So, you signed up for your first boot camp workout class. It’s a new year and you’re ready to mix up your routine and challenge yourself to try something new. That’s great! But if putting your name on that list has you shaking your head wondering what you got yourself into, we hear you. And we’re here for you.
Boot camps combine strength and cardio exercises for a full-body burn. They all get your heart pumping, make you sweat, and challenge your muscles, but how they do it varies form studio to studio. For instance, at The Fhitting Room in New York City, trainers will move you from station to station in high-intensity intervals that focus on functional movements that use your body weight or kettlebells. At Barry’s Bootcamp, you’ll alternate between treadmill challenges and floor exercises. Even at the same studio, each class is totally different, to keep your muscles guessing.
The whole concept can be a little intimidating, and we won’t lie, these workouts tend to be tough. But don’t worry—there’s a first time for everyone, so know that you’re in good company if you are struggling to keep up. Learning the moves, honing your form, and getting stronger are the whole point. You’ve got to start somewhere. That said, it can’t hurt to get the 411 before you start. Here’s our guide to what you need to know before your first boot-camp style class.
Do some research before you head to class so you have some idea what to expect.
Exercises vary throughout each class, so you could be doing anything from squat jacks to jump squats, to a lunge and press, to ropes to the ski machines. And probably burpees. All the burpees. Though you won’t be able to predict what’s going to happen at Tuesday’s 7:30, you can get a sense of whether you’ll be using machines like a rower or stair stepper, or if you’ll be lifting weights. “Do some research on the studio and the workout before you arrive for your first class so you know what to expect. At Barry’s there are state of the art Woodway treadmills where you’ll run, sprint and climb inclines, as well as benches where you’ll use anything from dumbbells, to booty bands. By knowing the gamut of equipment you’ll be prepared for whatever the instructor may throw your way,” Kate Lemere, a Barry’s Bootcamp Chicago trainer, tells SELF. Don’t know how to use a machine or do a move? First look around the room and try to copy what your classmates are doing. The instructor will walk you through everything you need to know how to do, but definitely speak up if you have any questions. Proper form prevents injuries (and you get more out of it that way, too).
You don’t need any special boot camp gear—you can dress like most any other day at the gym.
In terms of what to wear, it totally depends if class is indoors or outdoors. Normally, my go-to is leggings (full length or cropped depending on how I’m feeling in the morning and the temps), a sports bra and a tank top, but wear whatever it is you prefer to sweat in—because you will sweat. If it’s an outdoor boot camp, like November Project, dress for the weather, but keep in mind that you’re going to get heated. Some people will warm up in a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt and take it off once they start getting sweaty.
Lace up your cross-training kicks.
“Many people tend to wear running shoes to workouts because they’re comfortable, but those shoes do not always support lateral movements or plyometrics. Make sure that you have training or cross-training shoes so that you can move effectively and avoid injury,” Gerren Liles, Equinox Master Instructor, tells SELF. If you’re concerned about your shoe choice, ask the gym you’re going to if they have anything they recommend, or chat with the experts at your local sporting goods store.
Drink up before you head to class, but not too much.
“Make sure you hydrate before the class. You want to be hydrated enough to perform at your best,” Alex Fell, trainer at Warrior Fitness Bootcamp, tells SELF. He recommends drinking a little bit more the night before and morning of class. “You never know when the instructor will give you a water break, so it’s best to be prepared before the tough workouts.” A good rule of thumb is to drink one or two cups of water two hours prior to exercise. Then one to two more 15-20 minutes before class. Make sure to bring a full water bottle with you to class, just in case the studio doesn’t give you one. That way you’re prepared to replenish what you sweat out.
And don’t forget that food is fuel.
Boot camp workouts are high intensity by design, which can make the whole what-to-eat-beforehand question a little tricky: On the one hand, you want to be properly fueled. On the other hand, you don’t want to be so full you want to hurl. This is totally individualized. Some people must eat before class, others, like myself, can’t eat anything before class. Until you know how your body will feel, follow the standard advice to eat something before class. “Especially before a HIIT class, you want to have eaten something at least an hour before your class. This will help avoid getting nauseous and give you energy to power through,” Daury Dross, trainer at The Fhitting Room in NYC, tells SELF. Complex carbs will provide that energy, while protein will help keep you sated through class. (Avoid too much fat or fiber, which can upset your stomach while you’re working out.) Do what works best for your body—whether that’s a snack between work and the gym or a full breakfast before you leave the house.
Seek out the instructor and say hi, even if you’re nervous—especially if you’re nervous.
“Always introduce yourself to your instructors and let them know if you have any injuries or limitations before class starts,” says Dross. This way if you’re confused about a move, (what the heck is a prisoner squat?) or have a question about the number of reps to do, the instructor will know to look out for you. And don’t be embarrassed if they give you more attention than other students. “I absolutely love when newbies say hi, it gives me a chance to throw them a little extra motivation and watch out for form,” Ashley Wilking, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp NYC, tells SELF.
Give yourself at least a 15-minute window to get settled before class.
You’ll feel more comfortable if you arrive a little early so you can get used to everything. “It’s already intimidating going to a new class, so if you get there right on time, you’re going to start confused,” Hannah Davis of Body By Hannah in Cleveland, TN, tells SELF. If class starts at 8:30 A.M. try to get there between 8:10 and 8:15. “Give yourself plenty of time to get there and take in the space and the vibe and maybe even meet a new friend,” says Davis.
You’re probably going to feel silly during class—everyone does in their first one.
Follow along as best you can and don’t worry if there’s something you can’t do. “Enjoy the experience. Listen to your body. It’s your first time doing this, so it will tell you what it does and doesn’t like,” Mantas Zvinas, Founder of SurfYogaBeer, tells SELF. If you can’t keep up with 20 burpees and can only do 10, do those 10 with confidence. Trust us, everyone is checking out their own form, not yours. If you mess up, it’s okay.
You can ignore everyone else in class, seriously.
Watching the other fit bodies in the room take on those heavy dumbbells or sprint at a 10.5 can be unsettling. It does not mean that you are expected to do that on your first class. “Focus on yourself. Don’t let the speeds certain clients are running at or the weights they are lifting on the floor effect you. Some of them have been coming for years. You have to do what’s best for you in class,” Alex Sapot, of Barry’s Bootcamp Los Angeles, tells SELF. Don’t get thrown off by what everyone else is doing. You’ll get there!
Listen to your body.
You’re trying something brand new, so be extra attentive to your body. “Modify before you instantly try to master. Trust yourself, you know what is best for you,” says Zvinas. If you get tired, take a break. If you need water, drink some. Don’t be afraid to do what your body needs. “Your brain and body will be taxed to the max and the better focused you are the greater likelihood of successful completion of moves and the entire class itself,” Andia Winslow, a sports performance coach in NYC, tells SELF. You definitely don’t want to overdo it on your first class. If you can perform a move, but only without weights, do that. “Completing a proper lunge with lighter weight is much more effective than with heavier weight and bad form,” says Wilking.
But don’t slack off.
Yes, it’s going to be hard. It’s a boot camp class, so the instructors might yell a lot or tell you to push through the pain. And after you go through your second circuit of TRX push ups, you might not be able to do another one, but try! “When your body experiences a new type of workout that it’s not used to, the immediate response may be to slow down or give up. That’s usually when the negative thoughts creep into the brain. Do everything in your power to push to the end of the workout and your body will thank you later,” says Sapot. Classes are meant to push you to a level you most likely can’t get to on your own. The instructors want you to leave feeling accomplished, so they may keep telling you to do just one more squat, when your legs feel like jelly. We promise (and they most likely do, too), it’s all worth it in the end.
Once you’re done, you’ll feel like a superhero.
Or you may feel sick, if it’s something your body is not used to at all. Drink water after class as well and throughout the rest of the day to feel better. Try to eat, too—your body needs carbs to replenish your depleted energy stores, and protein to repair and build up your muscles. Whether that’s dinner or lunch, you need to fuel up so you can recover properly.
Speaking of which, you might wake up the next morning feeling very sore and disinclined to move ever again. Fight that feeling. “Know that the discomfort you feel during class and directly after will only intensify in the coming days. This is totally normal and expected,” says Winslow. “The key is, don’t stop moving. Be certain to continue hydrating and stretching though you feel like doing the opposite. Go outside and take a gentle stroll or slow shake out jog instead.” The easy movement will help your body recover and maximize the results of your efforts.
5 Lifestyle Changes You Should Do in 2020
Doing various lifestyle changes can be difficult especially when you attempt to initiate huge modifications that merely remain unfulfilled over time. Experts assert that planning small changes is more practical and achievable in real life.
Drink more water
The regular intake of water provides a multitude of benefits. Water helps reduce the frequency of migraines; it helps slow down aging; it aids in digestion; it assists in weight loss, among others. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water each day provides you with more energy, enabling you to manage the daily grind.
Go for daily walks
We all know that exercise helps keep us healthy, as well. However, not everyone has the time—or inclination—to start a rigorous and time-consuming exercise routine. Nonetheless, you can still keep yourself healthy by taking daily walks. You can start by taking a walk after you get up from bed each day and then do another round when you get home from work in the afternoon. If you are working from home, take several breaks and walk in your front yard or garden for a few minutes each time.
Begin writing a gratitude journal
Stress gets accumulated due to the many upheavals of daily life. There is a lot to complain about and work can become too stressful at times. You should know, though, that stress and worry can be debilitating to your health. Starting a gratitude diary allows you to destress yourself, realize how blessed you are, and allow catharsis to unfold.
Do a few minutes of reflection and meditation
Because you tend to be so busy each day, you forget to find time to reassess all the things that you are already blessed with. Worries are everyday facts of living. However, you do not have to dwell on them all the time. Find a few minutes to reflect upon the good things in life. Stay still and silent for a bit. Listen to the birds and smell some flowers if you can.
Ask for help when you need it
The funny thing about most people is that it is considered a crime to ask help from others. Most people think that admitting the need for help is tantamount to admitting weakness—a terrible blunder for one’s dignity. However, it is essential to remember that no one’s perfect and that a lot of us need assistance from time to time. Learning to lower yourself and admit the need for aid ultimately lightens your soul—and even helps you learn the virtue of humility.
It is necessary to plan some changes in your life. These changes can help lighten your everyday burden and eventually welcome more positivity in the different aspects of your existence. However, you should start with doing small modifications. Keeping them small allows you to easily fulfill them because big goals tend to be too difficult especially when you’re too busy trying to keep up with the daily hustle and bustle. Also, laugh a little. Accept your frailty and be at peace with the world.
Yoga: The Ultimate Solution to Chronic Pain
A recent study found that patients with chronic disease and depression found a sort of release upon trying a mindful-based stress reduction course. The study proved that there was a considerable improvement in the participants’ mood, functional capacity, and perceptions of pain upon participating in the activity. According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, it was found that 89% of the study’s respondents claimed that the program helped them in various ways. Despite having 11% of the participants remaining neutral, most of them agreed that the activity allowed them to better cope with the pain. Chronic pain may be common, but this ailment is considered one of the most severe medical conditions out there. The medical condition is believed to have affected over 100 million people in the United States and correlates to an annual cost of $635 billion.
The Effects of Chronic Pain
A small-scale study was conducted in a semi-rural population in Oregon, wherein issues about affordability, addiction, and access to care are abundant. During eight weeks, the participants were instructed to try a mindfulness meditation followed by a mindful hatha yoga exercise. According to Cynthia Marske, an osteopathic physician, and director of graduate medical education at the Community Health Clinics of Benton and Linn Counties, she claims that numerous people have lost hope because of the possibility of chronic not being fully resolved. However, she believes that mindful yoga and meditation can help the body’s structure and function and cater to the healing process.
The Difference Between Healing and Curing
According to Dr. Marske, he claims that healing is becoming whole again, while curing is the point of eliminating the disease. He believes that yoga and meditation can help make things manageable during the chronic pain healing process. A study conducted found that mindful meditation and yoga led to notable improvements in a person’s perspective on pain, disability, and depression. In the Patient Health Questionnaire, also known as PHQ-9, it was found that the scores of the standard measure of depression dropped by 3.7 points on a 27-point scale. Dr. Marske concluded that some patients often experience a similar drop from the use of anti-depressants.
Depression and Chronic Pain
Dr. Marske claims that depression and chronic pain go hand in hand. However, he believes that mindfulness-based meditation and yoga can, indeed, restore a patient’s physical and mental health. He believes that both of these combined are effective alone or infused with other medication and therapy treatments. Participants also received instructions from MBSR, a systematic educational program that trains people to raise awareness of the self in the present time and a nonjudgmental manner. The results support other claims on how MBSR can help treat chronic pain while healing from perceived depression. Dr. Marske says that the bottom line is that patients are looking for new ways to endure chronic pain and effective non-pharmaceutical remedies available. However, he firmly believes that yoga and meditation are the go-to plans for patients searching for relief from chronic pain.
Lady Gaga, Ray Dalio, and Oprah Swear That TM, a Meditation and Yoga Derivative. Works for Them
Mental health is a major aspect of our well-being. It affects everything else, from decision-making to stress management. Meditation and yoga are key techniques in maintaining excellent mental health. However, there’s a trending derivative that’s currently making the rounds among celebrities—Transcendental Meditation (TM).
Personalities at Twitter, including Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Beyonce swear that this new technique works as it helps them improve creativity, control stress, and boost energy levels.
During Oprah Winfrey’s “2020 Vision Your Life in Focus Tour” conducted at Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, Winfrey and Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga discussed their love for TM and its corresponding benefits in their lives. These celebrities, including Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, share that they learned TM from their teacher, Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation or TM is an exclusive practice. Its followers—or would-be followers—are taught by certified instructors through a 4-day course that’s made available for $380 to $960, depending on the student’s level of advancement.
According to Roth, TM is a simple meditation technique that requires you to sit for 20 minutes twice a day while uttering a repeated mantra. In his 2014 YouTube video, Roth adds that TM differs from other meditation techniques because it “allows the active thinking mind to just, all of it to just settle down, and experience quieter levels of thought” as compared to other techniques that prompt you to focus on your breathing or observe your thoughts.
More Important Than Work
Winfrey, in her 2018 Super Soul Conversations interview with Amy Schumer, asserts that TM is “one of the most life-enhancing things [she] ever did”. After the said TM experience, Winfrey shared in her 2011 interview with “The Dr. Oz Show” that she hired a TM coach to teach her Harpos Studios production crew how to meditate.
She says that her staff would, then, take a couple of breaks each day as the practice of meditation is “more important than the work you are doing. [TM] brings a kind of energy and an intensity of energy, an intention that we have never had before.”
Reason for Success
In his 2018 Facebook post, Dalio attests that TM is possibly “the single most important reason for whatever success [he’s] had.” Dalio, 70, shares that he first came across TM during his early 20s. In his book entitled “Principles”, he says that TM “has enhanced my open-mindedness, higher-level perspective, equanimity and creativity. It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly, even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight.”
Dalio asserts recommends those who are curious about the positive effects of transcendental meditation to get a copy of Roth’s 2018 meditation book, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation.”
Meditation and yoga have long been used to correct certain mental health issues. Recent studies report that transcendental meditation, a newer derivative of these techniques, poses possible health benefits. In a 2009 research, experts discovered that young individuals who practiced TM for 3 months displayed lower levels of anxiety, anger, depression, hostility, and even blood pressure.
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