Time to Suck Up for Your Gut Check

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May 30, 2013
Original Article

Sometimes when you’re working out at your nearby gym, you may feel that you’re not being challenged enough anymore. You come in three or four days a week to stay healthy, but you find that you’re getting tired of using the same machines, going to the same classes or training with the same weights. You want to keep in shape, but you need a new routine.

If you are looking for something new to do that will also push you beyond any limit you have ever imagined, then San Diego-based fitness trainer Joe Decker has something for you: Gut Check Fitness.

Getting Started

fitness2xtreme-images-gutcheck-02-joe-deckerDecker is known as the “World’s Fittest Man” and holds a Guinness World Record for being the World’s Fittest Man.

He used to be overweight and out of shape, and now, he uses Gut Check Fitness to help others be the best they can be.

Participants in the program will find out what they are made of and will face challenges they won’t get in any other gym.

Gut Check Fitness classes take place in a variety of settings, from San Diego beaches to basketball courts to parks and gyms and recreation centers.

They are held three times per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as twice a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday classes are at 8 a.m until 9:30 a.m. During the week, class times are 6:00 a.m.-7:00 a.m. (Monday-Friday), 5:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. (Monday-Thursday) and 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) (all times are Pacific).

Focus

fitness2xtreme-images-gutcheck-03-morning-workoutBoot camps focus on giving participants a total body workout that is constantly changing. Part of the session focuses on upper body and the abs before switching to the lower body, abs and cardio workouts.

A five-day-a-week schedule is recommended for anyone who wants to get the most out of the Gut Check program. A typical class might consist of a relay suicide run in which participants break into teams and complete weightlifting workouts after their leg of the race is completed.

Decker puts on a variety of events through the program, and two of the most well-known ones are the King of the Hill race and the SUCK.

fitness2xtreme-images-gutcheck-04-king-of-the-hillIn the King of the Hill, participants compete on a trail running course while completing fitness obstacles along the way.

The SUCK, meanwhile, is a physical event that lasts 12 hours. It prepares participants for King of the Hill and other races such as the Spartan race.

Participants run with heavy objects and complete fitness drills during the run. At the end of the race, everyone moves to a one-and-a-half hour boot camp on a Saturday morning.

Team Love

Gut Check was voted San Diego’s #1 Boot Camp in three consecutive years from 2009 through 2011. In 2009, it was voted the hardest workout by Competitor Magazine. Judging from various testimonials on the Internet, it’s easy to see why this workout is so highly acclaimed.

fitness2xtreme-images-gutcheck-05-team-loveOn the blog My Muddy Shoes, author Edgar Landa describes the workout as a “good time” and says, “I am having sick, twisted fun, to be sure, but fun nonetheless.” Landa also says Joe Decker is a “beast.”

A promotional video shows participants saying they are addicted to the workout and that they come back because they are treated as a human being rather than a number. They feel everyone in the group is supportive of each other and individual goals. To these people, the workout is the real deal, not a gimmick designed to make a company or any individual rich.

However, although Gut Check is loved by those who keep coming back for more, it has its downsides like any other workout program would. In a Yelp.com review, reviewer Lisa N. states, “They say anyone can do this workout ‘at their own pace,’ but I call that BS! Seriously, to be able to hang in this boot camp, you need to be in pretty great shape to begin with. My boyfriend is in shape, and he had a hell of a time keeping up as well.”

No Pain, No Gain

fitness2xtreme-images-gutcheck-07-no-pain-no-gain The physical side effects may also be too much for some to handle. Photos and videos show participants with bloodied hands after their workout.

Although it’s not clear how the injury happened, it could’ve been from one carrying a 30 or 50-pound bag of sand on their back while running, or holding a heavy bucket while heading up a hill.

Another physical side effect, as Landa states, comes from blisters on feet after running for a long time. Participants may feel out of breath or say they are ready to throw up. While this can be worth it, people who cannot handle such a workout should consider whether or not Gut Check would be right for them.

But for those who are serious about the program, it will end up becoming a lifestyle rather than just an ordinary workout.

Taking Action

Anyone interested in participating in Gut Check has several payment options for classes. The drop-in fee, or the price for people looking for one class, is $20. There is also a cost of $75 for five classes marked on a punch card. The best value, though, is unlimited monthly classes for $150. Groupon deals are available on occasion to save money. For example, a recent coupon offered 10 Gut Check classes for $49.

If one wants to save time, payment for classes can be made ahead of time via PayPal.

When arriving for their first class, participants should bring a water bottle, towel and dumbbells if they have them. They will also need a client information form, which asks about any medical conditions and past injuries, as well as emergency contact information.

The most important piece of information, however, is the death waiver. This states that participants understand the physical risks of participating in Gut Check Fitness and releases the company from any responsibility should the participant get injured or ill during classes.

For more information on Gut Check, visit their official website at http://www.gutcheckfitness.com

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