Testimonials from my clients
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I owe a tremendous thanks to Boot Camps To Go and in particular to its owners / trainers, Laurel Blackburn and Mike Alvarez. I recently completed a 50k mountain trail running race in New Mexico, which a year ago before I started going to Boot Camp I couldn't have imagined attempting, let alone finishing and even being competitive against experienced mountain runners. I do the running part on my own, but Laurel and Mike (and also new trainer DK Knight) helped me get in better physical shape and gain confidence for this event. More importantly they have also helped me with my overall fitness, flexibility, strength, endurance, posture, body awareness, positive outlook, you name it if it's related to physical fitness and motivation they've helped!
Mike is a great coach and instructor in the group sessions. He motivates, offers positive feedback, and quickly corrects you on exercises if you're doing something incorrectly. He makes sure you get the most out of each exercise and he also makes sure you stretch before and after workouts, and use proper form so you don't risk injury. Plus he's funny, positive, and motivating, so he keeps the group energy light and fun (which really helps on days when you maybe don't feel like working out).
Laurel is also a great group instructor, but where she's helped me the most is as a personal trainer. She helped me understand about endurance, proper stretching, posture and flexibility, and she pushed me with creative and interesting workouts that helped me in my endurance running. She really loves what she does, she keeps it interesting, she listens and offers suggestions, and on top of it all she did the workouts with me which made it even more fun. Whether we were at the Boot Camp gym, at the FSU football stadium doing exercises in between running up and down ramps and bleachers, or even working out in the rain on a local hillside, we worked hard but we also laughed a lot and had a blast! And beyond what I'm saying, Laurel is also nationally recognized as a trainer and kettlebell competitor and instructor, so her qualifications as a fitness instructor are really beyond compare.
The other group participants are great too, it's a fun environment with a lot of laughing, joking, and mutual encouragement. I look forward to coming to Boot Camp 3 days a week to do fun workouts with these friends. There are all kinds of people who come to Boot Camp, at all levels of fitness, weight, age, etc.. It is a welcoming place and not an intimidating environment whatsoever. So no matter where you are starting from, if you are wanting to lose some weight, get in shape, train for some type of sport or activity, work on posture or flexibility or have problem body areas, need help with proper diet, or even if you just want to feel better about yourself and enjoy some time with a fun group of people, I would really suggest coming to a couple of introductory sessions at Boot Camps To Go to see if you like it. You will!
~ Joe Patton
"It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. "~
I've been a 5:30 am Boot Camper for nearly 5 years now. When I started in 2007, I didn't know anyone there, but now I count Laurel and Mike and many Boot Campers as close friends. I won't call myself a client because it's gone far beyond that. When Laurel and Mike ask…I'm there to volunteer at events, meet and greet the new Boot Campers or represent Boot Camp Fitness and Training at community events. I encourage friends, co-workers and complete strangers to come out and try Boot Camp – and get hooked like me.
What I, and every other Boot Camper, have received in return far exceeds the 45 minute sessions, three days a week, client-trainer relationship. Laurel and Mike have built a community, not just a gym, by getting to know those of us at Boot Camp –from our diet and fitness goals to our families and "regular lives". When I've been injured, they come up with ways to work around exercises and stretches to strengthen and help heal. When I've struggled, they've been sympathetic and encouraging…and then they've kicked me in the butt to get me going. They've brought in dieticians, stretching experts and others to help all of us meet our goals. They keep the workouts varied and interesting – it's different every class.
Many of us boot campers have trained together, along with Laurel and Mike, to run ½ marathons, practiced for adventure races, scaled twelve foot walls and taken on Urban Disturbance, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Zombie Races, Muddy Buddy, triathlons and Death Races as well as the more mundane challenges of trying to lose or maintain weight loss…all with the help of Boot Camps Fitness and Training. I recently ran my second ½ marathon in Seaside Florida. I struggled with some knee issues, had a rough race and wondered if I could get through the last ½ mile when I saw that Mike and another Boot Camp buddy had made the 150 drive to cheer me on. His scowling, yelling and fussing got me through that last leg and over the finish line. Last month, Laurel organized a Sunday birthday workout and lunch for me, and another Boot Camp buddy's, birthday. In December, D.K. shepherded (dragged) a few of us through the Tallahassee Urban Disturbance course and "no Boot Camper was left behind".
Laurel and Mike (and now D.K. too) have pushed me, motivated me, advised me and cheered me on as I've gotten stronger, more confident, agile and lost more than 50 pounds. I'm still a work on progress. I'm not where I want to be YET but I know that I can get there and I know that if I hadn't stumbled upon Boot Camp I wouldn't made it this far. Whether you are already fit or a firmly rooted couch potato…I encourage you to come to Boot Camp. You'll get a great work out and make some good friends – the kind you can call at 4am to workout with you!
I have lost over 45 pounds in the last 7 months thanks to Tallahassee Kettlebells! Classes are always challenging and different. Thanks Laurel!
I LOVE BOOT CAMP! I just had a baby girl 6 months ago and let me say I have lost 3 pants sizes and under the original weight and clothing size than what I was when I found out I was pregnant. Since high school I have tried to lose weight on my own, the endless times on the treadmill and countless times in the weight room trying to do what others were doing because I didn't have a clue when it came to weights. Then in January 2012 I started boot camp! I have never had the same workout since I have been there. It's amazing how you push yourself. For example I can run longer without having to stop to take a breath, I can do more pushups and stupid squat thrush. I'm proudly to say just recently I flipped a tractor tire on my own three times! I'm PROUD TO SAY I'AM A BOOTCAMPER!
Amber Crum, MA
Boot Camps To Go is helping me a lot! I am a trail runner and I'm seeing noticeable improvement in my strength and posture from going to Bootcamps. Even though it's a group setting, Laurel and Mike give personal attention to individual training needs and areas where I need improvement (for me it's flexibility and strength). They have helped me improve my race performance, which in addition to making trail running more enjoyable has also given me the confidence to set higher and much harder goals for next year. I've also noticed other people attending Bootcamps losing weight as the weeks go by, which is very cool. It's also a great place to meet new friends!
Joe Patton Attorney-Consultant
Good afternoon Laurel; I am writing to inform you that I am enjoying the intense workouts and the pain at your weekly Bootcamps. After attending my free week and into my second week of class, I am happy to report that I am able to fit in my streamline skirts are termed as "pencil skirts". What this means is that I have lost inches already. If three weeks provide this type of results, I assure you that I will be signing up again. I love the variety of exercises and circuits. Most important, I enjoy your energy and commitment to whip us in shape. At age 55 this is the first time I have put my body through this level of intensity, but as the old cliche goes, "no pain no gain".
Thanks Laurel for a fantastic BootCamp Experience.
Boot camps to go isn't just about losing weight. I have several friends who lost a lot of weight doing boot camps to go but I signed up for boot camp with "nothing to lose". I have always been thin. But to me the ideal body isn’t just about looking thin and looking healthy, it’s about being strong and being healthy! At the age of 32 I have been a wife for 9 years and a mother for 5. I decided it was time to focus a little on myself as a woman and not just a mom or wife. I didn’t go into it thinking I’d drop a 10 pounds and I wasn’t surprised when I put on a few from muscle mass. For me boot camp isn’t about what I wanted to lose but instead what I GAINED! I gained muscle, I gained definition, I gained strength and confidence, I gained back a side of my closet that I had given up on since having children, I gained a few extra hours in my day I otherwise would have slept through, I gained better knowledge and understanding of how my body works and just how far I can push myself, I gained back a little piece of myself that had gotten lost along the way. Boot Camps to go is about so much more then weight loss! Thank you Laurel and Mike!!
Ivy Hill Academy
Exercise and working out with weights has been a staple of my life since high school football, the Marine Corps and almost 25 years as a local cop. For the last six years I have been very active in Triathlon, but lacked a lasting weight program. Traditional weightlifting no longer interested, or excited me... and then I found Boot Camps To Go's Kettlebell program. WOW, life changing! The benefits and gains far exceeded my expectations and I am hooked for life and can't get enough! (It so greatly impacted my life that I have begun the journey to become Kettlebell certified so I can be more involved with making a difference in the lives of others. I so desperately want to give back of what was given to me.)
David A. Knight
Sheriff's Office Detective
Hi Laurel my name is Wanda Barkley and I am loving the results I joined to tone and owning a daycare my energy level was low although I was small in size (8)I have problem areas my thighs is were my weight is and arms. Today is my 5th day of Boot Camp and I'm in a size 6. I feel so much better I initially had a lot of break outs havent had 1 since starting last week. Im motivated daily by the results and telling every one Thanks So Much I love my life style change and the energy I have now I'm able to keep up with the kids without feeling drained.
A few weeks after I started Boot Camp, someone asked me how I liked it. My first reaction was to tell them that I loved it. My second reaction was to ask myself "how insane is that?" Usually, the only way you can drag me out of bed at 5:30am is if I have to catch a flight for vacation. But I quickly found myself looking forward to the alarm going off on Boot Camp days. I love that on Boot Camp mornings I get more done before 9am than I get done before noon on other days.
In just 2 sessions so far I can tell big differences in myself. I can do exercises that were impossible the 1st session. I am less stressed and more relaxed which is priceless with having a 2 year old at home. All that on top of the fact that in 2 sessions I have lost 27 lbs. and a total of 31 inches! While part of this is also due to returning to eating healthy and working out on my own on other days, I couldn't have gotten these results without Boot Camp.
I can tell that I am getting stronger and thank Laurel and Mike for the motivation and the incredible workouts.
On the advice of a dear friend, I joined Boot Camp, Downtown Assault, in July, 2010. After years of walking, going to a gym, doing Jazzercise and Zumba, I needed a new way to exercise and was happy to imagine working out outside. Note to self: it is crazy to start Boot Camp in July in Tallahassee! But with Mike's training and encouragement, and the support of a great group of Boot Campers, it feels like I have never been healthier, and I'll be celebrating my 58th birthday this year! Who would have guessed that I could do a ½ Marathon in February, a 5K in March, and the Springtime Tallahassee 10K in April? And, I just joined Gulf Winds Track Club Tallahassee Trail Blazers last night and ran 4.5 miles – 8 minutes running, 1 minute walking, on trails and hills! This could not be possible if not for the strength and endurance I have now after doing Boot Camp for the last 10 months…
Someone asked me a few months ago if I played soccer; I said "No, I don't run." Wait! Yes, I do run! And most things that you and Mike and Company tell us to do. The friendships and camaraderie that have grown among the Downtown Boot Campers is amazing, too, and have made a great big mark on my heart and soul. It may be an unintended consequence of your desire to influence folks to living healthy lives, but the closeness the "Bad Ass Boot Campers and a Dude" have created make it real easy to come to Boot Camp twice a week, and inspire us to keep coming back for more.
Thank you for developing this way of exercise, Laurel. You and your team do so much to help to shape our lives, bodies, and spirits.
My testimonial to Boot Camps to Go and Mike Alvarez is a little different. When I began Boot Camp, I didn't have the typical goals of losing a number on the scale or inches here or there. I had a different, more difficult goal, in mind. I wanted to gain. I wanted to gain self-confidence, peace of mind and lower my stress levels. While researching the numerous places I could have chosen to do this in Tallahassee, I began my search to find a place that was fitting for me. I wanted a place that would challenge me, not allow me to slack off, (but I also did not want someone screaming at what a slacker I was to try to motivate me, that's always fun!). I wanted a place that knew what they were doing, I have wasted numerous hours in the gym wandering aimlessly alone and with a "trainer" as well as joined a class with minimal supervision that I injured myself so badly I waddled around for a week. I wanted consistency; a place that I knew was going to stay around, with people who were close and would be welcoming (there's nothing like being the awkward new person in a class). I found all of these things and plenty more at Boot Camps to Go.
When my work schedule took me away from the many classes, I was worried that I would have to stop my "therapy," but luckily Mike offers personal 1:1 training. I have now been working out with Boot Camps for 3 years and Mike for 1 ½ of those. He has helped me achieve all of my goals and set many more. He knows all of my strengths and weaknesses and helps me turn the weaknesses into strengths through his great knowledge of how the body works, his determination and dedication to his clients. My sessions with Mike are exactly what I need in my day. He challenges me, while listening to me. I can trust him to push me, but that he is a wealth of knowledge and will not push my body where I will injure myself. My routines are never the same, keeping my body guessing, but most importantly my mind interested. He has never made me feel uncomfortable and always explains to me what the exercise is for, it's why's and how's (Hey, I'm still a woman! My giving of control only goes so far and I need to know these things!). Most importantly, I know that Mike and Boot Camps To Go will be around for many years to come, a leading staple of the Tallahassee fitness world that I can rely on to be the best part of my week for my mental and physical health.
Thanks for all that you do, seen and unseen!
Almost two years ago, at age 52 I realized I was missing an important exercise element in my day to day. I had played soccer most of my life, felt too old now, and my days of marathon running had ended over 10 years ago because of ruined knees.Now 35 pounds more than my last race weight, I reluctantly I joined a gym for the first time. While spending countless hours on the treadmill, watching looking and wondering how all the machines worked and which would be best for me, I realized I needed some coaching and direction. I had never "worked out" other than exercise specific to soccer and running. Not much body strength needed then. I knew that I had been capable of endurance and good cardio. "Had" being the operative word. I watched the personal trainers in my gym who seemed more interested in looking good, apparently ambivalent at times about whoever they were training, especially when the clients were old farts like me, and decided against hiring one. I stuck to the treadmill, using my i pod to kill the boredom, believing what I was doing had to be beneficial in some way. My goal was, and still is, to exercise for my health, and perhaps enjoy it too.
A friend told me about Boot Camp, and Mike and Laurel. The group classes did not work for my schedule, and so I signed on with Mike. I wasn't sure if I was meant to be one of those guys who had a "personal trainer"!
Now for almost two years, two sessions a week, excluding vacation and holiday time, I work out with Mike. I feel great, and more importantly, healthy. I look forward to the challenge each and every session, knowing that Mike has prepared a balanced and always varied routine for the day. Never are two session the same. Mike creates routines that incorporate a balance of cardio, upper and lower body strength, but most importantly core strength and fitness. before Boot Camp I thought only apples had a core!
Most important to me however is Mike's constant care and continual coaching that I am a) doing an exercise in a way that I will not hurt myself and b) in a manner that gives me the most benefit.I work out to the point I am capable of,stopping if I need to without fear of being told off, or finishing the number of reps Mike has planned. I feel confident swingng kettlebells without fear of hurting my back, because I have been taught the correct way, and also doing other exercises designed to strengthen those areas that will help me perform at higher levels. I cannot express how satisfied I am with not only Mike and Boot Camp, but with the way I feel physically and in my personal health. I have bought pants in waist sizes I havent seen in 12 years! I think, although not that important to me, I even have a visible tricep! My Boot Camp workouts are a highlight of my week, made only more enjoyable by Mike and Laurel's dedication to doing the "right thing" . I have not only found a perfect fitness program that is perfectly tailored for me, but also met two quality people who I like to call friends.
Bootcamp has done wonders for me. Since August 3, 2010 - December 31, 2010, I have lost 30 pounds. I went from a snug size 14 to my current size 8. My fitness has improved drastically, so much that I am training to do the Half Marathon in February. I am up to running 8 miles at a time. Bootcamp continues to challenge and motivate me. It has shown me how to make healthy life style choices, which has led to my success. I could not have done it without the encouragement and butt kicking of Laurel, Mike, and Ricky. I look forward to setting new goals and reaching them with the help of Bootcamp. Thanks guys for all your help!
When I tried Boot Camp over 3 years ago, I thought I was already in shape because I had been running, Spinning, and taking countless other "regular" gym classes. I just wanted to tone up a little before my wedding the next spring. Then you changed my definition of in shape. I learned new words like "burpee" and "kettlebell swing" and pushed my body to new limits. It's addicting, never boring, and always produces results. If I ever fall in a rut and my clothes start to feel tight, I know that just a month of Bootcamp will whip my body back into shape... but then, I can never do just one month!
I joined Bootcamps to go this past August weighing 330lbs. At the end of the first session, because of their hard and challenging exercise regiment and and a healthy, well balanced diet, I lost 25 lbs. Now, at the end of my fourth session of bootcamp, with Laurel and Mike as my trainers, I have lost 35 lbs and 3-4 inches.
Bootcamps to go definitely has been the key to my weight loss success.
For two years, I knew what it felt like to be fit, in great shape, and at the lowest weight of my life. For two years, I was able to run fast and far and lift my own body weight with countless push-ups. You could safely say I was a badass.
That all disappeared in a matter of months after I stopped going to boot camp.
*Stick with me. This is a positive testimonial about boot camp, and moreover, about Laurel and Mike and everyone associated with Boot Camps to Go.*
After gaining back 20 of 30 pounds I lost with doing boot camp, I got tired of doing the yo-yo thing. Laurel continued to encourage me through e-mail, and by getting me to come to kettlebell class instead. As life and work commitments piled on, my attendance became spotty and within a few weeks, I’d dropped that, too.
Soon I got tired of feeling out of shape, and decided I wanted to get into shape for a lifetime. I want to carve out a physically active life for myself and to create that atmosphere for my future family.
Tracing the steps that helped me to the greatest shape I’ve ever been in, I decided to sign up for boot camp again, and “to stop eating crap,” as Laurel had advised me for three years. That exact quote of hers is in a diary entry from three years ago when I had achieved my best results.
When you sign up for boot camp, come to class, give it your all, and share your goals with Laurel and Mike, they return your trust with the kind of support that is crucial to reach any goal. I receive e-mails from Laurel about identifying “crap,” masquerading as healthy food. A single word of encouragement from Mike (whom I secretly call “The Punisher”) pushes me to go a little further, to work a little harder for a few more minutes.
The small things make the difference. In my case, 20 pounds of difference, and a completely different outlook about myself, my life and what I’m capable of accomplishing.
I’d tell (and have told) anyone that boot camp works, no matter what their size or fitness level. Get in, make adjustments, push a little harder than you think you can.
Most importantly, remember that fitness is a choice that must be made every day. Classes alone won’t get you there. “Diet” alone won’t do, either. But done consistently, making sound food choices and doing the boot camp workouts will.
As the adage goes: “Keep coming back. It works if you work it.”
I AM in the best shape of my life.
I've been doing Boot Camp with Laurel and Mike for on and off 3 years. This month, I competed in my 4th sprint triathlon. I crossed the finish line with a PR and a smile on my face. But the smile wasn't for my time (I didn't yet know how well I had done), it was for the way I FELT. All my previous events left me huddled over and regretting that I had come to know what a triathlon was. Almost every stroke/pedal/step was a struggle to stay on course and there was a constant battle in my head between giving up and holding on for one more minute.
At Red Hills (which is advertised as the toughest sprint in Florida), I'm not saying that it was easy, but for the first time, I was able to overcome muscle fatigue, enjoy the event and push harder without leaving myself with nothing after.
My triathlon training was the same as has always been (maybe even a little less). The only difference is that this was the first tri that coincided with my Boot Camp training. My previous three occurred while I was on hiatus from Boot Camps because of an old back injury that I was scared to re-injure with weight training. I believe that participating in this program gave me the all-around strength that I was lacking in my previous tri career. (Plus, I had no reason to worry about re-injuing my back. I've been back for 5 months now, am swinging heavier weights than when I left and haven't had a hint of a problem in my back). I now know that for ANY type of physical activity you do, it can all be made easier by also focusing on total-body workouts.
And here's the real testimonial: I am not a morning person. It takes a near miracle for me to get out of bed when the alarm goes off every morning. Yet, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I voluntarily get out of bed at 5AM to work out with the Boot Camp crew. It's always a new challenge, always a fun workout and always a great start to my day. It's almost better than coffee (but don't tell my Mr. Coffee I said that).
Since starting with Bootcamps six months ago I have lost 53 lbs and 49 inches. Everyday I feel stronger, healthier and happier. Thanks to Laurel and Mike I do things now that I never thought I would do and I can't put into words how that feels. Bootcamp rocks!!
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