time on our hands like starting a pushup, instead of our elbows. We mixed in some squats with our hand weights, some Side Lifts (on your side, leg crossed over, leg that's under is pulsed up and down to kill your inner thigh), Fire Hydrants (the peeing-dog leg lifts). Sometime in the middle of all this we went for a 1/4 mile run around the track.

It was threatening rain all morning, and was spitting ever, ever so lightly during our hour. While stretching, the rain fell harder on my face while we were on our backs. I threw my towel over my face and listened to my breathing..."hold your breath in gratitute and thinking of what your grateful for", and exhaled into the morning. I'm tired, refreshed, yet in pain.....I'm alive!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 7

Today, wasn't so bad. But my arms are just killing me!

Small group today; it's Tuesday. Eight of us. We partnered up and for warmup, we "skipped" around the soccer field together for one lap, then jogged the next lap. Then we assembled together and learned to sprint. We ran about 30 metres, maybe, at 40, 50, 60% full-sprint, several times at each percentage. We learned about "ear-to-pocket" running. Picture the melted mercury guy from Terminator know how he runs? Yeah, like that. Something about pumping your arms will open up the hips so that they want to swing forward with each pump, allowing for more efficient movement. Thumbs in the palm, fingers straight. Right hand to your ear, left hand by your pocket, left leg up, right leg propelling forward. Looks kinda dorky, but I could see how it works.

I don't think I really did 40%, 50% 60% of my full sprinting ability....I was anticipating going up to 100%, and since we were doing several sprints at each percentage, I didn't think I'd have any energy left! I guess I'll work on it when we doing our laps in the next few weeks.

Then we used our hand weights. Again, 5lbs in each hand, we did Straight Leg Dead Lifts. Weight in each hand, palms down, and while lowing the weights down past your knees, keep your back straight to feel the stretch in the hamstrings. Keep the weights always 1 inch away from your body at all times, and keep those knees stationary. And return to standing. We did Plie Lunges: weights in each hand, bring right leg back and behind the left leg (looks like you've crossed your left leg over the right leg, now), feeling the burn in the left quad and doing a bicep curl. We also did Calf Raises again by the wall. Walking Lunges across the width of the tennis courts (and jogging back -- ouch!).

That's it!

I was so shocked at how fast the hour went, I actually said out loud, "That's it?" I was expecting torture today! But despite not doing as much as I thought, my arms are soooo sore. Especially my left bicep (what gives?). My hamstrings, quads and glutes don't hurt much, even though I thought we worked those more today. Maybe yesterday's workout is just catching up to me now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Traditional Chinese Medicine

While in Puerto Rico last week, I emailed to confirm my appointment with the acupuncturist, Dr. Carr, for this past Tuesday. Free appointment (remember: it was another gift from boot camp), so I figured, why not give it a try? I'm all for Western medicine but there's got to be something to Eastern medicine, right? As a scientist but an open skeptic, I thought the experience would be interesting.

She asked me a whole bunch of questions regarding my physical well-being, if there were any aches and pains or anything significant from my head to my toes. Because I told her I'm not there for any physical reason (ie no plantar or carpal tunnel or anything), it was a pretty easy Q&A.

I did get a little emotional (really, just a LITTLE) when talking about the stresses in my life, like finding the balance between between a good wife and good mother, and keeping house, and work obigations. I mentioned I'd like to calm my anxieties and little distractions I find engrossed in that immobilize me when I'm stressed.

She went over the 5 elements in TCM (that's my title above). The cycle: Metal --> Water --> Wood --> Fire --> Earth then back to Metal. I can't remember the detail clearly now, but she said she's like to work on my Earth and Water elements. When you write the elements on paper in a circle, you can also draw a pentagon between the other elements, and they also work off each other, like a check and balance system. In this case, Earth and Water balance each other but Fire also balances Earth (and likewise, Fire also balances Water).

She related my kidneys to the Water element. On top of the kidneys are the adrenal glands, and they are responsible for providing adrenaline during stresses . If I have constant stresses, the adrenal glands are constantly working, overprocessing, and that's something that needs to be addressed.

The spleen and pancreas were related to the Earth element, which is a digestive issue. She mentioned something about eating the right foods associated with winter time, soups, stews, and drinking green tea or green/black tea chai teas which are calming and warming during the winter months. I guess by doing so, it will help balance the Water element.

And she said that because of these two elements, I could focus a bit on Fire too, which is the anxiety part, I think. She didn't really prescribe a treatment, though, that I can recall.

I agreed to two acupuncture sessions with her, and some herbal recommendations, an instant tea I can bring to work and not "cook" like so many TCM herbal remedies.

I feel better already!

Boot Camp: Day 6

The huge group was divided in 2 groups today. Our group was to run to the front of the school, and at the benches, do 50 Tricep Dips, then run back to the rear of the school, where we would work out with our weights. We did a circuit like this for the remaining of the hour, and not only did Tricep Dips twice, but also 50 Bench Pushups twice.

Those pushups weren't as polished as they should have been. When doing 50 pushups, your form is not going to be great. I don't know about the rest of them, but mine sucked. They were simply "bends". And most of the others were so fast! They must have not been doing perfect ones either. Funny, we had two ladies in the group, the older ladies I may have mentioned earlier. They were always the last to arrive at the benches and a couple of times they made us crack up and laugh because they'd come to the benches and start counting "one, two, forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty!". You can't do dips and pushups when laughing, I learned, especially if your body is to the point of exhaustion!

On our mini-runs back and forth between exercises, I befriended one girl, let's call her Jasmine. I think it may be her first bootcamp too, but she's doing a 3 day week. She has a couple of kids I think, but looks great! I think her youngest is actually older than Gabe, since she said that when her kid was 2 years old, she also felt it was a good time to start exercising more. She wasn't as fast as the rest of the group was, so it was a nice fit to be running next to someone who shared the same speed. I really liked her black pants with the small reflective strips at the side....her husband bought it. Ah, I wish!

I forgot about some of the weight exercises we did when we were at the rear of the school (I'm writing this 2 days later, and my memory is a little short!). I've now made the commitment to make sure I'm writing a new post before I leave for work, so that I can at least remember! Anything beyond 24 hours definitely gets pushed out of my mind! I do remember that we were doing quite a bit of arm work, since people were still apparently sore from Friday's workout. I just recovered that morning from Friday's workout, so working out the arms were fine with me anyways.

What will tomorrow bring?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 5 - End of Week 1

Getting up this morning was most difficult. I didn't get up until 4:45am, and didn't get dresed until 5. It wasn't raining, so I didn't have to drive as far, so I took my time.

T'ai likes to ask us questions, and if we answer right, we get free gifts. But the multiple choice question he always gives us is posed so that "c" is the only real logical answer. Our free gift today was a bottle of Udo's DHA Oil Blend and an Iso-Flex protein powder sample. Yippee! Read my post on Nutrition regarding these products.

So for warmup today, we stood in three lines, "Fast", "Medium 1", "Medium 2", and the task was fartlek training. We run in a line, with the lead person holding a baton, and the rear person sprints to the front to grab that baton to become the new leader, and so on and so forth. Three times around the soccer field, go! Man, was that difficult! From the time I grabbed that baton and became the new leader, before I knew it, I was at the end of the line again and I had to sprint forward to become the leader again! I couldn't imagine being in the "Fast" line; I chose "Medium 1". I should've joined Lucy and Catherine in the slower group! But I persisted because I didn't want to be the loser in the group. We had a 1/2 lap to go before I got to thinking I couldn't go on any longer. But I did it, don't know how.

Today we were working our glutes and quads.....lunges and squats! Woo love-to-hate exercises! We grabbed our 5lb hand weights and we did walking lunges, and walking squats. Also, stationary forward, side, rear lunges/squats too.

Oh, the burn! I'm writing this post the following day, and I'm in pain everywhere! My glutes feel perpetually tightened. (Yes, I'm now a tight ass.....LOL), my hamstrings are pulling, my quads are stiff, my back is sore, my biceps are aching, you get my drift. Good think I've got the weekend to recoup. But, got to love that burn!

Although we ran the soccer field a couple of more times during the hour, we still headed to the track for a lap. Liz, a girl who just joined the camp this morning (but she's no virgin -- it's her second time), met up with me halfway and we chatted about our half-marathons. Earlier, after one of the soccer field laps, I approached her and asked how she did in that half-marathon she said she just completed. She said 2:14, and she shaved about 5 minutes off her previous time. I had told her that I would love to run another half-marathon, but can't find the time to train, and well, I'm here at boot camp to just get some fitness, nevermind training for a run. So during the lap at the track, she was telling me that I should join the Running Room and train with them, that's what she did. I told her I would definitely consider it next time, because training for a half on your own is difficult and you have to be 120% motivated. Liz is super friendly. She reminds me of Clara Hughes, the Canadian Olympic cyclist and speed skater.

We did tricep dips at the stands of the track to end our hour.

Wow, I did one whole week so far! As difficult as it is to get up in the morning, I'm just loving coming home at 6:45 all energized. But Thank God for the weekend....I still need a rest!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 4

We gathered again together, in the parking lot, though. I had my gear ready to go as usual: my backpack carrying my hand weights, my water bottle, and towel, and my large padded exercise mat. Someone said to me, I don't think we need that today. Really? But I need to drink....and I'll sweat, so I'll need my towel. So I held on to them. Well, it looked like everyone else got the memo that we didn't need anything today either, because I was the only one strapped. I asked T'ai what we're doing today, and all I could get was a snide remark, I'll tell you at the end of the session. Wah-wah-wah....nice. I asked him if we needed anything today, and he said no. Thanks for the heads up.

So back in the car the gear went. While small talk ensued in the circle, I asked Lucy what we're doing today. Heading up to Q.E. Park. Oh. Maybe everyone else there were repeat boot campers....I'll find out next Thursday if that's the routine. Ok, Q.E. isn't too far.

There were 6 of us today. A couple of them mentioned that they did want to run. Hey, that means he planned on just walking today! Do we all run?

So, we make our way up to Q.E. Flashlights were given to the lead person and the middle person; T'ai would round out the rear to make sure we were all together. Funny, though, he WAS the lead, along with the keener in the group (I think she's done something like 4 boot camps and they had a common interest in ATV-ing or something because that's all they would ever talk about), and I was in the rear! As we walked I "chatted" a bit with Lucy and, let's call her Catherine, because she looks like one but can't remember her name.

Catherine is the person in the group who will pipe up just to pipe up. Nothing interesting or revelation-like spills out. I think she likes to hear herself talk, honestly. I, personally, think it's her way of being nervous, so she talks. Anyways, I didn't want to be unfriendly, so we chatted a bit. I was trying to carry some sort of conversation, though, and throwing her juicy bait for her to ask questions (like I mentioned I work at a microscope - oh, what do you do? - or that my son is awake by the time I rush back home - oh, how old is he?), but no biters! Lucy doesn't say anything, but I was expecting Catherine to say something.

We eventually arrived at the base of the Conservatory, and T'ai asks who wants to run. The other 3 girls said they wanted to, then he told them the route, a couple of times down and up through the rose gardens and meet at the summit. Quickly, I stepped forward and said I'll run with you, guys, and followed them. Anything to get away from the two cadavers.

The run was actually fun. I've never navigated the Park in the dark before, and if you know the park, there are so many twisted paths going the same way, and some actually taking you down back to street level. Two of us had flashlights so no accidents, save for the fallen branch we almost tripped over. And because there were some steep downhill steps, we walked a little bit, which was enough of a breather for me before starting up again.

We met at the top of the Park, in front of the Conservatory. We met the others and we went up and down some steps for a while to exercise our legs even more. Then we stretched at the benches before heading back. This time, we all started to run. It was downhill, so it was much easier. Once we got back to the school, we headed around track once.

All this running is tiring but I feel awesome at the end. I'm not as fast as I would like to be, but anything is better than before boot camp. I never realized how beautiful the morning is in the dark.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 3

It was raining today. So we headed to a local school gym. Being in there gave me the creeps for the first little while. One, it's been ages since I've been in high school, and two, I had an overwhelming feeling to find a basketball and shoot a few hoops! Also, it being a Catholic boys school, I wondered if those 4 gym walls enjoyed the female companionship...but I digress....

Since it was pouring outside, we did laps around the gym and even circuited up and down and through the halls of the school. It's Cardio Wednesday, apparently, so T'ai has a deck of cards that outline certain exercises to do. So we each take a turn going up to the front, grabbing a card, saying our name and the exercise on the card. Then the obligatory, "Yay!" follows. Ugh! We did some great exercises, with quite a few of them working our abs. The one I think I hated the most was the Tripod. Pretend you're going to do a one-handed pushup, with the other hand behind your back, your back and shoulders square to the floor. There....the Tripod. Hold for 2 minutes. Yeah, fun.

Again, we alternated the running and strength training. Whenever we were at our mats, though, I began to feel nervous. T'ai kept coming around my area and eyeing me, I just knew it. Like the time we were on our backs and "reaching for the rafters", he wanted my arms straight up, not out and over my knees. Sigh, technicality. And when he asked me while I was in position, "Can I adjust you?" (What d'ya say? I'm concentrating...) and proceeded to move my arm a particular way. Or how about when we were stretching at the end of class, "You'll isolate the muscle a bit better like this...", and twists my shoulders just so. I failed to mention he picked on me yesterday too.

Is everyone else around just that much more perfect?

Then we took our group photos afterwards. I'm sure the photo of me flexing my bicep is probably not the favourite; it was probably out of position too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 2

There weren't too many us today. Tuesday and Thursdays are for the 5-dayers....the crazies who wanted more frequent torture. There were a total of 7, plus T'ai. It was a nice change from the big group on Monday.

It was threatening rain, however, we met at the outside location anyways. For warmup, instead of going all the way down to the track, we ran around the soccer field (artificial turf) a couple of times. Next we did some core-stabilization exercises, standing in a circle on one leg while making a two-hand pass to each other with a medium sized medicine ball. Then another lap around the field. We'd continue doing other stabilization exercises like that, alternating with a run. We tossed that medicine ball while twisting, which worked our abs. We did something similar but with bouncing a tennis to each other but catching it with one hand while still standing on one leg. Sounds pretty easy, but with the ball going fast, and trying to balance, I found it tougher than thought. My arch, particularly my left foot, was aching while balancing.

And we weren't without casualties either. I managed to knock Lucy in the face while twisting and throwing that medicine ball. I didn't realize the strength I had when I threw it. She really should've stood a lot farther than she was; I almost took out her glasses too.

For me, the challenge today was to not come in last during each of the runs....I was always 2nd last coming back. I'm not up to my usual speed yet (still working on my breathing rhythm) though I still feel so slow....even Winnie, the self-professed non-exerciser, continued to outrun me. Thank goodness for Lucy being behind me...maybe she'll someday pass me, and I'll someday pass Winnie.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Boot Camp: Day 1 over.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning, anxious about the first day. Even before I left, it wasn't a terribly easy morning. I hunted around the garage for the ball pump I needed to blow up my new stability ball (hey, I still couldn't find it after two days of searching!). I found my bicycle pump, you know, the 2-foot vertical one you need two hands to pump the lever up and down while holding it steady with your feet? Try pumping using that, without a needle to insert in the ball. I spent several minutes balancing the pump, pumping with one hand, bending over to the flattened ball on the floor to place the nozzle as best I could over the air hole, while air still gushes out the side of the air actually going in the ball. It was working for a while, but to get it to 55 cm diameter was going to be painstakingly difficult. I'd miss my class if I tried.

I thought I'd text the instructor and find out if I really need the ball for today. I wrote I couldn't find my pump and my computer is broken so I couldn't check my email, and left my telephone number for him to call. I got a quick text back...."No". Okaaaaay.....he probably thinks I'm an idiot. (BTW....I'm at my parent's place, until I can resolve my computer issues....another blog altogether....)

That resolved, I thought I should eat something so to not pass out. Slice of bread and butter and a small apple for the road. Then Gabe wakes up. It's 5 am.

My 2-1/2 year old decides he wants to sleep in our room and I found out he wet his bed as well. Quick diaper change and I settle him in our room...placed pillows around him so that he won't roll over, kissed him and left the room before completely knowing if he's going back to sleep or not. I've got to leave! It's 5:15.

I got to the outside track early. The few cars in the parking lot with their headlights on tell me I've got the right location...who the heck would be out this early if not for us? I sat in the car until more cars arrive and I gathered all my things once I saw everyone do the same.

There were a few of us there, perhaps 20. One girl introduced herself to me as Tammy, looking very fit for a first timer. Then we got briefed about the camp, and went around introducing ourselves, how many boot camps we've been to, and what we're totally commmitted to accomplishing at this camp. By the time they get to me, I mention that I want to reduce my body fat composition. I say 5% would be nice, but 10% would be great (having heard a lady say that she lost 10% at the last camp). This is where I get shot down: the instructor says 1-3% is realistic and goes on with reasons why. So right away, everyone knows that I had unrealistic expectations and will not be achieving the results I had intended to get when I signed up for the program. I hunched down in disgrace while the last couple of bootcampers introduce themselves. How embarassing!

So we headed down to the actual track to warm up. Wanting to bring my water and towel, I followed up the rear of the group, still stunned by my reality check. Good thing it was still dark: my disappointment showed.

We did a couple of laps around the track as a warmup. 1/2 mile. Wasn't difficult, though it warmed me up heavily and tested my breathing. We immediately sprang into jumping jacks for several minutes. Then we did our 1-Mile-Run. 4 laps, sprint through the finish line. I used to break 10 minutes, but I'd be happy at 12 min, utterly disgusted with 15 min. I came in at 11:13. The two older ladies in the group came in last at 13:xx, so I wasn't in terrible shape.

Next up, our Strength Test. Mats out, partnered up. Tammy, the Fit One, who had lapped me at the track, already finished before I started my last lap at 8:29, had found another, more fit, friend to partner up with. I found Eve, an older lady who's never done the camp before either. The strength test is pushups, modified or standard, and have our partner spot our form. I figured I could do quite a bit at a modified position, so I would tackle the standard pushup. I used to do a few sets of 10 when I fit. Those days are gone. I did 4.

Yup, 4. I was on my way down to do 5 but couldn't push myself back up, and hovered down there before falling flat on my face. Being conservative, I earned only 4 pushups. My partner only did 7 modified pushups. While we lay there on our mats, in the freezing cold morning (it's still dark, save for a lamp post nearby), we blankly stared at everyone else still going at it. Boy, did my partner and I suck; we waited for a while.

Then we were to record our number of pushups on the chart, beside our track time. Embarassed about jotting down "4", I reach the chart and find out someone had written "12" on my spot on the chart. So T'ai, the instructor, had to announce to everyone that someone had written by the wrong name, "Cheryl". Of course, that meant that I had to scratch out that "12" and write beside it "4", so that everyone knew that I, Cheryl, was the one who only did 4 pushups. I heard someone counting to 21 pushups, at least that's where I tuned out in disgust. So now, even my shoulders sag in disgrace.

We had a nice stretch afterwards and everyone starts to leave. T'ai mentioned that he needed 3 cell phone numbers from the 5-dayers, in case he has trouble reaching us on the Tuesday or Thursday. I hadn't wanted to let him know who texted him this morning, to save me another case of embarrassment, but I wanted to be on the inside track for information, so I gave him my telephone number, again. No one else offered to give him their phone number, though none of the 5-dayers apparently showed up today (he said there were six; phew, I didn't want to be the only one!).

I was back in the car by 6:37am. 19 more days like this? God save me...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Boot Camp: Orientation/Evaluation


I had my pre-bootcamp evaluation this morning at 7:40am, which included a body composition analysis.


I arrived at the office of "My Adventrues Boot Camp" early, like requested, and waited in the rain for 10 minutes until someone opened the door. Since I was probably the last person registered for the program, it doesn't surprise me that the only timeslot left for an evaluation was the earliest appointment.

Finally, Christy, one of the assistants, unlocked the door and escorted me in, and after signing a few obligatory health questions, she proceeded to measure my height and weight. I weighed in at 135lbs this morning, much better than the 138 I had a couple of nights earlier. I attribute the 3lb difference to my empty stomach, though, but I suppose I can wipe the slate clean and draw the starting line at 135.

Then I was ushered to meet T'ai, the founder and CEO of the company, and the trainer for my 20 days of torture, er, rejuvenation. I asked him technical questions about the equipment I need to have on hand for the program (stability ball, exercise mat, 5 lb weights) while he was entering my vitat stats into his computer. Then he told me a little about the machine that would define me numerically...the FUTREX body composition analyzer. A wand delivers near-infrared light through my bicep to deliver a highly accurate reading comparable to underwater weighing. Why the bicep, I don't know. As I see it, my bicep is the least fattiest part of my body, save my ankle or my eyelid, so c'mon, bring it!

So the little machine spit out it's tape of results...


38.4%! Of fat?


Over a third of my body is fat! A third! Almost 40%! How sick is that? My fat weight is 51.9lbs while my lean weight is 83.2 lbs. I used to be at 23% body fat at one time in my life (but based on probably a less-accurate analyzer).

My BMI is 25.5, which is my Body Mass Index, based on my weight and height. Anything over 25 is considered overweight. In fact, my body fat percentage is considered Very Poor, according to my printed analysis report.


I like the fact the report even tables the "Mortality in Relation to Weight", in case I wasn't convinced that this percentage doesn't mean anything. If I can extrapolate correctly from the chart, I have a 15% chance of NOT reaching my normal life expectancy, at this point in time.

Great...I guess I shouldn't have had that small bowl of turkey stuffing a moment ago.

So among other things in the report (I need to consume 1829 calories to maintain my current weight and my below-average 48.7% water content), I'm numbed. Besides getting the real picture of my health, I guess I can only improve from here on in. So, again, bring it! Just bring it, T'ai, and I'll show your machine a thing or two about number crunching.

Friday, October 5, 2007

My first blog! - My 4 Weeks at Boot Camp

My adventures at surviving a daily fitness boot-camp, 5 days a week, before the sun rises at 5:30 am.

Ok, do all bloggers begin their first blog like that? As if we're embarking on this unknown road of school-girl giggles and coos? So what if I do feel like a giddy girl? My impression is that everyone blogs, and I have yet to jump on the coattails of this wondrous frivolity. Yet, as everyone seems to be video blogging more than ever, perhaps I'm still one step behind by typing my escapades.

Nonetheless, I'm here. And the reason I'm even here is because I did something ridiculous today (or yesterday - Oct 4 - fittingly, also apparently International Bloggers Day). Yes, I joined a boot camp. Not a military boot camp, though, I could probably use the discipline in my lazy life, but the notorious fitness boot camp.

Why? I'm fat. Fat?!? You've got to be kidding me, you say. You?!? If you're fat, I'm fat, you're saying. Whatever! It's all perception, my dear, and frankly, if I perceive myself to be a wide, waddling hippo, then I am.

But why boot camp? Well, on November 2nd, I leave for a Caribbean cruise. I've got a month to slim down. That's not a lot of wiggle room for a hippo like me. I considered joining the gym at work, but am I really going to get the benefits by November? Really? I'm a realist, I suppose. Yup, a realist who thinks that in one month she's going to take off the pounds that 9 months of gestation and 2-1/2 years of motherhood bestowed on her.

Should I even mention where I am right now?'s probably a no-no in women's circles, but if I don't mention numbers, there's not much of an audience grabber (unless I post pics.....). Ok, I'm 138 lbs, as of 2 days ago. I was about that, um, when I was 6 months pregnant, or so. I did reach 133 lbs at one point, but apparently somewhere along the way, my body stopped cooperating. I notice I was hungrier more often....

But that's it! I've had enough! Come Monday morning, Oct 8, I start my Road to Recovery (and no more kidding myself). Yes, I, Cheryl, will rise up early and exercise/be ambushed, every day for four weeks, at freakin' early 5:30am and sweat the pounds off and emerge.....

...what, brand new? Healthier, sure, but to what avail? Will I be less stressed, more restful, have a calmer approach to day-to-day life? Hopefully. Even if all else fails, and I'm still a stressful, angst-ridden, insomniac, at least I'll be one wearing my skinny jeans again!