Everyone knows that one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle is exercise.
Everyone also knows that sometimes (or all of the time), it’s tough to work up the motivation to head to the gym. People often find themselves not knowing how to operate the gargantuan machinery that looks like it came from a medieval king’s torture chamber. Or they don’t have the money, and no exercising is done.
Punk Rock Boot Camp has the solution.
Since last May, Punk Rock Boot Camp has offered an alternative to traditional gyms for people in their 20s and 30s. Brian Adoff, 27, a National Academy of Sports and Medicine-certified personal trainer, created the program.
“I want to train people my age who want to start working out and being healthy but either don’t know how to go about it or don’t have the funds to do it,” Adoff said.
A weekly boot camp session includes a high-intensity workout and nutrition education and costs $30 a week. These hour-long sessions are held three days a week. There are also drop-in classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which cost $10, and Saturday and Sunday mornings, which cost $5.
The core of Punk Rock Boot Camp is a do-it-yourself, or DIY, attitude. All of the workout sessions take place outdoors, either at Penn’s Landing or Penn Treaty Park. The only pieces of equipment used during the sessions are large rubber bands, sandbags and a person’s own two feet. In true DIY fashion, Punk Rock Boot Camp has grown by word of mouth. Like most DIY concerts, the camp is promoted using message boards and fliers.
“I heard about it through e-mails,” said Bridget Moran, a Temple pre-med student. Last Sunday was her first day at the camp.
Even if you don’t know the difference between Dead Kennedys and blink-182, you can still enjoy the boot camp.
“Punk rock always meant a punk rock ethic as opposed to boots, braces and spiked hair,” Adoff said. “It’s doing it on your own, not relying on major gyms and money.”
All you need is a willingness to learn and a desire to have some fun and work out.
“[A traditional] gym has more equipment, but you might see a personal trainer once,” said Jon Stothfang, 31, a member of the camp since its beginning. “You could be on the wrong track with the wrong habits, the wrong motions and working the wrong muscles. You wouldn’t realize it because you only saw your trainer once. Here, there’s more personal attention, with Brian giving you advice as you go along.”
“There’s so much pressure going to a gym,” said Courtney Spiker, 26, a box office manager for the Arden Theater Company. “There are ridiculously huge guys that are just there to show off. Even if you’ve been there before, you still feel awkward when everyone stares at you. If you don’t know what you’re doing on a particular machine, you turn to another person for advice [and they are] probably doing it wrong too.”
With the expensive and bulky equipment out of the picture, working out is much easier and much more fun. Each Punk Rock Boot Camp session begins with a game of tag. Running around a park and tagging people is easy, as the only thing you need to think about is not colliding with someone else’s head.
Once everyone’s blood is pumping, Adoff focuses on strength training, mainly of the abdomen and back. As he counts, he walks around and checks that each person is doing the exercise correctly.
After that, participants move on to jumps, lunges and variations of the two. As some beginners falter, Adoff encourages them by letting them know it’s okay and that they just need to build up their strength.
Then it’s back to more strength training with rubber bands and floor exercise that people can easily do in their apartments. Once the challenging and invigorating routine is over, participants cool down with a jog around Penn Treaty Park.
As Punk Rock Boot Camp attendees pat their sweaty faces with towels and guzzle down water, Adoff instructs everyone to stretch to prevent injury the next day.
When asked how her first day went, Moran shrugged and said, “I feel fine.”
“Wait ’til the next day,” Spiker said with a smile. “My first time, I felt fine, too, but the next day, it hurt to breathe.”
Kris Fossett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.