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Fitness Boot camp 101

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest workout programs out there. Now that the weather is heating up, visions of myself poolside are giving me the extra push to get fit and fabulous for summer. I know those same thoughts are on the minds of many of our readers. Walking up for my interview with Krista and Erik Wenz’ to learn more about their Fit Force Fitness boot camp, I had no idea that they would be putting me through the paces. Thursday’s 8:30 a.m. workout at Recreation Park in Auburn was designed to simulate the rigorous agility training of firefighters. Krista and Erik were both paramedic firefighters, so this was the real deal. Fire hoses, sledgehammers and sandbags were all par for the course. I have often joked with my boyfriend, who is a fireman, that I am going to join the fire service for the three days on, four days off schedule, and the chance to save lives, of course. Now was my chance to get some valuable hands-on training and get in shape for summer. While I couldn’t do the full workout in high heels and blue jeans, Erik and Krista said I could do enough to feel some of the burn their clients do. For any whiners, Krista had a pacifier to make them wear on a lanyard as joke. I didn’t want to be the newbie wearing the pacifier, so I got tough. My first feat was to hoist an 8-pound sledgehammer behind me and smash it down on a tire, 25 times per arm. As Krista demonstrated it looked like a piece of cake. When my turn came around I was surprised by how hard it was to maneuver. I just nearly missed my face before I got the hang of it. Erik told me I would never get through them unless I unleashed my anger on the tire. While I was certainly not a firefighting prodigy, it was a fun way to work my arms outside the gym. Next, I ran across the parking lot and back with a fire hose in tow. I was surprised by how much resistance the hose added to the run. I couldn’t imagine doing that on the fire line with water flowing through it. Some of the other workouts included running with sandbags and doing squats with a 70-pound kettle ball. I decided to save that set for my next round of boot camp. As I struggled through the drills, Krista pointed out a vivacious woman going through them with finesse. I soon found out she was 66 years old, though you would never guess that. The boot camps have kept her toned and in tip-top shape. It was also hardly the harsh, military-style boot camp session I had imagined. Everyone was taking turns encouraging each other to push through tough moments. Hearing the women talk about how much stronger they were really hit home after I tried the same drills myself. While they were still being challenged, they had the strength to power through many of the ones I didn’t. Their toned muscles spoke for themselves. I had Krista take a few photos of my firefighting drills. I have a feeling that is as close I will get to being a firefighter. But at least I’m more toned and got through without wearing the pacifier.