Updated: Apr 12
The moment you've all been waiting for!!!! Nah, I'm just kidding. This is just me sharing with you one of my most challenging fitness experiences. Now I've been to and seen a few different kinds of boot camps, but I've never been to an obstacle course boot camp like this, at least not until June 9, 2018.
Check out this fun, but challenging obstacle course that I may or may not have attempted and maybe you want to try a few for yourself. If you do, you can check it out and sign up for the next one here. Let's Go.
Yes! We had to climb ropes. I don't know if it wasn't so hard because it was the first challenge, or because there was a technique to it. I never perfected the technique so I didn't get to the top, BUUUT I did master the basics. After two pulls up my arms gave way. Need to work on those arm muscles OR practice the technique more. If you want to give it a try, find a thick, secure rope and follow these steps:
1. Jump up and grab the rope as high as possible with very long arms, keeping your hands as close together as possible
2. With arms still long (don’t bend the elbows) pull the knees up to the chest
3. As quickly as possible find the J-Hook, the “S”-shaped wrap with your feet that allows you to put as much weight as possible onto your feet in order to give your upper body a break. You must be able to quickly and effortlessly find a secure wrap.
4. Once you have done this, straighten your legs under your hips like you’re standing up from a squat. Having your hips over your feet will allow you to drive with the legs rather than pull with the arms.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you reach the top of the rope.
6. To descend, jump from the top of the rope….Haha, just kidding. Slowly loosen your J-Hook grip with your legs and slowly slide down the rope with a light hand grip. Notice I said SLOWLY and LIGHT.
Running through tires of all different sizes wasn't so bad, because I've had some practice with my FaganFitness Saturday Bootcamp. The aim is to keep your knees and head high. The hardest part is knowing where to step without constantly looking down. Keep it slow and you'll be fine.
This was the easiest. All we did was climb up and climb down. The most important rule of safety and effectiveness was to always keep a 3-point contact with the obstacle ie:
- both hands and one leg OR
- both legs and one arm
This reduces the likelihood of slipping and getting caught in the net, or worse, falling. It was all good for me until I got to the top and had to climb over. It was then that I remembered my fear of heights. Best thing to do? Keep your body pressed close against the bar at the top, throw your foot over and ensure your toes are pointing in. Slowly guide your body back into climbing position on the other side and you're good to go. Oh, and let me not forget. If there are others on this obstacle with you, it will be harder. Their movements change the course of your next move and shake the net making you unsteady, so take your time.
The instructions for this one are simple. Build up momentum, run until you can grab the top, climb over, legs first until their hanging and release your arms to land. Whatever you do, DO NOT hesitate. I did this and it killed my momentum so I needed a little boost from the instructor to get to the top. It was intimidating at first, so much so that I was the last in line to try. It felt like you had to be a fearless warrior running head-on into battle to accomplish the goal, but all it needs is a little courage and a couple of tries.
I think you know this one. Yup! We went military and yes those are barbed wires, not ropes, not cloth...wires. The only good thing was that there was no mud, even though I secretly think mud would make the experience more fun. Hehe.
This one was pretty simple but very painful. Everyone had their own technique of getting through, but I have to warn you, if everything doesn't stay low you'll get caught, whether it's your shirt, hair, butt....and all of this did indeed happen. It was hilarious until it's your turn. What's a workout if it's not fun, am I right?
This was the most challenging obstacle for me, but a walk-through for others. Here comes that fear of heights again. The aim was to balance along the way and jump off at the end. They said, "Whatever you d, don't look down. It will throw you off balance", but how do you know where to step on a thin line if you don't look. They were right though. Do not look down. I was terrified. I felt a few tears welling up in my eyes and I needed a hand to hold the entire way across. I was ready to give up, but my group was quite supportive and didn't allow it.
Sidenote: Team members or support is important to keep on track.
I did it, even though by the time I landed I was shaking like a leaf. Fear is a hell of a thing guys but do it anyway. #doitscared
Remember as a kid when we use to swing from monkey bars. Well if you were pretty good at that, this next obstacle won't be so hard for you - given you still got the skill and strength. I would usually fall of one-third of the way and this was much harder. By much harder I mean I didn't move off from the first bar. Shorter folks like myself got a boost up because it's pretty high. THE END. That was it I just kept slipping and slipping until it really made no sense to continue trying. Yup, you can tell your kids that the monkey bars kicked my A- double spades.
Over & Under
It's kind of funny when you really under first, then over. Under was easy. Over? Not so much. We got a lot of bruises as we banged our bodies on wood trying to get over. We eventually did and boy do I still feel the pain remembering it. Again height is an advantage for this obstacle.
I think one thing all Jamaicans have in common is that we have all climbed a wall or fence at some point in our lives, more likely during our childhood when we loved to as we would say "scale the fence". This fence, however, was way too high. There had to be multiple techniques behind climbing it.
Option 1) Run towards it in full force. Use the momentum of running to kick against the wall while grabbing the top to boost yourself over. It's one quick movement.
Option 2) Using the assisted bar - which is still too low for us shorter folks - and the open grooves in between the wooden blocks to pull yourself up.
Option 3) Have a team member work as a stepping stone to boost you to the top. Hold on and climb over.
This obstacle was beyond intimidating for me. After my height scare back there, I decided not to try this one. I evaluated my accomplishments as a first-timer and decided I had enough for the day. Some hold the perspective that you should always keep trying, but I personally believe only YOU know your body and what it's capable of. You have to listen to it. Obviously listening to it is not an excuse for not trying at all, but knowing when to stop and take a break.
So this was the last obstacle on my list for the day and it's basically the reverse approach of Obstacle #3. At this time, most persons needed a boost to get up and were okay after to slide down the ramp. Slowly, please. "We don't want any splinters in those bellies", was one woman's response. So we were advised to inch our way down.
By now I was listening to my body which said:
and gave up the ghost. There were three more obstacles on the course, one of which was climbing a wide ladder as high as a billboard. All I could think was I needed my heart to function through the rest of my life, so that was it.
Listen to your bodies
Know your limits
Challenge yourself sometimes, but know when to give up or take a break. This does NOT make you a quitter. If you want to try again, the opportunities will ever be present
It's not always a competition.
So be safe, enjoy your challenges and see you next time.