BLR- A Wrap-Up

Well, I’m home. 

After a week away from my family, and my ‘at the hip’ companion Miss Mia (my loyal canine), it feels good to be home. Strange how the week flew by. To be honest, while at camp I was so busy, and so tired at the end of the day there was little time to be lonely and miss my family. I love my family, I just didn’t have time to miss them! 

There are so many great things I learned in that week, but here are a few that stand out to me and I think might be worth sharing.

1. We all eat too much. 

I was surprised and astounded at how little food we need (both men and women) to function and perform well on. Maybe I should restate that: How few CALORIES we need to fuel out bodies. We ate very well there, there was plenty of food to fill you up. However, the food was low calorie, high fiber and high quality. Yes some of the meals were bland, some unattractively presented and some which people didn’t care for. But they were nutritionally sound and filling, if you ate it. The salad bar was plentiful and if you were still hungry, you could fill up on that. Every day there was a board giving us the days approximate calories, give or take if you ate it all or had a lot of beans or egg whites with your salad. We averaged about 1,500/day. We worked out every day for a minimum of 4 hours, HARD workouts. And yet, no one collapsed, or passed out for lack of energy or nutrition. Everyone who was there wanted to drop a pound or two, and everyone did. But that was because we were exercising for the vast majority of the day. What shocked me was the calorie consumption of the trainers. It wasn’t much more than ours. The marathon specialist told us she averaged about 1,300-1,500/day. While I’m sure she carb loads for marathons, it’s not her daily intake. Yes, that was an eye opener for me, as well as re-aquatinting myself with valid portion sizes. I am not going to be one to dictate what people can or cannot eat, but people need to be honest with themselves. Most people are overweight (and/or under muscled) because they consume too many (and low quality) calories and they don’t exercise enough. 

2. I am strong and I am tough. I am empowered.

In my younger days, (which honestly seems/feels like yesterday) I did Outward Bound. It is something I am very proud of. For those not aware of what it is, it is an outdoor experience encompassing many mental and physical challenges and ones endurance. It involved backpacking with a group of about a dozen in the mountains of Central Oregon for a month, with only one resupply. We did it all: rock climbing, repelling, glacier walking, sleeping on mountain tops, miles of hiking and more. It was hard, it was grueling, but it was empowering. I felt strong, both internally and externally. Then life happened: marriage, work, children, joy, sorrow, death. Somewhere in all of that, I lost that strong, independent, empowered, optimistic, life loving part of myself. In a strange way, this experience brought that all back. While I was not in the woods, the comparative physical difficulty of what we did, along with the mental change was very similar. I had become rather jaded of my fellow man. I had lost faith in humanity and mankind, to a certain extent. But being with that group of women who all were so supportive, encouraging, and were downright good people, let me see the world through a fresh lens. Driving home, feeling the rush of endorphins through my system, I felt true joy again. It’s been years since I’ve felt that way. Driving along, jamming to tunes, enjoying the blue sky, warm sun, the joy just overwhelmed me so much so that I burst into tears. I cannot remember the last time I felt like that; so full of joy that it brings one to tears. That was the mental achievement. I am empowered.

Then there was the physical achievement. When I arrived, I felt old and creaky. Creaky is the best descriptive word I have. My back and hips hurt so much that I tended to tip forward, like you see in many of the elderly. My knee has been operated on twice, and it always seemed to hurt. I’ve had frozen shoulder recently, and that always barks at me. That first day we did our first 5K, and the best I could do was power-walk it in 52 minutes. Not as slow as some, but pretty pokey in my own mind. Betty, one of our trainers (the marathoner), was running the opposite way checking on all of us as we went. As she passed me by, she asked me if I had a knee issue and I told her yes. She said “try to walk faster, keep your arms up”. I did. Still, it was 52 minutes. That was followed by AMRAPs. (as many rounds as possible, in a designated time) That was the ‘introduction’ to the week. It was all uphill from there. But, I did it. I did it, and I did it better than I thought I could, or would. On Friday, we repeated the 5K. I jogged it in 38 minutes. I shaved 14 minutes off my time just 4 days earlier, AFTER exercising the equivalent of 4 marathons! Better yet, I came in 3rd behind a 17 year old girl and a 6ft+ man who were already in shape. There is my physical achievement. I may have turned 50, but I am strong. 

3. Take each day as it comes. 

This was no ‘diet’ program. This was a lifestyle they were teaching us. Eat well, eat right, watch your portions, listen to your body, be active. Best advice of all, take each day as it comes. If you binge out on pizza one night, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply get back on track the next day and keep marching forward. Nothing is ‘off-limits’, but everything is in moderation. There is no guilt, no denial. It is entirely about education, awareness, and real life application. This is no one night stand, this lifestyle is a marriage. This is about learning to live in this body we have and treating it with the care it deserves. I’ve heard people say (almost as an excuse) ‘You only have one life’, and that is true. But to live that life, you only have one body, so take care of it. We all know that truth deep in our souls, but many (myself included) don’t want to hear it. We want to be able to have our cake, and eat it too. This was part of the mental re-boot I desired. It was achieved. 

4. Thumbs Up

Going in, I had no concept of what I was going in to. I have never watched ‘The Biggest Loser’ TV show, and so I knew nothing about it. I had a friend who had gone to one of the resorts, and when I asked him about his experience he spoke very highly of the organization. He said it was hard to describe and put in to words the encouragement and support you get while there. I know what he means now. It is. It’s supportive, encouraging, but accountable. They expect the best you are capable of, and will push you to achieve it. And guess what? You can, and you will. 

I went there with two goals: lose weight, mental re-boot. I did lose some weight, a bit, but what I now value the most is the mental re-boot I accomplished. In the end, it is far more important to change your perspective and frame of mind than it is to lose a few pounds. 

I highly recommend this camp to anyone who needs a mental re-boot. Weight loss is a side benefit, but the meat and potatoes of the camp is the feeling of empowerment and motivation to be better than you were. I cook fairly healthy already, but I had lost sight of portions and I didn’t exercise nearly enough. I now have both, and they have given me the tools to use for the rest of my, hopefully, very long life. As women, we have a lot of influence in our households. So while this affects me directly, my family will also benefit also from my new knowledge and action.

Yes, I give this program a ‘Thumbs Up’. 

Last Chance Workout/Graduation-Day 6

Well, we did it. 

We survived. 

Heck, we THRIVED! 

This morning, those of us who were leaving before breakfast on Sunday, had our assessments taken. Mine was the first appointment at 6am. No biggie anymore being up and going that early, as every day started with a warm-up at 6am. My assessment was initially disappointing. The readings were just a smidge different than my initial assessment, and after all that sweat equity, I expected to show at the very least a gain in muscle mass. I consulted with the Nutritionist/Dietician, and she felt there was something ‘off’ in my assessment. She wanted me to re-take it, if I wanted to. I did not. It was a revelation and a mental achievement for me to take a piece of paper with a bunch of numbers and just disregard it. Many women live or die by the scale. Why, you might ask? Because I know how my body FEELS. I know the shorts I wore the first day, which were bitingly tight, are now loose and comfortable. I know that my energy is up. I know that I’m happier and I have endorphins coursing through my veins. I know that my recovery after exercise is vastly improved. I know that when I walk up a flight of stairs, I am not winded. I know that my asthma has not bothered me once in the past couple of days.

So, after feeling a blue for a bit, I put on my game face to meet the challenge of ‘Last Chance Workout’.




It was brutal! The trainers all did the workout WITH us, as well as LEADING. First off was Symphony, who led the Zumba session. A half hour of Zumba, which I guess could kinda/sorta qualify for our ‘warm-up’…for the first 5 minutes! From then on, it was all sweating and hard breathing! Next up was Erin, who led a session in Dumbbells. An intense and invigorating weight session for another half hour. This was followed by Nikki and a half hour of her Les Mills Kickboxing class. Oh holy stars, at this point I didn’t think I’d finish! Not only did it drain my brain trying to master coordination, but it is INTENSE! I confess, I started to run out of steam at this point. But we still had the last chance of the ‘Last Chance’ workout, AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible) for 15 minutes. Squats, pushups, burpees and jumping jacks, and then to wrap it all up, a nice 15 mins of stretch and cool down. 

After cool down, we had time to rehydrate, then jump right in to the last lecture class of the week, then lunch. 

It was nice to have a break for once. I was able to go back to the room, shower and pack up my suitcase, leaving only what I needed for that night and morning behind. I was leaving before breakfast, since it was Fathers Day on Sunday. I wanted to be home in time to hang out with the family and make a nice meal for my loving husband and father of my two beautiful girls. There was plenty of time to get dressed for four o’clock Graduation and dinner, no rush, no sweat! 

Graduation was emotional, inspiring and up-lifting. I have 30 new sisters in my family, all who encourage and motivate each other. 

It’s hard to put in to words what this week was, and what it meant. How do you put in to words a mental reboot, and what it means to you? How do you describe what its like to go in to a week with 30 total strangers, and come out the other side feeling like you have 30 new sisters? I think I’ll save some of that for my final thoughts. 

For now, I’m just going to revel in the accomplishment. 

The Home Stretch- Day 5

This morning started off with a pretty darn aggressive ‘warm up’ with a lesson in kick boxing. Then it was off to the park to do a repeat of the 5K we did on Monday, our first day. When I arrived that first day, I was just able to power-walk the 5K, but it took me 52 minutes. Today, I jogged it at 38. That is not fast by the standards of some, but I was able to shave 14 minutes off my time AFTER: The equivalent exercise time and steps of TWO FULL marathons, AND a weeks worth of walking endless times back and forth the quarter mile between the room and the workout areas. I think that is a darn big accomplishment!

It didn’t stop there though…oh no! The 5K was followed by timed exercises: jumping jacks, squats, lunges, ‘get-ups’ and burpees, as many as we could in the allocated time (called AMRAP:as many repetitions as possible). Then back to the resort, for class and lunch, and class. Then 45 minutes in the pool. This is NOT paddling about people! This is intense, heart-pumping, cardio for 45 straight minutes. That was followed by a Zumba class, another 45 minutes of sweat and panting.

I confess, I’m pooped out. I am treating myself to a massage tonight, and my tired, sore, cranky body is going to be much happier with me later tonight. I’m just more than a little nervous about the kickboxing tomorrow. It’s our ‘last chance workout’ and I have a feeling you are supposed to leave it ‘all on the table’!

What an experience this has been. I had no idea what to expect, I don’t watch the show.  The trainers here have totally made the experience amazing. This has been the best ’50th’ Birthday gift ever from my family (who was supportive and held down the fort while I was gone) and for myself. What I found was that I am stronger and have more endurance than I thought. Not only have we have done the equivalent of half marathons each day, five days in a row, but even the trainers who all have to go through the program, say it’s hard. Yes, they kick the intensity up for themselves, but it IS HARD!

I’ll post my final thoughts tomorrow, and maybe an update or two. We have a few extra minutes today between classes and dinner, so I sat down to put this up. I’m afraid I won’t have the energy to post tonight!

Oh yeah baby, I’m in the home stretch.