When you read an ad like “Sign Up for Boot Camp Classes Today!” do you envision a U.S. Army Sergeant, at 0400 hours with his face in yours and yelling as loudly as he can for you to wake up? Standing at attention while your uniform is being inspected? Being put through physically and emotionally grueling days and tests to ensure you are able to handle the demands of being a soldier? Rest assured that not all camps are quite like that. Well, at least not the civilian ones! Fitness boot camp classes are, however, effective in helping people to lose weight and build muscle in a fun and short amount of time!
Why Choose Boot Camps Over Other Types of Exercise?
- Effective – you perform bursts of high intensity exercise followed by short rest periods.
- Structured – pushing you to do your best and not allowing you to rest too long which could happen if you exercise by yourself.
- Ever-changing – a variety of exercises means you aren’t performing the same number of sets and same number of repetitions on the same exercises during each session.
- Camaraderie – group classes have this inherently built-in. The other campers will help push you to keep you going even when you want to stop.
- Accountability – your instructor and fellow campers expect you to be there and could razz you if you don’t show up.
- Exercises are modified or progressed, depending on the fitness level of the camper. For example, the instructor might say the next move is a push up for 30 seconds. The more advanced campers could perform a dive bomber or military style, while the least advanced campers could start with a push up on their knees and only drop as close to the ground as they can.
- Versatile – equipment isn’t required so it makes it easier to hold classes inside or outside, depending on the weather.
- Efficient – class is completed in an hour, including warm up, the exercises, and cool down.
- Less expensive than small group training or individual personal training.
Those new to exercise or returning after a prolonged absence have a lot of room to improve and with practice and an encouraging instructor, they most probably will! In this group setting, you are really competing against yourself. You may be able to perform walking lunges without an issue while the person next to you struggles with every step. But on the next exercise, say a walkout, she might easily outperform everyone in class.
Boot campers often receive fitness and nutrition tips during the warm up or cool down of each session, and boot camp is usually offered with some type of nutrition coaching to further help the campers meet their fitness goals.
Boot camps aren’t for everyone though. If you prefer a high level of personalized attention, want an individualized program for quicker results, or feel uncomfortable exercising with others you don’t know, you should consider one-on-one training sessions or even a small group training session with friends or family. And as with all exercise, if you have a medical condition, you should get a physician’s approval prior to beginning class. Try a class and decide for yourself if you are boot camp material!