Adventure Boot Camp marches into stadium, I limp out

Note: This column appears in the 3/20 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 3/21 issue of the Peoria Times

I received a press release last week for the Adventure Boot Camp Series that begins on March 24th at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The first thing that struck me about this press release was the following line: Attendees will have the opportunity to work on their buns of steel in the grid iron stadium that recently hosted one of the best Super Bowls ever. I was unsure how these two things were related, as if after the Super Bowl had concluded, people were saying to themselves, “Wow, what a game! Ya’ know, that stadium looks like a great place to work on my buns.” Also, if your buns are already steel, then you needn’t be concerned, correct?

I am rambling now. But luckily, I read on. Turns out, Peoria Adventure Boot Camp -- a fitness program for women -- is hosting a special four-week co-ed fitness camp that will utilize elements of the stadium to whip people into shape, which will include not only the stadium’s many flights of stairs, but also obstacle courses. (I immediately imagined Rocky appearing on American Gladiators.) The best part? In preparation for this fitness explosion, Peoria Adventure Boot Camp was hosting a FREE trial session this past Wednesday, at the convenient time of 5:30 in the morning. I decided to go.

The bestest part? That I didn’t have to go alone. Since my father-in-law happened to be in town visiting -- and since he typically gets up at around 2:30am anyway -- he volunteered to join me. It should also be mentioned that my father-in-law, Tony, is a workout machine, who once, rather illegally I might add, instructed a spinning class after the real (read: “certified”) spinning instructor called out sick. Nevertheless, neither of us had ever attended boot camp before, although Tony was once a member of the Italian Navy, which I imagine had obstacle courses.

There were about thirty other brave boot campers there, most of whom were women, and regulars of the Peoria Adventure Boot Camp, which is owned and run by Lisa Olona. I have to admit that I was skeptical as to the tenacity of this boot camp, especially after Lisa mentioned that this particular workout would be a light one. (Lisa also apparently thinks Guinness is light beer.)

We began with a run around the stadium, where I finally understood the meaning of the press release, as I imagined I was running a deep route, about to catch a pass from Eli Manning. (I am almost 30-years old by the way, not 12.) We did some stretches while the music blared from the PA, and then broke off into groups. This is where the fun began.

Our group had to run a course, each with different stations. Push ups, then dips, then high stepping through cones, then more push-ups, jump-rope, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and then all over again. And then all over again after that. This was the real deal. It was one thing after the other, non-stop. At about the fifth station, my father-in-law -- who had yelled out, “This is a piece of cake!” during our warm-up run -- had the look of a man in the middle of a triathlon.

After that, we immediately ran up the stadium ramps, at which point we ran back down the stadium steps, and then up again, twice. Wait -- this is the light workout? Then more push-ups, calf-raises, and a few exercises I don’t know the names of, but which made my buns hurt. I looked over at Tony. His buns hurt. (I could tell.) We were both sweating. A lot. But having a great time as well.

We finished with ab work and some stretches. The woman stretching next to Tony later told us that she lost 40lbs in the past year as a member of Lisa’s Boot Camp, and we weren’t surprised.

So we survived boot camp. Barely. In fact, Tony loved it so much that he wanted to sign up for the real program beginning on March 24th, but I had to remind him that he’ll be back in New Jersey by then. As for me, I just worked out my buns on the same field where David Tyree made his famous catch. How many people can say that?


Ed. Note: Before any of you jerks ask, no, I did not collapse.