Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts/ Illustratie Janneke Swinkels
Outdoor boot camp
UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: outdoor boot camp.
The beginner: “Sure, sounds like fun, of course we'll do a boot camp,” replied the fanatics from Observant. The editorial staff is ready for anything. But when push comes to shove, there are doubts. “Too much trouble with my calf,” “my ankles,” “hips,” “fitness,” “one leg is longer than the other”. Fortunately, trainer Sietze de Wijs puts our minds at rest. “Our boot camp is quite accessible; UM Sports has to cater for all levels.” A sigh of relief, because the term “boot camp” conjures up pictures of wannabe soldiers with faces covered in green paint, crawling through the mud, jumping over tractor tires and being bawled at from all sides. At UM Sports, there is none of that. De Wijs is very enthusiastic and leads the group of twelve females happily through the neighbourhood – at least he is happy, the girls a little less at times.
There we go, running under fences and then sprinting to the painted draughtboard on the ground in front of the entrance of Universiteitssingel 40. That’s where we have to jump. Then we climb the steps, jumping again. ‘Who on earth decided that steps should be 30 centimetres high?’ I wonder to myself, trying not to trip and having to approach De Wijs for the first-aid kit that he carries in his backpack.
“Come on girls, this is only the start!” De Wijs runs to the next obstacle, more steps. Another workout for the leg, stomach, and arm muscles. Forty seconds for one exercise, then on to the next. Those who want, can make the training harder. For example, by lifting one leg while hold yourself up with your arms and looking up to the sky (dipping in sports terminology).
“Another five, another four, three…” When we are lying in the grass in the plank position, a good exercise against spare tyres, there is some resistance here and there. “You can't be serious; how long do I have to stay like this?”
A ‘short’ climb up the hill on hands and feet and then the relieving words: “Almost done.” But not before lunging for a few metres: one leg forward, the other bent downward so that the knee almost touches the ground. “Good for the upper legs, you will feel it tomorrow,” De Wijs laughs.
In the meantime, the photographer has arrived. A cause for concern: “I hope I look a little decent. I think I looked quite grouchy.” This reporter thinks: ‘don’t worry. If you are lucky, you won't leave your bed for the next couple of days with all those aching muscles.’
The expert: “Boot camp is great because you do an all-round body workout in the open air. You use all your muscles,” says trainer Sietze de Wijs. It is important that participants are not afraid of getting dirty. We crawl in the grass and lean on steps. “Painted nails can get broken,” De Wijs laughs. “People sometimes ask if we will run a lot, but we only run a total of two or three kilometres.” De Wijs uses anything he comes across in his surroundings – steps, gates, hills, curbs, and parking spaces – and brings along as few materials as possible. Yes, he has certainly been chased away in the past. The time when he entered the hospital parking area, for example. “Fortunately, security sent us in the direction that we wanted to go.”
Target group: For men and women – “usually it is 70 per cent women, 30 per cent men” – who want to exercise in the open air and give all their muscles a workout. Beginners and experts get what they need because exercises can be adapted.
The facts: Outdoor Boot Camp, Tuesday 18:15-19:15hrs, Thursday 17:15-18:15hrs, open participation