It took a few years for the idea of exercise to grow on me, but these days really enjoy working out. I do so on a regular basis, and I do a variety of activities. So, I thought I’d branch out a little more and challenge myself with an unfamiliar class style and unfamiliar trainers. Also, the Groupon deal was a steal—a month of unlimited boot camp classes.

I enjoyed the classes because I learned a new exercise move every day that I went to a BodyZen boot camp class. It brought a new excitement and challenge to my exercise routine, and I enjoyed going home and showing off what I had learned to my roommates or to my boyfriend. Sometimes, I was showing them off because I felt silly doing the move (anyone ever done traveling cross-jacks or star jumps? Silly feeling, right?), but there was no doubt in my mind that it was good to teach my muscles a new way to move. I attended two BodyZen classes a week for four weeks, and now I’m a little bit hooked.

Group classes also work because of the trainer’s encouragement and the other people in the class. If you’re like me, you want to keep up with everyone else. It also helps on days when you try to be lazy and pick the 9 lb. kettlebell, and the trainer looks at it and asked if it was heavy enough. (True story. She had me swap between two 9 lbs. Kettlebells and a 15 lb. kettlebell that day.) Sometimes, you need someone else to look at you and go, “It’s time to pick a heavier weight.”

It was also refreshing to get outside of the gym and work out in the open space of Fort Lowell Park. (Boot camps are also offered at Jesse Owens Park and Purple Heart Park in the Vail area.) The park is beautiful, with lots of big trees, and grassy areas, as well as plenty of other activity spots, including baseball diamonds, children’s playground, and a swimming pool. It was rejuvenating to stretch on the grass at the end of class while the sun was setting.

BodyZen Boot Camps is owned and managed by personal trainer Courtnie Robenolt. She was working as a personal trainer out of her home when she started catching a bit of cabin fever. She purchased a coupon for three months of an outdoor boot camp, and didn’t let them know she was a personal trainer. Eventually, the owner learned about Robenolt’s background, and had her covering classes. When circumstances had the previous BodyZen owner looking at selling his business, he approached Robenolt and asked her to buy him out. She’s been running the show ever since, and expanded BodyZen from one park to three.

I find it really rewarding to see people doing things they thought they couldn’t do. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback—people saying how strong they feel,” says Robenolt.

Robenolt is responsible for designing the day’s workout. She takes a personal training approach to the design of the class, and makes sure that every day of the week emphasizes a different part of the body. This allows members to attend classes more often without straining the same muscles every day, and giving the muscles time to recover. The workouts are posted each day on the BodyZen Facebook Group. The Facebook Group is a closed group for BodyZen members, and it’s an active community of people talking to the trainers, talking about the day’s workout, and encouraging one another. For non-BodyZen members, there’s also a BodyZen Facebook fan page that you can like.

Another great little feature about this boot camp class is the welcome packet that every new member receives. The downloadable PDFs are full of information about exercising, the classes, nutritional recommendations, and the BodyZen meal plan. Robenolt redesigned the welcome packet so that the information inside it is based on her philosophy of training and exercise.

Don’t expect change overnight. Robenolt says women routinely expect pounds to just drop off right after they start working out and dieting, but she says for women, it typically takes at least 90 days. She encourages all members to maintain a cardio routine in addition to boot camp class. She recommends making it something you enjoy, even something as simple as a walk each day.

Classes are available in the mornings and evenings. Classes range in price depending on the location or you can opt for the premium membership, $75 a month for unlimited classes at all locations.

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