Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Adventures with Camp Gladiator - Week 1

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Camp Gladiator Day 1  - listening for instructions for our next challenge

Well, I am proud to say I completed 2 days of boot camp this week.  I honestly didn't think I had it in me but there is a little bit of an accountability that comes with writing this blog so that helps.  Even staying awake long enough to write this is a major accomplishment in itself! 

Day 1:

So the night before my first day I was more anxious than I thought I would have been.  I didn't sleep well at all so even though I was signed up for an 8:30 group, I had a hard time getting up and getting out the door.  They used to have a sign on the door of one of the gyms I worked out at (many years ago) that read something like "Getting here is the hardest part".  Again, this was a couple years ago so that may not have been the exact wording but you get the point.  I think before I am actually dressed and out the door I've had a million excuses run through my head of why today's just not the day.  But once I got to the camp I was greeted by Brandon Brickley, one of the head trainers with a smile on his face that makes you feel completely at ease.  I am working out at the soccer fields across from Hill Country Bible Church, one of their many locations in Northwest Austin.  There were probably about 15 people at my session this morning.  I've heard the downtown locations, especially the Saturday camps can have up to 100 people! WOW!  I brought my cute little purple 5 lb weights, a towel, and a water bottle.  They suggest that you bring a mat but since I had the inside scoop, I knew I wanted to borrow a mat that morning and wait to buy a Camp Gladiator custom mat from the trainer that first day.  For relatively the same price as the mats you find in the store, you get a much thicker mat that was created by the trainers specifically for CG which makes a HUGE difference if you find yourself working out on a hard surface like a parking garage or a parking lot.  There were a handful of other "newbies" with me but most of the attendees were CG veterans.  Some had been coming for several months and it was obvious, others it was their second or third time.  Clearly they liked it enough to come back for more!  I tried to stick by the newbies and shy away from the obvious veterans, but Brandon did a great job of mixing it up and having us get to know new people.  We did a couple of laps and exercises where we were assigned to pair up with someone we didn't know and get to know them while we worked out.  It not only makes the session more fun to talk and get to know the people around you but as you find yourself wanting to slow down or stop, the people who you've just met are right there beside you to cheer you on and encourage you to go a little bit more.  So far Brandon has been nothing like the drill sergeant I envisioned and most of the other campers are not the body builders I feared would be working out along beside me... most of them.  Brandon gave the newbies the speech about how these workouts are designed to be tough, no matter the skill level.  If they are too easy then you are probably not doing them correctly.  But most importantly, he reminded us that while we should be pushing ourselves, we need to pay attention to our bodies before we listen to him.  That was comforting to know they aren't going to give you an extra set of push ups for not keeping up with your neighbors beside you.

Playing a game of "Over and Under"

We did some light exercises to work on our conditioning and then broke into two teams where we played a few different games.  The games accomplish two things in my mind, one it brings out everyone's competitive nature and two it brings out the natural encouraging mentality from your teammates.  Since I don't want to be the weakest link on my team I find myself keeping up to the best of my abilities and working as hard as I can to succeed at each challenge.  Working out and having fun!  I'm by far not the strongest or the fastest one out there but it doesn't seem to matter to anyone around me.

Your Fairy Godmother in workout mode

Day 2:

I think I can feel an ache in every muscle area of my body.  It actually could have been a lot worse but I had plenty to do in the time between Day 1 and Day 2 that kept me moving around and kept me from tightening up too much.  I showed up to camp and it was in the mid 50's outside.  To the veterans this feels good.  They tell me stories of how they worked out in the snow, and in freezing temperatures over the winter.  Camp Gladiator doesn't shut down for any inclement weather!  Just like your friendly neighborhood mailman, they are there for you rain, sleet, or snow.

Oh and I got my new mat in this morning! Good thing because today we worked out in the parking lot.  Very early into the session Brandon handed out little 3x5 index cards and the veterans start to groan.  That's not a good sign!  Apparently today is our Fitness Assessment Test.  We had to record how many push-ups and sit ups we could do in a minute.  Then we had a timed obstacle course set up.  Keep in mind, I'm not a trainer so I'm going to do my best describing my workouts and I'm sure they all have very technical terms for it all.  I don't know what they are so bear with me.  We started out with a run around the parking lot, probably equal to just under a quarter mile, then did a series of 40 high knee steps, 30 crunches, 20 knee to elbow moves, 10 of some other exercise and 5 grass drills and then one more lap around the parking lot.  I told you I would do my best!  By the way, you may notice I didn't get any pictures in today. When I thought about writing this blog, in my head I thought it would be simple to snap a few pictures here and there.  Well, unfortunately snapping pictures is a long way away in the priority list compared to something like oh... breathing.  With that being said, today was a completely focused on breathing kind of day.  Brandon stood at the end and gave us our times as we sprinted/jogged/walked/barely crawled over the finish line.  That was me at the end, practically crawling over the finish line and bringing up the rear of the group with a stellar time of 7minutes and 40 seconds.  Remember my sister that I talked about last week, she was one of the first ones to cross the finish line and was already working on her second round of doing the test again by the time I crossed.  The way I see it though is to say let's not set my standard too high and leave PLENTY of room for improvement over the next three weeks. 
Not exactly bragging rights

After our Fitness Assessment Test, we played a bowling game that included another series of workouts and a lap around the parking lot.  One of the sets we had to do was a move called the scorpion.  You get in a push-up position, pull your knee up to the opposite elbow (or try to anyway) and then in one graceful swoop swing that leg and (same side) arm back around and behind you so that you are now facing almost up to the sky.  Keep in mind this took place after our fitness test.  I wish I had a video to show you of me attempting to do several reps of that.  It's not exactly my finest moment.  I know I said this on Day 1 but I love when we play games.  They really are a great way to workout without thinking about how hard you are really working.  Something I had just finished doing for the last 7 minutes and 40 seconds.

You know how when you start a new fitness routine and the first time you really work out and really push yourself you can feel the aches and pains for the next few days?  Well that was definitely me.  If it were any other circumstance such as me going to the gym, I would have easily found excuses that prohibited me from working out today.  I certainly wouldn't have attempted to do any push ups or situps!  But that is the difference in going to do your same routine you've been doing at the gym for however many days/months/years you've been going.  For most those routines leave you with little to no results and even less motivation.  I did more today than I have ever made myself do, especially for a "day 2" and as pathetic as I may have looked I am proud to say I finished.  Now I have next week to look forward to and I'm adding a third day of boot camp to my week.

As a side note... Campers were invited to a social night at a frozen yogurt place this week too.  It seems odd since most people who are doing this are trying to lose weight and get in shape and therefore would normally go on a diet that would eliminate things like frozen yogurt from your social life.  On the contrary though, this is just an example of how extreme dieting is just not realistic and you are much better off making good choices in what you eat.  So instead of going out for a huge milk shake you opt for a frozen yogurt and avoid becoming the unhappy person obsessed with the fact that every candy bar you pass is calling out to you.  I like that CG is promoting a fun and healthy lifestyle even outside of the camp.

Angel Carter

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