I have worked out for as long as I can remember. I think I had my first gym membership early in high school. And before that I was constantly at dance class or sports practice. I’ve always been super active, and it’s definitely an outlet for me. On the flip side of that, my nutrition is always something that I’ve struggled with. There has never been a time when I’ve fully invested in creating healthy, sustainable habits with my food. I’ve always sort of done it halfway, walking a weird line between healthy intentions and a junk food habit.
Why I Chose to Enroll in a Fitness Bootcamp
I work out at a gym that I love (what’s up Core Fitness!), and at my gym they have a bootcamp that they offer a few times a year. It’s eight weeks of extra workouts, meal planning and prep, clean eating, team building, and lots more. I’ve seen cycles of people go through it and until now, I’ve never felt called or ready to do it. But for some reason, this time, it felt like the right time. So I signed up.
It’s actually crazy, because during the course of these 8 weeks, I’m doing bootcamp during Valentine’s Day, my birthday, a weeklong trip to Hawaii, and a girls’ trip with my bestie. I literally couldn’t have picked a tougher time to do it. But to be honest, those types of occasions are always the ones that trip me up and send me into a junk food spiral. So, I thought, maybe it’s actually the perfect time to learn how to balance my real life with real nutrition.
What is a Fitness Bootcamp Like?
I’d imagine that each bootcamp is structured somewhat differently. But it’s likely that they have similar goals of improvement in health, strength, nutrition, and overall fitness. As far as the one I’m doing, here’s the breakdown.
For eight weeks, we’re provided a meal plan and grocery shopping lists. On Saturdays we shop and meal prep for the week (sometimes I prep in half-weeks and cook twice in a week). We make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have two snacks in addition to that. Each recipe is prescribed and measured out to ensure that we’re getting the right balance of macronutrients, and so on. So we eat five times a day, usually very lean meals with high protein and lots of veggies. Some examples of our meals have been turkey chili, sweet potato nachos, avocado chicken salad, and sausage and egg scrambles.
On the workout side of things, I haven’t really had to alter my routine much. I usually work out 5 days a week, so I’ve upped it by one workout to 6 days a week. On Monday through Friday, we have additional ab work challenges that we complete in addition to our workouts; they usually take about 5 minutes each. And on the weekends, we have an exclusive workout just for bootcampers (it’s usually really hard and really fun, and is awesome for building cameraderie).
One part of the bootcamp that I’ve had to adjust to but am learning to love is texting an image of every single thing I eat to my coach. It really helps put into perspective the things that you feed your body. And it helps to have outside feedback to keep you on track as you learn new habits.
My Thoughts on Bootcamp So Far
Let me say this first: I am compliant. I am following the menu and workouts to the letter so that I can say that I put in my all. (Also, I’m super competitive and our bootcamp team gets points for following everything perfectly.;) )
To be one hundred percent honest, I am loving the food. We’re two and a half weeks in, and there has only been one recipe that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it was manageable. Mostly I really look forward to having fresh, delicious food ready to eat at each meal. Huge claps to our trainers for making truly delicious recipes that are also really nourishing.
As far as the workouts, I think (???) I’m noticing that I’m getting stronger. We did a fitness test at the beginning to track our strength, and at the end of the bootcamp I’ll reveal my starting and ending fitness test scores so you can see. (And maybe my before and after pictures? YIKES!!! That would be brave of me.) I actually see ab muscles popping out because we’re doing so much core work, so that’s fun.
Another honesty bomb? Some days I feel frustrated that I’m not feeling results more quickly. I think objectively I can see that I have more muscle and less jiggle, but I want to FEEL it, ya know? I just can’t feel it yet. I also am still having some sugar cravings and dream of the day when I can have a dang piece of candy. But one of my nutrition goals for the bootcamp is to have a healthier relationship with sugar — I don’t want to cut it out completely, but I want to feel in control of my consumption. I feel like I still have some detoxing to do and some mind work to accomplish there.
Have you Ever Bootcamped?
I’d love to know if you have any experience with something similar, and what your takeaways were! It can be all-encompassing, but if you keep a clear head and reasonable goals it can also be really empowering to take such an active role in your own health. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! xoxo