boot camp

Peggy, Week 8: Day Two of Boot Camp

peggy avagliano

To be fair to the Island Gym, the boot camp is actually called AOS, or Art of Strength. Anyone in their twenties might refer to it by this name, although I think I will still call it boot camp. Putting in three workouts per week is a challenge with my work schedule and boot camp has only limited hours. Since I begin work at 7 am, and had two late night meetings, I had to go in Saturday morning in order to get in three workouts.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I was running the Atlantic Medical Imaging Foundation’s annual singing fashion show and basket raffle at 11 am. (AMI Foundation is a charity which provides money to various health and wellness related organizations in South New Jersey. Each year, the fashion show proceeds get split three ways: the AMI Foundation, and two charities we choose.) That meant I had to get my workout in at 7 am.

I arrived at the gym about 5 minutes before the start of the session. Today’s instructor was Shiloh. The class was small, only 5 women. He told us to start by doing 20 push-ups.

Twenty push-ups?! Obviously, this is not the program for couch potatoes! I informed Shiloh that I could not do 20 push-ups. He said I could do “girl push-ups” on my knees. Since everyone else was ready to begin when I had done 10 “girl push-ups” to their 20 regular push-ups, he decided to let me go this one time, and we began.

Boot Camp is a series of stations: giant shoelaces, called ropes; a looped rope which hangs from the ceiling, which you hold for balance while doing squats; kettle bells, which you swing through your legs and put in front of you. Interspersed between them are standard mat workouts and traditional weights. There were 6 stations and only 5 of us in the class. We did each station for 1 minute, and then did calisthenics before moving on to the next station. Some stations were harder than others. And we had to do the circuits four times! Shiloh asked us to end the class with 50 sit-ups and 20 push-ups.

After everyone else left, he told me that he’d let me go–just this once–having done about half the required amount. I went home to shower, for the Images of Springtime fashion show. Thank God, I am only the speaker, and do not have to walk down the runway.

Have you ever done a boot camp-style class? Was it tougher or easier than this? Post a comment and tell me about it.

Peggy, Week 7: Can We Survive This Workout?


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When Family Circle told us that the family was getting a gym membership, I had visions of going on the elliptical trainer and maybe taking a Zumba class with Amanda. I was not expecting Boot Camp. But that’s where we ended up at Island Gym.

The head coach, Jason, had big gun and a six-pack to match. He took our measurements, before photos and explained his ideas about weight loss and exercise. He believes the only way to lose weight involves consuming protein shakes, lean protein and only vegetables that are green. (Not exactly the plan we are following, but I have heard this extreme idea before.) He also told me that if I come three times a week, I will lose 45 pounds in three months!

To be honest, by the time the intake forms were done, which took about an hour, most of us were thinking about going home. But my son was excited about the program for the first time. What 17-year-old boy does not want to be cut up?

Jason thought we should do an introduction work out to see where we were starting. The trainer of the day was Pete, who introduced us to kettle bells. Theses weights are reminiscent of a metal ball with a bucket handle, which we were supposed to lift over our heads. We also worked out with ropes: think of the shoelaces worn by the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. You are supposed to move them up and down in a wave pattern, while squatting and standing up on a large tire. The introduction ended with abdominal workout reminiscent of high school.

Peter had just had a cortisone shot in his knee, and the workout did not leave his knee feeling better.  Michael loved the idea of being cut-up by the start of college, and decided to try the protein shakes. Amanda is willing to try, which is a lot coming form a fifteen year old. The introduction session ended, and we went home a little sore, but we finished.

Do you think we should stick it out? Post a comment and let me know.