With so many varieties of workout opportunities out there sometimes it is difficult to know which one you should go for. It would be great to try them all but realistically we try only a few on for size and stick to that type of exercise. Sometimes we can be deterred from trying a particular type of exercise due to the associated costs or by having to commit to a yearly contract. Although one great alternative and something that has grown in popularity over the years is a Boot Camp. If you are seriously looking to lose weight then this could be the perfect way to shed those excess pounds.
What exactly is a Boot Camp?
Boot Camps are based on the Military style approach to fitness training. Yes, in the Military you see groups of young recruits being screamed at by a seemingly aggressive Sergeant who is portrayed to strike the fear of god into his subjects, however this is commonly known in Military circles as “encouragement”. Actually, in the early days of Boot Camps they were generally run by serving or former members of the Armed Forces who were normally members of the Physical Training Corps or similar. These days however whilst this is still the case in certain locations there are many instructors who have never experienced Military Service, but that is not to say that they do not have the same approach or level of expertise with regard to this type of fitness training.
If you ever wander through your local park and see a bunch of people sprinting up and down, performing press-ups, sit-ups, start jumps, burpees etc. Then there is a good chance that they are part of a Boot Camp group. Some Boot Camp sessions are held indoors within gyms or warehouses but generally the most common place is outdoors. Even in inclement weather the die hard Bootcampers can be seen toughing it out in rain, hail or snow. After all in the Military you wouldn’t have a choice.
How much does it cost?
Costs are generally quite low. The fact that most sessions are held in local parks helps to reduce the overheads associated with gyms or sports halls. This helps to keep the costs at a minimum.
They price you pay will differ from group to group. Some groups run a continuous program whereas others run programs of varying length (6, 8 or 10 weeks). So it really depends. There are quite often membership schemes that provide monthly and annual payment terms, sometimes with varying levels (eg: Bronze, Silver & Gold membership). The idea that the higher the level the more sessions you are able to attend making is cheaper for you in the long run. It would really depend on how often you would plan to attend.
An example from my local Boot Camp group:
- Gold Membership: €390 per year or €38 per month for unlimited training sessions
- Silver Membership: €310 per year or €31 per month for 2 x training sessions per week
- Bronze Membership: €330 per year or €23 per month for 1 x training sessions per week
Again this is just a guide and will depend on individual groups.
Do I need to be fit before I join?
Actually Boot Camp fitness training is for everyone. There is no need to be a super athlete before joining one of these programs. Everyone will have varying levels of fitness and people will get through the exercises at their own pace. However, it is recommended that you have some level of fitness otherwise you simply won’t enjoy yourself. You will receive plenty of encouragement from the instructors during the sessions to push yourself and help you to improve so they are more suited to people who have a reasonably active life (eg: if you are able to manage a brisk walk for 45 min then that should be a good enough level).
It is not uncommon for instructors to issue different coloured bibs for different levels of fitness (eg: beginner, intermediate, advanced), this way they can manage their classes more effectively ensuring the right level of “encouragement” is given as necessary.
However, as with starting any new fitness regime it is always recommended to consult your doctor to assess your suitability prior to commencing and of course for your own piece of mind.
What kind of exercises will I do?
The answer to that is MANY. Boot Camps are designed to provide a full body workout during every session. They are also intended to promote teamwork as the majority of the exercises will require you to work in pairs or in teams. Sessions will host a variety of different exercises and they are seldom run in the exact same way. It is not unknown for instructors to “use their imagination” to make things more interesting but generally they will aim to give you a similar sense of achievement. Most of the exercises will use nothing but your own body weight as resistance but occasionally the instructors will use certain props such as medicine balls, tyres, sandbags and ropes to give you that additional challenge. Some more common exercises you can expect are shown below:
- Press ups
- Squat thrusts
- Star Jumps
- Shuttle runs/Sprints
- Sit ups
- Firemans lift
Every session should start with a 10-15 minute warm up and concludes with a similar period for warming down and performing stretching exercises in order to avoid the build up of lactic acid in the muscles.
Quick march yourself into action !
So, do you think Boot Camp could be for you? It’s certainly worth a try. It’s a cost effective way to work out, you will get a whole body workout and you have the opportunity to be outdoors in the fresh air which can only be good for the immune system. Furthermore, you will make new friends, work as a team and encourage each other along on your journey to weight loss and improved fitness.
For more details on how to get involved in Boot Camps it is recommended to check your local sport center or gym to see if there is anything be held in the area. Then simply contact them to agree a date/time to tag along.
So what are you waiting for? Left, right, left, right, left, right…………..