What the hell is Boot Camp?!

Untitled designThe other day I was teaching a boot camp class that had a couple new people in it. After class was over one approached me and questioned why I choose to teach boot camp rather than the plethora of other modalities that are out there. My answer was simple – results!

I generally teach boot camps that require a one month commitment. At the beginning and end of the month we take before and after measurements and also do a physical assessment to track progress in planks, push ups, crunches, etc. I have the numbers and data to show that boot camp always works. It works significantly enough that I can confidently say that my program has guaranteed results. I generally never teach the same class twice so my clients never plateau.

I know some people see “Boot Camp” and think “no way”. Some people think it would be way too intense and they are not in shape but that is the whole reason you come to class. Whether I am teaching in Maine, Miami, or Morocco the classes always build a community of camaraderie which to me is even more of a perk than getting in shape. Some of my dearest friends started off as boot camp clients.

Boot camp may have a different interpretation from every trainer/instructor that teaches it. To me it simply means a challenging and ever changing set of exercises that will help improve your cardiovascular efficiency, increase your overall strength, and help you tone and lose weight. In my classes I prefer to use body weight for two reasons. One, I like my clients to learn exercises they can do anytime and anywhere so if I am not around they can still create a workout on their own. Two, your body weighs more than any dumbbell you could lift so you should learn to use your own body in different ways. It prepares you for real world scenarios to use your body as a whole rather than isolating just one muscle. What are you more likely to do – bicep curls with your grocery bags or lifting them out of the car, running up stairs and bending over to put them down. You will be getting stronger and losing weight so exercises can quickly become easier. Strength oriented body weight exercises are push ups, squats, lunges, crunches, etc. Cardio oriented body weight exercises are running with high knees, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc.

Hopefully this answers any questions you may have on what boot camp is. Don’t be intimidated! Even if you have injuries or have never worked out in your life, you are capable. When people have injuries I prefer they book a private session with me to go over modifications of common exercises we do so give your instructor a heads up if you have any concerns.


Hindsight is 20/20

1dd5531b9381852705af503fe68db45dWhen looking back on our lives we almost always find that our hindsight is 20/20. This is also true regarding fitness and nutrition. I haven’t been feeling very motivated with my workouts and have been roaming the grocery store on a daily basis for whatever suits my mood. This is not a combination for success! I am the number one supporter of advanced planning and routine. So while pondering what I could do to get on track and see results the first thing I did was to reflect on what has worked best for me in the past.

Simple questions you can reflect on:

  • What fitness routine or workout have I really enjoyed?
  • When was I in the best shape of my life? What was I doing?
  • What “diet” makes me feel the best?
  • What “diet” have I had the best results with?

I use the word diet in quotes because I don’t think it is good to use the word diet. “Diet” has many negative connotations and you should strive for a healthy balance in your nutritional routine rather than a system of deprivation.

For me the answer consisted of two things. I was teaching a lot of classes and doing the BeachBody program Asylum when I was in the best shape. I really enjoyed Asylum because it was a thirty day program that motivated me to stick to a daily workout plan. The workouts were challenging but I could really see the results in my strength, power, and agility. The Insanity Asylum were my 45-minutes of sanity to focus only on myself and that was a huge blessing. I have decided to start that program again and now BeachBody has an on-demand system so you can watch the videos anytime and anywhere. I am headed to Montreal this week so I wanted to make sure traveling would not interrupt my new routine.

The second thing that really worked for me was Shakeology. It was an integral part of decreasing cravings and because it has all the nutrients I need my body performs at a higher level and just naturally loses body fat. I have never used anything like it. With all my travel I have had a hard time keeping a steady supply but now I have two bags on hand to get back on track. I know I also need to plan out my meals for the week but that will have to wait until I get back from Montreal!

This is a very “BeachBody” related post but what can I say? It works for me.

Set Yourself Up for Success!

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It’s the start of a new year and fitness goals are on the minds of many people. Unfortunately this will only last a few weeks and will dwindle off before January is even over! I am hoping the information here may help you stay on track for the long haul. I have seen many clients come to me frustrated that their weight is not changing and I want to remind you that it is not the only way of tracking your progress. It isn’t even the best way because there are so many variables that go into your weight from how hydrated you are to gaining muscle mass from your workouts. Some people get on the scale every single day and I feel this is actually an unhealthy habit because the results of that number influence whether they are happy or frustrated. I tend to stay off the scale and found that weekly measurements are a much better way to track my progress.

The Scale
If you are a scale person and can’t imagine you life without using that as a measurement then I have the scale for you! I just bought the new Weight Watchers scale and it measures your body weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, body mass index, and your bone density. This will give you a much more accurate breakdown of your weight and more information to help you set smarter goals. I have women come to me with 14% body fat and tell me they want to lose 15 pounds because that is what they weighed in high school – it just isn’t a realistic or healthy goal once you punch in the numbers!


Using a measuring tape (like one from a sewing kit) is an amazing way to track your progress. You may have noticed that sometimes your body weight may stay the same or even go up but your clothes are fitting better or getting loose. This is because you have gained muscle and lost fat. A pound of fat takes up much more space than a pound of muscle so your measurements go down even though your weight stays the same. If you don’t have a method to actually track your body fat percentage this is the next best thing. Here are some different parts you can measure:

Neck  Wrap the measuring tape around the neck directly above the trapezius muscles before the neck starts to widen out.

Chest  Measure around the widest part of the chest. This is usually the nipple line but this can vary in women depending on breast size.

Waist  Measure at the smallest part of the waist. If you do not have a “waist”, then measure around your belly button.

Abdomen  Measure six inches below the waist measurement.

Hips  Measure around the widest part of the hips and where the buttocks protrude the most.

Thigh  Measure directly below the fold of the buttocks where the butt meets the thigh.

Quad  Measure directly above the knee cap.

Calf  Measure the widest part of the calf.

Bicep  Measure from the edge of the collar bone to the tip of the elbow. Divide this in half and measure around the arm.

Helpful Tips
There are a few important things to remember when taking measurements to ensure that they are accurate.

  1. Always wear the same outfit. Sweatpants vs. spandex and sports bras vs. padded bras do make a difference.
  2. Always take the measurements and weight in the morning. That way there is no meal digesting, bloating, or muscle swelling to interfere.
  3. Always take the measurements in the same location. If you measure your waist at the smallest part one week and at your belly button the next week then you will most likely get different results and it will not be an accurate assessment.
  4. Decide if you are only going to do the measurements on one side, which side you are going to measure and make sure you write it down. Using your dominant side will make it easier to remember.

I like to do my weight and measurements every Sunday morning when I am working towards a goal. It helps me mentally prepare for the week ahead and see the progress I have made each week. I am hoping that everyone can make 2016 the year they stay on track with healthy eating and working out. Keep in mind that slow progress is still progress. Let me know if you have any questions!