I used to do a bootcamp workout when I lived in Bangkok through Fit Corp Asia. A friend at work told me about it…in retrospect I am not even sure why I was interested….she told me “sometimes people work so hard they puke” and “you will be seriously challenged, I doubt you can keep up.” While these words should have scared me, they did the opposite and intrigued me. I think it was because I was in my mid-30’s and simply just wanted to see what my body could still do. And so bootcamps became part of my fitness regime when living in Bangkok and I loved it. It was hard at first but with each session I saw my fitness level increase and after a short time I was in amazing shape. Not skinny, but a strong healthy body I was proud of. And not only was I more fit, but also even when I wasn’t working out, my energy level was sky high.
However, I will confess since Paul and I moved to Singapore last year, my workouts have been, in a word, erratic. When I did my taxes recently I discovered why…I had been out of the country and traveling more in 2009 then I had actually been at home in Singapore. That’s more nights in hotels than in my own bed! As such, you can imagine my workout schedule, and thus my fitness level, has been seriously impacted. When traveling, I had replaced after work training sessions with drinks and dinners with colleagues. When I actually find myself in Singapore, I have a trainer through UFit who I have been really happy with – but it is not his fault I cannot maintain a regular schedule. So when my former Bangkok trainer Daniel told me he and 2 other trainers from Hong Kong and Singapore were putting together Asia’s Biggest Bootcamp in Phuket, Thailand, we had to go and check it out. I envisioned a bootcamp weekend to be just the kick start I needed to get back on track.
We flew into Phuket and I was a little nervous. Would I be able to keep up? How bad had my fitness level really gotten? I was about to find out. It was going to be 2 days of hard core working out – actually 3 bootcamps in total – starting bright and early on Saturday morning. Even the schedule looked intimidating:
7.00-8.30am: Asia’s Biggest Bootcamp! (All level’s catered to)
10.30-12.00: Pool/beach chill time
14.00-15.00: Nutrition & Lifestyle Seminar
15.00-16.00: Foam Rolling Workshop
17.00-18.00: Sundown Bootcamp
19.00-23.00: Beach BBQ then party
0800-10.00: Bootcamp Team building event
12.30: Prize giving and round up
There were 5 trainers – 1 from Bangkok, 2 from Hong Kong and 2 from Singapore. They each lead various sessions and each had their “thing”. Darren and Dean from Singapore led us through a bootcamp using exercise bands – these massive rubber band style things where we partnered up and used resistance to challenge ourselves with the weight of our own bodies.
Daniel from Bangkok led a hard core beach bootcamp workout that involved sprints, crab walks, lots of pushups, arm burning upper body exercises and many a lunge and squats.
Whereas Nathan and Jimmy from Hong Kong organized a super challenging “Amazing Race” style bootcamp event with various work out stations including shuttle runs, kayaking, relays and lots and lots of running. As it turns out the weekend was hard. Very hard. But totally fun.
Interspersed with the bootcamp sessions were also some informative sessions on nutrition and foam rolling. I was introduced to foam rolling a couple of years ago as part of physical therapy and it was tremendously helpful in the road to recovery – breaking up the fibrous knots that used to cause me tremendous pain. In fact when I am training regularly, this is an integral part of the routine.
The nutrition session was led by Nathan from Hong Kong and based on the feedback of all those attending, was very inspiring. I have been reading up on food science and nutrition lately (maybe a boring topic for you, but fascinating for me). And the more and more I have read, the more I become convinced that all the processed foods, colas, fast foods, etc. are the elements responsible for the nutrition and obesity problems of the Western world. Nathan talked a lot about the idea of real foods, the importance of water in the digestive process and many, many other facts and nuances that could lead us all to greater health. Did you know that in most (if not all) low fat foods, the flavour that is lost from removing the fat is added back in by the addition of sugars? And that these sugars in turn trigger a craving for more food and sugar? (I am switching back to full fat yogurt as we speak!) In the end, Nathan espoused that only “real” food, in other words “foods that people have eaten for thousands of years” are the best way to stay healthy. Only with real food like unprocessed meats, fresh fish and local produce can we be actually certain of what we are consuming. With the rest, who knows?
All in all, the Asia’s Biggest Bootcamp had the desired effect. Not only was I shocked that I could keep up (mostly), I was also reminded of what my body could really do. And not only that, I was motivated to keep it going.
But perhaps the best part of all was the people Paul and I met and the fun we had together. Along with the fitness focus, there was also an emphasis on fun. It wasn’t all hard core bootcamps…we managed to find some time to have some beers and hang out on the beach J And after all was said and done on Sunday afternoon, the better part of the day was spent chilling in the pool and connecting with our new bootcamp buddies. Honestly there is nothing more satisfying for me than the total relaxation of having a drink at the end of the day when you know you have pushed your body to the limit and you have totally earned it.
We cannot wait for the next bootcamp weekend in May. For more information on upcoming pan-Asian beach bootcamps (or for info on bootcamps in your area), contact Darren, Daniel or Nathan below.
For bootcamps and personal training in Bangkok:
Ocean Tower 2, 20th Floor
Sukhumvit Road, Soi 19
Telephone: + 66 (0) 2 661 7900
For bootcamps and personal training in Hong Kong:
Bootcamp by Body Synergy
15A Carfield Commercial Bldg
75 -77 Wyndham Street Central
Telephone: +852 2869 6883
For outdoor fitness training and personal training in Singapore:
UFIT – Urban Fitness
Telephone: + 65 9225 0868