Bootstrap adventure to your summer break

2012-10-10 09:14
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Of all the unpleasant things this world has to offer, the combination of waking up before 6am and then having to do a bout of rigorous exercise has got to rank somewhere in the top 10 worst. Things. Ever.

Or so I thought as recently as last week. My leisurely existence ended abruptly after getting roped into a four-week Adventure Boot Camp for women.

Not entirely sold on this wildly popular (with other women) training regime, since the last time I actually participated in a regular, supervised exercise routine was during enforced school hockey practice (by now you can tell I'm a far cry from the sporty kind!), the flames of my apprehension were further fueled by an ever-traitorous imagination.

Visions of butch, mean-girls and slinky-models-who-never-break-a-sweat ahead of me at the back of the pack huffing, puffing and turning red kept popping up. Not to mention the menacing presence of a scary, heavy-set sergeant major-esque woman yelling abuse and sjambok-whipping me along. Eek!

Nevertheless, when the first Monday of training rolled around, I was up, armed with a pair of bright pink dumbbells and a tattered camping/yoga mat, ready to rock that boot camp before the Mother City sky had even lost its greyish early morning haze.

And so the scene was set for one of the more pleasant surprises of my sporting life. Walking onto the St Cyprians school terrain in Oranjezicht - my morning nemesis for the next four weeks - I was met with a placid picture of ordinary, slightly groggy women of all ages, sizes and fitness levels congregating around our vibrant, humorous and bright-eyed instructor, Shelley, who was heartily congratulating each one for being there that early.

After a few more words of welcome we launched into a pleasant, even gentle, introductory class. While working through the basic series of exercises on the cards for next four weeks - think lunges, crunches, star jumps, power walking, jogging - Shelley informed us that although we were now hardly able to complete a set of ten, or exceed a time of 30 seconds, by our last class we would hardly blink at doing forty reps or clocking 2 minutes of each exercise.

Of course, having finished only my very first week of training, this still seems a rather far off achievement, as sitting down, standing up, lifting an arm... hell! even typing sends stiff stings throughout my poor body.

But, I can tell you one thing: I already feel a whole lot healthier, more energetic and productive throughout the day... and, I might be imagining this, but I swear I can feel my calves sprouting sleek, little muscles as I write. Aaah, well, guess I can only hope!

As for the early mornings... well, I wouldn't say they get easier, but after the first week you would at least have settled into a routine.

So, whether you've been slaving away in a gym or just doing nothing (like me), I strongly recommend stepping out into the sunshine and treating yourself to Adventure Boot Camp's special blend of vitamin D enriched, camaraderie-tinged endorphins.

The low down:

Where: Adventure Boot Camps take place all across the country in various locations. The Western Cape alone offers 20 camps, while Gauteng already boasts 22.

Who: Women of any fitness level, size, and personality. No one gets left behind and you're guaranteed to make some good friends.

When: Monday through Friday for an hour over four weeks. You can choose between doing a morning class (generally between 6 and 7 am) or an afternoon class (generally between 6 and 7pm) and have the option of doing it three or five days a week.

Exercises: Core conditioning, short distance running, muscular strength, jumping rope, circuit training, fitness kick boxing, Pilates, sports drills, obstacle courses and mat work. Surprise treats like hikes up Lion's Head and optional weekend activities also form part of the program.

What you need: A mat, small hand weights (1.5 - 3 kg), a water bottle, running shoes and a sense of adventure.

Cost: For the three day option - R560 and the full week - R690. And the more boot camps you attend, the cheaper it gets! So, don't give up after round one!

If you're keen to get started right now, you're in luck! Registration for the current four week camp happening across the country closes at midnight tonight. In this case it would be advisable to opt for the three days a week option. The camp end Friday, 16 December.

Alternatively, make the most of the festive season... and then start sweating it off with the next camp that starts on 9 January.

For more information visit the Adventure Boot Camp website.

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