The clue is in the name. Boot camp fitness has a distinctly military feel and gets its name from the programmes used to get military recruits up to speed and fitness. Boot camps aren't designed to be gentle and relaxed. They’re all about pushing your limits and being motivated throughout.
Boot camp sessions, which are available in both indoor and outdoor locations, offer a high intensity work out that delivers a total body approach to working out.
Working out in a group pushes you to stay motivated and keep going until the very end. This extra motivation is needed - a typical boot camp class lasts between 45 minutes and an hour and can burn as many as 600 calories whilst also building strength and aerobic capacity and ability.
Boot camp specialists and instructors emphasise that there are fitness boot camps for exercisers of all levels and strengths and there are classes focusing on all different types of exerciser. Boot camps are especially good if you’ve hit a plateau, have a few pounds to lose or are trying to hone an already fit body.
Here are some top things to keep in mind before you sign up for your first boot camp:
There are many different boot camps out there, with many different ethos, so you need to make sure you pick a good fit. Some are outdoors, some are indoors, some are focused on specific target groups such as women or older adults and some utilise additional equipment such as weights and kettlebells whilst others are purely bodyweight classes. The more you research and plan, the more ready you’ll be.
2. Know your Strength
There are boot camps which are designed for beginners so if you find you’re in a class which is simply not pushing you hard enough, say something. You will probably find that the class instructor runs other groups or can suggest alternatives. This works both ways and if you’re feeling you can’t keep up, speak up.
Boot camp is going to push you to your limits and you have to be sure you’re ready for it from a food perspective. Keep up bloody sugar and energy levels with carb-based snacks an hour or two before the session. It’s also really important to keep hydrated. Drinking around 300-400 ml of water in the hour or so before you work out is recommended.
Each boot camp session is a maximum of an hour and therefore, even if it feels like it’s too much, see it through until the end. The instructor will do all they can to push you beyond your comfort zone and you need to trust them to do this and go with what they demand. If you feel any signs of injury or strain though, make sure you stop and assess your situation. Training smart is the key to success.
You’ve got to be ready to work seriously hard, and feel the burn. Just remember - you'll feel amazing afterwards!
I would have thought that a boot camp would be all men! Live and learn...but generally I find a mixed gender class better, not too much testosterone and not too much pink!
I have never done a boot camp and never would unless there was one specifically designed for men. It does seem to have a very womanly feel about it, and that's all I ever see.
I've turned up to boot camps before now and it's been all women and SUPPOSED to be just women so doing your research really matters! I try and fit at least one serious session in with the outdoor bootcamp guys here a month, more if I can, cause it really does get the adrenaline going.