BANGOR — Six years ago, Seattle Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor and his trainer, Kevin Allen, came up with the idea to hold fitness boot camps for women.
At the time, the idea didn’t get off the ground. This year, they finally started it up, and Monday, March 28, more than 80 active-duty military women or spouses of active-duty military participated in the fitness boot camp hosted by FormXForce, the company Chancellor and Allen started.
“We know a lot of women care about their health and their wellbeing,” Chancellor said, “so we brought it out here and our first event … it was just outstanding.
“We want people to enforce a change in their lives, which is enforcing the fitness style in their life and enforcing the health style in their life. That’s how we came about.”
FormXForce visited seven cities in Washington on their March tour, with the Naval base being the second-to-last stop for now.
“It’s been amazing,” Chancellor said. “We’ve been getting a lot of women saying, ‘You guys are very encouraging, you guys push us to our max, you guys push us to limits we never reached.’ And some women never worked out a day in their life, and they show up and they continue working out after that.”
It was due to Sam Harlander, the regional marketing director for the base, that the boot camp came to Bangor at all.
“I actually follow some of the Seahawks on Instagram, and so I saw that Kam Chancellor was doing this boot camp, and one of his posts was, ‘We want to hear from you: What city do you want this boot camp at?’ ” Harlander said. “So just, one night, I sent a message on a whim and said, ‘Hey, have you ever done this on a Navy base before?’ ”
Harlander worked with the Morale, Welfare & Recreation director and the fitness instructor on base, as well as FormXForce, to arrange for the boot camp to visit Bangor.
“We thought this would be great, something new and exciting to bring to the base,” Harlander said, “and it just goes to show you, it pays to ask questions, and we can bring something fun like this to our military community.”
Harlander actually participated in an earlier FormXForce boot camp in Kirkland, Washington. She said the boot camp is “an awesome workout, for all fitness levels. It’s for any age.”
FormXForce currently has two programs: one for women ages 18 and older, and a youth boot camp for girls ages 11 to 17. The programs are led by a team of seven coaches including Chancellor and Allen. It starts with yoga, followed by hip-hop dance, upper-body workouts, lower-body workouts, Bam Bam Abs led by Kam Chancellor and concludes with upper-body cardio. The adult program lasts for about an hour and a half.
Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor helps lead a fitness bootcamp at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Monday, March 28. Photo: Internal Communications 3rd Class Athena Barber / U.S. Navy
“Kam is awesome because he runs around and he does it with you and encourages you,” Harlander said. “It’s a really fun time, a good atmosphere.”
Harlander said that the coaches will work with participants at a lower fitness level to modify the moves for all levels.
“I think it’s just fund to bring new and exciting things,” Harlander said. “People like working out and how much fun it is to bring some new instructors, new blood.
“I mean, come on, he’s an NFL football player. It can’t hurt to have someone like that out, and it’s something he wanted to give back to the community, the Navy community.”
Throughout the boot camp, the environment is very lighthearted and fun, with the coaches bouncing around to help people with their form or encourage them to keep pushing themselves and fast music with strong beats helping to set the pace of the workout. But for all the fun, everyone took the workout very seriously — no one finished without sweating, even Chancellor. And it wasn’t a competition. Everyone was encouraged to do the best to their ability; the biggest competition of the night was who could cheer the loudest when the women were split into two groups.
“I love health and fitness,” said participant Nikki Bruemmer. “As soon as I found out (Chancellor) was coming, I had to come. And I love the Seahawks, so I’m very excited.”
Samantha Sansone, another participant, said she attended the bootcamp to meet Chancellor, as well as to meet “fabulous women.”
“I’ve met all these other incredible women here,” Sansone said. “(I came) just to meet fabulous ladies and workout and try something new. This is definitely new to me.”
Sansone, a fitness instructor, said fitness boot camps are great because “you get to do a little bit of everything and kind of see what your style is when working out.”
Chancellor said, “I think it’s very important to just be active. A lot of people tend to have a lazy bone in their body. We want to encourage them to get the lazy bone out. It’s about being active, and I think when you look good and you feel good, it’s all good.”
He said that one goal FormXForce has is to open a permanent gym, enabling people to participate in various workouts instead of just weight lifting. He said some people can “get intimidated by big, workout gyms and body-building gyms,” so he wants to create a place people can go to for whatever workout suits them best.
“We want to continue to do boot camps here and there and all over the place, but we want to get a stationary place,” Chancellor said.
Kam Chancellor, joined by his FormXForce teammates, presented The Ultimate Women’s Fitness Boot Camp at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor. Participants worked up a healthy sweat while boosting confidence and being encouraged to work towards a healthier lifestyle. Photo: ABFAN Raylene Perez / U.S. Navy
Currently, Chancellor said they’re looking to open a gym in the Kirkland area, because “that’s the main area we get the most buzz,” he said, as well as it being conveniently located, near Everett, Bothell, Redmond, the 520 bridge and more.
“It’s a growing business for us,” Chancellor said.
They also want to expand their program to men and young men as well, and to visit more military bases and possibly go all around the world.
“That’s one thing I wouldn’t mind doing: going around the world and doing boot camps all around the world,” Chancellor said. “Just encouraging the women, the boys, the men, all of them to just be active, get people off the couch, get people from video games, get people from sitting on Instagram, all of those things that keep you stationary.
“We want to get people off their butts, get them moving.”
The goal is that attending the one- or two-night boot camps will inspire participants to make a permanent change to their lifestyle to help them get healthier and to exercise more.
But Chancellor said the one piece of advice he hopes every women leaves with is, “Always be confident in your abilities and yourself.”
“Now and then, I see women put women down,” he said. “But we want to empower women. We want to show them they’re all queens. We want to empower them to push one another to be their best and to create unity.”
To learn more about FormXForce, visit www.formbyforce.com.