Boot camp fitness might sound like grueling army exercise, but it’s actually the hottest fitness trend in the nation. Rooted in military basic training philosophy, boot camp combines a variety of exercises to help you drop extra pounds, increase strength, boost cardiovascular efficiency and — most importantly — learn to stick to a fitness routine.
What to expect
Boot camp sessions usually last 4-6 weeks and take place outdoors to allow for working out in a variety of environments. Boot camps are usually limited to small groups of roughly a dozen participants in order to facilitate working together, challenging each other, and making new friends.
Typical boot camp programs get participants together to train for one hour a day, 4-5 days a week. The workout generally starts with a warm-up, such as walking or jogging. Then, the exercise moves into strength training activities such as push-ups and squats. These activities are interspersed with competitive games and cardio training to get hearts pumping. The last few minutes are designed as a cool down to bring heart rates back to normal.
Variety is the key to boot camp workouts, and trainers mix up the activities every day to keep participants interested and motivated. Most camps track individual progress, so you’ll stay inspired to reach your fitness goals.
Why It Works
Boot camp sounds tough, so why is it so popular?
The variety of exercises experienced and new friendships developed make boot camp a fresh and fun fitness option. The benefits of boot camp fitness go beyond the basic health bonuses of exercise. The experience provides a group environment for trying new activities. This social aspect of small group training helps campers stay on track, in part because of group morale. Training with a coach is also a great motivator, helping participants set fitness and nutrition goals, and accomplish them.
Boot camp stresses developing a routine that will make personal exercise a habit, long after the boot camp session is over. Many people find themselves signing up for a short-term boot camp experience and loving it so much, however, that they continue with boot camp training.
Find Your Group
Boot camps are available in nearly every city in the United States. Simply do a Google search for the keywords “boot camp” along with your city name, and you should be able to find one. Franchise boot camp businesses run locations across the country. Look for a group where you think you’ll feel comfortable with the other campers, as camps vary from co-ed groups to women-only sessions to senior citizen groups. Because the camaraderie of the experience is so intense, many campers have so much fun together that they sign up for future sessions as a team!
Local Parks and Recreation departments often offer boot camps at nearby parks. The fitness industry has also joined the boot camp brigade; you can typically find a boot camp session at your local gym. Your apartment community might have a boot camp organized in your neighborhood, or you might take the initiative and start one yourself. One of the best ways to get connected to a cool camp is to ask friends to join with you.
The bottom line on boot camp fitness is that the experience will push your fitness limits. Consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, but with the okay, go ahead and give it a try — you may find that six weeks of intense fitness begins a lifetime of better health for you!