Dori's Quest: Stacy's Bootcamp, Ultra-Challenging But Effective

Sometimes while I am taking a class, I wonder what motivates everyone else to push through uncomfortable – sometimes even painful – exercises. What sustains the people in barre classes to hold low plies until their thighs burn and shake?

The easy answer is that classes like those make it so these crazy exercises are doable to push through for a short time. It might hurt for the six-ish minutes of the thighs section, but then the pain is over.

But in the outdoor bootcamp class I tried, this grueling one-hour nonstop workout takes place in all types of extreme weather -- sub-freezing temperatures in the winter, 100-degree humid days in the summer, hail, rain and of course, the gorgeous days, too.

So what motivates people to endure such an intense hour in those conditions?

I met the group on 86th Street and Central Park West and we ran onto the running loop and up to 103rd Street to meet Stacy Berman, creator of Stacy’s Bootcamp. We did walking lunges, countless push-ups, leg lifts, more running, more walking lunges, bear crawl/walk hands out/push-up series, then even more running, jump-back squat thrusts and tricep dips. It was the most difficult workout of my life.

There were times during the running portions where I could not run; I had nothing left in me. So I walked. And I wondered: What motivates people to do this three times a week in all weather?

Stacy herself, for one. Even though every person was at a different fitness level, they were all extremely dedicated because Stacy knows how to bring this out in her clients. She is tough, and she might raise her voice, but she never yells or belittles. It was clear by talking to the others and observing them working during class that they all have immense respect for Stacy. She pushes her clients to achieve maximum results. No one had anything negative to say; everyone praised the changes in their endurance, strength and of course, appearance.

There is no question that this was an incredible workout that pushed me to my absolute limit, but I had some issues with the safety at times. Stacy offered some corrections for me, but because there were so many people, and we were doing different exercises at different times (class was a succession – you finish one thing and move on to the next at your own pace), she wasn’t able to watch everyone’s forms the entire time. I had some trouble modifying for my own hip injury because some of these exercises, like bear crawls, were so new to me. I also left that evening with broken skin and bruises along my spine and tail bone from leg lifts performed on the concrete. Certain exercises like those would be better done on the grass.

Despite those setbacks, I continue to be in awe of the people who attend Stacy’s Bootcamp regularly. Maybe I am a wimp, but I prefer my mental workouts (abs engaged; shoulders pressed back; knees over heels) to an intense physical hour like this. Everyone finds motivation in different ways, and it takes trying all different workouts to find what is best for you. Stacy’s Bootcamp is worth that try.

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