get in shape with boot camp
regime puts the focus on women's fitness
By Kari Wethington
The sun isn't even out yet, but 31 women are pushing
through a mile-long run around the perimeter of Champion
Window Field, home of the Florence Freedom.
Loud pop music - from '80s hits to Justin Timberlake -
blasts, as instructor Kelli Lagemann and assistant Annie Beck
keep spirits up by cheering them.
After the run, they're sweating, panting and gasping for
air, but still manage to do rounds of squats, lunges, shoulder
presses, stomach crunches and yoga poses.
And they do it all at 5:30 a.m. every Monday through
"It's really changed my life," said Debbie Huff-Weiss of
Florence, who just finished her first week of the Northern
Kentucky Adventure Boot Camp for Women.
The boot camp started in Florence in April, adding to
offerings in Oakley and Blue Ash. Four-week sessions here now
are regularly selling out, said founder Brian Calkins.
He said women love it because it's a woman-oriented class -
which means there's more support, less competition - and
because it provides a complete workout, including cardio,
strength and stretching.
And while 5:30 a.m. seems too early to be pumping iron to
some, Calkins said it's the perfect time for many of his
"What we discovered is that if they can be done at 6:30,
they can be home by 6:40 a.m. and that gives them time to get
kids ready for school, or if they're working women they can be
to work on time, and they don't have to worry about the
workout the rest of the day," he said. "Otherwise, the idea of
working out is weighing on your shoulders all day."
That's exactly what inspired Lagemann's sister, Megan
Lagemann, 22, of Anderson Township, to sign up for a whole
year of boot camp classes.
"I used to try to work out after work and I never had the
motivation to," she said. "But now it's like, well, I'm paying
for it, so I have to get up at 5:30 and get my day started. I
love it - it's really designed for women, which is nice."
She said in the three months she's been attending, she's
already made great strides toward her goal of getting back in
Debbie Huff-Weiss of Florence came to the class on Friday
morning with her co-worker Janell Stuckwisch of Union and
friend Melissa Westergard of Florence.
All three said this is an introduction to working out
regularly for them - and they can't get enough.
"It's as hard as I thought it would be but I feel great
during the day," said Huff-Weiss. "I really believe it's
totally changed my life. I know that sounds corny, but it's
true, even just after a week."
And the early morning hours aren't a problem.
"You don't mind getting up in the morning - and we're not
morning people," said Stuckwisch.
Each four-week boot camp includes five days of one-hour
sessions for $299 - or $14.95 per day. Boot Campers can also
sign up for a three-day-a-week option or an annual pass.
At the start of each boot camp, each participant goes
through an evaluation, which includes taking measurements and
checking body composition and blood pressure. During the first
week, campers do a timed 1-mile run.
At the end of the camp, all those measurements are taken
again - and the women run another mile to see whether they've
"The biggest thrill for us at the end is to see these
ladies come across the line," said Calkins.
For more information, visit
Oakley/Cincinnati Fitness Boot Camp and
Blue Ash / Mason
Fitness Boot Camp..