Play hard

May 11, 2012

Boxer Boot Camp gave me the confidence and tools to get healthier and play better with my son.

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I may not have dropped three clothing sizes or developed upper arms to rival Poppy Montgomery (random, I know, but she’s my arm and hair idol), but I would have to deem my experience in Boxer Boot Camp a success.

For new readers: Boxer Boot Camp is a 10-week program sponsored by Pacific’s Exercise Science Department. Students provide one-on-one personal training for staff and faculty members. At no cost and using the University facilities, it’s a pretty good deal on the employee end.

More importantly, though, it also is a great learning experience for students, who develop their skills in planning workouts, providing personalized training and working with a variety of people.

“Going in, I thought it was a bigger opportunity for the faculty,” said Trevor Schongalla ’12, my trainer. “But I at least got as much as the trainees, especially the experience with more people. I feel confident going out into the world now in that aspect.”

Read more about Trevor’s experience as a Pacific University exercise science student.

My goals from the get-go were pretty laid back, if a bit unspecific. I wasn’t looking for overnight results. Despite a few daydreams, I didn’t expect to need a new wardrobe after 10 weeks. I told Trevor at the outset that I wanted to be able to walk into a gym without feeling like a lost soul in a foreign land. I wanted to find ways to build some regular exercise into a hectic lifestyle. And, I wanted to feel better and have more energy to play with my 2-year-old son.

And that’s exactly what I got.

The before-and-after measurements indicated that I actually didn’t lose pounds or inches in any noticeable way. That was a bit of a disappointment (I had hoped for a little) but not a surprise, since my promise of sensible eating via WeightWatchers was more theory than practice.

The measurable success came in my VO2 score. That’s the measure of how efficiently the body uses oxygen during exercise—essentially, physical fitness. In less than 10 weeks, I went from a score that rated “fair” to one in the “good” range. And I can feel the difference. Where 15 minutes on the elliptical would have kicked my butt in March is just a warm-up in May. I not only can keep going, I want to do more—the endorphin rush is starting to kick in.

It’s getting easier to race around the house playing “monster” or “crocodile” with my son, to follow him as he practices his tricycle riding, to chase the wiffle balls he hits off the tee, and to hike as a family (invariably carrying his 35-pound body about halfway).

Trevor also developed a circuit of aerobic weight-lifting exercises that I can do in the gym, where (success!) I actually feel acclimated, or at home, where my darling son likes to help. (“Do exercises, Mommy,” he insists, picking up an inflated Winnie the Pooh ball that he calls his “heavy ball” to match my 8-pound medicine ball. “Do more. Again.”)

Obviously, I have farther to go even after the program: putting what I know about healthy eating and appropriate portions into practice, and continuing the 3-day-a-week workouts even after I have someone holding me accountable every week. But Boot Camp definitely gave me the tools I needed to get started, and that was my No. 1 goal.

So much thanks to Trevor, to faculty supervisor Andrew Alstot and to the Exercise Science Department for what really is an awesome, health-promoting program for Pacific.

Return to the beginning of the Boxer Bootcamps series.