Boot Camp Challenge: Week One

If Barack Obama can become president, I can certainly lose 16 pounds in six weeks

Mon., Jan. 19, 6am: Day 1
Measurements and a Mile
My plan for waking up in time to be at my first Boot Camp Challenge session is probably not one that my drill instructors would recommend. Since I usually go to bed about 2am, and I had to set my alarm for 5:30am to be at boot camp on time, I figured I'd start drinking beer at my 3pm softball game and then drink a few more when I got home and I could easily pass out by 10pm. Mission accomplished. Getting up in time for boot camp is going to be one of the biggest challenges, but I'm sure my internal clock will adjust soon enough.

After arriving at boot camp and meeting my drill instructor Brooke Norris in person, I am informed that the first day will entail getting body-fat measurements and then running a timed mile. Wuh-huh? A mile? On the first day? Well, I guess it is boot camp. I am chosen first to have my measurements taken and to be poked and prodded by the merciless tools which will only tell me what I already know, I need to lose some weight. Already having a complex about my belly, it didn't make it any easier that Brooke and her fellow DI Janine Quiroga are both attractive and fit young women whom you would assume would not want to get anywhere near my generous belly. Not the case at all. I felt comfortable around them from the start and it seems like they are truly on my side and want me to reach my goal – which we decided was dropping from my current weight of 196 down to a more respectable 180. If Barack Obama can become president, I can certainly lose 16 pounds in six weeks. Once I'm done being measured and assessed I join my fellow boot campers as they attempt to keep their muscles warm in preparation for the mile run. This entails, guess what? Running! So before I get to attempt to traverse a mile (I won't pretend to say run), I have to stay loose by running across the Town Lake bridge under MoPac for a good 20 minutes or so. DI Brannon Gilliam leads us in this segment of the program. I can do it, I can do it.

Brooke and Janine finished assessing all the boot campers and now it's time for the run. My goal here is to not have a heart attack and to not embarrass myself too badly. The mile is tough, but in a good way. I have to walk a good bit of it and I experience some lower back pain and some pain in my right my hip, most likely due to my body being out of alignment. One thing about this boot camp I must stress is that the DIs don't yell at you or demean you. They work your ass off but do it in a way that is encouraging and supportive. I was struggling a bit the last quarter-mile and Janine ran alongside me encouraging me to push myself. I mumbled something or other about being horribly out of shape and eventually managed to cross the "finish line" a mere 13-and-a-half minutes after I started. Shouldn't be hard to improve upon that time. On the way home I feel more than a little nauseated which Brooke explains the next day is most likely due to dehydration. It probably didn't help that I drank a six-pack before I went to bed the night before. My weight on this day according to the Chronicle scale: 194.

Tue., Jan. 20, 6am(ish): Day 2
Late, Late, Late (and More Assessments)
So I figure I've got this waking up a 5:30am thing down. No need for any assistance from alcohol, right? I get to bed by 11pm but cannot for the life of me fall asleep. At some point a few hours later I drift off to sleep, and when the alarm goes off I roll over and switch it off without even waking up. I'm pretty frickin' tired. I wake up a little bit later and check the time on the clock and it reads 6:27am. Uh oh. I'm late for my second day of boot camp. They're gonna think I'm not serious about it or can't handle it. I throw my workout clothes on and jump in the car and head down to BC as quickly as possibly, luckily I'm basically the only one on the road. Brooke is of course understanding and says that stuff like this is common. Today we are going over nutrition and doing some more assessments. I do 79 crunches and 20 push-ups, both in the allotted two minutes each. Brooke, Heather Wesner, and Alicia Juergens lead us through more exercises at the end of the session including step-ups something called wall-sits. You lean with your back against a wall with your legs level with your butt and try and hold that for a minute or two. Not as easy it sounds. After everybody else leaves Brooke catches me up on the nutrition part of the day and hooks me up with my own personal Food Diary. I'll be keeping track of everything I eat and drink for the next six weeks. I'm allowed 2,527 calories, 379 grams of total carbs, 95 grams total protein, 70 grams total fat, and 25 grams of fiber. That is doable and I find somewhere online that says Guinness is only 210 calories per pint. Sweet. I also find out today that according to their assessment, I have a body fat percentage of 30.3! And yes, I have no problem sharing that info with the general public because I know I'm taking the right steps to do something about it. But I will leave my waist size out of this for now.

Thu., Jan. 22, 6am: Day 3
Rifles and Rowing
Made it on time, which is a good thing considering I found out today that we are gonna have to do 10 push-ups for every minute we are late. I'm now setting two alarms to make sure I get up on time. The Boot Camp Challenge's system is one that was designed for the military and we get a little taste of this on day three. We were given four-foot-long metal tubes filled with sand which simulated rifles. We had to walk/jog/run for 15 minutes attempting to hold the "rifles" above our heads throughout. The added resistance of holding the tube above my head was pretty intense. It makes even walking a good cardio workout. When we were (finally) done with that we took our rifles down to the rowing dock and had a go on the rowing simulators (which are open to the public, btw). This was a good workout that's easy on the back and it's nice looking across the lake while you're rowing. Today was a little less eventful in that I am slowly starting to adjust to the early hour and my body is much less sore today. All good stuff. One week down, five to go.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Mark Fagan
Fall Concerts to Add to Your Calendar
Fall Concerts to Add to Your Calendar
Paul McCartney, the Jesus Lizard, and Saturnalia make the list

Sept. 4, 2018

ACL Fest Late Night Lineup Drops
ACL Fest Late Night Lineup Drops
St. Vincent, the Breeders, and Parquet Courts head the list

Aug. 21, 2018


boot camp challenge, austin, brooke norris

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle