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Finding the way to wellness

Shawna Boren said Woodwinds' Burn it Up Boot Camp, and wellness coach Brenda Navin, really helped her get healthier, stronger and regain her physical activity desire.

Shawna Boren found herself not being able to keep up with her four young children and not having the same energy and strength she used to. Boren said she had tried to maintain her physical fitness, but something always seemed to get in the way.

"I just didn't feel like I was in shape and I certainly need the energy to run around with four kids," she said. "I knew there would always be excuse, but I was just ready to get my energy back and my strength back -- just get back active.

"I just decided it was time to get back into shape and also to really ignite within me a discipline and a love again for being physically active and physically fit."

Boren said she is a very social person; so finding a group class was something that she wanted to find.

"I won't go do something on my own typically because I always psych myself out of it," she said.

Boren found her answer in Burn it up Boot Camp, a program offered by Ways to Wellness at Woodwinds Health Campus.

"If it was something that I was committed to, I paid for, had a schedule and was with other people -- I could do it," she said."

Burn it up Boot Camp was an 8-week program, May 12-July 2, that looked to help people achieve physical, mental and emotional wellness through various exercises and activities. The program was taught by wellness coaches, personal trainers and registered dieticians.

The 8-week program took place outdoors at Carver Lake Park, where participants were involved in exercises that dealt with strength, speed, agility, and endurance.

"The boot camp was just challenging enough," Boren said. "The trainers kept it at an attainable place so you didn't feel discouraged, but you also knew that you were improving."

Boren said she didn't find the exercises to be too challenging or strenuous and since the trainers did exercises at a progressive pace, she definitely saw and felt the improvements over the course of the 8-weeks.

"The trainers didn't just kill you the first week," she said. "As the weeks rolled along, you found things that were difficult aren't as difficult anymore."

Running "The Hill"

For Boren, one exercise that started out fairly difficult and tiring was the cool down at the end of the day on "The Hill."

"The first time I ran it, it kicked my butt," she said. "I just absolutely felt like I would never be able to conquer it."

"The Hill" refers to the very steep hill near the playground at Carver Lake Park.

But as the weeks progressed, Boren said she could feel herself getting stronger and "The Hill" was becoming less and less daunting.

"Each time your time is improving, it is getting a little bit easier, a little bit more manageable," she said. "By the end of the time, it's never breezy or easy, but it's definitely something that you felt like you could do -- it was just fantastic for me to realize just how different it was from the first time I did it to the last time I did it."

Throughout all of the ups and downs of the boot camp, Boren said it was the other people with her that made everything that much more reachable.

"We cheered each other on," she said. "We were each other's support systems."

Boren said the boot camp was one of the best things she had ever done because it truly changed her for the better.

Increased confidence

Since wrapping up boot camp on July 2, Boren said she feels stronger, her endurance is better, she feels healthier and she is even eating healthier.

"It has definitely changed my whole lifestyle," she said. "It has done exactly what I wanted it to do -- kick start my physical lifestyle."

Even though boot camp has come to an end, Boren said she has no intention of losing all of the hard work and changes she has achieved. Currently Boren is involved with group classes at Ways to Wellness, as well as at the YMCA.

Her increased confidence, strength and all around physical health is thanks entirely to the boot camp, and Boren said it is something that she won't forget.

"I went from doing nothing, to being involved at two gyms --I want to maintain what was started, she said. " I wouldn't have walked into these situations if I didn't have the confidence and strength from being involved in the Woodwinds boot camp."

Ways to Wellness is planning on scheduling another 8-week Burn it up Boot Camp this fall.

To stay updated on the details of the boot camp, visit

Kispert can be reached at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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