Boot camp class kicks up workout

Katelyn Luysterborg

Class has higher intensity than aerobics

Kent State Alumna Pam Smiesko (front) leads a group of students in lunges during a Boot Camp class at the rec. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Hearts pounded and sweat dripped from flushed faces as participants endured the Student Recreation and Wellness Center’s version of boot camp.

“Let’s go!” yelled Pamela Smiesko, instructor at the center. “It’s boot camp, baby!”

Void of the military harshness associated with boot camp instructors, Smiesko encouraged participants to not give up the intense workout.

“You’re almost halfway there!” Smiesko shouted as participants jumped with one foot onto a step. “You can switch feet if you want to!”

Smiesko filled in for senior nutrition major Caryn Kovach, who taught boot camp from the beginning of the semester, but due to a stress fracture she will be unable to teach the class for the next few weeks.

The class, however, is not for the faint of heart.

“It’s a full-body workout,” Kovach said. “It’s not for the inexperienced.”

Starting with a 10-minute warm-up and ending with a 10-minute “cool down,” participants moved the whole hour – only stopping for the occasional water break.

The studio was set up so campers could jog from one side of the studio to the other to use body bars, steps and medicine balls, which worked their arms, abdominal muscles and legs.

“It’s more intense than a physical aerobics class,” Kovach said. “You’ll walk out of there probably being sore.”

Side-steps, toe-touches, push-ups and tricep dips are just a few of the exercises performed at boot camp.

One of the more intense exercises was the body bar pyramid. Participants used two hands to jab the bar from side to side and then swing it around. It’s considered a pyramid because participants do the exercise for 15 seconds then rest for 45, and they slowly built up to swinging for 45 seconds and resting for 15.

A groan from the back of the room echoed when Smiesko was ready for mountain climbers. Participants were on all fours and climbed a mountain with their feet while their hands stayed put.

“If you want an all-around fitness workout with strength and cardio, this is the class for you,” Kovach said. “If you don’t like to sweat then it’s not for you.”

Boot camp never does the same routine twice. Kovach said each week there are new exercises so regulars will never be bored.

“If we concentrate on cardio one week, we’ll concentrate on strength the next week,” Kovach said.

The goal of boot camp is not to intimidate, but to keep up cardio and strength training.

“I don’t yell,” Kovach said. “I don’t want to make it sound like I yell.”

Jumping through rungs of a ladder is the only true military style exercise performed at boot camp, but participants still enjoyed the class.

“I liked it a lot,” junior nursing major Allie Franjesevic said. “It’s a great workout. I loved the variety of things we did.”

Leaving the studio sweaty, tired and sore, participants can proudly say they survived boot camp.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Katelyn Luysterborg at [email protected].