Category Archives: I Work Out (Boot Camp)

Fitness Boot Camp- One Year Later

September 9th (My 42nd birthday!) marked my one year anniversary of consecutive boot camp sessions. I’ve been doing 6 week sessions (with one week off in between) for an entire year.  I’ve struggled at times. I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained weight, I’ve stayed the same in weight. But I’ve never given up.

Since losing my job in August, I’ve been stressed to my limit. I’ve lost sleep, I’ve eaten junk food late at night (stress eating is how I cope.) I was feeling down, defeated and uninspired. This week I promised myself that I would get back to being my best self, meaning no more late night chips and dip stress eating sessions and lots more fruits and veggies. I went to every boot camp class ready to push myself to the max. And it’s amazing how much better I feel already.

Today I remind myself that the past few weeks do NOT erase all of the hard work I’ve put in over the past year. I must forgive myself, remember how far I’ve come and move on. 

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The Time I Inspired My Daughter.

On Friday morning I walked into my daughter’s room to say good morning to her, just like I do every morning.  She was already wide awake, reading a book on her Kindle. I sat down on the edge of her bed, kissed her good morning.

“Mommy, yesterday we ran practice laps for our jog-a-thon today. I ran around the entire field without stopping.” She said.

“That’s great, Gabby! I’m so proud of you!”

“I wanted to stop because it was hard, but I thought about you. I thought about how you run in boot camp and I told myself I’m my mommy’s girl and if SHE can do it, then I can do it!”

I didn’t expect to hear her say that, but boy, did it feel good to hear.

It was a reminder that my daughter is watching me, she’s learning from me.

I’m still far from being “thin.” But that doesn’t matter. It’s not about my weight or size. IT’s about the example that I’m setting for my daughter. She sees me grab my backpack and workout mat every day and go to boot camp. She sees the photos of me doing handstands and running and she’s taking it all in.  She knows that I take time every day to do something for myself that is keeping me healthy and making me strong. I’m happy to be setting a good example to my girl.

Later that morning, I surprised her at school to cheer her on at the jog-a-thon.  I watched her run her little heart out, in the heat. I encouraged her from the sidelines when she got tired.

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She ran her little heart on (in her Vans, because she haaaaaaaaaates running shoes. They are like, OMG, so ugly, MOM!)  When it was all said and done, she completed a total of 14 laps. I couldn’t be prouder of that girl.

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No Shame.

You know how on the Biggest Loser when the contestants look at pictures of their bigger selves they say things like “I don’t even know that person.” Or “I don’t like that person.” I don’t feel that way at all when I look at pictures of myself at my heavier weight. I know exactly who I was when I was 237 pounds. Gaining weight was part of my (wait for it) journey (gag, I know!) It is only because of the challenges that I faced through the weight gain and loss that I was able to realize how strong I am. At my heaviest, at my sickest, I didn’t know that I was capable of doing things like handstands or running three miles. But now I do and I am grateful. And maybe just a little bit proud.

I Really Am Stronger Than I Think. And So Are You.

I’ve been doing boot camp consistently since September. Six week sessions with one week breaks in between. The last Thursday of each six week session, we do what is called “The Wall Workout.” It’s intense but super fun.

There are four exercises. We do each exercise a total of four times.

At the end of the fourth round, we do something that I have not been able to make myself do.

A handstand.

Every time she says “ready?” I stand there, staring at the wall, telling myself “Just do it!” But I have never found the courage to actually kick my feet up and try it.

I’m scared I won’t make it. I’m scared I will make it halfway and then come crashing down. I’m scared I’ll break my neck or hit my face on the sidewalk and knock my teeth out. I can not bring myself to even try it.

Today wasn’t any different. I said I was going to try it. And then, as everyone headed for the wall and kicked their legs up in the air, I stood there frozen with fear.

I didn’t do it.

And as we were getting ready to cross the street to head back to our workout mats, my instructor said “YOU CAN DO IT, YVONNE!” And all of my Boot Camp Sistah’s chimed in. “You can totally do it!” And then, one of them said “maybe you can do it if we cheer you on and help you.”

And so I agreed to try it with their help.

I took a deep breath. I walked quickly towards the wall. I put my hands on the ground while I kicked my feet up. One of the ladies held onto my legs to help me get set against the wall. Then, she let go and they all counted down from ten while I held myself up.

I felt a lump in my throat and couldn’t stop myself from crying just a little bit.

These women who I work out with every day were there for me. They believed in me and helped me believe in myself. THIS is what I love and value about boot camp. When I don’t think I can, they are there to remind me that I am stronger than I think and that yes, YES I CAN.

Yes, I’ve Become That Girl Who Always Talks About Boot Camp.

Last Friday I completed yet another 6 week session of boot camp.

I believe this was my most successful session yet. I did not miss a single class (5 days a week!) I never said I wanted to punch anyone in the face and I didn’t fart once during class, not even during the highly fartable workouts!

I was also committed to trying to hate running less (which is a goal I have every single session, but I can’t seem to shake the Running Hate. Probably because I’m so bad at it? And because I’m always the slowest one? And I hate the way it makes my lungs feel? And because it is the WORST?)

Since September of last year, I’ve lost 23 pounds, 19.5 inches. I can run a mile 1:50 faster (from 12:05 to 10:15) and I can do 35 push-ups, up from 7.

But that’s not the best part about this whole boot camp thing. Sure, the weight loss is awesome, but the confidence I’ve gained is worth more to me than lost pounds. I have always been the girl who says “I can’t.” I never would have never believed I would be able to run 3 miles, only strong, fit women can do that! I would have never believed I could complete a 365 rep challenge that includes 100 competition style burpees and finish in 23 minutes! I would have never believed that I could push a truck up a hill or do a handstand and not break my face. But guess what? I’m 178 pounds, 41 years old and I can do all of those things and THEN SOME. I may not be the fastest, or the strongest, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I no longer tell myself “I can’t” because I finally believe that I can.


(my boot camp sisters. So grateful for each one of them!)

I start a new session on Monday and my only goal this time is to do better than I did last time. I will push myself harder, feed myself better and enjoy every minute of getting healthier and stronger. (And hopefully faster? Because Oh, how I want to run a mile in under 10 minutes!)

Not Yet a Runner.

I’ve been doing boot camp since September. One of my goals has consistently been to a) get better at running b) learn to enjoy running. It is now March and well, I still hate running as much as I did when I first started. It doesn’t feel as bad, but I still hate doing it.

In order to avoid falling on the ground and crying during our runs (which are usually 2.5 – 3 miles long) I try to find little ways to motivate myself to help get me through it. For instance, if on a particular route I usually have to stop at a certain point, I try to go past that point the next time we run that route before stopping to walk and catch my breath. I also try to find markers and pass them. I’ll tell myself “you can stop after you pass this tree coming up!” And then when I get to the tree, I try to go even a little bit farther.

I hate that I have to think so much during my runs, I wish I could just enjoy the music, the fresh air and think about happy things. But, no. I have to fight through every minute of the run. I have to tell myself “JUST GET PAST THIS TREE THAN YOU CAN WALK FOR A MINUTE” the entire run.

Today, we did a 2.5 mile run. The first mile was all uphill. I knew it was going to suck because uphill is the worst. My instructor stayed with me, which was awesome/not awesome because she would only let me stop for 10 seconds at a time. Then she’d be all “Pick it up, RUN!” I was dying, I hated every second of it. At one point, she said “just make it to this stop light, then it’s all flat or downhill.”

I told myself once we made it past that signal, I was going to run the rest of the way without stopping. I’ve told myself that before. I’ve tried doing it. But I have never quite made it without having to stop at some point to catch my breath.

When we turned the corner after passing the signal, I stopped for a few seconds. Then I told myself “Let’s DO THIS!”

I started to run. I ran for a few minutes and then everything in my body was all “STOP AND WALK. STOP AND WALK. WALK WALK WALK.”

But I pushed through. I tried tuning into the music. I tried thinking about other things.

Stop. Stop. Stop. went my brain.

Keep running. Keep running. Keep running. said my heart.

Everything inside of me wanted to stop. But I didn’t. I kept running. And just when I thought I couldn’t keep going, a fellow “Camper” jogged up next to me.

“I can’t stop now.” I thought. “Just keep up with him.”

And I did. And it felt good.

I didn’t stop until we reached the stop light.

My instructor gave me a high five.

“How did that feel?” She asked. “Didn’t it feel amazing.”

“Yes.” I replied. “It felt amazing.”

It probably sounds dumb, but I was so proud of myself for not stopping. Small victories are what keeps me going and coming back for more.

Well, that and all of crazy/fun/mostly crazy things we do.

Working Out, Feeling Good. Before and Now Photos.

I didn’t take any “before” photos when I returned to boot camp in September. I wanted my focus to be on getting healthy, not on the size of my body. I didn’t want to waste energy stressing about weight, instead, I wanted to use all of my energy to get stronger and faster and perhaps hate running a little bit less.

People have started making comments that they can see changes in my body, but I’ve not been able to tell much. What I have noticed is that I have more endurance, that I’m stronger, that I no longer feel like I’m going to die when I run. I can do more sit-ups, I no longer have to do the “modified” version of exercises. Those are the changes I notice. So, this morning, when my husband made yet another comment about how much fitter my body is looking, I asked him to take a few photos with my phone.

He took this one as I was about to leave for my workout.

I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought “not loving the belly roll, but my face looks a bit thinner.”

When I returned home from the workout, I asked him to take a few more. This time without the long t-shirt.

Then, I searched my cell phone, looking for a photo taken before I started boot camp. I found one that was taken at the end of August. It wasn’t until I saw that photo that I thought “My hard work *is* starting to show.”

I’m still overweight, my body is far from perfect, but you guys, I feel so good. I don’t feel ashamed about anything I see there. I feel proud that I have worked so hard. I feel motivated to keep working hard to get stronger, faster, healthier. What is that thing that they say? Strong is the new sexy? Yeah, that.

Twenty year old me could have never imagined feeling this way about my body was ever possible. I love 41 year old me.

Happy (Wake Up at 5:45 am and Run a 5K) Thanksgiving!

Today is a Thanksgiving like no other.

I woke up at 5:45, put my running shoes on and left for what I thought was going to be a 5K run. I imagined we’d stretch, do a warm up, do our run and then laugh and eat our breakfast together. But that’s not quite what happened. Instead, we stretched and then did a mini “Max Out” workout. (And if you knew what that was, you’d be all “ohhhh, damnnn!) and THEN we ran what was supposed to be a 5K, but turned into 3.5 miles because some of us got a little lost on the run and went farther than we were supposed to.

Awesome, right?

I read through all of your comments last night and I can’t thank those of you who took the time to leave me advice enough. Your tips and advice and encouragement were SO helpful while I was out there running. And guess what? I did it! And I didn’t die or lay down on the ground and cry!

I poured myself a giant mimosa when I was finished to celebrate. (We were asked to bring something to eat for a Thanksgiving breakfast after our run. Of course, I brought the alcohol. I know what’s up.)

On the drive home I was feeling pretty pumped about what I had just done. I was feeling so grateful to have found a group of men and women to workout with who inspire me, encourage me and push me to do my best. But then, it hit me.

People who mean the most to me in life won’t be here to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. My son is away completing his MOS training. Both of my beautiful, loving grandparents are dead. Giant chunks of my heart missing from my life today. It hurts, but I will try to focus on all of the blessings in my life. I’ve raised a son who is willing to give up the comforts of this life to serve his country. I had my grandparents in my life for most of my adult life. I have my children here at home, a loving husband who just went to the store to buy all of the ingredients to make a pumpkin dump cake, my parents, my sister and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and a neighbor who is saving a bottle of wine so we can sit on the porch tonight and drink it all up.

I am blessed.

I am grateful.

And oh my GOD, I am sore.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Dear Everyone Who Does Not Suck at Running or Hate Running Like I do. I Need Your Help.

I do not like running. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I hate running. These are all things that I’ve said about running just before running or just after running.

“The thing that I hate about running is EVERY thing.”

“The best part about running is when I stop running.”

“Running is the worst.”

“I don’t trust people who (quote fingers) look forward (/quote fingers) to running.”

That’s how I feel every time I run. My lungs burn, my calves hurt, my boobs feel awkward and everything in me is screaming STOP RUNNING RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s nothing about running that I like. But I know that running is good for me, and so during this session of boot camp, I’ve been trying to find a way to not hate it. In fact, these are my goals for this session of boot camp:

learn to not hate running.
strengthen my abs.
not feel angry when I run.
lose more than 5 pounds.
not suck at running.
lose more than 3 inches.
not want to punch everyone when I run.
not miss a single workout.
not cry when I run uphill.
push to my maximum every single workout.
To learn to like running maybe just a little bit.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, I will be getting up at 6 in the morning to join my fellow boot campers for a 5K run. I’ve only done a 5K once before and it was on the treadmill. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL. The farthest I’ve run is 2.75 miles. I have no doubts that I can do it, but I have doubts about how good I’ll be at it.

There will be uphill running and uphill running is what KILLS ME. I have both mental and physical issues with uphill running. (I have issues in general, with running, but ESPECIALLY the uphill running.)

Here is where I ask for your help.

Do you have any advice you can give me about running? Do you have any tips that will help me get through the mental aspect of running. Do you have any songs that I can download that will help keep me motivated? Do you have any words of encouragement you can give me that I can say to myself when I want to just stop and lay down on the ground and cry instead of finishing the run?

I look forward to reading what you have to say.