Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Things I wish I'd known before starting Boot Camp"...

Hello everyone!

How was your Thanksgiving???
I hope it was like mine - full of family and food!

We flew to Houston, ate - drove to Dallas....ate again, went to see our kids and grand kids..and went out... and ate.
I was so thankful that when I finally got home my pounds gained were not....eight!!!
Seriously...it was 1.5 pounds!!!
Several meals, a couple of flights, a long car ride... I am feeling VERY good about my bodies efforts to maintain my boot camp results!!

I did get up at 4:30 and workout (both PDS and cardio) the morning of Thanksgiving - yes that was a.m....and yes, it still felt like the same day as when I went to bed.
But I was determined to not blow the lid off of 130... so I was trying to burn off a little extra before I strapped on the ole feed bag.

I also got up at 5:30 on Friday morning and hit the hotel gym for 40 minutes of cardio before driving to Dallas.

I was all geared up to dance in the gym and just about the time I started two guys walked in...and I chickened out! So, being the prepared Thass Whisperer that I am... I whipped out the never tried before TAM treadmill workout. This was courtesy of SUSAN!!! As she had typed out all the moves and I printed it out. THANK YOU SUSAN!! you rock! (you can find Susan's typed out treadmill workout guide on TAM's FB page)

So I skipped, sashayed, hopped and leaped all over the treadmill.

I caught both the guys checking out my rather unorthodox workout. Or maybe they were just checking out me and my Thassless hotness ... OR... wanting to ask for my autograph, but not wanting to interrupt my workout... ok, we have clearly slipped into brain movie. Starting with hotness... they were looking at me ONLY because I looked like I was filming a scene from "The Sound Of Music" at 5:30 am on a hotel treadmill.

When I went to leave, one of the guys pulled his earphones off and said..." That was the happiest , little treadmill workout I've ever seen!"
I simply smiled and said "Well, I'm  happy girl!"
Btw, I was sweating more than he was...he wouldn't have lasted ten minutes doing  "my happy, little workout" !!!! Go TAM!!!!

So - MARK IT DOWN PEOPLE... Thanksgiving, travel, snacks, and family...all leaving only 1.5 pounds!!!! Which one pound of already fell back off. This rocks!

As everyone asks me the same question..." Can you maintain the results?" - I'm saying - HECK Ya, you can!

Now... I have had multiple requests for any Boot Camp tips!
(I know, I know...give a girl a blog and she thinks she's some kind of expert...)
So ... here we go... boot camp tips, from the "by the book" girl!

I might add...the main portion of today's blog may not be all that exciting to anyone uninterested in trying boot camp or any Tracy Anderson Method... but I do think some of the tips would be applicable to all workout programs...so, sorry if it's boring!!!!

(and other helpful hints from my experience of 30 days in the TAM world)

1. Everything Tracy says will happen - happens.

Period. End of story. She was spot on about all of it. Not that this should surprise us... but when you are reading it and she says you will feel "flu like" symptoms...you will feel "flu like" symptoms.
When she says it will work... it will work.
When she tells you to step touch for certain amounts of time - do it.
Etc, Etc, Etc....
And the best part...when she tells you you will be amazed with your results... you will be amazed. I was, anyway!
I mention this first- because I think it's important to know that it will all happen- so you can mentally prepare for the good and the bad.

2. There are different exercises in the BC book than on the BC DVD.

I have no idea how such a large oversight in continuity happened - but it did, and it's not the end of the world.  I choose to follow the moves on the DVD. I'm sure either would work - but save yourself a little amount of frustration by knowing that they are different from time to time - and just pick one (book or DVD) and follow it. They all will make you scream with pain!!!! and they will all be effective.

3. Make a play list!!!!!!!

I know Tracy mentions this - I am simply reiterating and clarifying... that it saved me!
Tracy had techno music in the background- which some of you may love...but it's not my thing - so I put on the dance cardio DVD the night before I started and went thorough my ipod looking for songs that matched the tempo, then burned them to a CD.
I played this CD everyday while doing my cardio  and it really kept me moving.
It also helped to add new songs every five days or so to keep my interest since the dance moves are very repetitive.
I listed several of my favorite songs in a blog entry somewhere around Day 16 - it says "playlist included" in the title, if you want to check it out!

4. Understand that the cardio DVD is a little weird to follow at first...

You will also realize sooner than later what it is she is wanting you to really move and work with each move...that also helps as you become more familiar with her method.
There is a reason for each and every move!!

5. Buy a THICK yoga mat.

It saved my knees. a regular one would not have been enough for me. I found a thick one at Academy Sports... they should be easy to locate.
They are right next to the ankle weights.... which leads me to my next tip...

6. Feel free to save yourself a couple of bucks - probably no need to buy those ankle weights!!!!

After reading the book - I read where "once you work up to 60 reps on each move, you can add ankle weights." So, I bought ankle weights.
HA! HAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! LMAO!!!! They are still in the box.

Now...you may be an Olympic Athlete and may very well need those ankle weights... but I personally, I did not quite ever get to 60 reps each!!!! By the very end I worked up to 50 reps in series three...on day 29!! Another 10 reps would have taken my workout to just under 4 hours...
if you need ankle weights during Boot Camp- call me, I will send you mine!!!  :)
I will say that you might need them for her other DVD's after boot camp...but I have yet to meet anyone who needed them for BC!!!

7. GET MEASURED and pinched for body fat BEFORE you start!!!! and TAKE BEFORE PICTURES!!!

Trust me - if you do nothing else...measure yourself!!! The weight loss may slow down at times and it is a wonderful secondary way to monitor progress. and take before pictures- even if you plan on them being for "your eyes only"- you will not believe the difference and you will be glad you have them!!
Since you are looking at yourself everyday- it's easy to forget just how far you've come in such a short time and this can really keep you going when you are frustrated and wanting to give up!
I took measurements every ten days and weighed every day -and for me, the majority of my weight loss was in the first ten days (9 pounds) -after that it was only 3 pounds for the second and third 10 day sections. However... inches lost was MORE during second and third sections... so it was fun to have that to motivate me when the scale wasn't being very active. Looking back now, I would have taken more before photos and taken them each 10 day period along with my measurements.

8. Read ALL the book before you start. ALL of it...

I had a friend who skimmed MOST of it , but got horrible shin splints when she started her cardio because she missed the little part about how to ease yourself into the cardio depending on current fitness levels. Things like that can really change your experience.
It also helps to understand how the individual exercises are to be performed properly if you read the small captions and grey highlighted areas in the book. I choose to read those on the first two days of each mat work section.

9. Read 2 or 3 pages of the book every night throughout BC.

I would open my book each night and literally skim one, two or three pages - whatever - before going to bed. This helped keep me focused and the little bits I would read always seemed to make more sense to me as I was in the throws of it and understood what Tracy was talking about more than when I read it before I had started the boot camp.


This turned out to be a HUGE deal for me...
I started a dry erase calendar so I could give myself a big "X" each day I completed my perfect day...half an X for finishing workout - the other half of the X when I finished the day of eating by the book. But what I didn't not realize when I started was how helpful the little notes I made to myself would ultimately become.
I jotted down "felt great", "thought I would die" , "cardio hard, mat work do-able", "please shoot me" , what ever applied to that day's workout,,,along with my weight and how many reps, etc...
After about 10 days - I started noticing a pattern...which continued on through out the 30 days.
When it got really hard- the next day would be really hard again, and then the next would be SO MUCH EASIER! Knowing I could expect that helped... a lot!

It also never failed that it was after the REALLY tough days- I mean REALLY tough...that I would see big drops in weight, push through platues, or kick down a wall.
So - keeping a calendar really helped me understand what my body could do, would do, and to see the patterns....
 as you can see -
1. I have "day 7" "day 8", etc...
2. weight and (-how many down)
3. upper right corner - #of reps / cardio segments
then uner I would rate it 1-10 on difficulty level
4. middle right - start times of cardio / muscle work, then total time
5. total calories burned
6 . how I felt that day during workout or any other notes about day....

It was lots of fun to see the X's all start piling up!!!!

It was like a game I played each day to get my "X"!!!
You can also use it as motivation to stay on track. If you can't get your workout in for some reason - you could still earn half of an X by sticking to the food plan, or vice versa.... if you stray with your food, you can still earn a half X by getting your workout in that day. I know it's silly, but every little mental trick helps when you are needing motivation!

11. I used my laptop, not a DVD player.

Only because I didn't have a TV in my space I set up - but I ended up loving it - because I could put it closer to me and that made it easier to PAUSE in between all the moves.
As well as, put the laptop on the floor during abs, etc so I could still see while on the floor.
Some of the moves... I wish I hadn't seen!!!

12. if you work or have kids....Start on a Friday....NOT A MONDAY!!!

Why? Because I had to actually cancel a few meetings on the first two days -Monday and Tuesday because I was so nauseous and sore and "flu like" that I felt drugged and couldn't put sentences together... not great for conducting business...or watching kids!!!!
So if you can... start on a Friday - then you can be "stupid" , nap or work on groceries and get acclimated to the plan over the weekend, rather than during the week.
Ship the kids to your moms, or ask your husband to watch them and let yourself get used to the shock and awe!!! It does get better... but I felt AWFUL for almost a week!! just sayin'...

13. OR... Start the program  the evening before your "first day"....

Since I was determined to do 30 days... by the book... I had to finish strong on day 30, which meant complete the entire day... when day thirty came- I wished I had started the evening before day 1 so that come 5:00pm on day 30..I would have been done with boot camp and could have gone to celebrate!
I know that sounds silly- but it was anti-climactic to wake up on day 31 and say - " I'm done!"... I would have rather said it at 7:00pm the night before with friends and a glass of wine!!!

14. Don't break the seal...

Like I've said before - Once you start "making exceptions" to the boot camp plan it will become more and more difficult to go back to NOT making little exceptions. Challenge yourself to go 30 days - 20 days - 10 days - or even 1 day - without making any exceptions to the rules! It really pays off and is only once in your life- and only for thirty days!!! You can do it - and I really think it effects your results. If you're going to do this - THEN DO IT! Make it count!!! You're doing it for you, so do it with the same effort you would do it if you were doing it for your friends or family...I bet if you were doing it for your children or spouse, or your boss... you would do exactly like by the book. This time- do it for YOU!

15. Be realistic (or maybe I should say aware) about the amount of time it will take to complete the workouts...

It's my opinion that you should plan on 2 hours a day - whether you break it up into two times or knock it out at once... but I can't figure out how anyone would get through it faster and do all of it...?
I know Tracy says to plan on 1- 1.5 hours, but it always took me longer to complete.
It's VERY possible that I was just so damn out of shape that I had to collapse so often that it padded the time... but as my stamina grew, then I increased my reps (read: added more time) then I increased time to my cardio (read: added more time) so towards the end...I was staring 2.5 to 3.5 hours of workout time in the face!!!!
I can tell you this... it's a genius plan... because once you get through 3 - 3.5 hours a day - then your regular 1 - 1.5 hours seems like a leisurely stroll!!!!!!
Seriously- the muscle work and dance cardio I do now take almost 1.5 - 2 hours and it FLIES by - piece of cake!!! It seems soooooo easy compared to Boot Camp.


Again - nothing new- it's covered in the book - but it's important for your shins, knees and it also helps you to have "skin in the game" if you shell out a few bucks in preparation for the new you! But... save money for new jeans- you'll need them!

17. Know that when it gets REALLY hard... that's when the changes to your body occur ....

So use that as motivation!! Looking back on my calendar - all my biggest changes happened the day after I thought I was going to keel over and not get through a workout, and or , was SO hungry the night before and wanted to - correction...would have killed to...have a snack or cheat a little. But I never did and I truly believe that is what made the difference in my results. I have lots of friends that did this plan in a "modified" version - and they have all had great results! But the real shocking change comes when you really stick to it for thirty days - like Tracy tells you to- it's worth it!!!!
Why do all this and then have to wonder what would have happened if you had done it by the book?
I know life gets in the way and things pop up that cause bumps in any plan... but do the best you can- whatever that means to you - and you will be glad you did!!

18. go Boy Scout on your self.... and BE PREPARED!!!...

 Always think ahead - have lemon water (or regular water) with you whenever possible, take your afternoon snack with you or even your dinner if you're going
to be away from the house, etc. It was having my food with me when I needed to eat that saved me!
Whether I was dragging a turkey patty into a friends baby shower or sneaking lemon water and berries into the movie... it all made a huge difference in me not missing a snack or meal, and not feeling like I was deprived. Plus- this workout schedule is grueling.. if you miss a meal or snack then you will not have the fuel to get through a workout the next day...plus you will tend to be more prone to cheat on the food plan due to excessive hunger / low blood sugar if you aren't prepared.
Not to mention- this plan is geared to "re-set" your metabolism - so eating what Tracy tells you WHEN Tracy tells you is also key... keep the fires burning...which keeps the fat melting, muscles building and Thass lifting!!!!

19. Make yourself accountable to someone else...

It really helped me to know that I had to report how my 30 days were coming along to my friends and family...and to all of YOU!!! It is exactly why I started the blog. Never imaging ANYONE would care to read it - I just needed to put it out there!!!
and then look what happened... "If you Blog it ...they will come!"... btw, it still thrills me to no end that you all read my blog. You can't imagine how it thrills me! Thank you so much!!!!
Blogging might not be for everyone, because it was a major time commitment - but you can always send out a daily email to a couple friends with an update..or post it on TAM Facebook page or any place you would hate to have to "fess up to a mess up"!!!!

20. Lastly... if you re not familiar with Kale...ask someone at the store which leafy dark green it is!!!!

...OR you might end up chocking down turnip green juice, like I did!!!!! YUCK!!!!

I hope these help you a little bit!!!
Also - you may find it helpful to go back to the first entry of my blog and follow along as you go through the thirty days. At least you will know someone else struggled and survived and ... let em be your Ghost of Christmas future!!!
If I can help any of you - I would love to do so - just send me your comments or questions and I'll sure try and answer them...again... I'm no expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Give it hell out there!!!!
I'm going to go workout!!!

Talk to you tomorrow...and MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone - I love this time of year, and will make it through to the New Year...under 130 pounds!!!



  1. thank you for the post Laura! great tips as always!

  2. Awesome tips Laura. I completed my bootcamp last week and I liked it so much I've decided to incorporate it into my regular workout for another month! I'm going to do the BC strength workouts with the Dance Cardio DVD (I just don't think I can do the BC cardio again... it just didn't flow nice enough for me). I never got past 30 reps last time so this time through I'm aiming for 40.

    I'm not going to be as strict with the meal plans though. I plan on following her daily meals but I'm going to allow myself some dark chocolate or wine when the desire hits (and I'm going to ENJOY Christmas!). I love your idea of tracking how your workouts felt each day (because I remember feeling pretty awful on some days and fantastic on others... it would be nice to see if there is a pattern for me as well). Today is Day 1 of round 2 and I just made my first entry on my calendar.

  3. Thanks for all the work you're putting into this blog to help the rest of us! :) Hope you enjoyed your stay in Dallas...I'm in Dallas as well and have been known to do the treadmill workout at The Palomar...I get lots of strange looks and love it! Have a great week!

  4. Thank you so much! This is so helpful - I've really loved reading your blog and am gearing up to finally start the bootcamp!

  5. Thank you very much for sharing your experience with people!
    It is extremely important for those who plan to start the "30 day challenge"!

  6. Amazing! Exactly the detail I was hoping to find! I may try the treadmill workout while I'm gearing up for my BC. Thank you!