Fitness Boot Camp: Kick Ass or Have Your Ass Kicked?
Fitness boot camps, such as those offered in Fit Body Boot Camp gyms, are among the best types of fitness programs for building strength, stamina and endurance. But it’s also fraught with risks that must be weighed against its benefits, especially when you’re not exactly in the best of shape. Indeed, you can either kick ass or have your ass kicked during a fitness boot camp program!
The first step then for interested individuals is to know what it is, what it demands of the participant, and what its risks and rewards are, among other things. At the very least, you will have an initial idea whether you’re up to the challenge or not.
Modeled After the Military Boot Camp
The concept of a fitness boot camp comes from the military boot camp wherein newbie soldiers are subjected to a series of rigorous physical fitness tests. Both types are designed to improve the participants’ cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength, even push them to their physical and mental limits. Of course, there are several differences between their fitness programs and overall goals, such as the fact that you can enroll in fitness boot camp without complying with government regulations.
There’s a wide range of workouts within the fitness boot camp sector, usually categorized into beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs. In general, nonetheless, the workouts consist of fairly intense exercises involving aerobic and strength training elements, as well as calisthenics and military-style drills. In many ways, fitness boot camps use interval training principles and practices wherein there are alternating periods of intense activity and lighter activity.
Made of Different Exercise Styles
Keep in mind that fitness boot camp programs are unique according to each gym, even according to the instructor. But in all cases, these programs borrow specific elements from several exercise styles. The result: Fitness programs that encompass cardiovascular training along with strength and flexibility training.
For example, your one-hour class can include:
- Warm-up exercises
- Cardiovascular exercises like running on a treadmill, climbing on the rock wall, and going through the obstacle course in the gym, usually as part of a high-intensity interval training plan
- Strength training exercises like lifting weights, using exercise bands, and doing bodyweight resistance exercises
- Flexibility training with elements from Pilates and yoga incorporated
If you are looking for an all-around fitness program that will challenge your physical capacity and mental determination, then fitness boot camps may well be for you.
Made of Tougher Stuff
And a challenge you will find in your hands! People who have survived fitness boot camps swear that it’s a real workout, the type that will continually push the boundaries of your mind and body. The muscle- and aerobic-based programs are extremely dynamic and stressful so much so that fitness experts recommend taking it only once or twice a week – and no more! Be sure to rest from fitness boot camp for at least two days in between classes, even when you are physically fit.
Otherwise, you are needlessly subjecting your body to extreme stress and, thus, to increased risk of injuries. You will then be sidelined for a time so you can’t engage in physical exercise, not even running on a treadmill. Your body will also suffer from the so-called overstressed effect and fitness plateau so your hard work will be negated.
There’s a reason why fitness boot camp demand people to be made of tougher stuff – or better yet, to develop tougher stuff as they progress in the program. Let’s just say that determination to kick ass will reduce the chances of being ass-kicked by the program. Just remember to be mindful of your physical limits because there’s only so much that the human body can take before it breaks down.
A few safety tips to remember in this regard.
- Check with your doctor first. This is especially true if you have an underlying medical condition, or you are recovering from an illness or injury, or you have concerns about fitness boot camp. You may have to undergo a complete medical check-up to determine whether you’re up to the challenge, as well as to determine the possible initial limits in your case.
- Check out the instructor. The best fitness boot camp instructors have a combination of training with a professional accreditation, work experience, and charisma in dealing with clients, among other qualities. You should also look at the program, ask questions of the instructor and staff, and ask for feedback from your possible fellow participants.
- Fit the fitness boot camp to your physical condition, not the other way around. If you’re a beginner in exercise, then you may be unsuitable for it because of the intense physical demands. But you can also find programs designed for beginners as well as for people who want to lose weight and to get in shape – enroll in these classes instead.
And when you’re in the class, your enjoyment of the variety of exercises and camaraderie among your fellow exercisers will make your experience more positive, never mind the intense demands.