Jim Martin (above, far right) tried out Bay View Boot Camp, run by Laura Forte (above, far left).

Jim Martin (above, far right) tried out Bay View Boot Camp, run by Laura Forte (above, far left).

Can I do this? The thoughts of self-doubt crept into my mind as I pulled up to take my first boot camp class. I’ve always considered myself to be in good shape. Nearly a decade of working outside in the resort industry, teaching sailing, doing waterski shows, and being on my feet six days a week kept me pretty lean. But then again that was nearly eight years ago, in my twenties, my “former” self if you will. The current version is less lean, more tied to a desk job… and the joys of a few beers and too much barbeque.

Let me back up to explain how I ended up here. The Old Northeast waterfront has so much to offer in terms of beauty, accessibility, and options for exercise. Any day you’ll find your neighbors walking their dogs, bike riding, playing tennis or beach volleyball, running, and grinding through boot camps. I was certainly included in this group. My wife and I love to walk our dogs, go bike riding or for the occasional run. I love being active. The only problem was there is only so much time in the day, and my 5:30am workouts at the gym weren’t cutting it. I’ve always liked the gym, but lately I’ve been missing something. Perhaps it was motivation. It’s hard to get pumped up for 45 minutes of cardio or free weights while the outside begs you to come play!

3-aI’ve always noticed numerous boot camps down by the waterfront, but thought casually “that’s not for me, I know how to work out.” Looking back that was a pretty ignorant statement on my part. Boot camp has nothing to do with not knowing ‘how’ to work out. It has everything to do with community, with having fun, and enjoying everything our beautiful waterfront has to offer. A quick search on the internet will lead you to a number of fitness/boot camps in the area. I picked up the phone and dialed a few different locations. I ended up hearing back from the super energetic owner of Bay View Boot Camp, Laura Forte. She was extremely inviting and gracious, offering any information that I requested and as I spoke with her I thought the best way to add some authenticity to the article was to put myself through one of the classes. I asked if I could join and Laura was ecstatic, “of course” she exclaimed, “that would be amazing!” Laura explained what I needed to bring, the usual – water, towel, etc.

Upon waking on Saturday, the realization of what I had committed to hit me with full force, “why did I say I’d do this” I thought? I arrived about ten minutes prior to the 9 am class, the weather was beautiful and I was extremely nervous. I expected that I was biting off more than I could chew, that the boot camp would be full of “super athletes” and cliquish, but found instead the opposite. Sure there were some boot campers in great shape but everyone there for the class was exceptionally welcoming; they treated me like I was already a member of the group. I found that while we were all there to exercise as a group, Laura allowed modifications regardless of your fitness level, you were competing against yourself, but with one major advantage, you had a group of peers cheering you along. The class had just begun but already I heard a chorus of positive reinforcement, not only was Laura offering encouraging words of support but the whole group was, to me, to each other, to themselves. We were all in this together, getting an amazing workout and having fun!

3-cLaura called out the final countdown. “I made it!” The class was finished and I found myself speaking with a longtime member who said, “the best part of boot camp is that you don’t have to think about it, you just have to show up.” That statement reminded me of a Woody Allen quote, “90% of success is just showing up.” At least today, I found some truth in that!

Don’t get me wrong, the class is hard, you’re going to sweat, you’re going to pray to be done, but the hour-long class flies by, you’re exercising in a beautiful location and getting an amazing workout.

Try out a boot camp class. You just may find yourself getting in the best shape of your life!

by James Martin