Enlisting for fitness

For those constantly fighting the battle of the bulge, it might be wise to enlist a little help.

Which is where Drill Instructor Rodney Carson, creator of the Basic Training fitness program, and Kendra Cendana, creator of the FitChix boot camp in Rocklin, come in handy.

Basic Training

Carson, a former correctional facility drill instructor, leads an intense military-style boot camp for civilians looking to get in tip top physical shape. Not for anyone used to kid gloves, the program is true to its name and intense in nature.

“We’re not trying to condition the civilian out of people, that’s the military’s job,” Carson said. “But we are working to get in peak condition and see results fast.”

The format of the regime-style boot camp is all encompassing, from calisthenic exercises, motivation and discipline, cardiovascular conditioning and nutrition education.

The Basic Training program is popular with Police Academy recruits, soldiers out on medical leave and soccer moms looking for an intense, whole body workout that will push them to their limits.

And for some, the limits includes using the “throw up bucket.”

“Just about every recruit has used it at one time or another,” said Senior Recruiter Gary Throm. “It’s kind of like a rite of passage.”

At first glance, Carson looks nothing like the crusty, hardened sergeants of the movies. But once the boot camp begins at 6:00 sharp, a metamorphosis begins with the first shout of instruction followed by a bellowing “hoo-ah.”

Dressed in drill instructor uniform complete with combat boots and campaign cover (the official term for the drill instructor hat) Carson marches through the lines of recruits reminding them to “keep your knees up” or “get off the ground” during exercises.

Jeanine Denison, an Auburn resident, heard about Basic Training on the radio and decided to enlist after growing bored of the health club scene.

“I need this kind of motivation and instruction to get in shape,” Denison said. “Plus if I’m not changing up my routine, I get bored.”

Denison swapped her street clothes for black yoga pants and the regulation issue olive-green Basic Training T-shirt and, after being introduced to the rest of the recruits, found her spot in the formation.

“Everyone is really tight, they encourage each other on. It’s like a real platoon,” Carson said. “They work hard together and support and push each other because they want to see everyone succeed.”


Don’t be fooled by the pink workout gear and room full of women, once Kendra Cendana gets started, it’s evident that FitChix boot camp isn’t for sissys.

“I hear all the time ‘she works us hard,’ like they’re surprised,” said Cendana, creator of the FitChix boot camp for women. “It’s a boot camp, it’s supposed to be a little hard.”

Cendana started offering her total body boot camp to women in 2008 with two sold out classes and has since added sessions to serve clients in Rocklin, Roseville and Granite Bay.

“The classes are more intense and comprehensive than if you were just working out alone at home or at a gym,” Cendana said. “We do a little of everything-running, weight training, cardio, pilates, yoga every week and every workout is different.”

Cendana also provides her recruits with diet plans and nutrition education, requiring each member to keep a food journal, which they turn in regularly for analysis and comments by Cendana.

“Knowing that they have to see what they’re eating on paper and then turn it in for me to see keeps them accountable,” Cendana said.

The food journals and diet plan have been especially helpful for FitChix recruit Paulette Horner, who turned to the boot camp to get back in shape after a stroke left her sidelined.

“They told me it was unlikely that I’d ever walk again,” Horner said. “I have no peripheral vision and I’m numb on my left side, but I keep up the best I can and it’s getting me active again.”

Horner says the intense, rigorous program has whittled away 25 pounds and has trained her to compete in half marathons, something she never thought possible after the stroke.

“It’s as intense as you want it to be,” Horner said. “There’s no one yelling in your face, it’s more supportive than that, but you work hard and are rewarded by results.”

What: Basic Training

When: 6 -7 p.m. Tues. and Thurs. 8:30 –9:30 a.m. Saturday

Open enlistment 1 through 10 of each month