Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Dispatches from Boot Camp!-


Roughly half of the 5:30AM rockstars!

This has been an “off” week for boot camp.  We just wrapped-up a 2-week “mini camp” and a 3-week session begins this coming Monday! Woohoo!

One of my boot campers from the 2-week session kept an ongoing log of her boot camp experience!  Awesome, huh?  She was kind enough to share it with me, and allowed me to share it with all of you.

So, if you’re curious about what goes on in our boot camp workouts, you’re gonna love this!

Thanks, E, for sharing!  Without further ado, here’s a firsthand account of what a boot camper experiences!

Mini-Boot Camp! November 9 – 20, 2009

Day 1 Dispatch … Monday, November 9

Yesterday’s pre-boot camp meeting involved a nutrition talk & a weigh-in (including measurements & body fat percentage). On day 1 of boot camp, we met at the PMAC due to rain and warmed up with things like jumping in place and jumping jacks. Doing those things on the pavement was very stupid because my shins immediately felt like they were on fire (they’ve already been plenty sore with the running). Eventually I started doing modified exercises, which I should have done from the beginning. Well, live & learn. Today’s exercises also included the running ladder, split squats, squats with bicep presses, and bridges, along with bicycle crunches & planks, which I sucked at like I always have. (I just don’t have that kind of core strength or straight back … it always either hunches or arches.) Oh well! The split squats were the hardest part for me other than the jumping because of my shins … these squats take a lot of control and balance and strength (which I lack) and definitely burned! Overall, I liked it and look forward to doing it at the dog park where hopefully some grass is available for the heavy-hitting pounding movements. And that is the end of the Day One Dispatch!

Day 2 Dispatch … Tuesday, November 10

Day 2 dawned with a soreness of about 3 to 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 when getting out of bed. Mostly, my quads were sore from the split squats of Day 1. But we soldiered on. To warm up, we walked around the cute cement circle at City Park, did jumping jacks, and then did various walking / marching moves across the grass — butt kicks, knees to chest, etc. We then divided into three circuit groups — one walking/jogging, one doing push-ups and burpees (OMG, hard), and one doing sideways walking with tight bands around our ankles … like doing leg lifts, sort of, but in hell. After completing that circuit, we moved onto the next circuit … one walking/jogging (same), one doing planks and mountain climbers (oh sweet Jesus, the pain), and one doing squats and bicep curls with resistance bands. Of the different activities, the ones on the ground (push-ups, burpees, planks, and mountain climbers) were by far the most difficult and excruciating (for me) … even though I always opted for the “easier” version of each move. After we completed both circuits, we skipped abs because we were out of time and did stretching on the ground, which was glorious and heavenly. I suspect that the soreness level will (at least) double to 8 by the time this day is over. P.S. Since I needed to run today anyway, I went straight from class. This was possibly insane, but it was only a 20-minute run and I’m glad I did it if only because I got to see about a thousand birds (egrets, pelicans, ducks) flapping around on the lakes having breakfast. The giant flock of white pelicans was so magnificent as they bobbed their heads under water in unison and flew overhead that I almost burst into tears! We really do live in a beautiful place.

Day 3 Dispatch … Wednesday, November 11 … Happy Veterans Day

I don’t know if I’m the only one having really weird and interrupted nights of sleep during boot camp … I hope this stops soon! This morning my first thought when I woke up was “Ow.” It even hurt to roll over in bed. Well, here goes nothing! Today the lights in City Park were off so it was a bit dark & gloomy, but we forged onward like brave soldiers. We warmed up with many of yesterday’s moves across the grass — hugging knees to shoulders, marching or jogging with high knees, and frankensteins, and today we added side lunges to the mix. Next was the ladder on the ground that we ran through in a variety of ways. The bulk of boot camp today was centered around a game where we split into three groups and ran out picking cones with different exercises on them … when we finished, we ran out for another cone. Whichever group got the most cones “won.” We went through the game twice. It was a bit confusing for the dumber among us (like me), but we survived. Some of the moves included squatting/bicep curling/pressing with hand weights, squatting and jumping in the air, lateral raises with hand weights while standing on one foot, planks (HATE), and reverse lunges with hand weights. We finished boot camp with abs on the mats, lying on our backs with straight legs and holding a hand weight by its ends over our head and then bringing the hand weight over to each foot while raising it in the air. We also did that thing where you curl your legs up in the air and bounce your palms toward the ground, only instead of bouncing, we moved them from side to side. We also did something called bird dogs (I think?) which involved getting on all fours, holding one arm out and then bringing the opposite knee to meet it on its way back in. I was very spastic at this, mostly because I kept having to stop and slap mosquitoes off of me. They were swarming today! It was horrible! That was my main complaint about class. It was super hard but productive! Tomorrow, we’ll bring bug spray. And that’s it for day 3!

Roughly half of the 6:00PM rockstars! GRRR!

Day 4 Dispatch … Thursday, November 12

I keep waiting for the glowy, endorphins-fueled invigoration of boot camp to hit me, but mostly I walk around all day with burning eyes & the overwhelming urge to go back to bed. Anyway, Day 4 was the easiest since Day 1. I think maybe Sarah had some pity on us. Our warm-ups today consisted of moves done holding each end of a hand weight: woodchops (holding the weight down between our feet and then swinging it up over our heads), lateral pivots (swinging the weight from side to side laterally while pivoting), and side squats where we sat into one hip while holding the weight by the ground and then pivoting to swing it up at our heads on the other side. We went those three times apiece. Then it was time for a relay game. It involved sprinting out to 5 cones, hopping over them, doing 5 mountain climbers, and running back. Our team made it through this twice per person (other teams made it three times). Next were push-ups and dips on picnic tables. And then we were out of time! This was not the toughest day, but it was still good to be out there as the sun came up. (Note: Day 4 was the coldest day so far … other days have been about 65 degrees, and it was in the low 50s today … which was good because it mostly kept the mosquitoes away.) I am going to keeping taking it easy on the super poundy moves because of my effing shins. However, I did run after class today & the pelicans were so AWESOME that it was worth whatever pains my shins were in. They are freaking fabulous! Okay, see y’all tomorrow. EB OUT.

Day 5 Dispatch … Friday the 13th

I skipped camp today after not getting home from NOLA until nearly 2 a.m. so A. helpfully provided this summary!

Cold Cold and cold

This day was the most like Alan’s class. [Awesome circuit class we used to do at Y.]

  • Run/Walk Warmup
  • High knees when we pull them into our chest
  • Frankensteins
  • Jumping Frankensteins
  • Butt kickers
  • Side Lunges and then leaps
  • 5 minutes of running
  • 16 stations for 30 seconds a piece done 2x
  1. Medicine Ball Throw Down
  2. Planks
  3. Standing up rows with bands around columns
  4. Speed Ladder
  5. Elevated Rock Climbers
  6. Elbow to Knee
  7. Side step Speed Ladders
  8. Bird dogs
  9. kettle ball throws
  10. Sitting Squats (She said pretend you are using a dirty bathroom.)
  11. Jumping Rope
  12. Jumping Jacks
  13. Ropes (look at the video)
  14. Lateral Raises
  15. squat jumps
  16. Tire runs


Day 6 Dispatch … Monday, November 16

It was a pleasant 55 degrees or so when we hit day 6 of boot camp in the pitch darkness of Monday morning. Our warm-ups today were similar to day 4 … moves done holding each end of a hand weight: woodchops, (holding the weight down between our feet and then swinging it up over our heads), lateral pivots (swinging the weight from side to side laterally while pivoting), and side squats where we sat into one hip while holding the weight by the ground and then pivoting to swing it up at our heads on the other side. We cycled through those twice apiece. Then we went around the track doing walking lunges (ow) and Frankensteins and side squat lunges (super ow). Next, burpees on benches. (I did not hop in the attempt to salvage what is left of my shins … I just did stepping instead.) Then it was time for a rematch of last week’s cone game … lots of lunges, planks, burpees, lateral raises while standing on one foot, squat/jumps, etc. Abs were saved for last, and this was when the mosquitoes decided to swarm ferociously. They were literally covering us from head to toe and we were practically eating them. Thank goodness for J’s bug spray, which saved the day! Abs work consisted of strange sit-ups where we held a weight in each hand over our heads and pulled one knee at a time up to our chest and so forth, and we finished with the merciless move known as side planks when I think I called out to the Lord. And that was it for day 6. Morale check: I felt more energized and rested today than I have since day 1. Hopefully my good spirits will carry me through and I will not become miserable  like I did last week! Peace out everybody!

Day 7 Dispatch … Tuesday, November 17

Friday (Day 5) was reported to be very cold; I cannot determine whether today was colder than Friday since I skipped that day, but it was definitely cold today … 42 degrees. We warmed up by walking briskly/jogging around the track for a few minutes as usual and then did a series of now-familiar moves around the track…high knees, butt kicks, frankensteins, side to side lunges. Next up were circuits … (1) squatting five times quickly and then standing up, (2) burpees, (3) mountain climbers, (4) bouncy lunges to the front and back (not sure what to call those), (5) push ups, (6) muffin top side-to-side ab thingie with legs in the air, (7) seal jumping jacks (arms horizontal and clapping like seals instead of overhead), (8), push up position while raising one arm in the air and looking up at it. Not necessarily in that order, but I think that’s it. As usual, I tried to avoid hopping and bouncing to keep the shin killing to a minimum since I knew I wanted to run after boot camp. Then more walking/jogging. Then a repeat of those circuits. Then some mat work … two rounds of three moves: (1) bridges/marching bridges, (2) upward dog/downward dog, and (3) dreaded, godforsaken side planks. (Whatever strength it takes to do those, I don’t have.) Sarah wanted us to take a dumbbell in our top arm and raise our arm in the air while holding the side plank (or just our arm with no dumbbell), which was straight lunacy. It took every fiber of strength I had just to hold the side plank, period! Oh, my sorry-assed core … it needs some work! We cooled down with some triangle and warrior poses and IT band stretches. Overall, it was a great workout today even thought it was cold. I would’ve liked more stretching at the end, but it’s understood, we just ran out of time. Then I went on a 30 minute run and saw more pelicans than ever, which was AWESOME and SPECTACULAR and along with post-boot camp endorphins makes getting up this early totally worth it!

Day 8 Dispatch … Wednesday, November 18

A few degrees colder than day 7! It was 40 degrees when we arrived in the darkness on day 8 … You could have knocked us over with a feather when we realized Sarah was not there yet! The group kept walking around the track and placed a few calls / texts into Sarah to make sure she was okay. She was, she just overslept! It happens to the best of us! There were about 18 of us there, so we decided to work out as well as we could on our own. One of the women was our timer, and we all threw out ideas of what to do next. To the best of my memory … we walked / jogged to warm up, followed by high knees, butt kickers, frankensteins, walking lunges, and side lunges around the track. Then we tried to work through the circuits we could remember from yesterday (day 7) … the bouncy squats where you count to five and stand up, push ups, burpees, mountain climbers, seal clap jumping jacks, those running lunges (not sure what they’re called), muffin toppers, and that thing where you do a push up position and raise one arm in the air (terminology fails me!) … then we did the abs stuff from yesterday … bridges, upward dog/downward dog, and side planks (ARGH!). We also lay on our backs and did sit-ups where held a hand weight by its ends over our head and then brought the hand weight over to each foot while raising it in the air. Then we did some of the moves we remembered from the cone game … the lateral arm raises while standing on one leg, squat/curl/press, wood chops … at this point I am drawing a blank … then we did IT band stretches, triangles & warrior poses, and arm stretches. We left about 10 minutes early, but we were all a bit cold & delirious … I think it was a pretty decent work-out all things considered. We did not kick our own butts as much as Sarah would have kicked our butts for us, but we worked up a sweat & it was worth getting up and out for. 2 more days, folks! We can do it!

Day 9 Dispatch: Thursday, November 19

Ah, Day 9 … super dark and in the low 40s when we arrived at boot camp. Somehow it didn’t feel quite as cold … probably because we’re getting TOUGHER! We warmed up a little bit by walking around the track and then did some new moves … walking lunges with punches (jab / cross) and kicks, side squats with bobbing and weaving, walking lunges with more punches (uppercuts), and side squats with four jabs. Then we did those all over again. I love punching because I feel like it’s a great way to let out some pent up aggression! Next it was time to play with the tension bands or whatever they’re called. We divided into pairs. First, we did woodchops with a partner on each end of the band … one going up, and one squatting down. This reminded me of see-sawing as a child, only with more pain. Next, we either did bicep curls while holding onto the handles and standing on the band or squats while holding the handles up around our shoulder blades. Then we did a move which looked easy enough but ended up being crazy hard! With the band stretched out and one partner on each end, one held it close to her body while the other held the handle out with arms straight out and kind of pulsed her arms back and forth without twisting her torso. This is hard to explain but believe me it was hard and made muscles ache that I did not know existed! In a good way, though. Then we repeated the cycle of those moves and did some stretching. The hour flew by with all of this activity, and it was time to head out. I think my legs are starting to get mega-fatigued because I had trouble keeping my balance during some of the walking lunge and punching moves and wobbled all over the place as if intoxicated, and during my post-boot camp run I think my calves were so tired that they forgot how to work, and the result was the slowest run in weeks. I think they were just kind of pooped, though, and that’s to be expected! At least the mist over the lakes was beautiful and the pelicans were their usual amazing selves. Another fine and challenging morning at boot camp with the gals.

Sandi & Shae brought me a "thanks for kickin' our butts" present! I have proven that drinking Blue Moon while writing up boot camp workouts equals KILLER workouts!

Day 10 Dispatch: Friday, November 20

It was a nice 45-degree morning on day 10 of boot camp! I haven’t had enough coffee yet to remember the exact order, so this might be kind of out of whack, but here’s what we did today … we picked out our boot camp t-shirts … we did some warm up jump roping and worked with our dumbbells … like I said, I’m struggling to recall the exact order of business, but I know we did three familiar moves: (1) woodchops, (2) pivoting from side to side while holding the dumbbell with straight arms, and (3) squatting on one side with the dumbbell toward the ground and reaching it up and around on the other side while pivoting, along with three new moves: (1) standing on one leg and holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand and kind of squatting down and coming back up– this was a balance exercise that worked our glutes/core — challenging! (2) squatting from side to side and hopping up while pressing our dumbbells straight up in air in between each side, and (3) doing regular squats and then pivoting and raising the dumbbell to one side or the other. These descriptions are terrible, but y’all know what I’m talking about! Then we split into three groups for: (1) jump roping, (2) walking side to side with those tight blue bands around our lower legs (which Sarah said is a good move for runners because it’s lateral instead of forward-moving … word to the wise), and (3) doing rows and squats by holding onto the handles of those tension bands when they were hooked onto the benches. At some point, we also did push-ups and dips on the benches. We finished things off with three mat exercises: (1) planks, (2) bicycle crunches, and (3) bridges. My favorite part of today’s workout was lying on our backs doing those three final moves because it was really nice to look up and see the leaves on the trees as the sky brightened above our heads. Beautiful morning indeed! One more “bonus” day awaits on Monday … see y’all then.


4 responses

  1. E

    Awesome … fun/crazy to see this in print & remember the daily workouts! Good times …

    December 2, 2009 at 9:48 am

    • E-

      Thanks again for keeping the “diary!” I love it! I am about to read through it again because it inspires me! Tomorrow’s workout is a doozy! Y’all are awesome and i’m having the best time working with the groups! It’s chilly out, yes, but the heat is ON! 🙂

      See you in the AM!

      December 3, 2009 at 9:32 pm

  2. I agree! A six pack of Sam Adams and a notebook = killer workouts!

    December 15, 2009 at 10:13 am

    • High five, Jonathan! 🙂

      December 31, 2009 at 11:02 am

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