The Georgia Straight

Unorthodox Options for Folks Who Hate Gyms
By Gail Johnson
January 27th, 2005


Getting into shape is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions out there. Check out any gym during the first few weeks in January and the place will be busier than usual, with men and women determined to stick it out on the StairMaster or sweat their way through a step class. The numbers start to dwindle come February, though. For many, the drop in drive stems from the fact that they simply can’t stand the gym environment in the first place. They might get bored silly on equipment, feel too uncoordinated for aerobics classes, or find their facility to be too much of a scene, filled with those more interested in the latest overpriced yoga pants than proper technique.

For these people, more unconventional fitness regimes might be the way to go.

One place to start is My Adventure Boot Camp, a four-week program designed by local personal trainer T’ai Erasmus. If the name brings to mind a militaristic intensity, there’s some truth to that: participants must show up every single weekday morning, even on holidays at either 5:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. sharp for an hour of exercise. (Okay, there is an option to attend three times a week.) No two workouts are the same, which prevents boot campers from getting bored and provides the benefit of cross-training. Erasmus throws in a crazy range of stuff: hurdles, tug of war, boxing, obstacle courses, skipping, running, and pushups; speed and agility drills; strength, endurance, abdominal, and core-stability moves; stretching; and the use of free weights and medicine balls. Some days, when they’re not in the Blessed Sacrament Parish Gymnasium (3040 Heather Street), attendees get outside for a hike or to play sports.

The course is intended for men and women of all ages and fitness levels. Erasmus, who has competed in Olympic target shooting for the past 16 years, also shares advice on sports nutrition. (More details on the camp are atwww.MyAdventureBootCamp.com/. A four-week, 20-day session costs $349 plus GST.) And unlike the kind of boot camp experienced by military recruits, this one is actually a good time.

“Everyone goes at their own pace,” Erasmus says in a phone interview. “I don’t shame or yell at or stand over people, but I do watch each person individually. If I see someone pushing too hard, I’ll tell them to back off. Then there are boot campers who keep coming back; if I see those ones slacking, I’ll tell them to bump it up a bit. People need to listen to their own body.

“The body was made to move,” he adds. “Exercise is supposed to be fun.”

He says that if you find a workout you like, it’s easy to maintain fitness goals. “The most challenging part is making the decision to exercise. With boot camp, a lot of people are nervous as heck on the first day. After about two-and-a-half weeks they’re saying, ‘I can’t believe it’s almost over.’ It’s a blast.”

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