Mind & Body

‘Boot Camp’ Your Body Into Shape

TIMEDecember 10, 2011
If you need some extra motivation to get into shape, getting together with a handful of others, with a "boot camp" coach, might help. Fitness boot camps often take place outdoors. (Urban Mixer)

Like most people, when I hear the term “boot camp,” I immediately think of the Army and a group of hard-core guys running through the mud getting yelled at severely by an even tougher guy.

Well, soften the yelling (a little) and add a group of everyday people wanting to get fit, and you have a fitness boot camp!

What stays the same are obstacle courses and the use of car tires, sandbags, boxing equipment, and like most activities that get you fit, a fair amount of running.

Over the past 10 years, boot camps have really made an impact on the fitness industry, with a major emphasis on group training outdoors. The combination of fresh air, a challenging workout, and group participation has proven to be a successful formula, and boot camps are now part of most gyms and health clubs around the world.

There are large businesses that focus entirely on boot camps, but there are lots of small studios and individual personal trainers also getting in on the boot-camp action.

Typically, boot camps run for a period of anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks. You will have measurements taken, fitness and strength goals prepared, and goals recorded, so that you will have a very clear indication of your achievements at the end of the boot camp.

Initially, you may be worried that your fitness level isn’t at a high enough standard to join in your local boot camp. But don’t stress about it. The groups are divided into fitness levels, so you will be working with people at a similar stage as you. They will most likely share some of the same fitness goals. Team spirit is a huge motivator in the whole process.

If getting outside and kicking your fitness goals through the ballpark is up your alley, ask at your local gym to find out when boot-camp sessions start. If this isn’t your thing, the next time you see a group of people running around a park or beach sweating a lot, give them a wave or a toot in support anyway!