Kim Mackowski of Shorewood says it well – “Being in shape is relative.” Kim is likely to be in better shape than most of us, since she is a marathon runner. But over this past year she has improved her marathon performance, dropping her running time by one minute to now run a six-minute mile. She attributes this achievement to increased overall fitness and core strength reached at the fitness boot camp she’s been participating in for more than a year.
Although everyone’s abilities differ, Kim says she enjoys the idea of exercising with others while working on her own goals. She describes this workout regimen as “an unbelievable total experience.”
Boot camps are a popular workout option these days. Catherine Andersen, a Shorewood resident who owns and coaches a fitness boot camp for women, says that boot camp’s effectiveness has a lot to do with the variety of activities campers are required to perform in any given one-hour session.
“The focus on variety is central to an ideal workout,” according to Andersen. “If you always keep your body guessing, your fitness keeps on improving. The best workout hits all facets of physical fitness – muscular strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.”
Sally Brandl and Julia Killian, Shorewood friends and neighbors, also opted for boot camp. As Julia put it, “I’m an exerciser who needs someone to tell me what to do.”
The two friends say that without each other, they are not sure whether they would be sufficiently motivated to attend a month-long exercise program at 5:30 in the morning. “This winter, shoveling snow in the dark to get to a 5:30 boot camp session – I’m not sure I’d have done it if I didn’t have Julia to go with,” says Sally. Both women admit that once they arrive at camp, they’re happy they made it and enjoy the camaraderie of the other women in class.
Chris Bukowski, another Shorewood boot camper, agrees with the need for a structured fitness program and also recognizes the positive effects of being accountable for effort as well as attendance. Another thing, she says, is that advance payment for an exercise program provides additional motivation.
Chris, who teaches in middle school, says that attending boot camp in April was a big challenge. “When I got to work and told people I had run at the beach in the snow that morning, they thought I was crazy. But it gave me an emotional boost that allowed me to better sustain the energy I need to teach middle school kids.”
She added that nothing beats running on the beach as the sun rises on a beautiful summer morning. “The fresh air, the sound of sea gulls overhead, and the view of the lake make up for any bad weather.”
As for achievements, she claimed a two-fold benefit: she went down one jean size after six months of camp and she is now able to run a complete mile for the first time in her life.
Andersen reminds campers that whatever your exercise choice, a fitness regimen won’t work without a nutrition component. “It’s not about being skinny,” she says. “It’s about being healthy.”
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