“People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.” ~Lee Mildon
When I started running and hitting the gym I found myself thinking so many times that I was not good enough, or didn’t have expensive fancy schmancy enough gear, or I was not as “athletic” looking as I needed to be in order to enter a race or show my face in the weight room. I would look around at the expensive shoes and brightly colored wicking shirts and feel extremely intimidated when I first started to race. I will never forget the first time I saw an older man in cotton cargo shorts, a pair of old shoes, and what appeared to be his wife’s cotton t-shirt at the start line of a marathon. I was horrified that he was going to run in such attire, but then I really started to think that it is not about the clothes or the gear or how much you money you spent on your shoes. Fitness, racing, and workouts are about heart and attitude. Period. If you haven’t made the investment in your training and mental fortitude… well, it doesn’t matter how much you paid for your new compression shorts.
You need a few basic items to workout:
- comfortable shorts or pants
- a decent shirt- cotton will work, but wicking is better if you can afford one
- ladies- get a good sports bra. Your ta-tas will appreciate it. Sports bras should be replaced after 75 washes or if you lose a significant amount of weight
- running / athletic shoes (some will disagree you need these and that is okay too- barefoot running is huge trending change in the sport)
… now let me say a few things about running shoes…
This article by Runner’s World provides some insight into one of the most commonly made mistakes by new runners – get the glittery fun colorful shoes and pay no attention whatsoever to body mechanics. I completely understand the draw of fancy shoes. As a pronator, I require stability running shoes and until recently there was very little to choose from in terms of color and style in a functional motion control shoe. The neutral runners had greater choice in their footwear, but I was relegated to simple boring shoes. This is no longer the case, but the danger still exists to go for the sparkly or neon shoes. Go to a running store. Get fitted and get shoes that are right for you. Your knees and hips will thank you.
If you want to read a humorous additional take on the subject of what kind of gear you need to get a good workout in, check out Hamilton Nolan’s article here.
I typically try to alternate between individual and group games each boot camp session. I have found that the group games foster a positive and encouraging environment for new boot campers, while the individual challenges allow each participant to focus on tackling individual challenges on their own. The women empower each other and support each other making this a great pair game!
My favorite (and the group’s favorite) partner activity is our Double the Fun activity. This game is the most fun in the Spring and Summer months when we are able to be outside and run the “stairs”. The Double the Fun workout is as follows”
Equipment: Dumbbells (various weights or bands will work, have students bring their yoga mats)
Ask boot campers to partner up! One member of each pair will run the stairs
while the other does the exercise and then they will switch. When we run the stairs – up and down counts for 1x- as my participants’ fitness ability increased – we went from 1x on the stairs to 2x.
*note that the exercises listed below are just examples. I switch out different exercises all the time!
Sumo Squats ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
V-Sits ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicep Curl ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Speed Ladder ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Russian Twist ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Plank Ups ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Tricep Dips ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Globe Jumps ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Right Leg Lunge ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Left Leg Lunges ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicycles ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Burpees ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
By the time this workout is completed, each participant will have run the stairs 24 times. A feat that amazes the ladies every time we do it! The most rewarding aspect of this activity is how excited and proud each grrrl is when they realize how much they accomplished and how great they feel!
Required equipment: jump ropes!
Split participants up into pairs. For this boot camp one member of each pair will be jump-roping until their partner completes the number of reps after each exercise in parentheses! When the partner completes the required number of reps for each exercise then the pair switches! If its nice where you live you should do this outside, but this can be done inside too!
#1: Mountain Climbers (25)
#2: Fire hydrants (30 each side)
#3: Push up jacks or reg push ups (25)
#4: Bicycles (50 single count)
#5: Tricep dips (25)
#6: Squats (40)
#7: Crunches (50)
#8: Burpees (25)
#9: Jumping Jacks (50)
#10: Tuck Jumps (20)
#11: Diamond push ups (20)
#12: Side plank raises (30 / side)