That was Muddervation, day one.
I had no idea what to expect when I showed up that first day of Muddervation boot camp at YourDay Gym in Sandy Springs.
I knew I was meeting a group of folks who get together every Tuesday evening. Some were training for the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle course race, and some were there for a good sweat at the end of a work day.
“This is a breeze,” I thought to myself as we started the cardio portion of the 90-minute workout.
I ran cross country all four years of college at Flagler in St. Augustine, Fla. and have ran almost every day since I graduated in 2011, so I figured it’d be a piece of cake for me.
Man, was I wrong.
After a few basic drills, we started doing things like lunge-hopping and jump-squatting up a hill. I was sweating profusely 20 minutes in, and 10 minutes later, I realized we had barely gotten started.
We ventured into the gym for the next portion: strength training. Our leader that day, Jayson Jenkins, meticulously showed us every exercise we would endure in the circuit training.
For a few minutes at a time, we went from station to station, lunging, duck-hopping, plank and squat-holding, bicep-curling and crab-walking.
One may think Muddervation sounds crazy and wonder why anyone would want to make it a habit.
Well, I am not going to lie. Somewhere in between the lunge-hopping and duck-crawling, I asked myself, “What in the world are you doing?”
And yes, that first night at Muddervation kicked my butt. I have a clear vision of myself lying on my couch afterwards, wondering if I would make it to my bedroom. And the next day, my thighs screamed every time I took a step.
But, the next week I went back, or I “showed up,” as Muddervation creator Doug Grady often said about staying motivated. Grady started Muddervation with Day Adeogba, owner of YourDay Gym.
Then, I showed up again, and it has become a part of my weekly regimen, if work allows. Each time is something a little different. Most recently, we went on a 4-mile run, stopping every few minutes to do exercises, like running with our eyes closed while holding a partner’s hand, literally pushing a person up a hill and jumping over people in plank position.
Eventually, the benefits of Muddervation started spilling into my solo workouts, and into the rest of my life.
As a part-time yoga teacher, I always tell my students to try to “quiet the mind” and I struggle with that myself. I am starting to realize, maybe it is not a matter of quieting the mind but more about saturating the mind, and not falling prey to the negative thoughts holding humans back from living optimally.
Over time, each Muddervation session got easier, and it was not because of the workouts. They were always equally as challenging. It was two things:
1. My mindset. I think about how excuse-oriented my mind used to be when it came to pushing myself. I didn’t like passing my comfort zone, because that is right when it becomes scary. That is right when fear creeps into the mind and says, “You can’t.”
Now, I find myself ignoring those excuses, and I’ll sprint, hop, lunge, squat, throw or what-have-you, with as much strength as my body and mind can muster.
2. The community. The group ranges from teens to 60-somethings, from all sorts of religious and cultural backgrounds, and there’s a collective overwhelming energy exuding from them. Everyone cares about the person they are next to in a workout, even if he or she is a stranger.
To me, Muddervation is more than a boot camp. It is a support group of people who want to be there for each other, work harder and live better.
They even inspired me to work toward my first Tough Mudder race, scheduled for April — something I never saw myself doing.
Results showed up because I showed up. My body is stronger, my mind is sharper and I have new friends from all walks of life.