I’ve never been what you’d call a gym bunny. I was quite into dance as a teenager, but since then, my workout regime has consisted mostly of remembering to do the odd crunch while lying on the floor watching TV. I’ve always been generally active enough in daily life (I’ve never owned a car in my life, nor do I intend to) to feel I’m reasonably healthy without doing any of that grunting and sweating nonsense.
Until two summers ago, when my friend Morgan told me about a Bootcamp class she had started going to, It sounded utterly horrendous and yet, for some reason I truly cannot fathom, I found myself sort of tempted. Maybe it was that I’d just had my heart broken, so was feeling rather cathartic and first-day-of-the-rest-of-my-life-y; maybe it was that I’d just bought a (vintage, ever so hipster but unfortunately lacking gears) bike and wanted to be able to make it up Katrinavägan without lying down on the road and yelling for someone to come and shoot me; maybe I just wanted to wear a bikini without feeling like a bowl of unset blamanche. Whatever it was, I signed up with more than a little trepidation.
The bootcamp was just starting up at the time, so the only other participants of the class were the teacher Chelsie’s husband David – a professional MMA cage fighter – and a friend of his. I don’t know what this guy does for a living, but Viking warrior seems likely.
And me. Miss Quite-Proud-of-Herself-if-She-Manages-Three-Crunches- During-True-Blood.
We started with a bit of a jog round the room and after a few minutes I was exhausted and wanted to die, but quite pleased that I had managed it after all. Then Chelsie said that was the end of the warm up and the class was about to start – I managed to just about catch my breath while she explained the different stations and how it all worked.
By the time we got to the third station – lunges while holding weights – I had of course forgotten the instructions, so I looked to see what David and the Viking were doing. Every time I’ve told this story I’ve been accused of feminist competitiveness, but I promise that I simply had no idea what to do so copied them: I picked up the same weights they did, and I lunged in time with them.
And then I slithered to the ground like a glob of wet spaghetti.
David and the Viking, being Swedish, looked fastidiously straight ahead with panic in their eyes, but Canadian Chelsie came running over to see if I was alright. Forming actual words was a bit beyond me at that moment in time, so I waved vaguely and pointed to the door in a manner intended to convey, “think that might be enough for me today…” and pretty much crawled home. Chelsie says she never expected to see me again, but luckily for my resting heart rate, I’m a bit stubborn, and so two days later I was back again, determined to pace myself and finish the class.
Which I did.
That was nearly two years ago, and despite a few unavoidable breaks due to work and… laziness, I’m an addict. I’ve even become one of those irritating people who recommends exercise to stave off the Stockholm winter blues.
As someone who goes to the gym, hangs about the running machine for a few minutes then announces that was a great work-out and I’m off home, the structure of the class really works for me. In particular, the way that the stations are set out around the studio so that I can physically see how many I’ve done and how many are to go, keeps me focussed and – now that I’ve figured it out! – able to pace myself.
I also love the variety – the class is slightly different every time, sometimes more cardio heavy, other times all about the weights – which keeps things interesting, and there’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Chelsie walks around correcting posture, encouraging those of us about to drop, and, in my case, sometimes pushes my feet up and down as I wail for mercy, clinging for dear life to the pull up bar.
And so, for these last few weeks of darkness and misery, I recommend coming over Viking slayer and heading for Bootcamp…
Featured Image: Ggvic