6-week Fitness Bootcamp. The name itself brings up the image of drill sergeant like training. Getting barked at to "give me 20" just for the fun of it. Pushed to your limits until you collapse like a pile of weeping sweaty jello on the ground as your trainer stands above you with a satisfied grin on their face. I signed up anyway.
I'm not adverse to hard physical training. I grew up as a competitive athlete and have a degree in exercise science. I also spent 10 years of my life dragging other people around in the wilderness with 60 pound backpacks, teaching them how to be leaders. Exercise is in my blood.
Then 5 years ago I became a mom. Need I say more? Finding the time to workout — let alone stay fit became a daily challenge between juggling being a mom, work and other responsibilities. I was okay with it for a while, particularly when my daughter was really young. I managed to fit in exercise here and there, but I forget what it felt like to be truly fit.
A couple of months ago, it came into my inbox: join now for the KAIA Fall into Fitness 6-week Bootcamp! I checked it out, and it looked great. I loved that it was a women's only bootcamp — it was just what I needed.
Then the blah blah blah inside my head began. There's no way you can commit to 5-days a week of workouts. You shouldn't be investing your money in this right now. Do you really have the motivation to follow through with this? I finally managed to push the blah aside and clicked the register now button before I could change my mind.
2-days later, my 6-week Bootcamp journey began. It was hard. It was fun. It was worth every moment that our trainer turned away to hide her grin of satisfaction when she told us "great job girls!" while we lay in a sweaty heap of exhaustion at the end of each workout. I walked away from the Bootcamp fitter and stronger then ever. The best part is I feel so much more energized to run around, play, and keep up with my daughter.
I've realized what I learned from Bootcamp goes way beyond fitness. Here are the 5 lessons I walked away with:
1. Just Click It
The biggest obstacle between bootcamp success and me was signing up in the first place. I spent a few weeks reading about it. I would start to sign-up but not finish. I over-analyzed whether I should do it or not as if I was about to sign my life away. In the end I decided to stop and just listen to what my gut, or intuition, was telling me. Then it all became clear: just click register. So I did. I made the commitment. I had overcome the first big obstacle. Making the commitment to my own success.
2. It's About The Inches, Not The Pounds
You can choose to do weigh-ins and measurements during Bootcamp. One of my goals was to lose the last few stubborn pounds I had gained since becoming a mom, so I weighed-in.
Mid-Bootcamp weigh-in day came. I felt good and thought I had lost a number of pounds. I stepped on the scale and looked down. What? 1 pound! That was it? After 3 weeks of blood, sweat and tears I had lost only 1 pound. As I stood there and started to lament about all the hard work I had done and the little results I had gotten, my trainer started to measure me. She handed me the paper where she recorded my results. I may have lost only 1 pound, but I had lost 4 to 5 inches.
Sometimes we have a limited vision of what success is. In business it may be how much money we make. In our lives it may be the things we have, such as our house, car or clothes. As parents it might be the grades our kids get at school. In Bootcamp it might become all about the pounds. When we do this we often fail to notice other ways success is showing up in our lives. We get so focused on the pounds we lose sight of the inches.
3. Be seen
Arriving at Bootcamp we would meet on the gym floor and face our trainer, ready to discover our destiny for that day. After a week I began to notice a pattern. The front half of the floor was completely empty. 20 or so women crammed and jostled for their spot at the back half of the class. This happened every single day throughout the entire bootcamp.
I'm talking about strong, fit women who were very skilled and accomplished at what we where doing. They wanted to hide at the back of the class.
As a woman I get this. I've done it. We're often taught to be the nice, quiet girl. To sit there until our name is called and we're invited to come to the front of the floor. To not bring attention to ourselves. To not stand up and openly share our gifts and talents with the world. To hide them.
My takeaway is this: it's time for us as women to step forward and be seen. To share all of our great and amazing selves with our family, our friends, our colleagues, and the world! Yes, it can be scary, and yes, there will be critics. If we do this as women and as moms it will not only change our lives and our family's lives, it will change the world.
4. Stick With It
The first week of Bootcamp was pure pain. My body and muscles went into shock. There's always that initial time where your body is adapting to using its muscles. Where you discover you have muscles you never even knew about. You wake up the next day and everything hurts. It just gets worse the second day. Dragging every inch of your aching body out of bed at 6am in the morning takes a lot of effort. It's much easier to roll over and go back to sleep.
I struggled with that everyday for the first week and half of Bootcamp. Then it changed. My effort and commitment started to pay off. The pain went away. I began to feel strong and more energized. I no longer needed an alarm to wake up. My mind and body were happy to get out of bed and go. I looked forward to it.
Here's what I learned: it would have been so easy to give up in those first two weeks. To come up with an excuse to stay in bed. However, I knew if I stuck with it, it would get better. I'm so glad I did.
The change in my life and sense of wellbeing far exceeds all the pain and struggles I went through in the beginning. Sometimes in life you just have to keep hold of the vision, have faith, and stick with it to get the results we desire in our life.
5. You're Never Too Old
The strongest and by far fittest woman of the 200 plus women taking part in Bootcamp was 61. She blew us all out of the park. She won, yes won a triathlon during Bootcamp. She has become my new inspiration, reminding me you're never too old to go after you dreams. I want to be like her when I'm 60. I guess I'm committed to Bootcamp for another couple of decades!
We have many Bootcamp opportunities in life. Whether it's starting a business, becoming a mom, changing our career, or choosing to invest in us in some way. The biggest step is committing to get started. Once we do, it becomes all about sticking with it and seeing it through. Often we give up right when it starts to get hard. We never give ourselves the chance to experience the rewards of our efforts.
What's a "Bootcamp" experience in your life? A time you stuck with something even when it was hard but were so glad you did? I would love to hear your personal Bootcamp story in the comments below. You can also find out more at www.thepassionshift.com
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