My FEM Camp Experience!
Who runs the world?
Or rather, bad ass, hardworking, motivated, passionate, visionary women. This was my parting though as I left an exhilarating 3 day weekend at the Monica Brant FEM Camp. While I watched the video coverage and read the testimonials, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, I presumed that it would probably be a worthwhile 3 days, so what the heck…why not? I figured my family will survive without me for 3 days and I may even learn a new glute exercise or two. In my continuing efforts to build buns of steel, that alone would be worth the trip. Well, while I did learn more than a couple toning, tightening and butt lifting exercises, there was so much more to take away than I could have imagined!
Now mind you, I’m not a “girls girl”. You know those women that you can just throw into any room of women and next thing you know they’re bonding over Etsy boutiques in Pinterest boards….yeah, well I’m NOT her. You can’t just throw me into a group of women and expect me to share a female bond. I kind of take myself seriously (probably too seriously) and value the time I dedicate to my friends and family and the investment of time I make in developing my skills and abilities. Diverting this time to anything outside of my normal routine needs to add value and offer a worthwhile return on my investment. So, while I was definitely excited about the opportunity, it was a tough decision to actually go.
I’m not even sure where to begin to adequately capture the dynamic of the weekend. There was so much to savor! From the training to the photo shoot, the FEM Camp team to my fellow sisters in fitness, the offerings were endless. So, I will try to articulate myself and share my 5 major takeaways from the weekend.
1. Monica Brant
Of course, I was familiar with who she is and her brand that has inspired countless women for years. But what I did not know was the motivation behind the woman. Call me a cynic, but like many entrepreneurs, I presumed this was simply a revenue generating venture that she was pursuing. Upon meeting Monica (which she does with a warm hug and a load of freebies!) you quickly learn that this is not the case. From the moment you meet her and every interaction with her later (which there are a lot of. Forget being “approachable”, you don’t have to with her. She comes right up to you!) you learn that her motivation is to see YOU do well. Imagine my surprise, on day 1, as I’m struggling with a new leg move and Monica comes over and HAND’s ON corrects my form! Then she goes on to demonstrate it for me. THEN she stays by my side the entire time to make sure I get it! LOL…I’ve got to say that part of my issue was sheer nerves of having her stand so close and interact with me. Just imagine trying to successful sing “Halo” in front of Beyonce! But her genuine Southern girl, down to earth nature, put me at ease. And soon I felt like she was a girlfriend.
There is so much to appreciate and be in awe of when you meet Monica. From her successful career, to her rockin’ body (and when I say “rockin’ body” I mean, freaking off the charts, nobody has any business being that firm, pictures do not do her justice, brick house bod), to her passionate pursuit of life, all of that kind of fades as you learn about the person. The person who understands and has enthusiastically responded to her calling. The person who is about building other women….and not just their bodies, their spirit as well. On our last day, Monica mentioned some mumbo jumbo about “passing the torch” onto the next generation of girls. I sat there, shaking my head because I don’t agree at all. I didn’t correct her, of course…I mean it is her camp she can say whatever she wants to say! But she is completely wrong. Passing the torch implies that the fire is no longer with you. When you meet Monica you can easily see that she still carries the fire. I can only speak for myself when I say that, I believe she shared the flame and ignited a fire within me.
We’ve all heard the saying that “behind every great man is a great woman.” Well….what is behind every great woman? A supportive sisterhood.
I wasn’t prepared to be blown away by the fierce and phenomenal women who showed up as trainers to help us through our workouts. But, why was I surprised? Birds of a feather….right? Well, these ladies don’t flock, they FLEX! And they do it well! We’re talking fitness pro’s, who are every bit of the physical goddesses you would imagine them to be. Short and tall, dark and blond, young and mature…they ran the spectrum. But they all had one thing in common. Besides being ripped, each was an inspiration and a reminder of the possibilities of where living a fit life can take you.
Erica Willick. Oh…Erica Willick! Where does one begin? UFE Bikin Pro? Glutes to die for? Half owner and creative genius behind the inspirational new women’s fitness magazine GORGO (go google the name. I promise you’ll love it!) Wife? Mother? Did I mention that she’s a CPA? Well, the marketing and social media force behind FEM Camp, was a friend of mine through a Facebook group call the Mom Power Team (MPT). It was thrilling to finally meet her in person and learn her tips and tricks for rocking the star, like a rock star, as she lead day 2 of “Poise and Presentation”. And totally makes since to see her as a part of the FEM Camp team, as her own personal brand “Sisters In Shape” is on the same mission of female empowerment and personal success.
And finally, there is Lynda. Tiny in stature, but don’t let that fool you. She is a big presence on the team is the dynamic powerhouse that flawlessly facilitates the events of the weekend. She is kind of like the beautiful, blond, comedic concierge of the FEM Camp, making herself available to answer questions and fix any issue before it has a chance to arise. Armed with a clipboard, timer, and a charming sense of humor, you’re tempted to call her “cute” and go about your business. But there is something almost deceptively innocence about her look, that makes me believe that she could drop kick the biggest of bodybuilders, in a split second if you crossed her! Lol. The bond between her and Monica is obvious and Monica does not hesitate to take every opportunity to acknowledge Lynda’s contribution, adding to the uplifting tone of the weekend.
3. Gold’s Gym
OMG….there were super fit people everywhere! There are no words to describe the awesomeness of the atmosphere. There is motivation and inspiration everywhere you look. From the autographed photos from bodybuilders past and present on the wall, the large TV’s showing footage of Arnold and others flexing and working out and the random photo shoots of superhot people taking place RIGHT THERE! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, every second of working out at Gold’s Gym!
4. The Photo Shoot
OMG…what an experience! Now, I’ve done photo shoots before. Just a few, nothing serious, but I have done them. However, this was not just a photo shoot, it was an EXPERIENCE! First of all, to have the opportunity to shoot with acclaimed photographer Robert Reiff, was amazing! Then to have personal coaching and direction from Monica Brant as you’re posing, was unreal. And to top it all off, a crowd of women cheering you on, telling you have fabulous you look! Oh my goodness, I’m telling you, it was an experience! I thought I would be nervous and self-conscious posing in front of a group of girls. But they were the most supportive, amazing and encouraging women ever…..I wish I could take them with me everywhere! I mean, imagine having your own personal pep squad as you do sprints on the treadmill, or have to deal with an annoying co-worker or have patience while trying to potty train a stubborn 2 year old! LOL…that is exactly what I need! Well, that will never happen, but I am so fortunate to have had it for the brief moment that I did. Which brings me to my next point….
5. The Women
There is something to be said about any female friend you find in fitness. While most female bonding is done over a love of wine, hatred of loser ex’s or a passion for shoes, finding a connection while sweating it out, as you flex and flare your lat’s was refreshing! And our interest in shaping ourselves into the best we could be, was almost the only thing we had in common. There were approximately 20 women in attendance and I was impressed by the diversity of the participants. The women came from all over the globe….literally! There were ladies, from Canada, Monaco and Switzerland just to name a few! The ages ranged from twenties to fifties and all types of professions. I met women in law enforcement, stay at home mom’s, entrepreneurs, executives, personal trainers…you name it. I was one of a couple figure competitors, among the bikini girls and even a dynamo from the physique world. There were women who don’t compete, but just love working out…and others who were still trying to figure out if they even liked working out or not! All in all, it was an inspirational gathering of females that I am glad to know and happy to keep in touch with. And imagine my surprise when I met a woman who works out at my gym! We work out at different times, but will be meeting up for a healthy lunch soon and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
I am so grateful that I took a chance and went to Los Angeles for the event. It’s always hard to leave your babies for several days at a time. But in the end, I feel that I gained an experience, friendships and an investment in my health and happiness that will yield returns for my kids. As my 5 year old daughter would say, the camp “filled my bucket”, which allows me to happily continue to give of myself to others. It is important that we do things like this for ourselves, every once in and while. I left feeling recharged and excited to hit the gym!
Monica Brant’s FEM Camp offers a positive, uplifting and welcoming environment that draws women together from around the world. A testament to the magical, therapeutic value of one woman helping another. And it goes to show that, women of all kinds, can equally be drawn together in pursuit of a tighter tummy and firmer buns as they can chocolate!