Kong Fit Contributor: Gene

When it was announced that one of the KFCs for May was going to be a beach workout, I was equally apprehensive as I was excited.  Circuit training is already rough but doing it on sand sounded absolutely grueling.  Despite my reservations, the workout would be a nice start to the 3-day weekend, I hadn’t been out to the beach in months, and most importantly, it was going to be a birthday celebration for Meagan!

I woke up early Saturday morning and checked the weather forecast.  I was bummed to see that it was going to be 60 degrees and gloomy all day.  I drove over to Santa Monica with cloudy skies overhead, met up with my cousin Nick, and found the meetup spot at Tower 24.  As people started trickling in, Nick and I figured we should make a quick pit stop at the restrooms which were a good 100 yards away.  We started jogging over and were very quickly reminded of how unforgiving sand is.  Nick and I laughed because the workout hadn’t even started yet and we were already getting gassed.  By the time we got back to Tower 24, the group had ballooned to 30+ people and that’s when the excitement really started to build for me.  One of the things I love most about KFC is the community it has built. I’ve developed friendships with people I normally wouldn’t run into in my everyday life, and it was nice to catch up with them before the workout and to meet new faces as well.

After a quick opportunity to socialize, throw some frisbees/footballs, and play some beach bat, we went off to start our workout.  We were led by the very charismatic, very fit Blaine Strong and his very personable, very motivating coaches, Bruce and Ashley.  Rather than kicking it off with a typical stretching routine, we did a really fun jogging and burpee icebreaker which really set a playful tone for the day.  This wasn’t going to be a boring beach boot camp.  This was a bunch of friends, laughing on the beach and sweating it out together.  We then split up into three teams and rotated through different stations.  One station focused on upper body strength where we did push-ups, shoulder taps and inchworms.  The second station focused on lower body strength where we did squats, pulses and jumping lunges.  The third (and the most difficult for me) was the ab station where we did hip swivels, planks, and bicycle crunches.  All these workouts were made even more challenging because of the extra resistance that the sand provided.  Blaine mentioned that we were going to give and get more high-fives during the workout than we ever had before, and he wasn’t kidding.  On top of that, as we cycled through the stations, we were constantly yelling our respective team names out loud (shout out TEAM I FEEL LIKE PABLO).  This really built a greater sense of camaraderie amongst everyone.  We ended the workout by splitting the entire group into two even teams.  We did a relay race which involved a bear crawl, ladder jumps, broad jumps and burpees.  This was easily the highlight of the day for me.  With such big teams, the race took over ten minutes but that didn’t prevent people from cheering nonstop.  Sand was getting kicked up in the air, people were whistling and high fiving, runners were almost collapsing as they tagged their next teammate.  The energy in the air was palpable.  I looked around and there were people on the beach stopping to see what the fuss was all about.  It is so damn awesome – Wherever KFC goes, people look at us and think to themselves, “Damn, they look like they’re having fun.”  Despite it being a friendly competition, my team had to kick it up another level and win it for the birthday girl, Meagan (who fittingly ran anchor and secured a win for our team). We ended the workout with a birthday song and cupcakes, and that was the perfect way to cool it down. 

There were three things that made this KFC really special for me. #1) The happy look on Meagan’s face when we all sang Happy Birthday to her.  #2) KFC always reminding me to not take things for granted.  Not the beach, not this beautiful city of Los Angeles that we get to explore through workouts, and most importantly, not my health.  #3) The sun.  The forecast said it was going to be cold and gloomy all day.  KFC said forget that, and during this Beach Burn, we heated it up, set the beach on fire, and quite literally made the sun come out to play with us.

Gene Marty Pamulaklakin // @whereareyoumarty

Kong Fit Contributor