A Boot Camp I Love

I like to be in reasonable shape. It makes me feel good. (And, as I’ve recently found out, it also helps when climbing a mountain).

The problem is, what I don’t actually like are gyms. It took me the longest time to figure this out. I always thought perhaps it’s just a matter of finding the right gym. Like one that is practically next to your house and enormous with all the machines and TVs you could ever wish for, including a health bar with the most delicious smoothies?

boot camp at Dainfern College

Nope, it turns out. Because I had exactly that where we lived before in Overland Park. A state of the art Lifetime Fitness colossus that was busier than an airport most mornings.

And therein lies one of the problems. I don’t like having to hunt for a parking space so I can work out. I also don’t like being cooped up inside. I hate locker rooms. And  I’m also terrible at motivating myself to do hard things. What I need is a group of other like-minded people who will push me to test my limits but are also fun to be around, complete with a drill-sergeant who is tough yet charming and lovable. 

In other words, I need a Boot Camp. Not just any old boot camp, mind you, but the one offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Dainfern College. Here is what I love about this boot camp:

  • We are outside in the crisp South African air, taking in one of the nicer views in Joburg (even if that pipe contains you-know-what). I even loved it in winter, when the freezing cold mornings necessitated many layers of clothing. You know why? Because by the time I got home to my freezing cold house I was nicely warmed up and shivered considerably less than on other days.
  • I can walk there from my house, but even if I choose to drive, it is super convenient – I can drop off the kids in the car park and continue on down to the field where there is  never a shortage of parking.
  • We do a monthly fitness test where we record our progress, which may sound bad but it is actually very motivating to see how far you’ve come and try to beat your own score.
  • The people are lovely (and yes, our “teacher,” for lack of a better word, is indeed charming and lovable but still manages to make us do all the things she’s got planned). The group changes somewhat from week to week with new comings and goings, which makes it a good venue to catch up with friends and meet new people.
  • We have VARIETY! This, to me, is the number one reason why I love this boot camp. When I was still trying to go to Lifetime Fitness regularly, I attended one of their classes, thinking the group pressure there would do the trick. But man, I don’t think I ever looked at my watch so many times in such a short period my entire life! That class simply would not end. Each time it was exactly the same spiel: super-hyper Jane-Fonda-esque young thing in impossibly tight outfit hopping around in front to disco beat and chirping what no doubt she thought were motivational messages into her microphone, while rows and rows of us reflected in multiples in the surrounding mirrors were hopping along and staring at the hand of the watch overhead, willing it to move…
  • There is plenty of space. An entire cricket field, plus an extra one. No limits to how you can spread out. What I hated at that gym was usually being boxed in between two other women (having come late – I am not known for my punctuality), lacking space, in constant danger of being whacked over the head with their kettle bell during an exercise.

boot camp at Dainfern College

I mentioned variety. Any morning we show up at Boot Camp it’s a complete surprise as to what we’ll do. Except of course for the fact we’ll definitely be completely out of breath at times and use the remaining breath at other times to curse yet another round of burpees – yes, that is what they’re called.

I’ve been going for several months now and haven’t seen the same class twice (other than the fitness tests -those stay the same, for obvious reasons). We usually run a few rounds around the field to warm up, and then might do a number of exercises in any kind of combination, always alternating strength exercises with the stuff that gets your heart rate up. And there is never much equipment involved. It’s amazing how much you can do just using your own body and nothing else. We might use the Pavilion steps to do dips, we might use jump ropes to skip (my favorite). We might use thera-bands to stretch or do push-ups with them draped behind our backs (my least favorite – push-ups are bad enough on their own and adding more weight to your back is just torture). Or we might use a deck of cards, from which you draw successive exercises according to the suit and face of the card, i.e. ten bicycle crunches for the ten of hearts, a sprint around the field for an ace, and double of everything after the first joker until you draw the second joker. Except the second joker might never come because the deck was faulty (or tampered with?) at which point you want to strangle your instructor, charming and lovable notwithstanding.

boot camp at Dainfern College


It’s never monotonous, because we do different things every week, and it’s just short enough (one hour) that you never have any sense of despair. You go home feeling good and are usually reminded the next day what particular part of your body was worked on. I don’t know about you, but I like sore muscles. You definitely feel like you’re making progress.

And you can see it in the mirror too.

I love my Boot Camp!

Way to Wellness Bootcamp

Gillian Sieling qualified as a certified Personal Trainer through the Health and Fitness Professional Association (HFPA) in 2004, and has been passionately involved in assisting others to achieve their fitness goals ever since.
She is a competitive long distance runner competing in races such as The Two Oceans and the Comrades Marathon. She also recently competed in the South African Marathon Champs in George, on the 13th of Feb, and finished 3rd Lady Vet and 15th overall.
In 2005, Gill began one-on-one Personal training before establishing Fitness Bootcamp in Fernbrook Estate in 2007. The 100% success rate of Bootcamp, in terms of improved fitness levels and steady weight loss, has guaranteed the constant growth of the business.
Kay Hughes, Natasha Aron and Mart-Mari Lesch joined the Way to Wellness team. What a dynamic, passionate, dedicated and committed team they are!
Way to Wellness has now grown from strength to strength at the following venues:
Saint Stithians School – September 2010 

Vodacom – March 2012
Dainfern College – May 2012

The Way to Wellness team is strictly committed to enhancing the lives of those whom we train both physically and mentally. Each and every person is encouraged and enticed to reach their full potential.


Contact details:
Gillian Sieling
Email: gills@gwisa.com
Mobile: 082 389 9100

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