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Originally published Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

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Rise with the sun and get strong at booty camp

Southside Booty Camp is just for women, and classes take place outdoors for most of the year at Seward and Volunteer parks.


Special to The Seattle Times

HOW TO FIND IT

Southside Booty Camp

www.southsidebootycamp.com

206-792-9512

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I ADMIRED the pink glow of the sunrise on Mount Rainier and shivered. It was 7:15 a.m., and it was cold in Seward Park, where I had arrived for Southside Booty Camp.

People do this every day? I wondered. I had left my motivation at home in bed.

Trainer Gina Mares Kurtz, however, was perky and upbeat. She clearly was used to people like me. In fact, she’d already trained a bunch of women wearing headlamps at 6 a.m., whose motivation I considered practically heroic.

Southside Booty Camp is just for women, and classes take place outdoors for most of the year at Seward and Volunteer parks. The camp tends to draw people who want to get in shape and who like being outside for their workouts.

I like being outside for my workouts. In theory.

To warm us up, Gina sent us off on a quick run. When we came back, she shared the weekly regimen. Monday was core, Tuesday was legs, Wednesday was upper body, and Thursday was, well, time to rove the park.

I was there on a legs day. We partnered up and started off with squats and calf raises while our partners did boxing dips. We switched back and forth, watching the mountain as we worked our legs. My partner and I finished early, so Gina sent us off on another run around the island at the entrance to the park. By then, I was definitely warm.

Next, she set up some rope ladders on the asphalt in the parking lot for us to do footwork while our partners did light dead lifts and lunges with small handweights. Once we finished, Gina sent us off on another run.

When we came back, we did side leg lifts to focus on our glutes and lunges to keep working our legs.

Then we ran. Oh, the running.

Despite the cold and the running, the hour passed quickly. During class, the other booty-campers, clearly all regulars, chatted and joked with each other. My partner, Jen, lives nearby. She said without booty camp, she would never be motivated to see the park so early in the day.

Seward Park was gorgeous. The sky got brighter as we did our leg work. Early-morning regulars waved as they walked by. It was quiet except for birds or park employees clearing leaves.

For our last round of legs, we put one foot up on a curb and did squats and leg lifts, then jogged, tapping our toes on the curb. Jen started singing an Irish jig. We laughed and stretched afterward.

I reminded myself it’s not cold year-round. And regardless of weather, booty camp is an incredible way to be outside in beautiful settings, move your body to build strength and endurance, and spend time with a cool group of women.

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: papercraneyoga@gmail.com. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW staff photographer.



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