NEW PORT RICHEY
Christine Foreman asks for commitments. Then she becomes the drill sergeant.
At her Hammertime Fitness Boot Camp, Foreman, 40, pushes women to better themselves physically. It is, after all, what they signed on for.
"I can go up and sign up tomorrow for a gym, but no one is going to care if I come or not," said Foreman, who struggled with her weight, then dropped 50 pounds after having her kids. "Here, you're held accountable. I check up on you and that's why it's a boot camp."
Meeting three times a week, in the morning or the evening, and with an optional Saturday session, Foreman incorporates different workout techniques at the various parks where they meet. Foreman has the women swing sledgehammers or flip tires up and down a small hill. They'll also use park benches for triceps dips and step exercises.
It's a way to be outdoors and use anything to work out.
"It's an alternative to the aerobics classes and the girly-girl classes at a regular gym," said Foreman, who is a certified personal trainer through Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and a certified yoga instructor. "I like to use all the strongman training stuff and use it for women. We're working the tires and swinging the sledgehammers and we're getting dirty — and it's just something different for women than anything that is out there."
Foreman isn't a traditional boot camp toughie, though she did major in physical education in college. She's nowhere near Louis Gossett Jr.'s Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley, but offers encouragement, especially to newcomers. She'll also talk nutrition with campers and take the group to the store to shop healthier, as well as help the group train for local 5Ks.
"Everybody is at different levels athletic-wise and some are a little older, so the spectrum can be broad so there's a variety," New Port Richey resident Kathleen Watson said. "As far as Christine being a drill sergeant, she's good and she's watching and correcting you, which makes sure you're not getting hurt."
Foreman said using non-traditional exercises helps "work every muscle in the body" and going in intervals helps "burn more calories." That's because there are few breaks in between stations.
"It's a challenge and something different every time," said Spring Hill resident Gretchen Lindsey, who comes to the boot camp with her daughter, Allanna. "It's nice to get endurance out of this and it's nice to do something different to work muscles we'd always use anyway. Plus, you get to be outdoors."
"It's fun when I have my breath," Allanna added, after running two laps.
Many of the women said Foreman "motivates without intimidation." She doesn't scream at them.
Foreman agrees a gentle push will get better results than a full-out shove. She's no pushover herself, though she realizes teamwork as a complement to individual hard work will lead to success.
"Not only are we out here enjoying the weather and using generic equipment," Foreman said, "it also empowers the women by building relationships and even doing some team exercises. Friendships are built here and we are a team because every fitness level is welcome. Obviously, some are going to be more advanced than others, so we encourage each other to push themselves harder and faster so they can get better together."
Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 544-1771.