How Boot Camp Taught Me That I Can Be AWESOME.
A while back I wrote about how losing weight and getting fit – for most of us – is not about finding that one magical moment. There’s not ONE exercise plan or ONE diet or ONE book or ONE magazine article that is going to change our lives. For most of us – it’s about the tiny moments along the way. The small moments of triumph that may be followed by a trip-up or a failure…but that gradually lead us to success.
While this is all very true for me – my year journey has had as many successes as it has failures – I do need to talk a bit about how boot camp started pushing me, and keeps pushing me, in the right direction.
I started my boot camp a year ago this week. I remember being TRULY TERRIFIED on my way over there the first morning. I was actually scared the entire first class, wondering if I was screwing up, or if anyone was making fun of me behind my back. Did Joe (The trainer) wonder what in the heck I was doing there? Did I stick out like a sore thumb? AM I THE ONLY ONE DOING THESE PUSHUPS ON MY KNEES?
After a year I know that all of those questions and fears were ridiculous. In a class of women ranging in age 60 years and in body sizes and types covering the spectrum…no one was laughing at me. Probably because they were too busy laughing at themselves, as we’re prone to do. Joe would never think anything but positive things about anyone and HELL NO, I wasn’t the only one doing the pushups on my knees.
But I want you to truly understand how scared I was. I want you to see how little confidence I had, and how my self-doubt took over every second of every thought during that first week of class.
My first week of boot camp I was struggling with 5lb weights, I did pushups and planks on my knees and I had absolutely no balance because I believe I actually had negative core strength, if that’s possible. But now, one year later and I’m using 10lb weights, I’m doing pushups on my toes and holding a plank for 3 minutes.
Why 3 minutes? Because several months ago a girl in our class held a plank for 3 minutes and I thought there is no way in hell I could ever do that. But yesterday – I did it. And for the record? I have video proof of that 3-minute plank. It’s HIDEOUS. I’m sweaty and gross and frumpy BUT IT IS PROOF. Mainly because I didn’t believe I could do it either, so I thought you wouldn’t.
So…that’s where I’m at now! Smaller! Stronger! And a WHOLE LOT Sweatier!
Somewhere along the way, boot camp did do something magical for me. Did it allow me to immediately become fit and lose weight? No. Even better: It showed me I have the potential to be AWESOME.
I’ve been my own harshest critic for so long, there was no part of me that ever believed I’d be posting video of myself exercising on the internet. (THREE MINUTES!) But somehow, with each shoulder press and bicep curl; with each set of squats and sprints across a parking lot; somehow I learned I that I had potential to be BETTER.
It was a slow transition, but eventually I found myself doing more reps and advancing to tougher techniques. I started using heavier weights and doing longer holds. I learned to sprint faster and run longer. And then, one day, something strange happened. I casually referenced something being difficult and a girl in class said, “I don’t see anything being hard for you.”
I did a double take.
What? Was she talking to me?
Suddenly, it occurred to me, new people in the class each month were looking at ME like I was at some sort of unreachable level of fitness. ME. ME? ME. One girl mentioned looking to me when she wanted to push herself harder. Another girl called me FAST. Another called me STRONG. Me? ME.
And that’s when it hit me: I AM BETTER. I always just assumed I couldn’t do it. And “it” can be anything from using 10lb weights in boot camp to running 6 miles in the rain. (Two things I did this week, for the record.) But boot camp showed me that I can keep getting better until suddenly I’m doing all of those things and more. (THREE MINUTES!) BETTER. Boot camp proved to me that I can just get BETTER. And each time I get BETTER? I’m getting further from the girl who started out. Boot camp helped me redefine my limits.
Actually? Let me be honest with you: It has helped me REMOVE my limits ENTIRELY.
Because each step I made along the way, from planks on knees to planks on toes, was a step I didn’t think I could make. And each time you make a step you thought was impossible, you start reanalyzing all of the things you call “impossible”. I didn’t think I could do 5 on-your-toes pushups in a row without dying. Now I can do 20. So…who says I can’t do 50?
And somehow, in redefining and removing my previous self-set limitations, I’m allowing myself to be PROUD. I see my accomplishments and my advances and I just tear up because I just CAN’T BELIEVE IT. I can’t believe who I am, and what I’m doing. I can’t believe I got up and went to boot camp on Tuesday at 5:30am and then ran 6 miles IN THE RAIN at 4pm.
And here is when we come to the truth of it all – The beauty of what boot camp has done in my life.
Do you know what I would say about that girl if I had seen her a year ago? If I watched her do an hour boot camp with 10lb weights, and then (less than 12 hours later) run 6 miles in the RAIN? Do you know what I would say about her? That she was AWESOME. And AMAZING. And POWERFUL. And BEAUTIFUL. And I would have said – EMPHATICALLY – that there is no way, in ONE MILLION YEARS, that I could ever be like her.
But here I am. I am her. I am that amazing and powerful woman that I would have been in awe of a year ago. And if I’m her right now…who can I be in another year? I’ll tell you who: I’ll be LIMITLESS.
So…THANK YOU, Joe. THANK YOU, Adventure Boot Camp. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.
Edited to Add – I was not compensated in any way for this promotion of my Boot Camp. I do love it with all of my heart, and would accept payment in the form of Burpee Passes, but I have not been offered such a deal. YET. I am simply praising a wonderful fitness class and the coach at the helm.