From: Vol. 1, Issue 39, December 21-January 3, 2006

By Christina Scannapiego
San Clemente Times

Want to make good on your New Year’s resolution? Try OC Fitness Boot Camp

For some reason, New Year’s resolutions tend to slip through the cracks: quit smoking, save more money, start working out and eat healthier. Old habits die hard, though, and, as creatures of comfort, most just fall back into old ways. But with all the unreasonable (and unpleasant) fad diets out there, it’s no wonder Jessica Simpson can’t even stick to one for very long. Enter OC Fitness Boot Camp. Longtime certified personal trainers Rod Edmondson and Rachael Farrokh have designed a six-week “boot camp” program-all outdoors-to guide their clients into achieving optimum health, fitness and performance through kickboxing, core and resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and cardio, as well as educating them to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating habits.

“It’s more of a lifestyle change that we try to plant into their minds-not just a short-term thing,” explains Edmondson. “It’s a mentality.” They meet three days per week (morning or evening) at any of San Clemente’s beaches or at a Talega community park and cap each session at about six people so that everyone gets individual attention. Because the program is adjusted a little differently for each client, anyone can join, be it the person who’s never worked out and wants to lose 50 pounds, to avid athletes who want to step up their training a little bit. Edmondson and Farrokh have even designed a new program for brides-to-be called OC Bridal Boot Camp.

Each six-week session begins with a body composition assessment to gauge clients’ measurements, body fat percentages and ultimate goals (two follow-up assessments occur at the program’s mid-mark and end to track progress). From there, Edmondson and Farrokh can tailor a realistic program for each individual. Sure, everyone participates in the same combination of workouts every week, but the beauty of Boot Camp is that it’s not just about exercise. Their dietitian, who Edmondson describes as one of the best in Orange County, works with everyone on their own eating plan. The group then takes a field trip to the grocery store and they hit up every aisle, where they learn how to read labels.

“There’s a marketing side to it,” says Farrokh, “where companies hide things in their labels.” She stays abreast of the most recent health studies and constantly teaches Boot Camp clients how to make good choices in their pattern of eating, how to cook healthier for their families and what foods to avoid. “It’s not a diet,” she points out. “It’s how you’re supposed to eat for your body and ways to keep that interesting so it doesn’t get boring. You can eat right and still have a life.” She and Edmondson find that their participants really adopt the nutritional habits as a way of life. “I have clients calling me on my cell phone when they’re out to dinner, asking me what they should order,” Farrokh says, laughing, “but we don’t mind because it means they’re following the program.”

Most students are so enthusiastic and find such an affinity for the program that they sign on for an entire year-or two, or three. Julie Simkins and Sandy Monahan worked out avidly before Boot Camp, but they joined because they both felt they’d reached a plateau in their workout regime. “I’ve seen a complete change in my body,” says Simkins. “Rod and Rachael really know what they’re doing and they’ve opened my eyes to better nutrition.”

Monahan agrees and has decided to become certified as a trainer as well, to join Edmondson and Farrokh in instruction. “I want to start helping people take care of themselves,” she says. “It’s all about variety, but not tricking the body into losing weight.”

“We always keep the body guessing,” Farrokh adds, noting that she and Edmondson are constantly switching up the routine and terrain from beach to park so that it’s fun despite the fact that it really is hard work-but for the clients, the harder the better. They even track their heart rate and number of calories burned with wrist monitors.

“I’ve dropped 12 pounds of body fat and gained six pounds of muscle,” says Larry Clinton, another spirited member. “We just love it. It’s not generic; whether it’s jump rope, football, weight lifting, obstacle courses, it’s all mixed up. Plus, it’s become as much a social gathering for us as it is a workout.”

OC Fitness Boot Camp, 949.374.1078; questions@ocfitnessbootcamp.com

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