Updated: Apr 12, 2020
So I personally believe we should all try something challenging for our minds and bodies. Don't you agree? It could be learning a new skill, playing a stimulating game, even deciding to get started on a fitness journey or trying out a sport. Trust me, I know it can take a lot out of you. Lucky for me, I took that step a few years ago and I have no regrets. Neither will you.
Sadly, I got to a point where gym workouts and boot camp training weren't doing much for me. I had already achieved my physique goals and guess what that meant? Yup! I was officially bored. So this time around, I tried to challenge my fitness level in a different way. I decided to accompany my Saturday boot camp trainer, Fagan Fitness, to the Guardsman Games Boot Camp in his preparation for Guardsman Games 2017. The Games is a well-known event most frequently held at Hope Zoo, Kingston, Jamaica, that includes multiple obstacle courses where individuals, teams and even children have a chance to compete against each other and champions rewarded. You can click here to check them out.
Showing up to the boot-camp and comparing my fitness level to the other candidates, I honestly wanted to grab my bag and make a run for it. Intimidation 101. But there was a deeper feeling... motivation to take on that challenge. I told myself "I didn't come to win, I came to try".
They separated us in groups: Newbies & Returning Residents haha! First thing's first, we had a good warm-up session and let me tell you. For the first time ever, I noticed one major benefit (I call it a secret) of warming up before what turned out to be an intense workout. So here goes:
You don't feel as tired or lazy as you would've before the workout.
Instead, the warm-up gives you the burst of energy you need to get through your workout. With that said, I was ready and pumped to start training.
If you want to read more on the obstacle courses I actually went through, continue onto this post.
More recently, I challenged myself to go on one heck of a hike with my students while I was in China. We climbed the mountain called Jigongshan, "Mount Jigong", "Jigong Mountain" or "Rooster/Cock Mountain" because of its shape. It's located in Shihe District, Xinyang, Henan Province, near the southern border. This grand mountain, which used to be a summer retreat for Western missionaries and, later, for Communist officials, has continued its reputation as “Chinese Summer Resort" and "Gardens of Cloud in Henan”.
What was thought to be a stroll through a panoramic park with a few steps, turned into a whole excursion of over 3,000 steps, sweat, and almost tears. As you've probably guessed by now, this was an involuntary challenge, but one I'm thrilled to have experienced nonetheless. I was so busy enjoying the amazing-beautiful scenery that I used up all my energy - walking, climbing, taking pictures - by the time we reached halfway up the mountain. By this time, my physical disability of shortness of breath became an unwanted addition to the journey, accompanied by wheezing.
My students felt responsible for not warning me about the length and difficulty of the hike and I felt guilty for not informing them of my situation. It was never something I considered an illness nor did I allow it to stop me from doing anything. But this was all before I encountered my great friend, Jigongshan.
I took my time. They weren't kidding when they said 'slow and steady wins the race', because this was the ultimate challenge, an experience. I can proudly pat myself on the back because I came, I saw, I conquered.