I survived boot camp

2010-11-26 00:00

NOT the exercise junkie that I would like to be, I found myself on the brink of death after the first day of boot camp with biokeneticist Kirsten Hansen.

To prove that things get better, I was offered the opportunity of participating in the four-week boot-camp programme at Grace College in Hilton.

This, however, meant waking up at 4.45 am to trudge around carrying three to five-kilogram sandbags and tyres.

Being the person I am, I agreed.

After the third day, as Hansen had assured, I felt like the Energiser bunny on a diet of Popeye-branded canned spinach. While there were days that were more labourious than others and endless whining, the team spirit from fellow boot-campers and Hansen made it fun despite the aching muscles and failing limbs.

A participant and I even created our own boot-camp rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive to save us from falling over while doing uphill lunges holding sandbags.

All in all, it was a memorable and somewhat masochistically enjoyable experience, but I’m not sure whether I would do it again.

HARDEST PART: Getting out of bed.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Every morning Hansen sets challenges in which you count how many push-ups, stomach crunches and squats you can do in a minute. On the first day, I could barely do 10 pushups but towards the end, I could do 47 in a minute.

FUNNIEST MOMENT: Due to not waking up one morning I joined the Howick afternoon class to catch up. Unbeknown to me, the group was in its fourth week of their second month, which meant their training was more intense than what I had become used to. While doing what I call a spiderman crawl across the Howick Junior School field, I thought that no one was watching and crawl- ed on all fours instead, only to turn around and see eyes on me.

WORST MOMENT: Boot-camping in the rain. Unfortunately, rain in Hilton is as common as the flu, so be prepared to have mud in your car and lots of washing.

BEST THING: Everybody works at their own pace with the fitter types motivating those lagging behind but not pressurising them to do what they are unable to.

RESULTS: I found that my strength definitely increased and by the end I was able to do almost double what I was able to when I began. My weight remained the same, but I had lost several centimetres with an increase in muscle mass. Another participant lost 3,4 kilograms as well as eight centimetres on his hips, seven centimetres off his chest and four centimetres off his waist in four weeks.

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