Charlotte’s own Jillian Michaels

I’ve found her, friends.

I haven’t watched Biggest Loser in a long time, but when I did years ago the thing that seemed so great to me was to have a dedicated space and amount of time, one that focuses on healthy eating, exercising, getting trim.

Recently I signed up for a month of boot camp classes at Gunn’s Fitness. I’d never gone to boot camp classes before and had no clue what to expect.

And the first week, honestly, I was slightly less than impressed. The classes were so similar, in concept (strength/cardio, in circuits), to Jillian Michaels’ workouts that I pondered, “Why am I here and not just letting Jillian yell at me in my living room?”

And technically, there is some truth to that. With a mat, some hand weights and a 30-Day Shred or P90x DVD, I could get a similar workout.

The second week, however, my feelings about that started to change.  Regina Gunn, the owner and trainer, does much more than a DVD can. She corrects my form. She pushes me harder. I can’t pause her to get a sip of water or sneak in a break. She has created an environment where working hard and having fun can go hand-in-hand. We clients bond over the difficulty of what she’s telling us to do, and we push each other to go harder, faster. She times us and has us race against our times. She tells us to do 10 more reps when I didn’t think I even had one more in me, and I surprise myself by doing 10 after all.

Now, I haven’t asked her, but I’m pretty sure she won’t let us all stay at her house and have a kitchen full of healthy food only waiting for us in the morning (although I would totally participate if she did). I do know she sells Advocare products (which I know absolutely nothing about except that my friend Kim in Athens sells them, too), and she’s put together a package for a cleanse and other dietary challenges. That’s gotta be similar to being in a kitchen, guiding us toward the right food choices.

I thought I hated 6 a.m. workouts, but it turns out, I love it. I have a great, productive day after going to one of those pre-dawn sweat sessions. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she has evening classes, and I have to admit I really miss the morning ones on those days. And I never, never would have called myself a morning person.

This morning, I completed the month of classes I bought, and I have another month to use later. I think I’ll take a break and do some P90x, then get back to the boot camp in June. One concern I have is there is no shower there, and for reasons I’ll share soon, I’m going to need a facility with a shower if I’m doing early-morning workouts. So, fingers crossed I can still get to the morning classes in June, and even if I can’t, the evening classes will still be great.

As for results, I am seeing them like crazy. I can do more pushups. My arms look more toned. I am starting to see definition in my abs. My legs are strong. My hips used to groan at me if I stretched them too much. My knees used to hurt if I sat on them for too long. Neither of those things are happening now, and I credit Gunn’s fitness and hot yoga for all of these positive changes.

So, if you want to meet Jillian Michaels in person, show up to a Gunn’s Fitness class and I bet you’ll find it’s the next best thing.