This is a broad statement. I’m not complaining. I’m reporting…with details and facts. I hope you never have this happen to you. The “worst” part is not the actual workout – it was how it felt to me.

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Today was a “boot camp” workout in the Partner Randyland Style.

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Quick recap on what “RandyLand” is as well as “Partner Randyland”.

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Separate “stations” of a random workout/exercise that you work as hard as you can at for a short amount of time. The short amount of time means you can push yourself WELL BEYOND your comfort zone. With a Partner you get an even better workout because they will keep you honest AND in most cases I’ve seen, make you push a little more. It is an overall conditioning hour of FUN and by the end of it you feel like you could conquer any task (and dream about that while taking a shower soon after).

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Randy created this workout to be fun, inclusive, give variety and make an even playing field for all fitness levels. It worked.

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Our 805 Boot Camp program always pushed/encouraged people to talk to each other, forge friendships and connections. I had no idea how much that element would mean in the end. I was very passionate about it and it was VERY important to me. This came from being left out, picked last or bullied growing up. Until you have this happen to you, A LOT, you cannot imagine how much that hurts and now I know how it really did affect me mentally. You WILL begin to wonder what is wrong with you that no one invited you to their party, team, event, conversation…the list goes on. The point is: I know exactly how that feels and I will NEVER let that happen to someone (even if I don’t know them).

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Partner RandyLand was created as a “test”. We had a lot of equipment that was getting hammered and with Partner RandyLand we needed TWO of each item (at least).

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Secretly I think Randy just loved shopping at the Gopher store dreaming up new ways to use equipment!

TODAY AT “BOOT CAMP”

The class today was at a remote location, the ice rink used for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Side note: The Olympics inspired a lot of infrastructure to be built by the City of Salt Lake to accommodate the Winter Olympics. As a result, 15 years later, those structures are still standing! They have taken care of their stuff…and now regular humans get to enjoy them. Love this luxury and have done my part to help take care of it.

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We got to the dark parking lot at 5:47am. Running way later than usual. Casual conversation as we drove: “This is like boot camp with different locations…we should have driven here yesterday like we told all of our campers.” “Yeah, so true.” There was ONE other car in the parking lot and I figured we were at the wrong location (and got that panic nausea feeling).

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I had already considered cancelling my participation in this class three times yesterday because I felt twinges in my knees. I had no clear idea of what Field House Fitness (the name of the class) would be. There are no photos and the description left me thinking about our boot camp classes. I wasn’t sure I was ready for flipping tires, box jumps or any lateral fast action. BUT I’m trying to follow through on mini goals and one of them is to experience every class they have at the Provo Rec Center. So, I got up with a much better attitude and jumped in the truck with a little bit of excitement.

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THE “FIELD”

At 5:59am when the instructor showed up (class was supposed to begin at 6:00am), we hopped out of the truck and followed the other few people that were there ASSUMING they were also joining in on the Field House Fitness…or FHF.

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I took these two videos. I was so excited to see such a beautiful place! The fact that it was in the ice rink meant it was CHILLY (if not COLD) so getting our heart rates up would warm us up perfectly.

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People were standing around waiting.

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The instructor was scrambling to get equipment out…Randy and I offered to help. Only 2 or 3 other people did as well. There were 20 people and I’ll never understand why people aren’t inclined to help.

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Moving on.

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The average age of the participants was 22, 70:30 gals to guys. This is a major college town so that is no surprise. We’ve got BYU and UVU (Utah Valley University) right down the street from each other.

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Keeping those demographics in mind, I knew I should let the instructor know I wouldn’t (most likely) be keeping up with the group due to my knees. I didn’t want any special treatment, I just wanted her to know in case I popped myself into an alternative exercise.

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She sort of acknowledged me but was obviously preoccupied with getting the group warmed up and we were very late getting started. Cool. Get it.

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The warm up was great! Running, skipping, high-knees, butt-kickers, inch-worm push-ups, grapevines…all on this on a giant cushy indoor grass covered field. It’s either a soccer field or it’s a field hockey…maybe rugby? IDK.

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A few people arrived 5 minutes after we’d begun dynamic warm-up (making them 15 minutes late for the class). None of them apologized to the instructor for being late. Sad face. Rude behavior again.

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One late little whipper-snapper girl in a cute Size 0 Lulu-Lemon outfit thought she’d barge into the “lane” I’d begun using on the outside of the field markings. Uh. No. I handled THAT quickly by DOMINATING the lane with…well MY LARGENESS. “Good morning!” I said to her grumpy condescending and bothered expression. I think she got the message (later she got to deliver her own to me).

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We mustered together right next to the speaker and wrapped up our warm-up with Devil Squats. This instructor gave excellent instruction, correction and guidance while she executed the moves.

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Once warmed up she took us on a tour of the different stations. Each station would be split: first a really tough exercise with cardio and then some sort of core-strengthening exercise.

So far, so good. I was tracking on the concept but listening close for her instructions.

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The 4-minute “Stations”

1)

10 Wall Balls then sprint the field…add 5 wall ball tosses (as high as you can) and then sprint between. I got to 25. Let’s do the math real quick: that is 72 weighted squats/tosses and 8 sprints.

Russian twists for 2 minutes…with the weighted ball.

2)

Tug-of-war in squat using the weighted sled arm. You pull (IN A SQUAT) until the sled crosses the white line on the field. Then, with your partner you push the weighted sled to the opposite end of the field where you rinse and repeat. Hustle!

Gut busters hanging onto the sled for 2 minutes.

3)

Concrete step jumps, no less than 2 stairs at a time. Max 4. There are 18 steps, maybe 20. The rise was about 7 inches. This is not soft concrete, in case you imagined falling down stairs or tripping on a leap up. Both feet jump up and land together. You should be awake for this and have good vision (it was in a poorly lit stairwell). To “make it tougher (and make sure you don’t hurt your back) you put a 25 lb sandbag on your back.”

Plank walks down the stairs (no sandbag) then run up and repeat…for 2 minutes.

4)

Seated jump squats with weight. 25 or 50 lb sandbag. Once you are warmed up (or looking for a challenge) you then jump up onto a sturdy box covered with some sort of foam protection. The leap up is either 12 inches, 24 inches or 36 inches. With the sandbag on your back.

Seated kick-outs while leaning back balancing for 2 minutes.

5)

Ropes. Plenty of ideas on how to make waves…all while squatting.

Plank walk 10 feet left then 10 feet right (walk yourself over the ropes) for two minutes.

TIME TO BEGIN ACTUALLY WORKING OUT

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In a muffled voice (on a loud speaker) our instructor sort of told us to begin. I think.

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I approached a girl and asked if she had a partner for the workout. She didn’t so we introduced ourselves (I’ll call her Jill) smiling and headed over to the Wall Ball station. She was super nice.

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This station didn’t require we actually partner but obviously we needed to have one at least established.

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The loud and modern pop music (I’m working on tolerance) began so I assume that meant GO.

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Bodies began heading off in all directions.

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Then headed over to the stairs to get that torture over with first…I checked on my team’s dental insurance status (I got a chuckle out of 2 of the 3).

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Unfortunately we were a Party Of Five and the instructor asked for 1 of us to go to another station. The single person that had walked up to our group of four should have volunteered (but she didn’t) so I asked “Jessica” (my partner) if she wanted to go to a different station. She agreed and we went to the Wall Ball station.

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All of the other stations had limited equipment or limited space, that was the only one left.

We began the work and I looked forward to giving it 110%.

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90 seconds into it Jessica disappeared and I saw her being led by the instructor over to another group. She didn’t say goodbye so I assume she wasn’t really interested in partnering with me.

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Uh. Ok.

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Moving on.

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There was a group of 2 boys and 1 girl (Lulu Lemon girl). They were doing the Wall Balls too and since they had 3 I sucked it up and attempted to join their group.

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Lulu was probably 18. The boys were 22. This are guesses based off of having my own 4 kids. I did not ask their ages. They didn’t acknowledge my existence.

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This started to get unfun.

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I worked on my wall balls with earnest! On my sprints I kept looking around the room for another group I could join.

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Lulu and The Dudes saw me. They were having a great time jaw jacking amongst one another. I was not included in any of the banter. They kept their backs to me.

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Message received.

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I was now pissed at the instructor for stealing my partner…

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I got my work done and just focused on the next 2 minutes of Russian twists.

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The buzzing bell sounded (barely) and bodies began moving to different stations. No direction in particular. People actually collided with each other zig-zagging across the field to another station…WALKING. No one was hustling.

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I scooted to Station 4, seated jump squats. There were 3 younger ladies there. They knew every word to every song and during the next two minutes they began singing and dancing enjoying them. I thought it was cute and reminded me of how much Amanda and Morgan knew lyrics (Randy too) and could belt them out.

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I was on the far south end of the bench, only doing a squat and SMALL hop with the bag. I was not going to even try jumping onto those boxes so I got out of the way.

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Apparently not far enough though.

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The instructor came over to me and asked me if I could move to the OTHER end of the benches and out of the way.

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What?

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What the hell?

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Now I wondered if I was on some sort of Tolerance Show. Boiling Point? Was Ashton Kutcher PUNKING me?

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I felt so mad. I felt embarrassed. I felt ‘in the way’. Then I felt just sad.

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I went to the far end of the bench and continued the modified squat jumps seated 1 foot from the 3rd girl (who was singing and dancing). Time for the core-work: 2 minutes of kick-outs.

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I set my goals and encouraged myself. That’s when I saw Randy was having a blast with his partner at Station 2 on the tug-of-war with the sleds. That drove me further into my head wondering what/when/where/why was I not being welcomed to this group of humans that got up at the crack of dawn to enjoy a workout?

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Bell/buzz…time to move to another station.

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I saw the stairs were empty so headed over again. I tried a few practice jumps before the official start bell.

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The stairwell was large enough for 4 people to use. Two on each side with a railing down the center. It was empty so I had the whole thing to myself.

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At the same time as the changing of stations I saw people leaving to go home. We’d only worked 30 minutes max. They were shouting good-bye to each other and the instructor (she waved back).

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With about 10 seconds left before the next set was to begin a group of 4 arrived at the bottom of the stairs. It was Randy’s team. I got squeezed out and walked back to the Field (the stairs were outside of the arena about 20 yards).

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The round had already begun and I spotted Lulu and The Dudes at the sleds. They were all at one sled so I approached the other and began doing gut busters.

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I think I did over 100 before the buzzer/bell.

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I got up and scanned the different areas to see if there was a station I could fit in at. With all of the people that had left it seemed possible that a team would need another person.

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That’s when I spotted the instructor was working out with one of the participants. She seemed to know her well and they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. The instructor, while at the ropes, was yelling to the people at the Wall Ball…she knew them…to work harder.

I may as well have been invisible.

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MY OWN WORKOUT

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I walked out of the arena toward the ice rink just looking around at the ceiling, ice, the guy driving the ice smoothing machine, the sleepy girl at reception, the pop machines. I wanted to clear my mind and re-fill it.

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There was a giant blue pillar calling my name.

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I decided to push myself through my PT from my stem-cell knee procedure.

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I began a wall sit with a great view of all of the guys and gals working (or not) at the stations.

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After the first 2-minutes a young girl (who I’d earlier introduced myself to before class while I was helping set up the equipment and stations) came up to me and asked me if I was OK.

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I told her that the instructor had taken my partner at the start of the class and that sort of made it difficult to participate in any of the stations. Otherwise, “I was fine”, I told her. I wasn’t about to dump on her plus I’d decided I would prefer to work on my PT.

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The last part of my workout I had to be on the ground so I found a slice of green out of the way (I thought) and continued.

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People continued to leave the workout and wave goodbye to each other and the teacher.

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END OF CLASS

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At 7:00am the instructor announced (barely audible over the blasting music) that it was time for cool down stretch.

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I got up and left the arena.

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This place, this experience, was not fun.

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I certainly didn’t want to sit through the unwelcome vibes from all sides.

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Also, I wasn’t about the help clean anything up. Let the little twerps clean up.

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THE RIDE HOME

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I hid in the restroom until I was sure everyone had left.

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During this quiet few moments I reflected on what had happened and how different it was from our boot camp..

The Positives and The Negatives were clear to me.

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While I concluded Randy was having the greatest time of his life that was far from what was happening. He just didn’t give up on the group he was working with. His partner would NOT talk to him or be friendly and the other couple were not welcoming either. We talked about what had just happened…we were both really bummed about this class.

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Positives:

  • BUTTLOADS of equipment in excellent condition… so much potential for exercise activities.
  • Plenty of space.
  • Perfect temperature to work hard and not burst into flames.
  • Water fountains.
  • Clean facility. I’d actually say spotlessly clean.
  • A very fit and knowledgeable instructor (form was super important to her).
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Negatives:

  • Unwelcoming leadership…no surprise that her followers mirrored her behavior.
  • Disorganized plan that changed mid-sentence.
  • Unwelcoming students.
  • Inaudible directions (because the music was overpowering it).
  • Cliques. Cliques. Cliques. Oiy-vey!
  • No alternate to any exercise.
  • Disrespect from clients to instructor.
  • Instructor tolerating people arriving late and leaving early.
  • I hope this is read by men and women leading group fitness classes as well as men and women attending group fitness classes.

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KINDERGARTEN

Remember your first day attending kindergarten?

It is terrifying to be taken out of a comfortable scenario that you rely on.

There are people, even as children, that have something within them to help other people feel welcome and comfortable. They reach a hand out, they offer an opening into a conversation, they ask your name…they GET IT.

Joining a new group in a place you do not know is like starting kindergarten.

Be the person that looks out into the crowd and spots the individual that is being ignored, forgotten, passed over or worse bullied then walks up and makes them feel welcome.

It really makes a difference.

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INSTRUCTORS: MY OPINION FOR YOU

Look, we come to your classes because we believe in you.

We look to you for leadership, certainty, professionalism, levity, guidance and if we put in 100% we hope to get a great workout.

To me this means you don’t need to prove you are the best athlete in the house.

You don’t need to do the workout along with us. We need you to tell us if we aren’t executing an instruction properly (heck, we could get hurt), we appreciate when you step out of the spotlight and wander amongst us and give us encouragement and guidance DURING the class.

That’s my opinion.

I’ve done quite a few workouts offered by my gym and the BEST ones were when the instructor wandered around checking my form, yelling out challenges and encouragement. Today’s workout has to be the worst experience I’ve ever had in a field I know all about from BOTH sides: the Instructor and the client.

PS: I’m over it and not looking for sympathy. There are PLENTY of classes every hour of the day at my gym and I’ve met some incredible instructors (and other guys and gals within the classes). I can’t wait to go tomorrow morning and I KNOW it will be a great start. Meanwhile, I’m still feeling the work I put in at Power Yoga. Stay tuned for my complete review of the classes I’ve taken at the Provo Rec Center. I’m pretty sure you’ll get a laugh and chuckle out of it.

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Some photos and video I shot.

ABOVE: Entering The Field House Fitness Arena

ABOVE: Video of Field One then onto Field TWO where there was a class gathering for competitive frisbee.

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