SAN DIEGO -- I think I officially hit my plateau at some point in January. But then again, come mid-January, although I’d kept up my exercise regimen, my stringent diet began to fall to the wayside. And although I was content to maintain, I knew I wasn’t necessarily to where I wanted to be. For me, when it came to dieting and training, balls-to-the-wall dedication had never been a challenge. But after throwing myself into a routine and then ultimately hitting a wall, my mind would become my greatest obstacle. Basically, I’d get it in my head that if sticking with the diet wasn’t getting me anywhere - and I could maintain while gnoshing on Ciro’s pizza and steak paninis, well, why the hell not? Still, though, I figured I must be missing something.
I’d first met Chris Tina Bruce shortly after she moved to San Diego, and we’d become “good acquaintances” over the course of the next few months. Chris intrigued me on a number of fronts – one, she’s easily one of the most outgoing people I’ve ever encountered (that chick literally owns any room she walks into within moments of arriving); and two, she’s trained her body both in the masculine and feminine form, which had me thinking that she likely had one of the most comprehensive understandings of how to get results of just about any fitness professional in the city. In the beginning of July I’d heard she had started running Fitness Fun Camps -- and I decided to check it out. I was going to do a four-week challenge, if you will. I was going to challenge me to put myself completely in her hands, while at the same time, challenging her to get my body to do something I’d been unsuccessful in getting it to do on my own.
Day one consisted of nutrition label training and a suggestion I setup a Nutrition Complete Program account to track calories, meals, exercise, etc. “If you bite it, write it,” she told me, further instructing that I should be stringent about also logging all the nutritional components of what I was eating. I’d need to log all my water consumption. I should start measuring my portions. I should begin to enter in all of my physical activity so we’d have an accurate idea as to the calories-in-calories-out of my day-to-day. The Nutrition Complete Program would then give me feedback as to my nutritional health - was I getting enough Vitamin B, where was I in terms of meeting my daily calcium recommendation, etc. Within 24 hours I noted two things. One, I wasn’t actually eating enough. Two, I was in dire need of a multivitamin. Phase two was the class itself.
I arrived to my first on July 11, bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 6 am. To be fair, I’d been cross training on an indoor rower for a period of time, and I might have been a scant bit cocky as to how in shape I was. Rowers are brutal pieces of equipment, and I figured that if I was managing 10k (6.2 miles) on that bad-boy every day, that “fitness camp” would have been a breeze. Let’s just say that when I awoke the following morning, and realized I needed to tackle a set of stairs, I seriously contemplated diverting to the elevator. We did push-ups. We did Indian-runs. We submitted ourselves to a lower abdominal workout that I’m still convinced was incepted by Satan himself. She had us doing “plank” (I collapsed after 25 seconds). We trained with weights. We trained with medicine balls. We did squats. We did more squats. We ran stairs. We did sprint intervals. And for the better part of that month I worked out, I ate, I worked, I napped, I ate, I worked, I ate and I slept. But in just two weeks I began to notice a couple things -- my endurance was increasing, I was getting stronger, and my skinny jeans were starting to sag.
At the end of my four weeks with Chris, I was managing to hold “plank” in excess of two minutes. I lost an inch and a half off both my waist and my hips. I dropped 5% of my body weight, and due to that damn iPhone application, I was finally able to clearly see the error of my nutritional ways. Many people steer clear of workouts, or fitness classes, because they fear the unknown. They think they’re not strong enough, capable enough, or able to submit to the task at hand and be able to follow through from start to finish. The mind says “I can’t” and the body says “sitting my ass down on the couch and watching ‘True Blood’ reruns is far preferable.” Ultimately, I saw some amazing things take place during the course of that class. I saw transformations in both myself and my classmates. I saw how a group-dynamic increases competitiveness, and I saw how that competitiveness managed to push people to do things they didn’t think they could do.
Am I finally a believer? Yes. Hands down. But don’t take my word for it. Chris is now offering two Fitness Fun Camps per day, Monday through Thursday. Her Dawn Patrol class runs from 6 to 7 am and her Sunset Service class takes place from 6 to 7 pm. New clients, she points out, are able to audit her class for one week (four sessions) at no cost. For more information on Chris Tina Bruce and her Hillcrest Fitness Fun Camps, click Hillcrest Fitness.