Our First Experience at Burn Boot Camp

Endurance is the name of the game at Charlotte's Burn Boot Camp.

I’m not much of a dancer, and I don’t follow most fads (I usually find out about things way late in the game), but I found myself thinking back to this dance that used to be popular when I was younger: the Fred Sanford. The dance mimicked the way the character Fred Sanford, from the show "Sanford and Son," used to dramatically clutch his chest and stagger around as if he were suffering from a heart attack — also known as “the big one” as he would call it. Fred was known to put on this act whenever he wanted to create a diversion, either to get out of a bad situation or because ol’ Fred wanted some attention. This dance had everyone jerking around with one hand on their chest, like Fred, with the other arm extended out (likely to increase the dramatic effect) and their legs stiff and robotic-like.

I don’t recall ever doing that dance in public, but if you saw me at any point last week you would have thought I was bringing the Fred Sanford dance back, but at least I can say that I kept my promise. Oh, don't know what I'm talking about? Remember that promise I made two blogs ago that I would get out of my comfort zone and attend one of those intense fitness classes that I was avoiding? Well, I did it. I went. And I have the funny walk (and a photo) to prove it.

I had a pretty stressful couple of days last week. I spent several hours driving to Ohio and back to attend to some court matters concerning my daughter and her father. I’m happy to say that my day in court went well. I felt empowered, I felt that my voice was heard and I felt that the process didn’t let me or my daughter down. Victory feels good. Justice feels even better. And let me just say, that this had been a three year ordeal, so nothing to sneeze at. But, even though I was on the “right side” of things regarding this hearing, the process still took its toll. I knew that when all was said and done I would need a release.

A friend of mine stated to me that sometimes matters of the court all comes down to endurance. Can you stick it out? Or will you fold under the pressure? Under the illusion of defeat? I didn’t. That’s exactly why I felt ready to take my first Burn Boot Camp class, to further act on this strength I felt. I truly wanted to honor this milestone and keep the momentum going. So, after returning home from Ohio, Lena and I decided we’d attend the boot camp class together.

It was a Wednesday, 6:45ish p.m. when we walked into the Burn Boot Camp studio on East Seventh Street, Charlotte. I was pretty psyched to attend the class because I had been talking to a colleague about the Fit Family Challenge and my colleague mentioned that she had recently registered for classes at Burn Boot Camp as well. She’d share updates about her experiences and how she felt after having completed the classes. It definitely sounded like something I wouldn’t normally do, but it was something I was willing to try. My colleague raved about how effective she felt the workouts were, activating her muscles and building her endurance.

Lena and I were late to the class, hence our 6:45ish arrival time, so when we arrived the class was pretty full. Everyone was well into the routine for the day. It was a leg day, so there was this circuit of donkey kicks, squats and other stuff that increased in complexity with every repetition. Kyle, our very awesome instructor, was welcoming and helped me jump right in. The woman working out next to me was very helpful as well. Kyle was prepared to have Lena do some modified versions of our workout routine so she could be included, but Lena was a little reluctant. Instead, she helped me keep count and she did a wonderful job letting me know if I didn’t reach my goal. Accountability – you have to appreciate that.

After working my way through so many reps of the leg circuit, sweat started to drip from my face. Lena was pretty fascinated. She pointed at my sweat and said, “Mommy, you’re sweating. A lot.” I don’t typically sweat that much or that fast after an exercise. It was kind of cool to be able to show my daughter that I sweat. That girls sweat. Lena soon decided that she would join me doing some of the donkey kicks. I guess it looked fun and easy enough to her. I was proud of Lena for joining in and proud of myself for being the example for her.

Accountability. I said I appreciated it – and I do – but let me tell you how accountability shows up in boot camp. Kyle explained to us that during the next activity, we would pair up with a fellow boot camper and alternate exercises with our partner. It was our job to encourage and will each other to make it through our assigned exercise for the time duration given without stopping short, or else the clock would start over for our team. The pressure! I was so nervous for my partner and for myself. It was my first day and I didn’t want to let my partner down. Then there’s little Lena on the sideline watching us and keeping count.

Peer pressure is an amazing thing. It can will you to do things you never thought you could – or would…like continuously hold a ‘wall-sit’ after busting out a ton of squats. I was so proud of my partner and myself because we got through the entire team exercise without falling short of the clock. Yes! It’s that endurance test again – just like in court. The pressure was high, the pain was intense and the judges, Kyle and Lena, were watching.

When the class was over, Kyle gave me a high five. I’ve come to learn that giving high fives is essential in boot camp. I was so proud of myself for taking the initiative to attend the class. I also was pretty impressed that I was able to hang (somewhat) with participants who had taken the class before.

I needed evidence that I had actually showed up to the class, so Kyle was nice enough to snap a picture. As Lena and I walked out, I conversed with a couple women who were my seniors in age, but really kicked butt in that class. And here I was doing the Fred Sanford on my way out the door!

While the boot camp structure isn’t my top workout choice (it's SO intense), I really did appreciate how welcoming and supportive the boot camp environment can be. I appreciate the way the class quickly pushed me beyond what I thought was my limit, even if I was walking a little funny as a result.

This experience was definitely a motivator for me. I’m much more excited about trying other fitness classes to see how I can complement the boot camp work, maybe some sort of cycling or Zumba class so I can add more dance moves to my repertoire — something cooler than the heart-attacky Fred Sanford dance.

Ami Hill, 35, and daughter Lena, 9 are participating as one of our 2016 Fit Family Challenge spotlight families. Learn more about their healthy family journey here, and follow along with Ami as she updates us this Spring and Summer in the Fit Family Challenge Blog.

Want your family to get active towards a healthier lifestyle? Register now for the Fit Family Challenge.