Lessons Learned: Freshman Year Boot Camp

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by Katy Portfolio, CRM, CISR


Who’s your competition?  Is it Renne for the plank?  Is it Blanca for crunches?  Is it me or Stephanie for running?  NO, it’s you.  We all enter the boot camp with various levels of fitness (or in my case, unfitness, if that’s a word).  Boot camp, or any fitness program, is about understanding what you are capable of right now, and challenging yourself to be no worse than, and hopefully, a tiny bit better, the next time you work out.  If you can do 10 crunches today, maybe tomorrow is 11.  If you can run 30 yards today, maybe tomorrow is 35 yards.  It’s those little incremental improvements that, over time, lead to substantial improvement in both your fitness and your confidence.



Set goals!  Goals are measurable, specific, and with some hard work, achievable.  “I want to improve my nutrition” sounds like a great goal, but it’s not.  It would be better to assess your nutrition, realize that you are eating junk food 5 times a week, and make a goal of “I will eat junk food no more than three times a week”. 


My big picture goal was to reduce my body fat %.  To get there, I bought a body fat monitor, and set an initial goal of reducing my body fat by 4% within 3 months.  (I had heard Kelly says that body fat reduction occurs slowly, so I wanted to be sure that with some effort, I could reach my goal.)  Once I did reach that goal, I set another body fat goal. 


As to running, many of you know I said “I’m not a runner” a zillion times in freshman year.  But once I ran one block, I decided I would never run less than one block.  I’d get in that block, then sight a target somewhat further ahead, and run until I reached it.  Over time, these incremental gains really worked for me.



Physical vs. mental.  Boot camp is physical, sometimes very physical.  But the mental component is also very important.  As Itzel in our boot camp once said “I’d rather think that I can do something, than think that I cannot”. 



Share your successes.  If you couldn’t run a block and now can, if you could only hold a plank for 15 seconds and now it’s 30, let everyone in boot camp (and family & friends) know, so that we can applaud your success.  To accomplish athletic feats never before considered possible is awesome.  PLEASE SHARE!



Know thy body.  There are times when you are capable of doing more; there are times when you have to step back. 



Fitness is important, not just while you are in boot camp.  Fitness is for a lifetime.  Incorporate it into your everyday life.  Take your kids for a walk.  Forego that piece of cake.  Your body will thank you for it.



Don’t try for perfection.  Okay, sometimes that piece of cake is worth it. 



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