When you pass by your local park these days you may see small groups of people sprinting, jumping and doing push ups. Nope, they aren’t military cadets or a high school football team; these are adult fitness boot camp participants who’ve paid a fee to be put through the paces by a personal trainer.
This trend has been going already for a couple of years. Boot camp workouts have been the thing. In many cities, you could sign up for a program, meet in local parks and kill yourself with workouts that resemble the physical training of soldiers. But what exactly is it and could it be something for you?
A fitness boot camp is type of outdoor group exercise class that mixes traditional calisthenic and body weight exercises (like pushups, jumping jacks and crunches) with interval training and strength training. While there are a variety of styles of fitness boot camps, most are designed in a way that pushes the participants harder than they’d push themselves and, in that way, resemble a military boot camp.
Fitness boot camps are taking the place of many traditional exercise classes and while they are a great way to build fitness fast. Boot camp workouts are efficient because you work your entire body– heart and muscles–by going from one exercise to another with no rest. The difference with a normal fitness training lies in the intensity. In boot camp, your challenge is to take your body to its limit. You work, you sweat and, best of all, you burn calories like crazy.
These fitness classes have grown in popularity over the years primarily because they offer a new way to get a low-cost, efficient and challenging workout. They definitely aren’t for every exerciser, but with the right instructor, these fitness classes get fast results and create a supportive and motivational community of like-minded people.
The standard fitness boot camp offers all or most of the following:
- A small group environment (6-10 people).
- An open public outdoor space such as a park.
- Warm Up – Each session should start with a 10 minute warm up.
- Workout – The 30-40 minute workout will typically include: Push ups, Interval training, Squats, Lunges, Speed training with sprints, Core strength, Team competitions, Partner exercises, Obstacle courses, Cool down and stretching.
- The session will end with some gentle stretching and possibly some education and homework.
The biggest advantages of a boot camp workout are:
- They are a great way to burn lots of calories.
- They are efficient – you work your whole body in a short period of time.
- They are fun – each exercise is different so you don’t get bored.
- They are easy to fit in to a busy schedule – You can do it anywhere with little equipment.
- They are as challenging as you want them to be.
- They are motivational – When you exercise with a group of people there is built-in motivation.
- They are educational – Most boot camp instructors start and end the session with some fitness, health or nutrition education so you learn as you train.
But of course where there are advantages, there always are disadvantages as well:
- They offer limited personal instruction – Depending upon how many are in your class, the instructor may not be able to provide enough feedback regarding your form, technique and injury prevention.
- They are ¨One size fits all¨ – A boot camp workout is designed with some basic exercises that should accommodate a variety of different fitness levels, but you often have to adjust your workout to fit your personal fitness level and goals.
- They can have a steep learning curve – The first week of a boot camp workout will probably be a bit frustrating as you learn the routines and deal with soreness from starting a new routine. In order for these workouts to get results, you’ll need to stick with it for a month or more.
- The instructor matters – A successful boot camp workout depends on the instructor’s knowledge and training as well as enthusiasm and personality.
One underlying component of a good boot camp fitness class is creating a spirit of teamwork and group support and cohesion. To do so, some fitness boot camp owners have started to focus their classes to cater to a specific demographic or those with a specific goal. The types of fitness boot camps that are available are endless. If you are seeking a specialized class or have a specific fitness goal, you will probably find a boot camp that meets your needs. Some specialized fitness boot camps include: General fitness, Sports specific boot camps (ski prep, running, bicycling, soccer), Women-only fitness boot camp, Fitness boot camps for seniors, Weight loss boot camps, etc.
The new trend now is that you see more and more Boot Camp holidays being organised with a specific themes like ¨Weight Loss Boot camps¨. This mostly mean being a week or longer away from home to spend with like-minded people. Your days will be mainly filled with physical activity in combination with healthy food and personal advise.
We, Spa In Spain, we love these kind of retreats! It is the BEST way to lose weight. A retreat where you will only be cut on your diet do work for the week you are there, but as soon as you returned home, you will gain the kilos as quick as you lost them. If you really want to lose weight permanently, phsysical activity in combination with a healthy and balanced diet is the key!
An example of a ¨Weight Loss Boot camp¨ we offer is the Costa Blanca Wellness Boot camp. It offers a “softer” option to the Military style and hard core boot camps, with a gentler approach to exercise and nutrition, to offer a kick start to your weight loss and detox regime.