Outer Banks Bootcamps : I do, do you? {OBX Wedding & Portrait Photographer}

I’ve always considered myself someone who would jump at the chance to do just about anything (within reason!). In fact, upon hearing of my mechanical bull escapades my stepmom Caryn said, “….you have never been afraid to try something!”. I love roller coasters, ride horses,  fly in Cessna’s and Bi-planes, and snow ski. I’ve jumped out of a darn airplane for goodness sake! Yes, I love doing new things….with one exception. Working out. I was a pretty active kid, danced for years, soccer for years, tried my hand (not so successfully) at gymnastics and tee ball. But working out? Hate it. With. A. Passion. Physical change, good or bad, is gradual. You look in the mirror everyday and you really think the face you see staring back looks fine. Then…..you have a moment when you see a photo of yourself and think, “WHO is that person? Surely that can’t be ME?”. Oh yes, I had that moment – yet still did nothing to change it.

So one day almost a year ago I’m out having coffee with my good friend Alex. Not only does our friendship go back to high school, but we’re also both photographers. Needless to say, if we’re not talking about “work” our chats are pretty random and all over the place. Imagine my surprise when out of the blue Alex says, “I think I want to do this Outer Banks Bootcamps thing….and you should do it with me”.

The rest of our conversation went a little something like this:

Me : Bwahahahahaha, yeah right. (I may or may not have fallen out of my chair. I mean, anything with the word “bootcamp” in it can’t be good, right?)

Alex : No, seriously. Jay keeps telling me about it, I think we should do it.

Me : Bwahahahahaha, yeah right. Nice try, but I’m NOT doing it. (I think at this point I was drinking a latte and eating a filled croissant.)

Alex : No, really. I really want to do this, but I don’t want to do it alone.

I really don’t even remember the rest of the conversation, but I do remember somehow she talked me into it – and before I knew it I was agreeing to do it with her. We photographed a wedding together a few days later in which our dear friend (Rev. Jay) was officiating. Not only is Jay a super fantastic wedding officiant, he’s also a coach/trainer and part owner of Outer Banks Bootcamps with Matt Costa.

It was no secret as I told him we were “in” that I was terrified. These were ATHLETES, and I’m, well…not. He assured us we’d be fine. I wasn’t so sure. For starters, they meet every Tuesday & Thursday at 5:30am….umm yeah, apparently one of those happens in the MORNING too. Are you kidding me??? All my friends know I like my sleep, and if you call my house before 9am you better be on fire! What can I say? I don’t have kids, and I can sleep in. I agonized every day about bootcamp, and I’m pretty sure I called Alex every day trying to talk her out of making me do it. I felt a little…and I mean only a little…bit of relief when I found out they were going to offer a 7am bootcamp.

So If you don’t already know, Bootcamp is like none other. The summer months consist of beach fitness. That means running, jumping, squatting, dragging things, swimming (yes, in workout clothes), and doing all sorts of inhume fitness activities…..in the sand and ocean! Still not sure? Take a look:

Yes….we are carrying each other down the beach on wooden stretchers!




The first Tuesday we show up, Backpack full of our “required items”, not really sure what to think. The 5:30 group was in the parking lot covered in sweat, sand, and salt water. I only knew Alex, and of course Jay. We met at Knuckle Up in Kitty Hawk and after registration Matt lined us up, and for lack of a better phrase, put the fear of God into us. I took one look at Alex, and I know my eyes were pleading to jump ship and go home. All of a sudden, we were off. Running from the parking lot, across the highway, and through some neighborhoods on the ocean side. I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I was walking within 30 seconds. By the time we made it to the beach, which looking back was probably not even a full mile, I was about to pass out. I had cramps in my legs, I was out of breath, and just totally over it. I knew I’d made a HUGE mistake. The rest of the first day was a blur, but I remember it being B.A.D. After we finished I told Alex that there was no way I was coming back.

Of course being the voice of reason that she is, Alex convinced me to just come back on Thursday. The thought was that maybe Matt was just trying to scare us, and Thursday wouldn’t be so bad. HA! Thursday rolled around, and I’m pretty sure it was worse than the first day. I spent most of the session running down the beach, crying, while Matt ran next to me yelling. Yeah, everyone still thinks it’s funny to tell the story about how Matt made me cry the second day. I don’t know what made me do it, but I was determined to stick it out the whole 6 week session. That second day we ran 3 miles, on the beach, dragging PVC pipes filled with concrete. I’d never run 3 miles in my life, heck I’d hardly run 3 feet.

Weeks later, at “graduation”, I was told that if anyone was going to drop out – they figured that person would me me…haha.  But I stuck with it. My original goal was just to finish each day. Then my goal became to just not come in last. Now my goal is to become fast!

So here I am today, coming up on my 1 year anniversary with Outer Banks Bootcamps. So far, I’ve completed well over 10 sessions (probably more around 13-15 I think?). I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll keep on saying it : If I didn’t do bootcamp, I wouldn’t do anything. Matt & Jay didn’t give up on me, even when I wanted to give up on myself.  Bootcamp never gets easy, it just gets a little easier.

My transformation has been unreal. I went from not being able to run more than 30 seconds at a time, to running races. I’ve lost count of the number of 5K’s I’ve done, I’ve run several 10k’s, a Warrior Dash….and the biggest accomplishment to date, TWO half marathons. That’s 13.1 miles people…at one time! TWICE! I went from not exercising at all to running a half marathon in 6 months. None of it would have been possible without Matt, Jay, and OBBC.

Here’s the thing about bootcamp, it’s not just a fitness program, it’s family! I have created some of the best friendships with these people. People whom I would have probably never met had it not been for bootcamp. I’ve had to chance to introduce many friends to bootcamp, not all stayed, but many have become addicted themselves. It’s awesome to have so many familiar faces around. We love each other and support each other, both inside and outside of bootcamp. When someone has a birthday, we’re all there. When someone has an event to celebrate, we’re all there. When someone opens a new business, we’re ALL there (probably a little too much…haha). My point being, we’re all there.

It’s amazing to watch OBBC grow over the past year. As something that started out with less than a dozen people, grow to program with over 100 is incredible. Morning camps, evening camps, beginner camps. There is truly something for everyone! I am living proof that anyone can do bootcamp.


Alex and I on one of our many BC runs to the Wright Brother’s Monument   &   After our very first 5k race!


Thanksgiving Day 5k 2011


My stepmom and I at a 5k Mud-Run, The Warrior Dash

And just when you think you can’t get any nuttier, you actually blog photos of yourself where you look like this ⇧.


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  1. I’ll never admit it, but I think I felt a tear of pride in you well up while reading your post. Love you, Court.

  2. Wow Courtney thank you so much for sharing this! I would have been crying too. Just started my own little exercise journey a couple months ago but it’s no where near bootcamp. Would love to one day be able to run, thanks for making me think it’s possible! You look awesome too! Can’t wait for our beach pictures 🙂

  3. This is an awesome post Courtney!!! I’m hoping for a Saturday camp or something so I can join y’all!!


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