Warrior Fitness

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Your first view of the inside of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp on Manhattan’s W. 35th Street is likely to make you feel like you’ve found an adult playground; after all, the first thing you spot when you walk in are the monkey bars.

But that first impression is immediately offset by the bellows of the owners, former marines Alex Fell and Ruben Belliard, exhorting their “warriors” to run faster, yell louder, push harder.

fitness2xtreme-images-c-bootcamps-warriot-fitness-disciplineThe disconnect between the funhouse surroundings and the obvious intensity of the workout you’re watching is echoed on the faces of the warriors themselves. They’re soaked with sweat, they’re doubled over and struggling to catch their breath, but they’re also grinning from ear-to-ear.

There’s none of that death-march stare that characterizes so many other boot camp programs; Warrior Fitness Boot Camp has struck the perfect balance between truly hard, muscle-hardening work and just the right touch of play, and it has people paying top dollar for the chance to join in.

You won’t find any cardio machines at Warrior Fitness – this is a true boot camp workout, with the same heavy duty calisthenics that give the Marines their built-of-steel physiques and steely-eyed states – but likewise you won’t find any sandpits or mud holes.

These ex-Marines have come as close as they can (in the middle of the world’s greatest city) to the Marine Boot Camp experience, but without the nitty-gritty of Parris Island.

fitness2xtreme-images-c-bootcamps-warrior-fitness-sweatingThere are tunnels to crawl through, ropes to climb, walls to scale, and all of this is only after they’ve put you through the rest of your paces.

There’s also a nice bit of “buddy” training going on, with your warrior workout performance linked to the experience of your partner to keep you motivated and moving – nothing like knowing that your partner has to hold a tire over his head the entire time that you’re running laps to get your feet flying – especially because you know that payback’s a bitch and your turn will come.

“The entire hour is set up to build a team mentality.

This might be the biggest difference from a regular workout, a solitary pursuit free of emotion.

Today I’m forced to hold a plank position, until my partner — a nice chunky woman — runs five laps.

I don’t know her name but desperately egg her on.

‘Come on!’ I say. ‘You can do it!’” –Joshua David Stein.

There may be more than just a hint of theater to the yelling and the camouflage gear, but there’s no doubt that the goal here is to give you the workout of your life.

fitness2xtreme-images-c-bootcamps-warriot-fitness-obstacle-courseThough all anybody wants to do once they’ve seen Warrior Fitness’s gym is go play with the toys, the obstacle course is off-limits ‘til you’ve earned it – and earning it doesn’t come easy.

Though each class is somewhat different, they all have variations on the same hardcore components.

There’s a reason why the Marines are both few and proud, and Alex and Ruben make sure that by the end of the class you appreciate the difference.

”I finally mustered up the courage to sign up for a trial class at WFBC.

I was nervous and intimidated … but I jumped right into it. By the end of the hour class, I was practically crawling on the floor, begging for mercy.

Throughout the session, I felt like throwing up.. like I couldn’t breathe.. and my ears even started ringing at one point.

Regardless, after I drank my entire water bottle, I walked over and signed up for 20 more classes.

What was I thinking?! I really do think this place will get me in shape – and I’m still completely sore a couple of days after! It’s definitely something very different than a typical gym – it really challenges you mentally and physically!” – Doreen L

Getting Started

fitness2xtreme-images-c-bootcamps-warrior-fitness-calisthenicsAfter the obligatory stretching you head straight in to jumping jacks. The triple-effort jumps counting as just one doesn’t bother you so much with the jacks, but when your flutter kicks and squat jumps are being counted the same way, the native New Yorker feels compelled to object – which does not go over well with a Marine.

There will be yelling, but none of the demeaning stuff that would send a citizen of Gotham stomping off – these Marines do understand their clientele.

Nonetheless, they will run you ragged – after you’re huffing and puffing from the jumping jacks and your arms are shaking from the push-ups and your quads are burning from the squat jumps and the squat thrusts, they send you around the rubberized track for a few laps, then throw in 25 more push-ups for good measure and another round of ab-aching flutter kicks.

Then they give you the loveliest smile and order the class through the door to Hell – nine flights straight up the claustrophobic, winding stairwell, then back down, then up and down and up and down again – there is nothing like climbing stairs to make your heart thump out of your chest and make your breath go ragged and make you wonder whether you should have brought your cell phone along for the romp so that you could call 9-1-1.

Each time you reach the top you feel such gratitude and relief, and descend with so much hope, only to be sent up yet again.

fitness2xtreme-images-c-bootcamps-warriot-fitness-bear-crawlWhen Alex and Ruben are finally done with this particular torture, they welcome you back to that most inglorious of rewards, bear crawls with butt up and limbs down, essentially crawling your way round and round the track that rings the obstacle course for as many times as they see fit. This is where you feel the closest to your fellow classmates, as you are each wallowing through the sweat that has dripped off of each other – if you’re not blood brothers, you are definitely sweat brothers.

Relentless is the word that comes to mind as the Marines throw out yet another drill; whether it is more push-ups or sit-ups or more crawling around on the rubberized mat, there is an unmistakable and pervasive element of “can you believe we are surviving this” that fills the air.

Finally, as though it’s some kind of reward, you’re ordered to run the obstacle course, complete with six-foot climbing walls, hurdles, progressively higher barriers to be overcome and the entire class becomes some kind of metaphor for all of the crap that you have to face every day.

As one warrior remarked,

“The obstacle course was probably the most exciting part, not just because of the awesome monkey bars, but the accomplishment I felt as I went over every wall. Each one progressively got taller, and I remember getting to the 7-foot wall and thinking, “Hell NO!” I could barely reach the top with my hands, let alone jump and pull myself up. With a little coaching and encouragement though, I made it over, and the sense of accomplishment kept me motivated all day.”

Admittedly, this workout isn’t going to make you appreciate what the Marines do for the country as much as your own ability to overcome obstacles and it’s not going to make you throw up unless this is the first time you’ve worked out EVER.

But it’s tough and challenging and real, and has just enough fun in it to make you want to come back and do it again, regardless of the expense.

Warrior Fitness Boot Camp has been described by the world’s toughest critics (New Yorkers) as one of the most extreme workouts they’ve ever endured – and the most fun too.

Leave it to residents of Manhattan to think that extreme effort and pain can make for fun – and the Marine aspect may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek – but one way or another, it’s an effort that will kick your butt and keep you coming back for more.

Boot Camp Info

Name: Warrior Fitness Bootcamp
Website: http://www.warriorfitnessbootcamp.com/
Location(s): NYC, NY
Owner(s): Alex Fell, Ruben Belliard

 

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