The Fitness Boot Camp – A Better Model

You might picture yourself climbing walls and swinging from the ropes above muddy puddles. This is probably your ideal boot camp. For civilians, fitness boot camps would be more accurately described as being just plain hard. There are many military themes in these programs.

The camouflaged workout attire and the exhausting training sessions by drill sergeant-like instructors have plenty of Marine Corps overtones. These group fitness programs do not require a 3-year enlistment. All you need is a strong stomach, a high pain threshold, and a penchant for self-inflicted misery.

An uninitiated observer might wonder if a fitness boot camp in a park or on an athletic field is a workout or a work-over. In this article, I will shed some light on actual fitness boot camp training and how it works. 

Since I was a trainer for over 30 years, I have seen many new trends in the fitness industry, including step classes, aerobic dance, sport-specific training, pilates, and hot yoga. The fitness boot camp format is a popular choice for those looking to recover their bodies, especially after much research has shown the superior results of strength training, and particularly interval-based workouts on fat reduction.

Are fitness boot camps still following sound methodology?

Intensity rules the day if the purpose is maximum fat loss and muscle gain. Unfortunately, pushing clients in a boot camp setting becomes overkill when well-intended instructors never pump the brakes. A law too often overlooked states that muscles need to recover if they are asked to repeat, (and survive), high-intensity training.

This is what high-intensity interval training is all about. Entitled HIIT for short, interval-based training is just that: brief doses of very difficult exercise, repeated after a break, either as long or slightly longer or shorter depending on the effect the training is designed to create.