Tag, Crawling, and Sandbags at My Bootcamp with Grant Hill

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Crash Course: My Bootcamp offers small, outdoor group training sessions in the DC, VA, and MD area. Each 45-minute workout includes 15-20 minutes of mobility followed by 30 minutes of high intensity interval training. Classes use traditional bodyweight exercises and a variety of fun tools like TRX, the rip trainer, sandbags, kettlebells, and the infamous fire hose. Yes, it’s like a playground full of toys for adults who are addicted to sweat. For pricing options and bootcamp locations, visit the My Bootcamp website. [line] [left]where: Bryce Park, Northwest DC

bring: water bottle, gloves optional

perks: small group, being outside

sweat score: 7 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: whatever is most comfortable for being outside

instructor: Grant Hill

cost: $100/month plus $50 enrollment fee [/right] [line]

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I had heard about My Bootcamp through Revolve spin instructor extraordinaire Grant Hill, who just happens to be the company’s founder and president. Grant invited me to come crash one of the bootcamp sessions and I was more than happy to oblige. The best part? The Northwest DC location was just a hop, skip, and uphill jump from my apartment. The website lists it as “Cathedral,” but it’s actually in Bryce Park across the street on the corner of Wisconsin and Massachusettes (I wandered the grounds of the National Cathedral in spandex for 10 minutes before figuring this out – oops).

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We wasted no time getting down to business, beginning class with a few warm up exercises and mobility stretches. Oh yes, that included bear crawls across the cold pavement. I remember the moment this photo was taken, because it was just as I began to get frustrated with how difficult I found the simple act of crawling. Maybe it’s my coordination, or the fact that I haven’t crawled since I was in diapers, but let’s just say it’s a whole lot harder than it looks. If you want a quick and effective warm up and don’t mind getting a few weird stares…I highly recommend it.

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Next, Grant explained that we were going to do hill repeats while carrying a 60 pound sandbag. Notice the look of amusement on everyone’s face. I may have been behind the camera, but I was also thinking “you’ve gotta be kidding.”

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So not kidding. We each had to carry the bag up the hill twice while the rest of the group did a series of planks, push ups, burpees, and abs. This photo was obviously taken during the first lap, because by the second I was a sorry mess. That thing felt like it was full of bricks and I quickly discovered there was no efficient or convenient way to carry it. I think at one point I attempted to swing it between my legs with the hope of finding some sort of forward momentum…bad idea.

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After the hill repeats of death, Grant demonstrated the circuit portion of the workout. It was a HIIT series, with short bursts of intensity followed by short periods of rest. This little device is a TRX rip trainer hooked up to a lamp pole. Using it feels like shoveling really heavy snow or chopping wood.

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Then we did one arm rows with the TRX. Check out that view – not bad, right?

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Followed by kettlebell swings.

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And the entire thing was topped off with a round of fire hose waves – basically yanking the heavy fire hose up and down to create a wave-like motion. I felt this big-time in my arms, shoulders, and abs. After a two minute break, we started over again for round two. Coming off of the sand bag hill repeats, I was really feeling fatigued at this point and could already tell I was working muscles that were going to fight back in the morning.

During the circuit, Grant walked around to each of the stations, correcting form and offering encouragement. He wasn’t in your face or overly energetic. There was no “rah rah” feel or drill sergeant attitude. But it was enough to let you know that he was paying attention and wanted you to do it right.

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When we finished, I was ready to call it a day. I walked over to my backpack and started to sit down. But next thing I knew Grant was demonstrating a tag-turned-mortal-kombat routine and telling us to pair up and join in. Tag? As adults? First crawling and now tag?

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You can see how well that turned out for me. I’m not exactly known for my cat-like reflexes or my speed, so let’s just say this is an area for improvement. After about five minutes, Grant called “time” and we were officially finished for the day. It was a busy 45 minutes and I really enjoyed the class. I can’t say I was drenched in sweat by the end, but I can personally attest to being sore for the next 48 hours straight. I’d definitely give the class another try in the future. I love that it’s outdoors, that the equipment is effective and fun, the exercises are creative and functional, and that it’s right by my apartment. A win all around!

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After bootcamp I walked a few blocks to Hawthorne Organic Juice Bar. It’s on Macomb Street just around the corner from Wisconsin Avenue. They offer an assortment of fresh juices, smoothies, and yummy organic foods.

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I choose a juice combo with kale, apple, carrot, ginger, and cucumber. It was just the kick I needed after being trounced at bootcamp. Another plus? The three block walk from Bryce Park to Hawthorne was an excellent cool down. I can see this being a dangerous combination in the warmer months…until then, I’ll be practicing my tag and foam rolling my calves.

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Happy crashing!

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