It’s usually on my way up to the 12th floor when I often question if a few men (who shall remain nameless) completely agree with the five basic needs of air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Despite this, Warrior Fitness Boot Camp has become my sixth. In mid-2013, I moved from the beaches of Florida to the insanity of NYC, taking on an exhausting schedule of full-time work and grad school. I started jogging to clear my mind and counteract the effects of serious stress eating, nighttime “social gatherings”, and economically satisfying dollar pizza. I even gave the treadmill a brief shot once the extreme cold of winter set in (Mother Nature was especially CRUEL). Frustrated with myself, I finally researched boot camps, never imagining where a 3-class Groupon for WFBC would lead me.
Class 1 – February 8, 2014: Did I blackout? I only recall endless trips up the stairs, getting over a few hurdles, and climbing one wall (#shortgirlproblems). Afterwards, I texted my sister: “HOLY [EXPLETIVE]”… her concerned reply: “Are you alive?”… and my expression of apparent invincibility: “I am a WARRIOR”. Well, the next day, this self-proclaimed warrior was couch-bound while agonizing over the soreness. Surrounded by textbooks and slathered in Icy Hot, I doubted I’d ever be able to move again.
Class 2: “Tonight was push-up night… I couldn’t even lift my water bottle and now struggling to hold my phone. I regret everything I ate today.” It’s highly unlikely that I did 1/4 of the push-ups as everyone else. I learned what tennis elbow is, and the delight that comes with its occurrence in both arms.
Class 3: After reading the entire WFBC website, I was inspired by the achievements of other Warriors and returned in another week. That class was all I needed: “By some miracle of God, I am hardly sore”.
Less than a year later, I constantly find myself asking “what’s next?” as I shatter each goal I set, thanks to the unwavering encouragement of Alex, Ruben, Colter, and countless other Warriors. I’m not even 5’ tall, but by the end of March I was climbing all of the walls! April – I conquered the rope. May – I finished my first obstacle race. June – I attempted a 60-min run that took me over 6 miles, a distance a long time in the making. After college, interval training and running were my mantra, and I worked my way up to 5 miles. In 2010, this all ended abruptly with the diagnosis of an auto-immune disease. Continuing my exercise regimen was entirely out of the question during the years it took to find an effective treatment.
Fast-forward to September 2014: I embarked on a race schedule to prove to myself that I had the power to achieve what had seemed impossible over the last few years. In 5 weeks, I completed the NJ Spartan Super, Queens Half-Marathon, Civilian Military Combine, Bronx 10-Mile, and two City Challenge Obstacle Races. Because of WFBC, I’ve started to overcome the greatest obstacles we all have, our own mental blocks. As cliche as it is, the values “Honor – Courage – Commitment” printed on our shirts (that I proudly wore at each race) have changed my life. No matter our ailments, schedules, etc., it is important to honor and respect ourselves, find the courage to believe in our potential, and make the commitment to never give up. I despise playing the sick or injured card, but recognizing what point is too extreme has become crucial to taking better care of myself. The instructors are always willing to modify workouts to make sure we can keep pushing our limits within a reasonable boundary.
WFBC is a place where I feel like I belong. At your first class, the instructors learn your name and from every single day on, they believe in your ability to keep going (because “you aren’t going to die”). They are there for us outside of class too. I’ll never forget when Ruben dominated a 3.5-mi obstacle race and immediately ran it again alongside me and the rest of the Warriors. The classes are never the same, don’t get any easier, and will take you out of your comfort zone. Are we all a bit crazy? Perhaps, but the motivation of other Warriors and camaraderie we have built (I will NOT be the one to drop) are at the heart of what keeps me going. It turns out I may have been right after all, I am a WARRIOR.