If you could eat and drink and not exercise, yet still stay healthy….would you? “Umm ya.” I’m guessing is what most of you are saying. Well you can’t, so you need to find some form of exercise that works for you and that you will stick with.
For the past eight or nine weeks I have been going to a trail based boot camp run by my friend Donna. Just for the record, I do not do the 6:00 am class. I drag my sorry ass to the 9:30 am class. So what motivates people to get out of bed and go to a workout, outdoors, occasionally in the rain? Maybe the first time would be easy, but what would bring people back week after week?
I’ve spent 33 hours in a van with Donna. Twice. And I would be happy to do it again. Both times she has passed a sweaty slap bracelet on to me with a smile and encouraging words. She has also told me to “suck it up bitch” when I’ve whined about running up a hill. She’s one of only a few people who know that if I put my hand up while I’m running it means don’t talk to me I’m not having fun right now. It’s called giving them “the hand”. We can laugh about it now.
Fitness has always been a part of Donna s life and in high school and university she joined any team she could find.
“I found strength in belonging to a team and my self-esteem was created through my success in sport.”
That feeling of inclusion and teamwork is evident in the way she runs her boot camp. Yes we are all moms, but we are all at different fitness levels, some have injuries and some are brand new moms with a totally different set of needs. “She is always on top of alternative exercises for those with injuries – and keeps the class moving a good pace!” One bootcamper commented. Her energy and enthusiasm keeps you going and before you know it the hour is over and your are done your workout. Sometimes you don’t even realize how hard you have worked until the next day.
Donna originally wanted to study marine biology and has a BSc in Biology from the University if Windsor. But living in Windsor, next to the Detroit River, didn’t do much to inspire that career. In 1998 she moved out West and entered the Exercise Science program at Langara College with the end goal being a kinesiology degree at SFU. But, as often happens, life changed course and she found herself working as Head Brace Fitter at Paris Orthotics. For the next nine years, after obtaining a diploma in Prosthetics and Orthotics from BCIT, she would work in the orthotics industry. In 2006 she became a mom and focused on raising two active boys. With more time on her hands now that her boys are older she has started a series of trail based boot camps.
“I find group training to be a lot like belonging to a team. You can lean on members to help you stay motivated to continue your fitness journey. There will always be someone in the group that helps challenge other members and I myself, find motivation through these members as well.”
We live in an area with an abundance of great trails and scenery and Donna has developed a program that has us sweating up and down those trails using rocks, trees and strategically placed water jugs full of water. We have done plank with owls swooping over our heads. We have conquered the 100 steps of death. We have crawled like crabs in the sands of Cates Park. We have challenged Old Buck and lived to tell about it. We have laughed and we have commiserated over sleepless nights and school yard drama. And we have sweat. A lot.
“We laugh and have fun, I see progress in many and I love to show people that finding a place and time to exercise can be easy!”
With three time options on three different days Donna’s sessions accommodate lots of moms. Not everybody wants to go to a gym or run by themselves so this is a great option. “No matter what you’re ability or fitness level, Donna makes sure everyone is getting what they need!” She is a strong believer that staying fit and exercising is just as much for your mental health as it is for your physical health. Her approach is educational and she is constantly introducing new exercises to challenge us.
“We love Donna – she rocks…even if she’s making us carry them up hills…LOL!!!”
So back to my original question. What would motivate people to get out of bed and workout outside? Donna would.
Educational, inclusive, naturally gifted, motivational. Just some of the words fellow boot campers have used to describe our fearless leader. “It also never rains during Donna’s boot camp…must be her super natural powers! LOL
The Best Thing in Life would be having Donna’s boot camp available to everyone!