PHOTOS: Determined women power up before sun’s up to boost confidence, lose pounds

Jenny Hunter, 37, foreground, does hip exercises on the stage of the band shell at Cambier Park just as the sun is rising during Naples Adventure Bootcamp for Women on Monday morning in Naples. The four week fitness camp starts at 5:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. 'What other obligations do we have at 5:30 in the morning?' asked instructor Natalie Lahnan when asked why her class started so early.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL // Buy this photo

Jenny Hunter, 37, foreground, does hip exercises on the stage of the band shell at Cambier Park just as the sun is rising during Naples Adventure Bootcamp for Women on Monday morning in Naples. The four week fitness camp starts at 5:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. "What other obligations do we have at 5:30 in the morning?" asked instructor Natalie Lahnan when asked why her class started so early.

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Fees: Purchase classes for three, four or five days a week; the cost is $239, $319 or $399 for four weeks, respectively

For more information: www.NaplesAdventureBootCamp.com or call Coach Natalie Lahnan, 239-776-2162

— Physical coordination doesn’t come easy at 5:30 a.m.

At that hour, just brewing a pot of coffee can seem like an act of remarkable dexterity.

And high kicks? Or jumping jacks? Sit-ups, push-ups or tossing a ball high in the air to a waiting partner? For many, those activities would simply be out of the bleary-eyed question. But for the women who attend Naples Adventure Boot Camp for Women, early morning fitness isn’t a problem; it’s part of the allure.

The camp meets from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., Monday to Friday at Cambier Park in downtown Naples. That’s an hour when the sky is still dark and unless there’s a full moon, the only light that greets the women is what trickles in from street lamps.

That doesn’t trouble boot camper Celia Fellows, though.

The early morning is her time, she says. Later, the demands of the day will be heaped upon her — but not quite yet.

“This is the only time of day that I own,” she says.

The camp’s noticeable results are likely to lessen the howl of the alarm clock, too. Each camp is four weeks long; Fellows is taking her first camp and is in week three. She was already a regular gym-goer before the class, but Adventure Boot Camp has given her routine a jump-start, and she has lost four pounds.

Coach Natalie Lahnan describes Adventure Boot Camp as “a total body program.”

“It’s not a specialty program,” she says. “It’s overall wellness.”

Created 10 years ago, Adventure Boot Camp is now an international program. It’s in nine countries, and there are more than 400 Adventure Boot Camps operating, says Lahnan, who is a NESTA-certified Boot Camp Trainer.

The class combines interval training, obstacle courses, strength work, flexibility, fat loss and cardio, and is intended to help build self-confidence and overall good health. Nutritional counseling is also a component of the program.

“The program, for me, is beyond fitness,” Lahnan says.

The next class begins July 26, but enrollment is rolling, meaning that women can join at any time, rather than wait until the next start date. Participants can choose to attend three, four or five days a week; the cost is $239, $319 or $399 for four weeks, respectively. Women can attend one class for free to see if they like it, Lahnan says.

Although the class meets at Cambier Park, the women don’t always remain there for their program. They may make their way to the beach, Lahnan explains, and work out in the sand or “take a stroll” — read: leg-strengthening lunge — down Fifth Avenue South.

Or, as on a recent day when rain dampened their outdoor plans, they may head inside to the parking garage and work up a sweat there.

“A variety of activity keeps it interesting and fun,” Lahnan says.

Wherever they are, the campers use a combination of Adventure Boot Camp equipment, such as jump ropes, and objects found normally around the course, such as park benches, to complete their routine. The benches serve as a brace for push-ups.

“We’re basically using the outdoors as our gym equipment,” explains camp attendee Marlene Graham.

Graham has been attending the camp for three months, coming five days a week. Graham is a Realtor, and she jokes that being in that profession for the past few years has been “a little dismal.” As a result, she put on a few pounds.

Since attending Adventure Boot Camp, though, she has shed almost 20 pounds. She doesn’t mind the early hour, although she admits that she wouldn’t be up so early in the morning if it weren’t for the class. Now that she attends so regularly, however, she feels guilty if she doesn’t crawl out of bed and don her athletic shoes.

“It’s good,” she said of the camp. “It gets your day started.”

Lahnan says the class is for everyone, regardless of fitness level or their age — previous and current Naples campers range from 20s to 60s. Everything can be modified to accommodate a person’s limitations, she explains.

Camper Terry Ross recently had both her knees replaced; prior to the surgery, she used a walker for two years. Now, she’s a newcomer to Adventure Boot Camp, hopefully to lose some weight.

“I needed to move,” she says. “When I called (Lahnan), I said, I need someone to really kick my butt.”

So far, she says she is enjoying the class. If something is too intense for her, Lahnan tells her how to modify it for her abilities. When the women run from one end of Cambier Park to the other, for example, Ross walks half that distance and back at a brisk pace.

She doesn’t mind the early hour.

“There’s no excuse,” Ross says. “Where else do you have to be at this time of day?”

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