Why We Start with Base Camp

My wife (Ditty to most of you) and I have been on several mountain trips for our vacations:

  • A 70 km trek along the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu;
  • a 100 km backpacking trip around Mont Blanc where we carried our own food and tents through Switzerland, Italy, and France;
  • and a successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It stands at 19,341 feet tall and is the highest mountain in Africa. I also almost blacked out near the summit, but that’s a story for another day.

Whenever you’re climbing a mountain, there are usually several routes to start. However, everyone meets at Base Camp to rest, acclimate, and get ready for the final push to summit. That’s why our intro process is called Base Camp. Everyone who joins Kanna is coming from a different fitness journey, but we all meet at Base Camp and head on the next journey together with a guide (your Coach).

No matter what your experience level, no one can just join Kanna and jump into class. Everyone has to go through Base Camp, much like on a mountain everyone would have to as well.

For most people, it means three private sessions with a coach. These sessions consist of a structured curriculum of more than 45 movements and things we want you to know and start to become familiar with. Beyond that, Base Camp is designed to do several things:

  1. Teach you movement
    If you don’t know how to do movements like deadlifts, squats, cleans, swings, and more, then this is a great time to learn the fundamentals. Even if you think you know how from another gym, chances are they didn’t hone in on form as much as we do.
  1. Assess your movement
    Sure, we could do a functional movement screen (FMS), but we think more time needs to be spent evaluating your movement doing compound exercises like squats, rowing, pressing, etc. rather than just a straight legged test. Remember, we’re all about getting fit for life in the real world, so we prefer compound movements over isolated ones.
  2. Explain how and why we modify
    Can’t do a pull-up? Totally fine, we have several different ways to modify it so you can get the intended stimulus. Can’t lift as much weight as someone else? We actually don’t care because we want you to use the appropriate weight for YOU and we will show you how. We also go over the general format of a regular class so you know it’s ok to modify and a coach will help you when you do get in.
  3. Measure your biometrics
    You’ll get an InBody scan to measure water weight, muscle mass, fat mass, and more. This way we have an objective measure of your body composition from the start. After all, most people come in looking to lose a little weight, so why not measure it first? This comes particularly in handy after a few months here when your clothes start fitting better and your performance increases, but you might be at the same weight on the home scale. When we get you on the InBody machine again, we usually see an increase in muscle mass and decrease in body fat which is why you might weigh the same but look, feel, and perform better.
  4. General orientation
    Base Camp is a time that we also get you in our members-only Facebook group, download our workout tracking app, explain our reservation process (because we cap at 12 people) and more.

The overall goal of Base Camp is to get into your first group class and not feel lost or like you’re “behind.” We know it can be nerve wracking to start something new, but we find fear comes from being unfamiliar with something. The more familiar you are, the less fear there is.

Even if someone is transferring from a CrossFit gym where they are very familiar with these movements, we still want to assess their movement and orient them to the space. These transfers will go through a Test Out to demonstrate knowledge of movement and go through the same exact curriculum as someone new, just in one or two sessions.

As I said, everyone is coming from different fitness journeys. Some people have played Division I sports and are looking to stay active. Others dabbled with this gym or that program. And others haven’t done anything in terms of fitness, but are determined to start. No matter who you are, we can help and it all starts with Base Camp.

-Coach Chris

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