Fitness Review: Dallas Fit Body Boot Camp

Dallas Fit Body BootCamp reached out to me to come check out a boot camp class before their grand opening and after some slight hesitation I decided to go for it. I’ve never liked the idea of boot camps. When I think of boot camps, I imagine sweating in the heat and getting yelled at while struggling to do pushups. It’s more like a nightmare. A nightmare with endless pushups. Ugh. ::shivers:: Forget that!

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I am not a fan of working out in the heat. I like my A/C and there’s nothing about a Dallas summer heat wave that entices me to get my butt outside and suffer through a workout. But the thing that really caught my attention to check it out is that this was an in-door boot camp so I thought I’d give it a try. The first Dallas location of the franchise moved from its Deep Ellum spot to its new location off Ross and Washington Ave. I have a feeling this sad stretch of Ross Ave. is going to become a pretty awesome place soon. Smart move, DFBB.

First Impression: The location is strange. It used to be a chiropractors office but owner Turner Cavendar has transformed it to accommodate group training sessions and even one-on-one personal training sessions. There were some final touches missing, obviously before the grand opening but it’s well on its way. There is one main room where all the bootcamp group sessions take place. The space is big enough to accommodate about 20 people. Workout equipment is stored neatly against the wall. There’s a variety of kettle bells, pull-up bars, TRX suspension gear, ropes, and more. It didn’t feel quite like a gym yet, but with all the equipment laid out, I was a little anxious to see what I would be doing for his class.

The Class: Here’s the cool thing about these workouts. They are HIIT (high intensity interval training)  and the sessions are only 30 minutes long. That’s it. 30 minutes! And, it surprisingly goes by really fast. During my class, I went through 4 different stations. At each station I did 3 different exercises for 30 seconds each, rested for 6 seconds in between each exercise. I would do each round 3 times before moving on to the next station. The point of limiting how much rest time you get in between each set is to really get your heart rate up so you can be in that fat burning zone. This particular session had a mix of mat work for abs, TRX for squats and lunges, kettle bell swings, step ups, rope work for arms and a mix of push ups, mountain climbers, burpees, and more. That goes without saying, that was probably the most productive 30 minutes of my day. You do so much.

There isn’t much time in 30 minutes for me to take any video of myself working out, so I made Turner go through the whole work out for me again as pay back. Here’s 30 mins worth of HIIT crammed into my 40 second video. Hope this doesn’t scare you away.

Turner teaches 6 classes Monday through Thursday, and 3 classes on Friday and he says he never teaches the same routine twice. Members and new drop-ins can experience a different workout routine every time they go. There is an even mix of men and women who attend the classes and a broad age range too. I think it appeals to the trendy socialites who live in the area and professionals who may work nearby.

My Experience: We started by running in place and doing some jumping jacks to warm up while Turner explained the different stations and the exercises we would be doing. Then we split up into small groups, 3-5 people per station depending on how large the class is.

I couldn’t believe how fast 30 minutes went by and I was darn tired. It challenged me in different ways, but also allowed me to go at a pace that I was comfortable with. While Turner kept us on track with time, I went into an autopilot and powered through every exercise and every set with one thought in mind: it’s only 30 seconds. In those 30 seconds, I couldn’t help but to keep moving even when my muscles screamed no. I didn’t want to be the only one who had to stop mid 30 seconds to catch my breath. I thought I would feel more self-conscious about working out with everyone else, but to be honest I barely noticed my neighbors. I was so into getting through the next 30 seconds, I had no time to care how I looked and I think they all felt the same way.

Turner definitely pushes you, but also knows not to push too hard. There were people at different levels of fitness getting though the class. In addition to the exercises he showed us, he also gave us the option to modify certain exercise and make it more challenging. He kept an eye on everyone and made sure their form was good. Made it a point to stop and show people how to do the movements without hurting themselves. I really suck at kettle bell swings. Something about air-humping I’m not quite in love with yet…

The flow of the class went really well with perfectly timed breaks for water or to just catch your breath. I really enjoyed getting a full body workout and breaking one heck of a sweat. Before I knew it, it was over. I couldn’t believe how fast the class went by. The mantra that each exercise was only 30 seconds helped a lot!

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Turner Cavender cheesin’ before his next boot camp class.

Who is Turner?: Turner Cavender is the owner of DFBB and is a certified personal trainer and fitness expert with a B.S. in Exercise Sports and Science (good to know he isn’t a hack). When I first met him, I thought he seemed like a really nice guy who was very passionate about his work and about getting DFBB up and running. He is goofy and has high energy. Not to knock on the franchise, the website is kind of terrible and a little cheesy. It has the typical promises of weight loss and goal achievements, but none of that pushiness translates when you meet Turner. Thank Gawdd.

Also, I get the impression that I could probably convince him to do crazy daredevil stunts just for fun. No surprise, when he told me he used to race motocross competitively. After attending two classes, I noticed the camaraderie amongst his clients. I suppose if you attend a class often enough, you ought to become friends at some point. I liked that he knew people by names and was at least familiar with some.

The Next Day: Man my back and abs were sore. Some of the TRX suspension training and ab workouts hit muscles areas I must not activate often. It was the good kind of sore. I wasn’t dying on the floor or anything, but that goes without saying I do workout regularly. Another great thing about the class is learning some new movements I could incorporate into my own workouts. Another attendee was incredibly sore after returning from a bootcamp hiatus. She seemed like she was paying for it. Props to her for powering through another session.

Hanging out with Turner at DFFB
Hanging out with Turner at DFFB

How much is it? The first 2 session are free for newbies and $97 a month for unlimited classes. If one session isn’t enough, the classes are back to back so stay for a second one. I actually saw a girl stay for an two classes to really work for her Vegas body. Space is limited so members are inclined to reserve their spots via app.

The Takeaway: I loved that it was only 30 minutes and also disliked that it was only 30 minutes. It was hard to believe that’s all I needed for the day considering I’m so used to hour long sessions in the gym. Dallas Fit Body Boot Camp would be a great option for people who are looking to fit in workouts into their busy schedule and like group workouts. Group workouts are actually cheaper than personal training sessions if you look at it that way. Check out the schedule to see what times work best for you. Turner alternates the level of difficulty of his sessions throughout the week. Some days are harder than others and that is intentional to help with recovery. I think his classes may be a slight shock for fitness newbies, but it’s great for everyone else who wants to try something new.

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