Sam and I are in Banff for the week working on our book project (exciting!). One of the fun things about this week is that we get to try some fitness classes together. That’s rare for us. We don’t usually work out together. And we don’t usually do fitness classes of the Zumba, Bootcamp, Spin kind. For me, the last time I did anything like that was in November 2012 when I was here at the Banff Centre for a couple of weeks. And I blogged about it.
Tonight it was Bootcamp. The instructor was a tall, strong and lean young woman from Down Under who asked us where we were from. She didn’t ask if we were new to fitness classes or anything like that, which means either that we looked like we belonged in the room or that no one new would ever take something named “Bootcamp.”
Aside from an easy swim yesterday, I’ve been taking it easy because I’ve been attempting to recover from a stomach bug that hit me hard the day we left (worst travel day ever). So for me, it wasn’t going to take much to make it “puke-worthy.”
About 20 people showed up for the class. We each took a mat, a set of “medium” weights and a set of “heavy” weights. I took 6 lbs and 15 lbs respectively. Nothing heavier than 15 lbs was available, which was fine, because even though 15 lbs is very light for deadlifts, the whole thing challenged me.
These things always start off easy-ish with the warm-up. Once warmed up, the class went like this. We repeated circuits of three exercises: push-ups, deadlifts, and weighted crunches (or something involving raised legs that I didn’t choose or pay much attention to). We did each for 40 seconds, with 40 seconds of an increasingly difficult cardio blast in between. The first circuit we did jump squats. The second circuit we did reptile burpees. The third time around, it was flying jumping jacks. Fourth round: Plank jack burpees (I think). Fifth round: scissor lunges. Sixth round: bicycle oblique crunches.
I was ready to loose my afternoon snack after the second round. I will blame the bug. I lay down on my mat to catch my breath (a strategy we are invited to employ in hot yoga, and to which I thought I better help myself). The instructor came to check on me and I said I was just getting over some sort of stomach thing. She looked alarmed and said, “at altitude!” which I guess was a reference to the fact that when you live near sea level, the thinner air in the mountains (we’re at 1400 metres here) can challenge the system.
I am proud to say that I only sat out for one 40 second cardio session in the entire class despite how I was feeling (don’t try this at home). I’d like to that think on a different day I would not have chosen the easiest modified option for each of the cardio sessions after that.
As I said to Sam afterwards, I liked a few things about the class:
1. A good instructor–she taught a demanding class and showed concern when I was struggling. She checked in with me periodically after that. My ego might have struggled against that a bit but it was good of her to make sure I was okay.
2. The moves were not too complicated. The last time I did a class here the moves were so confusing I couldn’t figure them out. Tonight was more about endurance than about complexity. I prefer that.
3. The class was intense enough that everyone focused on their own workout. I didn’t feel like anyone had time to look around or pass judgment on anyone else. I think even the people who weren’t about to barf didn’t spend a lot of time thinking beyond their own mat, their own weights, their own plank jack burpees or what have you.
4. That same focus meant that, for me anyway, I didn’t have any time to think about other things. I love physical activities that don’t let my mind wander.
5. I usually like heavier weights, but with the intensity and continuous movement of this class, the lighter weights and timed reps were good.
6. No mirrors. I’m getting more and more opposed to mirrors when I’m working out. Why in the heck do I need to look at myself?
And as a bonus, fitness classes come free with our artist cards.
I confess that I was a bit hard on myself sometimes, thinking I should be doing better. Even in my regular condition, I’d have some work to do before I’d be able to stick with the unmodified versions of everything for the entire workout.
As a way of getting in some cardio and strength training with weights and with bodyweight exercises, Bootcamp does its job. It’s offers an excellent break from writing and, better yet, we didn’t need to go outside to get over the building with the gym (I forgot to mention that today was -28 degrees C with the windchill–almost 20 degrees C warmer than it was on the weekend, when this was the coldest place on the planet). I’d do it again.