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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Surviving Boot Camp Classes

Ok. This is an intervention. A word to the wise, actually. If you are not at least in somewhat decent shape, or somewhere on the way to it, you should not be attending extreme boot camp fitness classes. Yet. As I say this, I also realize that I risk losing business, because some who may be considering taking my outdoor classes may also happen upon this blog.
However, I'd rather have you come and really feel the right type of challenge that a boot camp class is supposed to provide, instead of coming to my class, or somebody else's and finding yourself wanting to puke, quit or pass out.

Now, let me just say, that as trends go, boot camps are all the rage right now. I have taught sports conditioning and boot camp type classes for years, but all of a sudden, EVERY fitness instructor, personal trainer or weight loss loser with even half a brain of exercise knowledge has decided to start up a boot camp at a park near you. Your Grandma is probably running a boot camp somewhere right now, and you don't even know it. That's how many there are out here right now, in every city, town, state and country. They're spreading quicker than the boubonic plague.
Also, because of popular weight loss shows like Celebrity Fit Club and The Biggest Loser, everybody, deconditioned or not, thinks that taking a hard paced, leave it all on the floor boot camp run by a take no prisoners instructor is the new cool thing to jump on.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to go hard....but be realistic. If you've been basically sitting on your can for months, haven't run or jumped in ages, and do not exercise with at least some consistency, why would you all of a sudden step up into a class designed to push you at a much harder pace than the normal fitness class/routine? What do you really think you will gain? I'll tell you what will happen...you will have one of the worst hours of your life that seems like it will never end. You might get sick. Because of your lack of physical activity on a regular basis, you might get injured. Also, it might be such a harrowing experience physically and mentally (not to mention, embarrassing) that you might not try to exercise again for a long time, thus putting you right back at square one. A lucky few deconditioned souls might survive unscathed, but they are the exceptions.

So...let's avoid any of the negative experiences or effects mentioned above by doing one simple thing: start exercising at least a few weeks before you decide to go jump on the boot camp bandwagon. Hit a few runs or bike some miles to get your cardio level back up, start doing some basic calisthenics such as push ups, lunges, squats and crunches, etc, and also, start stretching. This type of pre conditioning will give you a much better foundation and also will put you in a better position to take a boot camp class for what it is really designed for; to push your fitness to the NEXT level. Now, when you do attend such a program, you'll feel better as you go through it and also will be more able to push yourself and rise to the challenges given instead of just trying to survive.

I can't tell you how many times I've experienced someone popping up at one of my boot camps or sports conditioning classes, and getting sick, getting dizzy, becoming quickly fatigued or unable to finish. I'm not always that extreme either, unless a bunch of well conditioned athletic types show up at my class. THEN, I get out the big guns! But even so, in my boot camp you need to come ready to do sprints, jump rope, hop over stuff, do burpees, maybe a few sets of bench jumps if I'm feeling a bit sadistic, and yes, OF COURSE, do push ups and/or planks, among other things. That's like the letter 'A' to me. I change my line up from week to week, but know that you WILL be challenged if you do dare come. Boot camp ain't supposed to be easy....

So, be smart. Be ready for that challenge, no matter whose boot camp it is.
Start getting at least a little exercise in beforehand, and you'll have a much better time. Trust me! ;)

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FItness Community said...

Haha, I love how you say "bring out the big guns" - you seem like an intense coach. I like that. You sound cool, nice post.

iWalk said...

Hi, Diva, I think Boot Camp class is a good idea, But I's rather be your student if I was there.

Joy said...

Hey Diva
Great tips! I've been running camps for yrs too and I believe that mindset surpasses just about anything. So preparing people in advance is great!

Wilson Pon said...

Diva, what I loved about Booty camp is we can really work out and sweat all day long, without have to worry to getting back for our job afterward!

Hence, a booty camp is like a mind and physical recharging camp to me.

Fit Jerk - Flawless Fitness said...


... and it looks like you have quite the following with your boot camps. Good job Diva. *wink* ;)

EastCoastLife said...

I would not survive boot camp! :D

I haven't been exercising for a while now. I need to get my lazy bum off the chair. :D

matt murpho said...

Nice tips..I like the fact that you point out people that do nothing at all for years and then jump into these intense camps are are always suprised at how hard it is and how they get..nice post!!

Expert Speaks said...

Hi Diva,

Boot Camp class is a good idea, if I was there, really i joined u.

your "Health Assistant" said...

your really a tough woman, I hope sometime I can do it too and have the stamina to do boot camp.

Apollo said...

Very well put. I think many just think it is cool to go through a softened version of what boot camp is like...you know...just to say that they have 'participated' but they fail to realize how demanding it really is.

Just like if you go to a real boot camp, you should be prepared and be at the very least in moderate shape.

Those boot camp courses do pop up all over the place, don't they?

Guess I should start one, too...lol...:).

dermify said...

I did some boot camps in LA last summer and I was in the best shape of my life! I wish they weren't so expensive here in NYC.

Rob said...

A lot of people think boot camps are the quick fix answer to excessive weight or years of over indulgence. I think boot camps are very good for getting people into the right frame of mind for a more long term permanent change in their lives. Nice site :)

women's exercise said...

I always find it amusing when i see people trying a bootcamp and then they look shocked that they should actually have to work out hard!

It only takes one time to realize... water is a must and its not for sissies

Urban Thought said...

I've always wanted to do one of those classes. But I don't think I'll be able to keep up.

John @ Family, Fitness and Finances said...

It is great that you are warning of the extreme nature of the Boot Camp classes, even though your own business could suffer for having done so. Might as well be truthful up front. After reading your post, the trendy, non-serious will probably think twice before signing up for one of these classes. Great info.

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