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posted: 3/17/2014 5:45 AM

Boot camp blues: Surviving brutal workouts

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  • A stylish new headband keeps the sweat at bay as Lisa Townsel lifts a 35-pound barbell.

    A stylish new headband keeps the sweat at bay as Lisa Townsel lifts a 35-pound barbell.

  • Whew! Lisa Townsel survives another boot camp.

      Whew! Lisa Townsel survives another boot camp.
    photos by Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

By Lisa Jones Townsel

Last Friday night I had a dream that each day leading up to Saturday boot camp I had eaten a square of chocolate toffee, and it was going to show as a gain on the scale during weigh-in.

Well, I ate no chocolate, toffee or candy at all, and I did scoot out of the 190s, right into the 180s, without much fanfare.

It was only a two-pound loss this week, probably because I couldn't manage to fit in a few spaced-out snacks and overdid a dinner portion here or there.

But it certainly wasn't because I failed to complete this week's arduous training tasks with my trainer, Josh, or the dreaded Saturday morning boot camp sets with my new buddies and boot camp boss Brad Parotto.

Really, this week's boot camp was the worst!

I started by lifting a 35-pound barbell, repetitively for what seemed like an hour. Really, it was just for 30-second intervals with 10 second rest breaks in between. I couldn't believe that I was even throwing that heavy bar above my head and steadily bringing it back down. I had never done that before -- ever.

Next, I did deep knee bends while swinging a hefty kettlebell. While the first set was doable, my arms quickly grew heavy, weak and lifeless with each oncoming set. Yet, all I could think of was gripping the metal ball tightly so that I didn't crack the mirrored wall in front of me. (I certainly didn't want to be remembered as the reporter who let the kettlebell fly into the wall.)

From there, it was on to the upside down plank. It sounded pretty easy: lie down, plant your hands under your butt and let your legs hang in the air. Ok, I can do this, I thought. Then, Parotto came by and pulled my legs down a few inches from the ground. What did he do that for? OUCH! My legs trembled, my bum burned, my shoulders wanted to rise, but I still had 15 seconds to go.

Parotto came by again and told me to think of a tropical paradise? Really? … Where I'd be doing upside down planks and sweating buckets? I couldn't wait until that particular exercise ended.

Then, as an added bonus, we were instructed to do 20 squat jumps before going on to our next exercise rotation. I knew I needed to bend down as much as possible with each try before popping in the air or Parotto was bound to make me redo them.

Before boot camp ended, there were angled pullups to do, more squats and endless jumping jacks. By the end, my clothes were soaked, my hands could barely grip my water bottle without shaking, and I'm sure my new headband was ready to unleash a sweaty fury.

But like the other five courageous people who embarked on this journey of a lifetime, I survived through another day, another weigh-in and another unforgettable Saturday morning boot camp class.

• One day this stuff will come naturally, but until then freelance writer Lisa Jones Townsel uses Sundays to recover from rigorous Saturday boot camp workouts.

Starting weight: 198

Current weight: 188

Weight lost: 10 pounds, 5 percent

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