If you have ever thought of doing a boot camp program where you live, this is a great inside look into a “newbie’s” experience. Common fears, thoughts, feelings (both mental and physical) and the victories discovered along the way. I recently got an email from one of out new boot campers and it touched us so much, we had to share. I hope it encourages you to try something new and go outside your own comfort zone so you too can have a story to share.
Dear Bonnie, Steve & Paula:
“Boot camp is over and I’ve got all kinds of thoughts and feelings about that – mostly gratitude. I have no doubt that you’ve each received hundreds of ‘thank you’ notes from those whose lives you touched and … here’s another one!
Thank You! What an amazing ride this has been! You are each extraordinary & amazing leaders! You put the breath back in my body! You got my heart pumping again and I feel alive! Now don’t get me wrong … I give myself full credit for finding you and falling at your feet but you helped me find the strength to stand and run! Astonishing!
I have to share a few highlights from my journey:
I’ve lived in the area for about 2 years and everyone I’ve met so far either doesn’t exercise or they have a home gym of some sort so I was lucky to find you on the internet. As with most people’s stories I reached that point when I had to make a change in my life – fast. For me that day was April 9, 2011. Time was on my side because a new boot camp was scheduled to start on April 18th.
MapQuest directed me to your door and I marched in and slapped my deposit check on the counter and then quickly marched right back out before I talked myself out of it. I held my breath until the 18th.
Day 1, Orientation:
I opened your front door and it was standing room only. It seemed that everyone knew at least one other person and the whole place was loud with chatter. I suddenly felt like I was the only one who had no clue about what they were supposed to do. (I’m 5 feet tall so it’s pretty easy to get lost in a crowd.) I’ll never forget what happened next … through the sea of rear-ends and elbows this gorgeous face appeared with a smile that lit up the shadow I was standing in. Bonnie, you greeted me like a VIP!
I seriously thought there was a case of mistaken identity for a second and then I realized you really are just that cool.
The way you spotted me in the pack and talked directly to me. You didn’t keep looking all around the room – you looked right at me until you were sure I understood what the agenda was. And then you gave me a reassuring pat on the shoulder. I felt like your personal guest and I knew I was in the right place. Thank you Bonnie!
We all crammed into the boot camp room and I met Steve and Paula for the first time. Steve immediately began shouting commands … line up, arms out … hold them up! The room was really crowded and somehow I got pushed right up to the front row – so close to Steve his breath moved my hair when he bellowed. There is actually a picture of this intense moment on the boot camp bulletin board (I’m the first one in the ‘Live United’ t-shirt & glasses). Still holding our arms up and keeping them up I felt my eyes puddle.
Yep, I shed my first tear within the very first 3 minutes of boot camp. Why? Because that was the moment I really realized the terrible shape I was in and that this was going to hurt. How did I let myself get like this?!
Steve makes me laugh so hard my ‘sip of water’ came out of my nose! Just when I was beginning to take myself too seriously and get far too focused on the struggle – Steve cracked jokes – hilarious! It was the perfect diversion. Thank you Steve! (pictured right wearing a wig in another boot camp class)
Paula makes me cry. Those f-ing burpees! (Please pardon my implied profanity. Sometimes there is just no better word.) This was a real breakthrough for me. I was coming in waaay last on everything and getting really frustrated. This particular time everyone was finished, taking a breather and drinking some water but I still had 10 more burpees to do – now with a full audience.
Then she intuitively knew exactly how to motivate me … she announced, “These burpees are kicking her butt – but look at her form! These are perfect burpees! Good job Lis!” Suddenly I was no longer ashamed of coming in last – I was showing off! And the way she said my name – no ‘a’ just like family – really made me hear her. Thank you Paula!
Day 6, Saturday Yoga with Steve:
I’ve never watched a man get into a yoga pose and demonstrate tremendous flexibility, balance and strength while articulately explaining the how and why of the posture and throw in off-the-wall humor at the same time.
So instead of coming off like some ego maniac demonstrating an impossible act, he made a very difficult posture seem like any goof ball could try it.
And I did. And I was amazed by what I could do. Steve walked around the room helping us make corrections or adjustments and as he passed by me he put one finger on my shoulder and said, “nice job”. It was the last day of the first week and I had no strength left but that atta-girl made me want to work twice as hard. Thank you Steve!
I could barely walk that first week. I wore a baseball cap to work everyday because I could not lift the hairdryer.
I went home early from work twice and just called in sick all together that first Friday. It was the most physically challenging, painful, wonderful and rewarding week of my life! I’ve never hurt so much but been so proud of myself at the same time! I just completed week 4 but it didn’t seem like anything compared to week 1. (You told me so!)
Paula has this amazing ability to make time fly … like when we’re making a chair on the wall or holding plank … legs on fire, can’t breathe, she’ll start dancing around the room and make crazy faces at everyone which always made me laugh which forced me to breathe. Or she does lines from movies and we have to guess who it is. Or music trivia – rock & roll of course! Next thing you know 1 minute has passed or even 2!
Paula you pushed me further than I ever dreamed I could go. You showed me where I needed to improve or pick up the pace and you ALWAYS pointed out when I was good at something. You motivated each of us uniquely – like a tailored fit. By the 2nd week I realized that everyday I just wanted to make YOU proud and I ended up proud of me. Thank you Paula! I just wish you had been my algebra teacher in high school. I might have figured that stuff out too.
I also need to thank Andy at the front for always being so helpful and hospitable. He is a wonderful compliment to the work you do there – really special. Most of us could be his mother but he didn’t discriminate. Many times our squad would be running a warm up lap in the front parking lot at 5:30 AM and he’d smile and cheer us on while wiping down the front door windows. He helped me with my In-Body twice and both times he was very knowledgeable and supportive. He remembered my name on my 3rd day.
I’ll never forget dragging in at 5:15 AM and there he was with a big smile on his face, “Good Morning Lisa.” He remembered all our names! Nice touch.
Steve and Paula – you are very different people but both of you found those critical one on one moments that helped drive me and inspire me and when it was all said and done neither of you wanted the ‘thanks’.
Both of you exuded such humility those last days and just kept pushing it back on us, “no thank YOU”, “this is what I love to do”, “You did the work”, “you’re why I get up so early”, “look at the progress you made”, “thank yourself”.
Truth be told – none of us could have made it without either of you. Thank YOU! I’m sure I speak for many people when I say – when my weight is up, my energy is low and my self esteem tanks. All of these things that each of you do everyday from that first hello – renewed my spirit. I feel like myself again. I still have a long way to go but I’m on the right track. How do you say thank you for that?!”