Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Brand New Version Of The Old Me

It's been 14 weeks since I first signed on to do my first boot camp with Life Personal Fitness in Mount Maunganui. The camp is run by Luis Moresco and Dawn Kiddie. Have a look at what we did by clicking on VIEW VIDEO.

I was apprehensive at first because although I've been doing yoga almost daily for over a year, my fitness level was pretty low, particularly my cardio. I couldn't run non stop from my house to the gym across the road (about a hundred yards) without dying.

But the good thing was that just about everyone was in the same boat. There's something really good about training with people who are at the same level as you are - and I discovered my hidden competitive side. I didn't EVER want to be the last person in any challenge. So I pushed myself harder than I would if I was doing it on my own.

The first 5 weeks were definitely the hardest. We did a lot of burpees and press ups - which I really hated at first but now I have come to appreciate just how effective they are. I enjoyed the weight lifting portion of the boot camp but I really dreaded the running, particularly the long distance runs around the rugby field. I was always surprised when I would finish them without stopping (my competitive nature forced me to keep going so no one would pass me). I discovered that I was actually quite a good sprinter. I didn't mind the fast bursts but struggled with the endurance. It's great when you discover things about yourself you didn't know. I was changing the way I looked at fitness. I am a natural sprinter!

Halfway through boot camp I noticed a significant improvement in my cardio. I still dreaded the long distance runs but discovered that it was all in my head! I could do them but I talked myself out of it. So I started focusing on the person's feet in front of me creating a rhythm for me to follow - so long as I didn't fall behind, I would be okay (I also didn't want anyone catching up to me). It was a game I played to keep going. But once I lost focus or concentration, the negative thoughts would creep into my head and I'd start thinking about how much I hated running and I'd stop! It was so frustrating! But I was determined to keep trying and eventually I figured out that music was the answer, upbeat happy music.

But it wasn't all horrible. Luis and Dawn made the camps fun - they organized extra fitness opportunities to do on the weekends - whether it was an extra training session on the beach or a weekend away. We did one of the world's best top 10 day treks - the Tongariro Crossing - a 19km hike to the top of an active volcano. They say it takes about 8 hours - but we did it in 5 1/2. Challenging but what an experience! I would not have had the fitness to do it without boot camp.

At the end of 11 weeks we ran 9km along the beach - I did it in 46 minutes without stopping (thanks to my running tunes and my running partner Jo). I still can't believe it. I transformed my body from fat to fit. I lost 8% body fat, 4kg fat mass and gained 2kg of muscle mass. I finally got my waist back - losing a total of 11cm off my mid rift! I feel like I got rid of that horrible fat suit I was trapped in. When I started boot camp I didn't look fat, I was just soft and flabby. I didn't have much weight to lose, my goal was to tone and increase my cardio.

Now I just need to maintain what I achieved which is so much easier than starting back at the beginning. The other day I did a pump class at the gym with my work out buddy and running partner Jo. After the class neither of us were puffed or sweating profusely so we thought we hadn't pushed ourselves hard enough... but realized it's because we are actually really fit! We do a hard hill run every week and have increased the cardio classes at the gym. In a few weeks we're going to run another 10K and now I'm not really intimidated by it. I just might be tempted to do a triathlon next!

So if any of you out there are thinking about getting fit but don't know where to start, I can highly recommend trying a boot camp. You need to be disciplined, determined and focused on how great you will feel when it's all over but you'll never ever regret it. In three short months you can transform yourself - in the grand scheme of things, that's no time at all. An hour of exercise every day - that's it!

I haven't felt this good in a very long time. I'm fitter now than I was 10 years ago. Thank you Luis Moresco and Dawn Kiddie and Life Personal Fitness. Don't limit your challenge, challenge your limit!

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