This is the time of year when adolescents escape tardy bells and the conformity of classrooms to let loose at summer camps.
I, too, have decided to participate in a summer camp.
Unfortunately, my summer camp is not filled with swimming, s’mores and ghost stories. My camp is what I like to refer to as my own personal “fat camp.”
I enrolled in an outdoor fitness program simply to rid myself of excess pounds, out of curiosity and to meet new people who share the same fitness goals.
The camp is created for women to burn fat, tone muscles, increase endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility while working out in a group setting.
I heard about cross-fit and fitness camps that were designed for females but never imagined I would follow through and actually sign up. I checked my bucket list for 2013, and there it was glaring back at me: “#2 GET FIT.” (No. 1 was to save money.)
I was caught with no excuse not to “just do it.”
The cost was minimal, thanks to a 76 percent off daily deal, and I had two friends signing up.
What did I have to lose besides weight?
I signed up one month in advance and found myself actually excited, eagerly awaiting the first day of camp. I even got a cute pink and black drawstring bag for my new water bottle and purple weights.
I already had the basic workout attire, but what would a few new items hurt? Off to the fitness wear section I ran. I grabbed anything neon: pinks, yellows, corals and turquoise. I visited another store and found the perfect running shoes.
Our class has become a fixture at Hammond’s Ferry. Four evenings a week you will find 25 to 40 women spread out on the lawn by the river or running down the Greeneway. Some of us are lost deep in thought, some racing against their previous time. And then there are those of us who mumble under our breath, praying we make a good showing once the time is up.
The class has women of all ages, races, weight and fitness levels. Our instructors, Bethany and Shlonda, are gentle giants, steel magnolias and drill sergeants. It is easy to follow their lead.
The program quickly won our respect when our very pregnant instructor outperformed the majority of the class on the first day. She has since earned our admiration as she showcases all the exercises with ease and minor limitations.
Her only rule: No one can say “I can’t.”
I am three weeks in and absolutely love it. I have only missed one day, that because of high school graduations. There have been mornings when I had to roll out of bed and walk Frankenstein-style because of sore legs.
Then there are days I had to remind myself not to wave at anyone; sore arms prevented me from using those limbs as well. That eventually subsided, only to be replaced with new aches in other muscle areas thanks to the ever changing workouts designed by the instructor.
We have even worked out in the rain, as long as there is no lightning. We are putting the work in.
I am so happy my post-surgery foot has allowed me to take part in this program. It has actually helped speed my recovery time and worked the muscles necessary to get me back to normal.
I’m noticing slight changes in my body but refuse to step on a scale. I am not worried about the three digits, which may or may not bruise my ego. I am concerned about how the smaller-size clothing is going to mesh with the shoes in my closet.
I only have three more weeks of camp.
Do I continue this addiction to sweating and sign up for the next six weeks?
I think I shall.
What do I have to gain? An improved self-image, confidence, agility and more new friends!