The Basics of Fitness Bootcamps


Not that long ago, the term “boot camp” was normally reserved for those entering the military or police force, or a location where parents sent their delinquent children and teens to get them ‘straightened out’. Things have changed quite a bit since then.

Today just about anyone can go to “boot camp” to get in shape. The question many people ask however, is WHY would one want to do this? The answer has been repeated time and again by both participants and coordinators – because the method works.

When most of us picture boot camp in our minds, we have visions of uniformed officers, yelling at people from a nose-length away, or while exhausted recruits work themselves to the end of their ropes. While there may be some trainers who use a variety of such intimidation tactics, most are much more pleasant to deal with. Their expectations are realistic, as long as participants show up for their designated instruction period, and try their best while they are there. For the most part, they tend to be very approachable too.

Why Boot Camps Are Effective

There are several reasons why this type of fitness regime actually works. For one thing, they encourage healthy competition between participants. Activities are often designed so that there is a clear winner, and this brings out everyone’s competitive spirit. Winning provides you with a wonderful feeling, and it has been proven that people are more likely to give it everything they’ve got when up against others. Yet there’s also a sense of camaraderie and encouragement among participants which results from facing these challenges together.

Boot camp will often offer types of exercise you may not find in other programs. Many of these boot camps are held outdoors, and they may include a wide variety of activities such as hiking, wall climbing, obstacle courses and team competitions. This makes exercise something to look forward to, keeping us motivated and on our toes.

There are boot camps available which have been designed for specific groups, or those with common goals. Some are targeted toward general fitness, while others are designed to promote weight loss. There are boot camps for every age group, gender and preferred activity or sports. No matter where you fall into things, there is almost definitely a fitness boot camp out there for you and your personal needs.

Your Own Personal Boot Camp

A boot camp can be highly effective, and you are almost certain to find on which can suit your needs. If you can’t find once however, you can still apply some of the principles to your own workout.

Boot camp participants are often expected to perform exercises in rapid succession in order to maximize cardiac benefits and calorie burning. This is something you can just as easily do on your own. Just start out with some all-imortant stretching, then do some running or other intense exercise for 5 to 10 minutes. Move on to some strength building exercises, then alternate between intensity levels for the remainder of your workout.

And don’t forget to add a little adventure to your regimen. You could create your own obstacle course in your yard, try a new piece of bought or borrowed exercise equipment, or look into new hiking trails. A little bit of change can help keep things interesting.

Boot camp fitness programs have very quickly gained quite a bit of popularity in a relatively short period of time. They are a great choice for anyone who realizes they lack motivation to keep up with an exercise program on their own, or thrive better with an aspect of teamwork surrounding their exercise. And as many people are finding out, they can whip themselves into shape very quickly, with boot camp as their stepping stone to a new fitness routine.

Mubarakah Ibrahim is the owner and head trainer of BALANCE fitness Studio for women in New Haven, CT where she offers fitness education, personal training and group fitness classes for women.