By Leah MacDonell
I’ll admit it – the first time I heard about bootcamp at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) I shook my head and said, “no way!” Bootcamp to me, meant yelling, punishment, pain, having a drill sergeant as an instructor, and no personalization. I could not have been more wrong.
Over the last two years, I have attended bootcamp with Walter Lewis every Tuesday and Thursday. The incredible evolution I have seen in my strength and body is so rewarding. I have seen definition in my muscles develop, increased the amount of weight I use, and have increased the number of sit-ups and push-ups I can do. I truly enjoy my hour workouts with Walter. He has taught me how to listen to my body, but also how to push it just a bit further than I think I can. Walter encourages each of us during every workout. He takes the time to get to know each of us as individuals, to recognize our strengths, and knows how to make our workouts meaningful to each participant.
Previously, working out had been a personal and individual feat. I have always been a runner – my runs are my time to just get lost on the trail with no interruptions. I have come to love the friendships and camaraderie that has grown from my time at bootcamp. Bootcamp has allowed me to develop relationships with colleagues whom I would most likely not know otherwise. It has allowed my relationships with coworkers to grow into friendships – we now have something outside of work to connect with, and yes at times commiserate with. My fellow bootcampers are now my cheerleaders, and I am theirs. We push through workouts together, cheer each other on, laugh and joke, and celebrate each other’s progress. You can hear us from down the hall chanting and cheering, grunting and giggling. It is obvious to others that our team is tight. We have a bond, because of bootcamp, that draws us together. There is an energy, a vibe, that hums in each of us during our workouts. It drives us to push our limits and each other.
Over the past two year attending bootcamp, I have seen our group size grow from a small handful of participants to a group of 30 and some days more! The word has spread throughout SHRM that bootcamp with Walter is the place to be! The range of participants includes 20-something’s who live active lifestyles, some who don’t, to middle aged men and women who are taking control of their wellbeing. Each of us, regardless of initial fitness level, has seen improvements in our health, energy levels, body shape, and strength. The unlikely combination of participants encourages others to join. It shows that there is a place for everyone in the bootcamp family.
Over the last year, we have worked diligently at spreading the word about bootcamp. The increased popularity is due to staff emails, demonstrations, encouraging friends to join, and seeing the positive changes in our colleagues. Also, the dedication and investment SHRM places in its employees allows for us to grow and experience bootcamp. SHRM sees a true and strong value in Walter and all he does at bootcamp. Without this support from such a magnificent organization, we would not be exposed to an opportunity as incredible as bootcamp. I am thankful to SHRM for partnering with Walter to provide this experience.
Here is what some of my fellow bootcampers are saying:
“Bootcamp has really changed my perspective on working out – I don’t see it as an inconvenience anymore! The support from Walter and my colleagues has kept me motivated and engaged. Also, I love meeting SHRM employees from different parts of the organization. “
“Walter has been on board to conduct our boot camp for nearly two years. Twice weekly, my colleagues and I look forward to an “hour of power” with the best coach by far in the DMV. I’m happy to report that in working out with Walter I’ve gained muscle strength and definition, increased energy and endurance, and I’m feeling healthier than ever!”
“Since joining the SHRM family a little over a year ago, I felt the need to find a way to get to know and interact with my coworkers on a non-work related level. Walter’s boot camp has provided me with that opportunity! On a weekly basis, we sweat and encourage each other through Walter’s grueling (but refreshing!) workouts. I am happy to say that in the time that I have been going to Walter’s classes, I finally have some wedding-dress ready arms.”