mr potato head

Basically me. (via)

You know you’re getting yourself into some serious shit when, upon entering a fitness class, you have sign a waiver that says (and I’m barely paraphrasing here), “You hereby acknowledge that this class will put you at serious risk of injury or death.” Because who doesn’t a love their cardio with a heaping side of fear?

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The setting? An almost playground-like obstacle course on the lower level of a building in Williamsburg that eight-year-old you would probably have been happy to see at recess. However, 23-year-old me was struck with a very different feeling upon walking into Warrior Fitness Boot Camp and immediately noting Ruben and Alex, the two alarmingly (in a good way) buff ex-Marines who would serve as our instructors for the next hour. The course was unassuming enough:

warrior fitness boot camp course

The room was equipped with a small track, a side mat which would be used for jumping jacks, push-ups, core exercises, and some pseudo-lunge-push-up hybrid that would ultimately be the death of me (but more on that later). The obstacle course itself consisted of two sets of money bars, hurdles, walls that we were instructed to jump over (#LOL), a set of parallel bars to walk along on your hands. Remember how I thought the Tracy Anderson Method was going to be one of the more genuinely painful things I’d do for this column? Well…NOPE. 

To put the whole experience into context for you, I haven’t really been able to run since screwing up my knees in high school, and the 15+ laps we ran were by far the easiest part of the evening.

But you’re not here to hear about what was easy. You’re here because you’re a bunch of sociopaths you want to know just how hard Ruben and Alex pushed us. I could immediately tell that they were taking it a little easier on our group because we were there for a media event and none of us had ever done this workout before, but that didn’t mean they slowed it down. There was literally not stopping. We went from our warm-up into about 30 minutes of intense cardio (featuring the aforementioned jumping jacks, lunges, more running, etc.), followed by a run through the obstacle course, before ending the workout with core sit-ups, weights, planks, and wall-sits.

Here’s a fun fact about the obstacle course: I have perpetually sweaty hands and could never do the monkey bars even when I was little, so that was a bust. I also learned that it was probably for the best that I never tried to go out for the Olympic track and field team, because I can’t hurdle anything to save my life. I was, by a mile, the worst one in the class, and I could sort of feel the pity encouragement that Ruben and Alex were throwing my way, but you know what? The feeling was somewhat mutual. I wanted me to not be there either.

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That said, I didn’t have a bad time. The hour went by quickly, and it made me more aware of my limitations than I was before, which isn’t a bad thing. I can see how some people could go to this every week and find it to be an effective workout, because the instructors don’t let you stop. They push you past your point of comfort (without letting you hurt yourself), which is what any good trainer should do. After all, if I was completely miserable the whole time, I don’t think I could’ve pulled my shiny mug together for this group photo:

group shot

Please note that Ruben and Alex’s biceps are bigger than my thighs.

Will I ever do this again? Maybe sometime in the distant future, if ever I find myself in drastically-improved physical shape. But if you need motivation, want to challenge yourself, and just find the general idea of obstacle courses fun, WFBC is a pretty great way to get your jollies.

On my way home after class, I walked past a store with a sign out front that read, “I’m into fitness—fitness whole pizza in my belly,” and was hit with the sudden realization that maybe, just maybe, I went to the wrong class. C’est la vie.