Guest Post: Fashion Magazine's Lesa Hannah Goes to Bootcamp

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I've been off my workout game for more than a year. Except for about a week in which I managed to hit the gym three out of what was supposed to be five times, I've essentially hit atrophied mode. So am I going to jump out of bed at the crack of daylight for out-in-the-open pushups, planks and running led by a barking-orders fitness drill sergeant? No freakin' way. I need to hide my wimpy self in the safety of the small gym I've been paying for the last 13 months. But my friend Lesa, Beauty Editor at Fashion, is bolder than I am. She enlisted in the Best Body Bootcamp to whip her post-baby bod back into shape. Tracking her progress makes me think maybe... maybe.

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The new recruit
Forget thighs or butt—post-30, my battle is with my paunch. I’m like an old man—every ounce of excess immediately heads there to squat. I know I can beat it—two years ago, I totally kicked its ass. Then I had a baby. Amazingly, the calories I expended from breastfeeding (500 a day—yes!) got me down to a size that was slimmer than my pre-pregnancy shape. But when I returned to work and weaned my daughter, that blissful burn waned. Oh, and I’ve never really met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like. Welcome back, belly.

Now that I have a toddler, the only choice I have is to work out at lunch. And while I’ve been successful in getting there a few times a week, I feel like my efforts are in vain. You know those articles aimed at moms that say even picking up toys or doing housework counts?  It doesn’t. At least not enough. So when our health editor, Rani Sheen, mentioned how after a friend of hers signed up for Best Body Bootcamp (bestbodybootcamp.com), which offers sessions across Toronto, she had increased energy and her ass started to lift, I was ready to sign on the dotted line. Best Body Bootcamp, I’m ready for you to help me get mine….

Week one

Monday: It’s freezing, making the fact that I’m up and at a park at 5:30 a.m. even more torturous. Today the focus is on measuring and assessing our current (pathetic) state. Most people hate this kind of thing, but I’m all over it. I want to know where I stand. It’s also essential to record these numbers for comparison at the end of the four-week session ($225). Our coach, Michael, is so not a drill sergeant. Quite the opposite—he’s super laid back, and seems almost fearful of upsetting the all-female group at such an ungodly hour, especially since we’re being weighed. He tells us we don’t have to measure anything we don’t want to, but dammit, I need to know. When it comes time to weigh in, I’m probably the only one suitably bummed that the body fat percentage feature on the scale isn’t working. Weigh-in is followed by a fitness test, which assesses our strength by making us hold certain positions until failure. When all is said and done, there’s about 20 minutes left and we do a small workout. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be done by 7a.m.

Wednesday: The grass is slick and there are jerks who don’t pick up their dog’s poo, so I have to keep an eye out when we’re made to run laps around the park. Today the focus is legs, interspersed with bursts of cardio. After a series of exercises, Michael tells us to run a lap to “cool down,” which sounds counterintuitive. I’m just sayin’. The next day I confer with my friend Katherine, who’s just reached the four-week mark in her own boot camp. She’s lost a total of 11 inches. I feel hopeful, in spite of the fact that I still have a muffin top. She relates that she didn’t notice any changes until week three. Patience…

Friday: Using resistance bands, we focus on shoulders and back. Easy enough. The harder part is all the variations of push-ups Michael makes us do: prison cell, military, and staggered-hand/stacked-foot. You can’t help but say “omigod” after he demonstrates each one. Seriously, they look insane. I manage to make it through them, always envisioning a slimmer me for motivation. The whole workout seems to fly by and, even better, our instructor has managed to get the scale working so I can finally find out my body fat: 23 per cent. Not as bad I thought. But the overhang above the waistline of my pants still tells a different story.

For Lesa's accounts of weeks two, three and four, visit her Boot Camp Diaries at fashionmagazine.com. Image courtesy of Best Body Bootcamp.