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Monday, January 23, 2012

Step 2: Fitness Guru JB Bowen Guides Us through Our First-ever Boot Camp

The sixth stop on Urban Active’s (UA) Fitness Guru Josh “JB” Bowen’s 10-city "Get Active" tour found him in Omaha, Nebraska. This is where Brian & I met JB, director of Quality Control for all U.S. gyms, and attended our first-ever boot camp. It was standing room only in Omaha's UA Group Exercise Room, where participants met up. As we looked around all types of fitness levels were represented: Extreme runners, body builders, jocks and weekend warriors. That’s the thing we like about this gym – no intimidation – all fitness levels are welcome.

“The purpose of this is Men’s Health came out with 100 Top Sedentary Cities in the nation. My hometown Lexington [Kentucky] is number one. For a guy like me that kind of pissed me off," Bowen said. "Omaha was on the list, too. So, I decided to go on this ‘Get Active’ tour and go to each of the cities we had clubs in and do a boot camp as well as start a blog about fitness."

Becky, JB and Brian at Omaha's UA Get Active Challenge.
The Omaha UA boot camp was intense but Brian & I learned a couple new techniques to use for our workout arsenal. JB led us in group exercises to start. Walking forward and backward, we did warm up knee lifts and goose steps. Next JB broke us off into three work-out groups led by designated UA trainers, which he called "Team Captains." Brian and I were in group number three.

"January comes everyone is excited about getting into shape -- what happens after that? They fall off, right," he said. "Well, I want to make sure everyone in this room stays on track and gets where they want to be. So, we started with this boot camp, which was a hell of a boot camp."

  • Workout session one: Kettlebells. There weren't enough kettlebells so some up of us (like Brian & I) grabbed free weights. We did a kettle bell routine with squats. Swinging motion + squat; raise to chin + squat; and planks (frozen stationary push up while resting on elbows).

  • Workout session two: Squats. By far this was my least favorite session. Mainly, because I don’t have the best of knees. Tip to those in my same boat: make sure to wear a neoprene for boot camps. We did varied level of squats, push ups and side-steps. The side-step workout, I’d equate to the Napoleon Dynamite dance. At one point during the side-step I started snapping my fingers and channeling the character.

  • Workout session three: Kickboxing. By far this was my favorite session. We punched the bags for 40 counts, did burpees (from standing position walk to push up, do push up and back up) and ran a lap. Came back kicked 15 counts on each leg, laying on our backs did core leg lifts and ran a lap.

To end the boot camp, everyone convened back in the Group Exercise Room. In two lines we sat with legs in air and passed a medicine ball up and down the line. Next, we broke into three lines and held a stationary push up position while arm-to-arm. Similar to a real military boot camp, we crawled underneath each other (looked like a the human chain) and continued down the line while cheering the next person on. I'm pretty sure the entire gym could hear us cheering during this group exercise. It was truly a blast and great note to end on.

To keep participants motivated JB encouraged everyone in attendance to follow his blog and also blog themselves.

"Every day I write a daily blog that you can find at What we are encouraging everyone to do is start blogging themselves. Blogging about their fitness experiences; whether, their small or large it doesn’t matter," he said. "We’re encourageing others to write about their own fitness experience. It’s free and might be motivating to people who may find the blog. Our goal is to develop a community of people who are motivated about fitness."

By no means was this easy. I had to modify the squats exercise session a bit. Brian had some sinus issues flare up and started feeling ill. However, we both worked through our setbacks and finished the boot camp together. At our last session, instead of running the lap we walked it briskly. Brian jokedly said as we were bringing up the rear of our group: “It’s not about where you finish but that you finished.”

At the very end, JB called us all together at the center of the room and we put our arms together and cheered: 'Get Active.'

“We started in Charlotte last Saturday, we went to Pittsburgh, we went to Cleveland and Cincinnati...and now we're in Omaha. This is the best group that we’ve had!" He enthusiastically said, "We’re a team. Start as a team, finish as a team. Let’s get a big pile of hands in here and say -- 'G-E-T A-C-T-I-V-E' -- on three!"

After meeting JB and the other Urban Active trainers we feel energized and motivated. With this UA “Get Active Challenge,” Brian & I both feel like we've turned a real corner in our journey to become the more fit people we know we can be. Step 2, survived our first-ever boot camp and consumed Ibuprofen.
(Editor's note: This is the second in a series of blog posts about UA's Get Active Challenge)
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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  1. Way to go, Browns! You're definitely an inspiration! :)


  2. Beverly: Thanks! Brian & I really appreciate the support.

  3. Hi, Beverly! Well, I hope you and Brian felt all the great natural hormones that the body produces after a good work-out. I think you guys already look great!

  4. Barb: You bet. Brian & I felt totally pumped after our first-ever boot camp experience. It was a great feeling pushing our bodies to perform at that level in such a short amount of time. We appreciate your support, too!