It’s that time of year. You can smell summer slowly creeping into the air, the bad decisions of this past winter hanging heavy on both your mind and your gut. The time of year where you still have enough time to get in shape for summer. You need to start now – but oh god you really really don’t want to. What is a bikini body anyways but a patriarchal norm imposed upon us by an old man in a silk bathrobe living in an Los Angeles mansion? Bring on the medialunas and a copy of The Second Sex, I protest!
But the fact remains getting healthy is good for, I hear the working out lifts your spirits and your ass. Which leads me to where I happened to find myself Tuesday night: doing burpees in Parque Centenario as I dreamed of happier, more horizontal times.
That’s right. I tried Bootcamp.
I first heard murmurings of the Jungle Gym bootcamp many months ago. Of a boxer called Freddie who was training people in parks around the city with nothing but their own body weight to get into shape. I never inquired further, it sounded unpleasant — the sort of activity a person who wakes up before noon or actually keeps a calendar might participate in.
But, at the risk of ruining my own reputation, I actually enjoy working out (I’m sorry!). I used to run in school. I still pound the pavement in winter like a lunatic. Now that I’ve blown my own cover… the fact remains that in a fit of tequila inspired insanity I agreed to go to bootcamp. Which is most decidedly not the same as going for a jog.
Tuesday night, 7pm. Thoughts that crossed my mind as I hopped in a cab over to Parque Centenario, dressed in all black spandex to attend my own body’s funeral: “I’m running late maybe I should just go home,” and “Would this cab driver be angry if I just went ahead and gave him a different address?” and “Is Spandex really that breathable?” and “How does one actually die from overexertion?”
I arrive. Everyone is already in a circle doing group exercises. Lifting their knees, crossing legs, running about. All sorts of stretches I don’t have names for. “This is not so bad,” I think, “I will not perish after all.” I see my friend Hillary, she assures me that she comes twice a week and that I won’t die. She is a good friend.
The evening rapidly picks up the pace however, Drake pounds across the park on Freddie’s stereo, soon he is telling us to line up and find partners. I glimpse at the playground mere meters away, surely we won’t have to do anything too terrible, in a space where innocent children frolicked mere hours before, their silly laughter practically echoing in the park still. This is sacred ground.
We box. We do crunches. We sprint. We leap over each other. The music pounds on. We partner up, we un-partner, we switch partners, we laugh heartily at our partners who are as un coordinated and sweaty as we are. Just when you think you can take no more Freddie, says, “Good job you can rest,” and the activity switches. Which is ideal for me, because I have Attention Deficit Disorder and after two minutes I find anything unappealing.
The thing I noticed about bootcamp? Everyone comes with a friend and even if they didn’t, they’ve been coming for so long that everyone is all friends now. It’s almost fun I thought to myself, but then Freddie told me to get into plank position.
I had the opportunity to ask the man behind all the planking a bit about being in shape in this city:
Can I please still please eat doughnuts and have six pack?
As much as I love exercise, your diet is probably more important. The city is evolving to include more healthy options to eat out but as long as you keep a good balance, ice cream places that open until 3am don’t have to be the end of you. Or 40 peso Ugi pizza. Or half a bottle of tequila on a school night…Talia. (The author is unfamiliar with this reference.)
To me getting the right nutrients is more important than cutting out crap, there’s a verduleria on every block in this city so go make it rain in there every day of your time here.
What’s your favorite part of bootcamp?
My favorite part about the job is seeing the community that has been created. Friendships have been made through bootcamp and I like to see people socializing in a healthy environment rather than just a bar or cafe, people have fun at bootcamp and that’s how I believe health and fitness should be.
As expats we are far from home and some personal problems may seem bigger than they are as a result, my biggest success is having clients tell me how much better they feel mentally after working out with me. People start to realize that the healthier your body is, the healthier your mind is.
He’s not wrong. I felt better. Well the next day I felt worse, but genuinely I felt better. After all the planking stopped and the last notes of “One Dance” faded away, I had to admit it, it was sort of fun. Almost enjoyable. Not terrible. I guess the times, they are a-changing, summer isn’t just coming, I’m going back to bootcamp.
Bootcamp! Pain and gain darlings.
Puerto Madero on Mondays, Parque Centenario on Tuesdays, Recoleta on Thursdays. More details can be found here.