Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What I am Learning at Boot Camp #BestBodyBootCamp

Taking part in Round 6 of Best Body Boot Camp is turning out to be a real learning experience for me.  The more I do, the more I learn… the more I love it.


Not only am I working hard and continuing to see changes in my body, I am learning some new things about me as well.  It’s all good, or at least it is all going to be good for me!  And probably even more so when make some mistakes!

Tina has set the Boot Camp workouts up so that we are assigned a new series of workouts every two weeks.  In this 2-week phase, I have been introduced to a technique called DROP SETS.   Apparently drop sets are a popular way to fatigue the muscles being worked and there are several ways to integrate them into a workout.

In these particular sessions the drop sets are used during the first exercise in a 2-move superset and we are to do 3 complete sets of the superset before moving on to the next 2-move superset.  The second exercise in each superset does not use drop sets, but has a prescribed number of reps to perform.

Here is an example.  In Workout A the first superset uses Stiff Legged Deadlifts and Bicycle Crunches.   For the deadlifts we are assigned 6 - 8 reps then 1 – 2 drop sets ‘to fatigue’.  Then we do 10 – 15 Bicycle Crunches per side.  We are to repeat that whole sequence 3 times before moving on to the next pair of exercises.

When I first read the description of how to do them I thought I understood what was involved…  do the reps, then drop the weight down and do more ‘to fatigue’, drop the weight down again and do more ‘to fatigue’.  Then move on to the crunches… then have a little break and do all that 2 more times.

But then I started second guessing myself, so went to the Facebook Group and asked for confirmation of my understanding of it all.  I was assured by other members of the group, along with Tina, that I was indeed on the right track.  It is so nice to have that group of people for support and just wonderful that Tina is so responsive and helpful and completely accessible, too.

I was still concerned about ‘to fatigue’.  Now, I know that when I am working a certain muscle or group of muscles, that I should focus there.  And not start using other muscles to help move the weight.  For example, when I am doing bicep work, I shouldn’t start using my shoulders to help hoist the weight when my biceps get tired.

But I was still not sure about ‘to fatigue’.

Workout A is a good mix of lower body and core, as in the superset I described.  Each lower body move was paired with a core move and I was eager to give it a try… to tackle those supersets and see what I could do.  I love doing deadlifts and squats and lunges and yes, crunches.  Did I really just say that?

Monday morning I jumped out of bed and after my lime water, my Epicor and a few sips of coffee, which is my usual pre-strength workout fare, I got out my weights, my exercise mat and changed into my workout gear. 

I did the Stiff Legged Deadlifts ‘to fatigue’ and then the Bicycle Crunches… and it felt pretty good and I completed all three rounds of those two moves.  Yes, my butt was feeling it.  I admit, I liked it.

And then I started on the second superset with 2 different exercises, and I began to realize that I had likely done way too many reps of the deadlifts in the first superset because it didn’t take much at all to get ‘to fatigue’ doing Split Squats… and as I progressed, I realized I couldn’t even perform 3 rounds of the final 2 of the 4 supersets… 2 rounds of each would have to suffice.

I was done.   I was spent.  I was almost on the floor, out of energy and not feeling very good at all.  And I was kind of annoyed at myself for feeling like this. 

I quickly made and inhaled a protein smoothie and then rested about 10 minutes till I started to feel better…  till I had any feeling of energy at all.  I debated trying to continue, but eventually gave in and called it DONE.

After analyzing the situation I have come to realize 2 things:

1.  Leg/lower body work is very similar to cardio with all the large muscle groups that are involved.  I don’t do cardio on an empty stomach because I just don’t have enough FUEL in the TANK.   Before I tackle this workout again next Monday, I will have a protein shake before I work out.  And I will watch for this in upcoming phases as well.

2. ‘to fatigue’ doesn’t mean ‘to exhaustion’ – it does mean that I MIGHT do 1 or 2 more reps past feeling uncomfortable or challenging.  That still qualifies as working with INTENSITY.   I am only hurting myself by doing too much at the beginning of the workout and not being able to finish it.

Best Body Boot Camp is helping me meet several of my goals… not just the strength work but the cardio component too….  I am LIFTING HEAVY THINGS… and I am SPRINTING ONCE IN A WHILE…  I am USING MY BRAIN and trying to AVOID STUPID MISTAKES.

What are you doing to meet your fitness goals?

Have you learned any lessons by making mistakes?


  1. I am learning a lot too, which I really enjoy. the first time I did a training plan with Tina, I didn't put my heart into it, and it was a waste of money. Now I'm following through and really seeing results. I wish I had heavier weights, some of the exercises are requiring more than I have to really hit fatigue. But workout B - man it showed me how strong my lower body is in comparison to upper. One of the exercises I started with a 15, couldn't do it, tried 10, nope, had to go down to 8 -nada. I had to use 5lb weights! I was shocked at how week that part of my back was! I write everything down in between sets while catching my breath so hopefully I can look back and see the progress down the road!

  2. I have made plenty of exercise mistakes but for some reason, I don't really learn! Like if I pull a muscle or hurt myself, I don't listen to the pain and push through. Luckily I have been okay thus far but lets just hope that I don't hurt myself in the future! Knocking on wood right now! lol

  3. I have learned so much in the last couple of years, love doing HIIT workouts because they have taught me to push so much harder than I thought I could. Your bootcamp sounds really awesome.

  4. It's great that you are doing this because it does teach you where your limits are and how to work with them. I think my most common way to over tire myself is to not eat properly before hand! It's good you have figured it out and now your next workout will be even stronger!


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