Boot Camp For Athletes

I underestimated the effectiveness of boot camp.  Yes, I, the CEO, founder, designer and operator of the program, didn’t fully understand the benefits of the program until recently.   It may be true that I am a little biased, but I am more convinced than ever that CFC’s boot camp is the best exercise program around.  Please allow me to explain.  The following is my personal testimonial to the effectiveness of this program.

On Sunday, April 7th 2013, I ran in The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and set a new PR (Personal Record).  What is so special to me about this is that I signed up for this race as a ‘fun run’ to gauge where I might be heading into my triathlon season.  It wasn’t supposed to be my “A” race, but it turned into one shortly after a 5K race I ran a month earlier.

The 5K (3.1 miles) was in March at the Reston Town Center and over 1400 runners took part.  I placed in the top 2% of all the finishers.  At the Cherry Blossom 10Miler there were over 17,500 people running and I finished ahead of 97.5% of them!  Both of the times I clocked in these races were much faster than I anticipated.  My goal is not to brag but to explain how those results came about.  My ‘off season’ (something I describe in another BLOG post here) was to run no more than three times a week.  In fact, most weeks I’ve not run more than two times a week, yet my finish times were better than expected early in my season.  My secret weapon?  Boot camp!  I maintained a very strict routine of Monday, Wednesday and Friday attending my 5AM class at the Sterling studio with Jake as my trainer.

I’ve always been impressed with the way CFC’s classes help people become healthier but until now, I didn’t realize what the program could do for the conditioned athlete.  I am even more ‘sold’ on the idea that CFC’s boot camp will help anyone become a better, overall athlete.  In 2011, I was very dedicated to attending the Reston AM boot camp until about two months before my major “A” race of the season (Reston’s Olympic distance Triathlon held in September).  This race is basically my super bowl; it’s the race to which all my other training events and races lead.  At the time, I felt like my body was a finely tuned machine and I really couldn’t have done much more to be ready.  I was having the race of my life through the swim and bike until about ½ mile into the run portion of the race when I tweaked something in my ankle.  I ended up pulling out of the race and saw DNF (Did Not Finish) for the first ever next to my name in the results.

A friend asked what caused the injury and I had little explanation except that I stopped doing cross training (boot camp) about 2 months prior to the race.  He disagreed saying that he never attended a boot camp and never had that sort of an injury.  It could be that both of us, or, in fact, neither of us, is right but what I do know is this: I’ve been attending boot camp 3 days/week ever since November of 2012, and I have been injury free.  Not only that, I’m PR-ing every race at every distance and I’m doing it with LESS running than I’ve ever done before.

So what is it about boot camp?  Think about it.  It is 60 minutes of high intensity non-stop movement which prepares the body for intense race-like condition.  Any race that is less than 60 minutes becomes a breeze compared to a class. Boot camp classes consist of a lot of explosive movements like: suicides, wind sprints, leap frogs and plyometric jumps of all sorts which create powerful legs and increases lung capacity.  The long distance runs that I do on my own time help my body become accustom to the longer race that lasts more than 60 minutes but anyone racing under 60 mins likely will not have to do much outside of attending classes on a regular basis.  With all the pushups, shoulder presses, rows and other upper body exercises we do during class, the resulting stronger upper body helps keep my form tight while running and focusing on moving forward.  Not to mention the benefits of powerful arm swings for better form and efficient effort.  Because of boot camp, I am so much further along at the beginning of my season than I’ve ever been before and I am eagerly looking forward to my 1st Triathlon in Reston on June 1st.

If you have an athlete in your life that thinks the only way to get faster or better at what they do is to do more of it, please share this story with them.  Cross training works and it works very well and I feel like I’m living, racing proof of that!