Bootcamp workouts are very popular these days, and I feel for good reason. Of course, I guess I am a little bias b/c I teach a couple of bootcamp classes at a local gym. The word “bootcamp” can sound intimidating and turn people away, especially those new to exercise. However, with the right instructor bootcamp can be a challenging and team building experience that allows you to see that you really are stronger than you think – physically and mentally.
Let’s look at what a typical bootcamp workout is like. After a jogging warm-up, the instructor brings back some old school moves (but very effective) like push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, squats, lunges, plyometrics, dead lifts, etc… You do these strength exercises in a circuit so you are constantly moving which keeps your heart rate up. After the circuit you may run a few laps and then repeat the circuit again. The instructor might also add in some extra cardio work such as plate push (pushing a very heavy weighted plate across the floor) rope climbing, box jumps and tire flipping – yes I really said tire flipping – big tractor tires.
One of the best aspects to a bootcamp class is the team building activities. You know how you work harder when you have an instructor or a trainer watching you? Well, being on a team and racing other teams is pretty motivating to work your hardest as well. During teamwork, each member is performing a certain exercise while one member is setting the pace by say sprinting a certain distance, and once that is completed they switch stations. Whichever team finishes first is the winner and sometimes gets out of a few extra laps if the teacher is beign extra nice that day.
Now I know all of this sounds really hard and maybe not too enticing to you at first. Every bootcamp class is different and really depends on the instructor. So ask around your gym to get a feel for whose class is best for you. The instructor should try to accommodate the different fitness levels and be aware of someone who may be pushing themselves a little too hard and also be an encouragement for those not reaching their full potential.
These classes knock boredom out the window and are a great way to push yourself and realize you are way stronger than you think. Remember – so much of our success in fitness is mental. Once you learn to break down the mental barriers, you won’t believe how far you can go.
So bring on the bootcamp – don’t be afraid.