Boot camp is a kind of high- intensity fitness program meant for people who’re looking for a steely fitness regime. It is especially recommended for military personnel, students, athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to take their fitness routine to the next level.
Boot camp training is considered to be the best remedy for people struggling with behavioral issues, depression and those who’re looking for a strong motivation and energy. With boot camp training, you will seriously wish you were marching on to a battlefield and taking on your enemies, pulling out all the stops!
So, if you seriously think that your usual aerobic session and the gruelling cardio workouts are not giving you the crunch, then move on to a swashbuckling and high-intensity program like boot-camp training.
In other words, boot camp training is a kind of fitness program, which provides strength and endurance in the long run. Boot camp usually involves a series of intense strength trainings which are meant for people who have a strong base in physical training. It is not meant for the faint hearted. So before you sign up for boot camp training, make sure to consult your doctor and learn more about the prerequisites of a boot camp workout.
Boot Camp Training
The best part about boot camp training is that it can be performed with or without any equipment. It is interspersed with a range of intense exercises like lunges, crunches, sit-ups, sprints, curls and drills to pace up your cardiovascular activity and increase agility.
Originally designed to whip up new military recruits into shape, fitness boot camp classes result in a total-body approach, combining sprint intervals, bodyweight exercises, and high-intensity moves like kicking and punching.
A typical boot camp training is done outdoors, but sometimes for a change, it can be done indoors at your gym facility.
While Boot camp training was first launched as Barry’s Boot camp way back in the late 90s, it was later followed by heavy hitters like ‘Pure Camp’ and ‘Warrior Fitness Boot Camp’. A typical class lasts one hour and can burn around 600 calories, building strength and aerobic capacity all at the same time.
However, if you’re a newbie and don’t know a thing about boot camp training, then you need to gear up for the first session. Here’s how you need to prepare for the first session –
- Hydrate one or two hours before class- Keep yourselves hydrated before you come for boot camp training, because once the training starts, you may find it hard to sprint and juggle with a bloated tummy.
- Keep a Positive Attitude- Boot camp training is a gruelling task, but you can keep your spirits alive and remain committed to reach the finishing line. Continue to motivate yourself with all your focus on fitness and keep your cool while your heart is racing and your muscles are burning.
- Stay present, and listen to the instructor- If you concentrate on how much it hurts and how much you want to quit, you might forget the next sequence or next relay move. Actively focus your attention on the instructor, and you will distract yourself from the pain.
- Remember your breath and your abs- Breathe through tough exercises, and simultaneously, be sure to contract your abs to protect your back. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, but you will eventually train your body to breathe deeper while your abs are engaged.
- Be On the Frontline- Always be on the run, to stay ahead of your buddy in the line-up for the training; stand in the front of the group, be the first to sprint, join the earliest. Being last will make you feel lethargic and more prone to giving up.
- Fuel up- To keep blood sugar and energy levels high during tough moves, fill your stomach with a carb-based snack (fruits or veggies with whole grains) an hour or two before the workout. And to recover the energy spent, make sure to eat a carb and protein rich snack two hours after workout.
- Be A Team Player- Boot camp workouts are all about team work. Most of the exercises in boot camp training are interactive and need joint effort
One underlying component of a good boot camp fitness class is creating a spirit of teamwork and enthusiasm. The types of fitness boot camps available are endless, but to begin with, you need to find the following qualities to sign into a boot camp training program-
- General fitness
- Sports specific boot camps such as ski prep, running, bicycling, soccer
- Women-only fitness boot camp
- Kids fitness boot camp
- Fitness boot camps for seniors
- Weight loss boot camps
- Boot camps for brides
While there are still a few instructors who act like drill sergeants, most fitness boot camp instructors offer encouragement rather than intimidation. Many incorporate concepts from mind-body training and include poses from yoga and end with a bit of meditation or visualization training.
Is a boot camp workout for everybody?
Fitness boot camps often appeal to individuals looking for a more intense workout. Boot camp exercises usually involve ballistic, swift movements that can be too challenging to those who aren’t already in shape. But if you have a strong foundation of strength and aerobic training, you’re probably ready for boot camp. Before you sign up, please check if you match the fitness criteria needed for a boot camp training program, like age, weight, health conditions like heart rate, breathing speed and bone density.
If you are older than age 40, are pregnant, haven’t exercised for some time or have certain health conditions, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a boot camp class or any new exercise program.
How to Get Started
For a boot camp training in group, first go for a dynamic warm up, followed by a full body circuit of exercises. Split your team into groups, according to their fitness levels. In order to bring out maximum output, you can pair the participants by maintaining a balance between strong and weak levels. Boot camp training can be modified into interesting ways, involving your partners and using many combinations of exercises like push-ups, sprints, squats, multidirectional lunges, medicine ball stretches and kettle bell exercises. Check out some of the workouts done in groups
1. Partner Exercises:
Pairing campers up with a partner will change the whole dynamic of a workout. You can have partners complete the exercises together (ex. partner push-ups,) have them take turns (ex. partner sprints,) or you can have them work as a team to accomplish an exercise.
Tabata training is one of the most effective forms of training you can do in minimum time. Use exercises that are challenging and try to involve the larger muscle groups when possible. Tabatas are: 20 seconds of work time followed by 10 seconds of rest time, repeated for 8 sets (or 4 minutes.) You can choose exercises like: squats, sprints, mountain climbers, lunges and much more.
Try using 3-10 different exercises (depending on the size of your group) and create “stations.” Divide your group up into equal numbers and have them rotate through each station for 30 to 60 seconds. This is a great way to shoot up your camper’s heart rates and complete a set of exercises in a single workout.
4. Timed Workouts:
These are perfect in a group setting because everyone can work at their own pace. Fix a time (based on the exercises involved) and have participants perform as many rounds of the exercises as they can in the allotted time.
For example: I would have my campers perform rounds of 8 reverse lunges (on each side), 8 push-ups, and 8 sit-ups, as many times possible, in 12 minutes. Timed workouts bring an air of excitement to any boot camp workout.
5. Obstacle Courses:
Obstacles are always fun to use once in a while in boot camp. You can use whatever you have handy: cones, tires, fitness ladders, basically anything you can turn into an obstacle you can use. Be creative and have fun with it!
Besides group activities, a boot camp fitness can also be performed in isolation at home or at the gym by following a fixed pattern of exercises with equipment like jump ropes, medicine balls, free weights and cones- The main attraction of a boot camp training is the maximum intensity squeezed into minimum time frame, with fewer equipment. This DIY boot camp burns just the right number of calories and shows quick results.
6. Warm Up
Go for a brisk walk or run to get pulses racing and set the tone for the workout.
7. Prisoner Squat
With your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, place your fingers behind your head. Keep your elbows back; bend at the hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position. Complete 15 reps.
8. Elevated Push-up
In push-up position, elevate your hands – place them on a block or thick book. On your toes or knees, inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor. As you exhale, straighten your arms. Complete six reps per side.
9. Diagonal Lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step your right leg out diagonally – your foot should be positioned wider than your right hip. Bend your knees to lunge position, drive up and return your foot to the starting position. Complete 10 reps per side.
10. Sumo Squat
Take an extra wide stance, point your toes outwards, and slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold, and slowly return to the starting position. Complete 15 reps. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, then add a kettlebell.
11. Spiderman Climb
In the push-up position, bring your right knee towards your right elbow. Straighten your right leg back to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Complete five reps. Up for a challenge? Add a Medicine Ball.
12. Side to Side Jump
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and jump to your right. Use your arms to propel your body up, keep your shoulders back and your tummy pulled in, and repeat on your left side. Complete eight reps per side.
13. Shuttle Run
Place a marker at 10m, 20m and 30m. Run to the first marker, touch the floor and run back to the start line. Run to the second marker, and then the third, touching the floor and running back to the start line each time. Aim to complete in 20 seconds.
Signing up for boot camp
To find a fitness boot camp, check local fitness centres and gyms. As you consider your options, tick off these concerns-
- Is the instructor experienced?
- Is the class a good mix of aerobics and strength training?
- Check the reviews of people.
- Do I have the essential prerequisites for the class?
Boot camp may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re looking for a high-energy workout that offers variety and camaraderie, boot camp may be just what you need. It’s also important to let your instructor know if you have health issues or special needs. And be sure to tell your instructor if you have difficulty with anything in particular. The goal of a fitness boot camp is to provide a whole-body workout that builds strength and endurance. Boot camp workouts also attract many people because they:
- Offer a more intense and focussed workout.
- Require little with no special equipment.
- Instil a team spirit among the participants.
If the movements in the class are new to you, take it slower at first to ensure that the way you are moving is correct. Stop if you get fatigued or tired to the point where your technique breaks down. Skilled instructors are attentive to proper form and technique and can adapt exercises for you. You can get started with your boot camp training and reach the optimum fitness level sooner than you think!