What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Working out sucks. Anybody that tells me working out makes you happier and gives you more energy is a lying liar who lies.
People talk about the endorphin rush and the burst of good feelings radiating through their bodies as they break the wall and go for the gold or whatever Gatorade commercials are about.
I’ve heard it so often, “Workout and get that good natural feeling of euphoria!” I imagined the moment where I pushed my body further than it had ever been pushed before. I saw myself dramatically tossing various prescribed pills yelling, “I don’t need these! I’m high on Jesus and burpees!” It was going to be awesome.
Then boot camp happened. It is not awesome. Actually, I think I’m allergic.
The death ropes
Despite not being a "gym person," I’ve always wanted to do a boot camp. Then again if I wanted to wake up at an ungodly hour just to be yelled at, I’d ask my mom to do it -- more often. But I told myself I'd get in some respectable shape by August and a new 9:30 AM class was right up my alley. I decided to go ahead and register.
On the first day, I was actually kind of excited. I ate breakfast, which I hardly ever do. I put on my most “I am an athlete but I am also humble and thoughtful” workout outfit -- a pair of leggings and my brother’s old 5K T-shirt.
When I got to the facility, I was cocky. Looking around it was clear I was one of the youngest people there and the most visibly fit. Plus I'd been killing all the levels on the Wii boxing game I’d been using to “work out” the last few weeks. I could so do this.
Daniel the MC of bootcamp
After his welcome speech, Daniel, the absolutely adorable trainer, put us through a few warm-up exercises. I was feeling so confident that when he said lunge, I was lunging for my life! High knees? My knees were pointed toward heaven! I threw in a few extra stretches just to let everyone in the room know that I meant business.
I was so on it that I came in first in the race from the parking lot to the hill across the street -- twice! Sweat was glistening off my body. It was awesome. What an amazing workout. I gulped the water from the bottle I brought and mopped my brown dramatically. Great class! I’ll see you guys tomorrow.
I’m sorry what’s that? What do you mean that was just the warm-up? THERE’S MORE???
While we were out running for our freedom, Daniel had turned the entire studio into a medieval torture chamber. There were giant rubber bands hanging on the wall, huge ropes weighted with sand bags on the floor and what looked like gigantic coasters next to some mats.
As Daniel went around the room and demonstrated each station, I was trying to figure out how to slip out the door and into my car without being noticed. I started inching toward the cubby with my keys when the woman next to me, said, “Is this your first time? Don’t be scared!”
Psh. Scared? I ain’t scared of no stinking workout.
Except when Daniel turned back to us and said, “OK, people. Let’s go,” I might have peed a little.
Remember when I said I was the youngest and the most visibly fit in the class? Forget I said that. These women were kicking my young ass. Everyone was helpful and corrected me when I was waving the gigantic ropes wrong or when my squats weren’t quite as squat-y as they should have been. I realized that in all my years of solo "working out," I wasn’t really doing anything. I was just playing.
But eventually, instead of comparing myself to the people around me, I really wanted to see how far I could push myself. It had been so long since I’d worked my body this hard (with my clothes on. Hey-o!) and I was completely overtaken by what it was capable of doing. It'd been years and I was shocked. I was also shocked at how quickly the time flew by.
The next day, I could barely walk, but weirdly, I love feeling sore after a work out. It feels like proof or something. And despite feeling like I went toe to toe with a tank, I was looking forward to Day 2 of boot camp.
I know me, though. I know that there would probably come a day where I didn’t feel like going and then that day will turn to two and those two would turn into June and that will be the end of that. I decided to enlist a friend to come with me.
So the next morning, when I dropped Boogie off at school, I told a couple of the moms about it. One of the moms, Buki, had been working out on her own and really needed the group motivation. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the class until I started trying to convince her to join me. When she agreed, I was so excited I didn't realize she wanted to take the 5 am class, not the 9:30 one.
The early morning drive to the torture chamber.
It’s still dark at 5 am. You know what that means? God is still asleep. And for the last week, I’ve been getting up at 4:30 every morning so I can make the class on time. All week, I’ve been awake before God!
And I look forward to it! I go to bed a lot earlier than I ever have. Which means I’m sleeping more. I’m eating better. I’ve even noticed myself getting stronger. When I first got there, I took a break after each station to catch my breath and drink water and stare at Daniel’s perfect calves.
Now, I don't need as many breaks and I don’t take the time to stare at Daniel because I hate him now. He is my enemy.
But I do love the class. I doubt I can afford to keep up with it after the 30 days are up, but I have learned a lot about myself in just over a week.
I’ve learned to keep going no matter how tired or sweaty I am. I can do at least one more station and one more rep. I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. I’ve learned that though my body doesn’t look like what I want it to look like and probably never will, it's capable of accomplishing more than I ever imagined. I love this extraordinary machine and I’m grateful for it.
That said, my legs better look amazing by June.