Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to a weight loss camp? Our contributor Jennifer is spending part of this summer away from her family to try to kick start a new, healthy lifestyle. Join us for part two next week!
HANGING OUT WITH MY BEST FRIENDS – BEN & JERRY
Most Tuesday nights you can find me curled up on the couch with my dog, a fuzzy blanket and my two best friends, Ben and Jerry (as in Cookie Dough Ice Cream Ben and Jerry). We are anxiously awaiting the next installment of Biggest Loser and marveling at the transformations of the contestants. There is also the part where every week I resolve to “start tomorrow” to lose weight, exercise, be healthier and give up my beloved Diet Coke. Well that “tomorrow” never seemed to arrive in my life as a busy mom of four kids. One such relaxing evening subtly became a turning point in my life. I decided simply to look up the fitness camp advertised on TV while I dreamed how amazing it would be if I could spend some time just working on improving my health and fitness levels without all the distractions of home. That simple thought took root and has started me on an amazing journey of realizing some of those goals I set every week and would never follow through on.
CAN I PUT MYSELF FIRST?
Of course my reasons for exploring the option of leaving my husband, 4 daughters, and my dog to go to a fitness camp for a month are not particularly unique to me. I remember being at a Christmas party with my husband and feeling so out of place with all of the thin, young doctor’s wives. I felt bad for my husband having to be there with me no matter how many times he told me how beautiful I looked. I got over my shallow, insecure moment and decided to do something about it. In theory, that would have worked, but with my busy mom schedule my fitness and nutrition were not getting any priority at all. I began feeling run down, having no energy just to get through my day and stressed out about how I could change the routine.
After MUCH preparation and research I found a fitness camp that I thought was the best match for my goals and lifestyle. Premier Fitness Camp had just won “Best of Utah” award from the State and seemed to have all of the components I was looking for in a live-in weight loss camp. The next thing I knew, I was checking into a resort to begin intense fitness and nutrition training! I felt like it was the first day of school all over again!
THE FIRST DAY
The first day we had orientation starting in the morning at 5:30am. This included our beginning weigh in, body fat percentages, some baselines fitness tests and having our blood drawn. This camp is medically supervised and they do blood work and medical assessments as part of the program. I am terrified of needles so I am thankful I did not pass out! After we received some instruction on the equipment in the gym we jumped right into working out with the other participants of the camp!
Quickly I fell into the routine of the workouts. Every morning we meet at the Smoothie Bar to get a protein shake to fuel our first workout of the day at 6:00am. We then travel to a recreation center for boot camp! Boot camp consists of several stations or circuits that we rotate through. Everything from push-ups, lunges with weights, pulling boxing bags across the field, pushing football sleds, and lots of other exercises to torture and tone the body. As hard as it is to do the workouts, you have an amazing energy when you are finished that lasts the rest of the day. My first day at boot camp, I am not going to lie, was incredibly difficult for me. I noticed I was worn out fairly quickly and even a little dizzy. However; the trainers were encouraging, trying to get you to do just a little more than you thought you could. One of the trainers, Josh, reminded me I was still adjusting to the altitude and to breathe through my nose. The dizzy feeling was gone within a few minutes.
WORKING OFF MY BOOTY IN BOOT CAMP
After boot camp we have breakfast, followed by either a hike, a power walk, aqua aerobics, or sports activities depending on the day. We have lunch at noon and then meet for our afternoon workouts. For these we are split into two groups so the trainers get to work with smaller groups for more one on one attention. My group has strength training first, followed by another class that varies by the day. Including kettle bells, medicine balls, boxing, kick boxing and more. I felt this was very helpful for me because I get proper form and motivation. By the time we finish in the afternoon I am exhausted! It is strange by the end of the week though I was tired, yet had energy. There are other activities included after these workouts like yoga, nutrition training, group counseling/life coaching. On Friday and Saturday there are other activities like walking up Olympic Hill, Zumba class and a group outing on Saturday afternoon. The fitness and activities have become my full time job while I am here!!
MEAL TIME – TASTY, DELICIOUS, HEALTHY? WHAT?
The meals are all inclusive and are kept within a 1200-1500 calorie range so while I am here there is nothing to think about. Knowing that I have to go home and continue this, I was relieved to find there are tools to help me. We have nutrition training twice a week and a cooking class with the Premier Chef every Saturday. I really enjoy that I am not cooking or doing dishes! It is amazing what you can focus on when that isn’t taking up your time.
Let me just take a minute to say that the food the last couple of weeks has been fantastic. Between the chicken fajitas, lasagna (yes, a delicious and healthy version!), salmon, breakfast tostadas , oatmeal with fruit, spaghetti squash served with pesto and chicken, tuna steak and baked tofu, I have been in heaven! Tofu! Who knew? The first few days it was hard to get used to working out hard and then eating and then heading out to the next workout! Now, my plate is clean in a hurry, my appetite is back! I would be concerned that would mean that I am not going to lose weight this week, but knowing that at Premier Fitness camp they portion our food, I know that the entire day is going to be within our calorie range. I am so glad to see that I can prepare these healthy meals for my family and after tasting them, I know they are things my kiddos will actually eat.
THE BIG WEIGH IN
After my first week flew by, it was time for my first weigh in! I tried to sleep in, I really did, but this is my first Monday morning weigh in! Each Monday we all weigh in to see our progress. Every two weeks, we weigh and measure. My assessment time was 7:20am, but I was up at 5:00am. I was anxious. I wasn’t really scared because I felt like I did everything I was capable of and I knew I didn’t go off of the program’s nutrition plan one bit. I was still bouncing in my seat while I waited for my turn. It seemed to take forever and all I could think of is how awful the anticipation must be when Biggest Loser contestants have to sit on set and wait for their turn to weigh in.
I AM THE BIGGEST LOSER!!!
I had a goal in my mind of 5 pounds. I thought that was optimistic, but I really wanted it. My dear friend here saw me on my way down, she lost 5 pounds. Another woman walked out losing 7 pounds. I was getting a little more nervous. Finally, it was my turn! I walked in and one of our trainers, Wayne, got me on the scale. I watched and saw it come up. I looked at Wayne and said, “Is that right?” He told me I lost 7 ½ pounds!! I jumped off the scale and hugged him, then rushed out to tell my roommates and friends who were waiting to hear! I was ecstatic! Then at lunch Wayne announced who this weeks “Biggest Loser” at camp was… and I won! They take your percentage of weight lost and mine was 4%!! That means I won an extra massage at the spa! MONDAY ROCKS!
CAN I DO THIS? REALLY?
I have had trouble sleeping here and Tuesday this week was my hardest day here so far. I hadn’t slept, I was homesick and missing my family, I felt I didn’t have a lot of energy and I got frustrated that I wasn’t working out as hard as I could have. My afternoon workouts were very difficult with me being close to tears a few times. Luckily, I got some sleep and lots of encouragement and the rest of the week picked up. I was really excited to get to Wednesday’s boxing class. I think that it is so funny that putting on the gloves and boxing with the bag or a trainer has become the thing that I really look forward to in the week. Even if Brad (our trainer) just kind of shakes his head because I am so bad at it!
INSPIRATION AND EMOTIONS
Now that I have given you the logistics of my couple of weeks at camp, I can’t say enough about the emotional breakthroughs I have experienced here. I love the mountain hikes! It is amazing to hear the forest and see the wildlife. My first hike was a three moose hike! We saw a mother moose and her calf from about 40 feet away. My last hike I made a commitment to not stop until I hit the top. I had to slow down, but I made it. The view was awe-inspiring and I felt myself get choked up that I was able to accomplish what I set out to do. I was able to come back down with a camp participant who is 72 years old and 10 times more fit than I am. It was so pleasant to share the experience with her and hear her stories about her family, her stay here, what she has accomplished. What inspiration!
That may be the biggest surprise that I have had being here. I am completely inspired by the people I have met, both my trainers and the other participants in the program. In such a short time I have made connections with people that I anticipate to continue friendships with for the rest of my life. We feel like a little family here; sharing our stories, talking about our families, challenges and successes. We cheer for each other and encourage each other. When it is a hard day, someone is there to pick you up! If I had to go home today, I think the lasting impressions of these people would keep me on track to make big changes in my life and it would be worth every penny and every sacrifice I made to get here!
I am 37 years old and a mom of 4 beautiful daughters. I am a stay-at-home mom who is never HOME! I do some work from home helping my husband run his business. My weight was not a problem until I got pregnant and began having children. I have never completely lost that weight. I have tried different diets and felt like a yo-yo for the past 8 years! (see me on far right of picture)
A combination of things happened in my life to make me decide to make some major lifestyle changes and putting myself first, making healthy choices for me and my family. Please join me on my journey here on the Today’s Mama Blog, on the Mom It Forward Blog , the TimeOutMom Blog, and my daily journal entries and weekly vlogs on the Premier Fitness Blog as I do five weeks at Premier Fitness Camp in Utah living there & then my follow-up journey at home. This is going to be life-changing! It is already life-changing!