I'll Try Anything Once: Five Day Barry's Bootcamp

It's true what's said about former heavyweights struggling with feeling heavy regardless of weight loss. Truth be told, I feel it everyday.
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Publish date:
January 4, 2012
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bettie page, pretty in the past

I have been on the job at xoJane for exactly six months. I sit a lot. In truth, I've never sat this much in my life. I spend a fair amount of time running from Jane's office to my seat (as well as around the city) but certainly not enough to make up for all my ass-in-chair time.

Prior to Jane, I worked at a job where I was on my feet 9 hours a day. My body had forgotten about being "sedentary" until recently. Becoming reaquainted with the concept, my body (and man booty) seem to be gladly adapting to it far too easily.

I'm not paranoid (well, not terribly paranoid) about the softer curves that have been slowly replacing the once firm, more angular parts, I know I will get back on track. But having been a former heavy kid, I do think about what would happen if the scale ever reached the heights it did back in my Cheeto scarfing/Mountain Dew slamming, chubster heyday. (for the record, there was nothing wrong with that kid, except the fact he was horribly unhealthy and slowly killing himself). It's true what's said about former heavyweights struggling with feeling heavy regardless of weightloss. Truth be told, I feel it everyday.

I can cut myself some slack. It's been holiday time. I was horribly stressed about my cat. Work was/is busy. That all adds up to a huge motivation suck. It was depressing me. I needed/wanted a drastic jumpstart. Something that I would feel truly compelled to show up for. Enter Barry's Bootcamp.

I believe there's a lot to be gained from pushing our physical and mental limits past what we perceive those limits to be in order to evolve past where we currently sit. It's essential to physical and mental evolution, at least to me. I've felt uninspired by the treadmills and free weights at the gym (I can't afford a trainer), I've grown bored of the home workouts I own (they are good, but, been there done that). I needed something new to the market, never tried before by me and scary sounding. I found it.

Barry's Bootcamp 5 Day Academy KICKED MY ASS (and Julie's, she joined me on this physical challenge)! It's a 5 day physical and mental obstacle course of sorts. Just when you think you are going to get a rest during any part of the one hour class, you realize you aren't and you have to dig down deep (REALY DEEP) to carry on. It was one of the most intense physical challenges of my athletic life so far.

Each class is set up so that you either start on a treadmill or the floor (we preferred to run first, not sure why). While Julie and I were running up inclines that felt like we were tearing up the sides of mountains, others were burning it up on the foor. After about ten minutes, you switch. We would claim a spot on the floor for weight or band work and abs. Ten minutes pass and it's back on the treadmill. You get the picture. It's hard.

Day 1: Arms and Abs- I wanted to quit through most of the workout, I really did. I felt nauseous and think I cried a little during most of the ab work. But at the end my feeling of accomplishment eclipsed any of the discomfort.

Day 2: Butt and legs- Since the top of me was so sore from the previous day, I was looking forward to working the lower half. I still cried a little for sure, but knowing I was tightening up one of my favorite parts to flaunt, I was happy and focused to the end.

Day 3: Chest and Abs- OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Seriously, ow.

Day 4: Back and shoulders- As it turns out this was one of my strongest classes. Who knew I had such a herculean back? ROAR!

Day 5: Full Body- By the end of this class I wanted to kiss and hug every single person in the room (and hump a couple). Besides the fact that the sweaty, hot, super-charged (sexually charged) atmosphere had me totally worked up, I knew I had accomplished what I set out to and I wasn't in a downward spiral back to unhealthy habits.

Barry's Bootcamp (or any similar program) are only as good as the instructors. We had two MAJORLY AWESOME trainers over the course of the week. On Tuesday and Thursday we were led by the amazing trainer/fitness model, Natalie Uhling. She has a pilates background as well as dance. She is a firm believer in core strength, long beautiful lines, flexibility and endurance. She is an amazing motivator as well. If you aren't working it, you'll hear about it. Speaking to her after class she was sure to point out that anyone can do this, no matter what body type or level of fitness. She (and all the instructors) will help you modify the hour long sweat-a-thon to make sure you are not overdoing it but still pushing your limits. She rocks.

Model and Celebrity Trainer, Keoni Hudoba was our instructor Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He's so awesome. Besides being BEAUTIFUL, he has a pretty incredible transformation story of his own. He went from being a 320 pound, incredibly unhealthy, classically trained singer to one of the fittest people I've met. Keoni is a motivating powerhouse with a generous spirit. He believes in paying forward the fitness gift he was given that ultimately changed his life.

When I asked him about his teaching philosophy he says simply, "I don't take 'no', or 'I can't' from anyone. I am extraordinarily passionate but also compassionate. Listen, you aren't paying for a class to sit around and not move your ass and work your ass off. You are there for a reason. To make yourself feel better. I won't be the teacher who let's anyone get away with wasting their money by not trying in my class."

He also believes in cheat days. (He kept mentioning fried chicken- I indulged in KFC that night!) His cheating philsophy is simple, "Cheat! DO IT! But keep track of those cheat times. Keep track of everything. If you do cheat, be honest about it so you are prepared to work it off the next day."

I love him.

At the end of this entire process, I felt like myself again, mentally and physically. Julie and I made it through the 5 days, the early hours, the stiff muscles and hard core mental training. We met two focused and incredibly motivating teachers. It was perfectly perfect for me (and Julie).

At the end of the day this isn't just about fitness. If your inner voice tells you you need a jump-start in any area of life, listen to that voice and honor yourself. Put your happiness first and keep your eye on your unique path to achieve whatever it is you want (simple or complicated). Whether you are 15, 25, 35 or 85. Underweight, overweight, obese, whatever. Do what's best for you to be HEALTHY. Find your bootcamp, literal or otherwise, to kick your ass back into the game.

All Barry's Bootcamp classes are one hour, and each class includes 25 to 30 minutes of interval cardiovascular routines on the treadmills and 25-30 minutes of strength training using free weights and other equipment. The floor work focuses on a different major muscle group each day allowing clients to develop a targeted program, or to attend Monday through Friday for an ideal well-balanced workout routine (see below for weekly schedule). Instructors will vary the workouts from two 30 minute segments one day to four 15 minute segments another and even multiple short segments moving the class from treadmill to the floor every 5 minutes. The idea is to continually “shock” the body as research demonstrates that it is the most efficient and effective way to improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight and build muscle. The endless variety of exercises and instructor styles insures that no two classes are the same, and that every class feels new and exciting.