Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Fitness Column: SREC boot camp is manageable for first timers


Finding ways to stay healthy while in college becomes daunting at times. With never-ending days filled with test, quizzes, homework and last minute social engagements, how do we find time to live a healthy lifestyle?

It is common when complaining about our health to hear that if we would all just drink more water, get eight full hours of sleep and work out four to five times a week while watching our calorie intake, then we would achieve the results we are seeking.

While we all know these are great ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is easier said than done for a busy college student.

Trying to live a healthy lifestyle can be frustrating too. For example, how do you begin to pick a fitness class when the Rec Center offers a different class almost every hour of the day starting at 6 a.m.?

So what are we supposed to do? Do we just give up and decide that we can be healthy after college, or only in the summers? Or, should we take the wins we can get and try to find small changes that we can make, a new fitness class or finding healthy recipes that satisfy those midnight cravings?

This week I decided to jump in, head to the Rec Center and try a new class. Lucky for me, the fact that they offer classes almost every hour of the day fit right into my busy Monday. I decided to take Cathy Elliott’s Boot Camp class from 6-6:50 a.m.

Walking in, my nerves were all over the place. It is always intimidating trying a new class, especially one titled “Boot Camp.” I was unsure of what I would be asked to do having never been to a class of this nature before. When I think of boot camp, I think of intensive military training, and I was unsure if my current fitness level was up for the challenge.

Since Monday’s weather was dark and stormy, the number of people in the class was low and, therefore, made the class a bit more comfortable for a newcomer such as myself.

I was instructed to grab a set of weights and pick any yellow card out of the giant circle of yellow cards all reflecting a different set of instructions and stand in front of it.

I decided to start with right lunges, mainly because that placed me next to a woman who looked very comfortable and I thought I could watch her do the exercises before me and maybe I would appear like I knew what I was doing. Unlucky for me, we rotated left instead of right, so my plan did not work.

The instructor was very understanding and accommodating to the fact that I was obviously new to the class and had no idea what I was doing. She made sure to show and explain to me how to do each exercise and offer assistance as I did them to ensure I was doing them correctly and didn’t hurt myself. In addition, she showed a high intensity and a low-intensity option of how to complete the exercises as well as ways to change it up so you never got bored with the same type of exercise.

The circuit worked each muscle group in my body multiple times. I enjoyed this part as my whole body got a complete workout. The circuit was set up so that one exercise would work my arms and the next would be my legs, after that I would do my core and then come back and do my arms. The constant changing of muscle groups never allowed my muscles to feel overtired.

Each exercise lasted only 45 seconds with 10 second breaks in between. After completing five exercise cards we took a longer break allowing us time to grab some water.

The class is not always run with a circuit. Elliott teaches the class on Mondays and changes up the exercises she does.

“I like to do a combination of high intensity and low-intensity exercises in my class,” Elliott said.

She has been teaching the 6 a.m. Boot Camp class for three years, but has been a fitness instructor since 1991, she said. She focuses on teaching her students the correct form to decrease the chances of injuries during their workout.

The Boot Camp class is taught Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Wednesday class is higher intensity training and Fridays are dedicated to kickboxing.

Overall, the class was less scary than I thought it would be and I felt great afterward. The mix of intensity levels allowed me to make it through the entire 50 minute class without feeling like I was going to pass out. It was a great way to start my week and I feel great about making time in my schedule this week for something new and healthy. 

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