Just 10 more days before I start Boot Camp. I'm getting excited now. Starting at 5am, June 1st, I'll be busting my arse with several other men and women who think they've got what it takes to get in shape.
There's no reason I can't do this. I've been getting up early five days a week to work out with this crew since February. What started out as a 3 month plan to get in shape for the police academy has become an addiction. No lie! This is my new crack. I feel better about myself, have more energy, and can fit a pair of Wranglers I haven't squeezed into in over five years. Who wouldn't want to do this?
Some people tell me I'm crazy for getting up early to have a former SF Operator/Instructor yell at me to do push-ups, or 8 count body-builders, or skull-crushers. It is not crazy. I get more benefit from a structured setting such as this. We work as a team in some respects to complete exercises, and it helps to have someone cheering you on and pushing you past your comfort zone.
For instance: Wednesday was a running day. The only way out of running (it can be miserable if you don't have any breaks) was to hold the push-up position while doing "xylophone push-ups." Those are push-ups where everyone is in a large circle and one person starts with one push-up. The second person follows with one, and so on and so forth until everyone does one. Then they go to two. And three, four...all the way to ten. In the meantime, you are in the up push-up position waiting your turn. We were allowed to get our butts in the air to relieve pressure on our backs, or butts down (think cobra pose in yoga). Anyone who went to their knees had to run. Slowly but surely, people started to fall out and run. It probably took twenty minutes to complete the evolution, but it felt like an eternity. Out of the 30 Lifers and 8 Navigators (of which I am one) I was the only 'Gator left with seven other Lifers.
This was a prime example of the instructor getting us out of our personal comfort zones. At any other time, I might have dropped and started running, too. I didn't want to run, and wanted to see how I stacked up against the Lifers, some of whom run marathons for fun. It was a huge personal challenge for me, and to hear the instructor single me out for whatever reason meant I was doing something right. I even remember as my shoulders were burning from exertion how my Navigator teammates were cheering for me as they passed us on their run. The rest of the hour was spent doing wind sprints and ab or chest exercises between sprints. I was so buoyed by my success, that the sprints were a breeze. Yeah, it was exhausting, but it was well worth it. To see how far I could push my body before it could go no more is part of the reason why I get up in the morning.
Sixteen weeks into this program I am seeing huge results. While it is only a core muscle program, I do see better definition on my body (even though the beer gut hasn't been signifigantly reduced), less fat and more muscle mass. I mentioned increased energy and alertness, too. Getting out of my comfort zone wasn't too hard in the beginning, I was only trying to keep up. Now, I'm working just as hard to stay interested at times. We have a new instructor a couple of days a week. While I see the method to his madness, I fail to gain any physical benefit from his workouts. I feel a bit cheated, but get the benefit of his guidance nonetheless. He has been working more to instruct us in proper technique this past week over heavy exercise. I feel a bit gipped when I return to my car and my shirt isn't soaked through. I know he's teaching more to the few of us gearing up for Boot Camp so we don't fall flat on our faces, or get injured.
Boot Camp is going to be 10 times worse according to the Lifers who've gone before. I can expect to get wet and sandy every day for 10 days. I will be yelled at and dropped for the smallest of errors. We will run 3 to 4 miles daily with 10 pound packs on our backs. According to the program's founder, we will only be operating at 20% of what real SEALS go through in training. It will be a non-stop meat grinder. I will graduate the program.
I plan on daily blog posts with pics to give you a sense of what goes on. I encourage you to check out the website, or, if you are in New York or Houston, check out the program for yourself. If you are looking to ramp up your workout, this would be a great place to start. The biggest worry for me was if I'd be able to keep up. After I got through the first couple of weeks and minor aches and pains, I was impressed at how quickly I improved.