Sandbags, Sledges, & Tires. Oh, My!
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Sandbags, Sledges, & Tires. Oh, My!

Shred it! Torch it! Kill it! Are all terms you will hear around boot camp classes, HIIT, and small group personal training classes. Why? Because these hardcore classes amp up the weight loss by burning some serious calories! Picture from Pixabay.

I always love teaching these types of classes because they are fun, they are hard, and they work off some serious stress after a tough day at work. My clients enjoyed flipping tractor tires, beating on them with sledge hammers, swinging kettlebells, drumming with battle ropes, doing bows and arrows with TRX, and flipping sandbags. These types of exercises combined with explosive movements of squat thrusts, running ladders, jax, and speed skaters use the anaerobic-aerobic pathways to create a serious calorie burn. They are done in timed intervals on purpose. The timing makes the difference in revving up your metabolism, not just then, but for the next two days! *NOTE: always get the okay from your medical provider BEFORE participating in any new exercise program.

In case you are cringing because a friend or instructor invited you to join a class like this, Here are some tips to help you get the best benefit without killing yourself:

  1. 1 to 1-1/2 hour before workout: eat a snack with 1 serving wholegrain carbs, 1/2 serving simple carbs, and 1 serving protein. Why? So you don't have a blood sugar crash in the middle of class.
  2. Drink 8 oz. of water with that snack. Yes, simply water! You can easily dehydrate if you were sipping coffee, cola, or some other caffeinated beverage. Picture from
  3. Wear moisture wicking exercise clothes and good cross training shoes (they provide lateral stability and are made for a variety of of activities). If working outdoors, take a water bottle, wear sunglasses, and apply sunscreen.
  4. Avoid classes with instructors who work out with the class or use intimidation for motivation. Watch a few classes before joining in.
  5. Stop when your body is yelling, "STOP!" Rest for a few seconds, then try again. Don't try doing aerobic activity because it feels better. These are designed to be uncomfortable for a reason.
  6. If you feel like you will vomit, stop until after the feeling passes. Go easy the first 2 or 3 classes until your body adjusts.
  7. Don't try to keep up with everyone in the class. They have been doing this for a while.
  1. Don't listen to the "Unofficial Coaches", listen to the personal trainer or instructor. Those people who think they know everything could land you in the hospital if you aren't careful.
  2. If an exercise hurts, STOP! Let the instructor know during a rest. You may be doing the exercise incorrectly or your body is telling you not to do that again.

Not a Newbie? Not a problem! Here are some tips to get better benefit and remain injury free:
1. Wear good cross trainers because they have lateral stability and are designed for all types of activity.Only wear your shoes for class. Replace every six months.
2. Don't follow the example of others in the class who think they know better than the instructor. The instructor has the education and the job for good reason!
3. When your form goes, it's time to stop! Proper form yields great results; poor form yields disaster.
4. Eat properly for the intensity of these workouts. You need the protein to rebuild muscle you just broke down. You need the carbs to keep going the rest of the day.
5. Be careful of exercises like jump squats on steps and looking up at the instructor during planks and push-ups. These exercises, when done incorrectly can lead to serious damage. Picture from
6. Don't do these classes daily. Instead, do regular cardio on your off days. Your body will not be able to recover properly and you will begin to show signs of overtraining.
7. Be patient with your scales. Weight loss is not always the weight going down. The body composition, body fat % to muscle mass % ratio, is more important. Your body will burn more calories maintaining lean muscle mass.
8. Avoid being the "Expert". Certainly you have learned a lot of valuable insights, but if you aren't certified as a health and fitness professional, point people back to the instructor. You can help people by setting a good example and only sharing what the instructor teaches. Instructors and gyms carry liability insurance for good reason.

These tough workouts are a great way to accomplish your weight and health goals if you do them correctly. You will also feel calmer because the cortisol and adrenalin levels are brought back to normal from the stresses of the day. Many blessings to you!

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