By Erin Crowell
Living in Northern Michigan, weve grown accustomed to the big
reveal of summer how just a few precious months of warm weather
allows us to shake off the layers and show off some skin.
Up to this big reveal, we grind it out in the gym pounding the
treadmill and pumping iron. But once its time, we drop the weights,
along with all incentive to keep that killer beach body.
Who wants to stay inside and work out when its nice outside? asks
Joe Lorenz, personal trainer at Fit For You Health Club in Traverse
Thats why Lorenz, along with fellow FFY trainer Ryan Heary, started
the Beach Boot Camp, a fast-paced outdoor fitness class that utilizes
the sand for optimum training that fights bulge and boredom.
Its a Tuesday evening, late June, and Lorenz and Heary wait in the
parking lot for their students to arrive for class. The two are easy
to spot: young, tan, athletic and oozing with healthy optimism. They
bounce and stretch in place, sipping water in the 83 degrees.
Its only the first summer for Beach Boot Camp, but the trainers say
the response has been positive.
We get a lot of people in usually 10 to 12 per session, says
Lorenz. We even get a few people from out-of-town joining in for the
Thats because Boot Camp is right on the shores of the Holiday Inn
West Bay. As the eight women that make up the class start to gather
(Lorenz says the majority of participants are female), beachgoers
glance over their shoulders to see whats happening.
Alright, lets warmup, says Lorenz, and the group takes off for a
jog around the parking lot. Heary stays and does lunges with Shelly
Glaesmer, one of the classs regulars who joined because of her knee.
I thought it would be easier on the joint, she says.
When asked if Beach Boot Camp is hard, Glaesmer says her heart rate is
anywhere from 135 to 170 beats pretty hard by those standards.
But its worth it, she adds.
Lorenz and Heary tell their participants to prepare for the class by
eating well and drinking enough fluids beforehand.
Otherwise, its really just what you put into it, Heary says.
Boot Camp starts on the grass.
Were gonna smoke their upper body doing sit-ups and pushups then
well go to the sand, says Leary.
And smoke em they do.
The group sweats and grunts underneath the hot sun, rising and falling
with the command of Up!, Down!
While theyre only pushups, each repetition is slow overloading the muscle.
Were confusing the muscle, says Heary. When you hold it for a few
seconds longer, it engages the muscle.
The group flips over for sit-ups.
Aww, yeah! Lorenz yells, keeping up morale.
Its hard to be in a bad mood on the beach in Northern Michigan,
says Lorenz. We could be killing them, and theyd still have a smile
on their faces.
Working out in the great outdoors is referred to as green exercise;
and as little as five minutes per day has significant effects in mood
and self esteem as reported in a 2005 study published in Environmental
Science & Technology journal.
Living up here and training you see a decline during the summer,
says Lorenz. People just want to be outside. It was just a natural
thought process for us to do this.
ARE THOSE LIFEGUARDS?
Laurie Radtke has been doing the Beach Boot Camp since it started in May.
I figured since half my pay goes to the bay, I might as well enjoy
it, she says, referring to the old saying. Its a hard class, but
boy do you feel good afterward!
At this time, the group has moved to the sand. They kick off their
shoes and gather around a rope that looks like it could have come
right off the Tall Ship.
They squat, touch the rope, jump straight up and repeat.
A couple sitting on a beach blanket nearby ask, Are those lifeguards?
What the heck are they doing?
The group finishes and takes a quick five-minute break. At this point,
one participant has to stop. She comes back from the bathroom to grab
her keys and wishes everyone well.
She puked, says Heary.
And there you go, adds Lorenz. She probably didnt eat enough
before she came.
Walking and running on sand burns between 20 and 80 extra calories per
mile, versus on a solid surface. So all the movements done on sand by
the Beach Boot Camp serve as accelerated calorie burners.
The sand acts as a balance ball and your muscles have to work to
stabilize, which increases toning effects, says Lorenz.
The trainers switch up the exercises each class, always surprising the
muscles with different movements. Some days its sideways shuffles
through the sand, another day its hauling cinder blocks out of the
We keep it interesting, says Heary.
After one hour of intense work, the group finishes. The women huff and
puff, hands on knees, faces red and sweaty.
Hear that beeping? Glaesmer says, looking down at her heart-rate
watch. 159. Whew, its like this every time.
The women are ready to call it a night when Lorenz tries to rally the
group with an impromptu tug-o-war. Theres mumbling and heads shaking,
but ultimately the trainers win.
Each trainer takes an end and the women claim their spots on the
30-foot rope. With the sun lowering and the Nauticat boat ready to
leave port in the background, the group picks up the rope.
Ready, set, GO!
Hosted by Fit For You Health Club, Beach Boot Camp is held every
Tuesday and Thursday on the shores of Holiday Inn West Bay, in
Traverse City, from 6-7 p.m. Classes are $15 each or $169 for a
four-month membership. More information is available by calling Fit
For You at 231-922-7285 or online at traversecityhealthclub.com.