Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a 1 month trial at Boundless Performance Systems (BPS) in Hartford. Here is my story.
I’ve never been a fan of exercise. I don’t like to sweat, the after burn and exercise messes up my hair. I’m also definitely not a fan of the support garments that I’ve been using lately to smooth out the rolls where my waist line used to be. Support hosiery, as I’ve learned, has expiration times. After four hours, those things choke off the blood supply in my legs. I knew something had to give (and not my expanding waistline) when my collection of girdle thingies went from a few to a drawer full. That’s why I accepted the offer to do a one month trial at Boundless Performance Systems in downtown Hartford.
Boundless Performance Systems, is a high level training facility in Hartford which is co-owned by Chelsea Carisio, Hank Carisio and Antwan Harris. Chelsea is an occupational therapist and her husband Hank is a former professional hockey and lacross player. He’s also a licensed massage therapist – which will come in handy after your first encounter with the football sled (more on that later). Antwan is a former professional football player who holds a masters in exercise science. Since their debut in Hartford, they have built a large roster of clientele which includes professional athletes who train at the facility during their off season. They also take chubbies like myself who is serious about their goal to slim down.
After wrestling with my schedule, the first day finally came. BPS is currently located at the Bushnell Tower in downtown Hartford. I wasn’t sure of the parking situation in downtown Hartford so I left my car in the front of the MDC building confident that there would be no ticketing situation since it was after 6 pm. I didn’t realize that BPS offered free outdoor parking in the building until after I explained my parking situation to Hank who was my trainer on my first day. It was clear that BPS was a different facility. The first thing that struck me was the sign that warned against outside shoes. There are a lot of floor exercises so I was grateful that there was an effort to keep the nasties off of the carpet where I would eventually end up putting my face. Instead of the typical line of sleek machines, I saw weights, a rack filled with chains and a football sled which would become my nemesis during my entire experience at BPS.
Based on the equipment that I saw, it was clear that strength training was their deal. During my prior gym efforts, my focus was on cardio, toning exercises and diet. I wasn’t sure how strength training would help with my goals. Strength training was also something that I thought guys did in their effort to bulk up. In my prior efforts to slim down, strength training was something that I did, only as an afterthought. Strength training, combined with a high protein diet, however, can burn just as much fat as cardio.
Hank measured me, weighed me, gave me some papers to sign and gave me a list of approved foods that I was supposed to eat during my journey. We started off on the floor with the foam roll. Foam rolling, as I learned, helps to breakup knots, maintain flexible muscles and improves range of motion, blood circulation, and recovery time. There is an art to foam rolling which I clearly did not master on my first try. We moved on to squats and then onto some fancy, late 80’s hip hop looking steps that I had to do across the carpet. When the sweat started rolling down my face, Hank reminded me that we were still in the warm up phase of the exercise. When we moved to the football sled, my instinct was to run out the door without looking back. Hank was pretty encouraging though and so I tried it, reluctantly.
The football sled experience was not fun. It works the hell out of your legs and my legs were uber sore for days after the first day. During my next session, Antwan added weights to the sled. I remember looking at the sled, and the sled looked back at me and I looked back at the sled with doubt. I was convinced that something would break if I dared to try. Again, I was reluctant, but with encouragement (this time not only from the trainers, but also from my fellow trainees) I tried. It was not fun, but I finished my required sets – with a little physical help from Antwan. He pushed (or pretended to) while I pulled. If I didn’t make it through the set I would have felt defeated and defeat for me in a setting like that would have been impossible for me to recover from. They clearly knew that though.
As the classes progressed, I met my other nemesis that were built into the BPS training. I survived the box stepping exercise, lifted my body weight at the TRX station, caught and threw weighted medicine balls, carried dumb bell weights around like Hercules and conquered the exercise band. The crocodile/alligator thing that was supposed to work out shoulders and core, NOPE. It would take me another 5 years to master that one.
To make a long story short, my experience at BPS was one of the most difficult physical efforts that I have attempted to date. They push you, hard to get you to reach your full potential and honestly, there were times when I felt that I wasn’t going to make it. I survived though and at the end of each class I left with a sense of accomplishment and the urge to beat my chest because I had just completed an exercise that I never believed my body was capable of doing. I wish I had attended a few more sessions and I wish I had followed the protein diet, but 2 pounds down after 4 classes was still pretty encouraging.
BPS is for serious people who are willing to put in the effort for results. If this is you, join the crew this Saturday November 5, 2016 for the grand opening of their new, bigger and better facility (with ample parking) located at 1200 Park Street in Hartford. The purpose is to give potential guests a taste of what they can expect when they sign up for one of their programs. Expect great hip hop and r&B music and live demonstrations when you swing by the new facilities this Saturday. If you decide to join, be sure to mention my blog, onewomansstyle for a nice discount.