“I hope you didn’t wear your favorite Lulu pants, because we are going to get dirty,” Nathan justifiably warned as the sun peaked over the Palace of Fine Arts at 7am on Chrissy Field’s East Beach. After the one-hour military inspired workout, I found dirt in my belly button. I take that as evidence that I really committed to my burpees. All thirty-six of them.
Australian-native Nathan Amy launched Kokoda Fitness in 2013 after three years of planning. The workouts draw upon his 11 years of military service, during which he was charged with training soldiers to stay “battle fit.” The workout’s namesake, Kokoda, pays homage to a campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It may have helped that we recently saw American Sniper, but you do have a unique feeling of heroic achievement after hauling in a 30-foot rope, hand over hand, throwing it over your shoulder then sprinting across the field to your partner, who is patiently waiting. And by patiently waiting, I mean lying on their back doing toe-touches.
Embodying the ethos of courage, endurance, persistence, and adversity, Kokoda’s mission aims not only to improve your physical fitness, but also to “make you adaptable for everything life can throw at you.” After conquering 136 Slam Balls, 136 crunches, 36 burpees, 36 straight-leg toe touches, 20 rope pulls / carries, and 10 sets of side-to-side bunny hops down the length of the rope, something tells me we could overcome whatever came our way at the office that day.
Kokoda’s unique approach to mobile fitness starts with a customized box truck, designed to neatly house an impressive array of workout equipment that could rival most gyms. For our session, Nathan opted to ignore the traditional barbells, dumbbells and weight benches that lined the walls of the Mobile Fitness Vehicle. Instead, we became intimately familiar with slam balls, medicine balls and the afore-mentioned ropes as we tackled two separate partner relays. Fashioned with speakers to keep things upbeat and whiteboards to display the workout specifics and group’s overall accomplishments, Kokoda is able to host classes in convenient outdoor locations such as Chrissy Field and Baker Beach. In addition to group classes and private tutorials, Kokoda tailors boot camps for corporate clients like Grocery Outlet offering convenient at-office employee workouts.
What on paper sounds like an intimidating workout is, in actuality, a very encouraging and borderline enjoyable experience. As we divided into partners to complete the first circuit outlined on the “Board of Doom,” Nathan quickly gave us options for various levels of fitness and was very hands on in running through the initial exercises. As the reps piled on, Nathan continued to clap us on while shouting out endless praise, and soon the group found themselves joining in. This was also around the same time I realized that partnering with my (annoyingly) competitive fiancé would result in less rest before my next turn, so the support was appreciated. Unlike many classes where you often sneak glances at the clock, we were almost surprised when the hour was up. The strategy of employing circuits of deteriorating reps (i.e. 15 burpees, 15 ball slams, 15 sit-ups, 30-yard sprint…14 burpees, 14 ball slams, 14 sit-ups, 30-yard sprint, etc.) kept our minds as busy as our bodies. I’ll admit it, I lost count once or twice and had to ask the equally-exhausted team next to me what round we were on.
When all was said and done, we were all exhausted and dirty. Yet, the 12 strangers who had traded the comfort of our warm cars for the chilly air and dewy grass found ourselves smiling as we said our goodbyes, feeling that much more akin to Bradley Cooper.
Individual Classes at Kokoda Fitness start with a drop in rate of $20; Series and Corporate packages offer discounted rates.
- Wear layers especially for the morning and early evening classes as temperatures drop near the shoreline. Dark colors are recommended and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. After class you’ll want to give your shoes a solid stomp down before walking inside.
- Bring what you need - water, and a towel. Nathan will keep all personal belongings safe in the truck including bags and car keys
- Come ready to train – while there are public restrooms available at most outdoor locations, don’t count on them.