As spring approaches, many are noticing the extra pudge and flab that’s hanging around from the long winter. Solution: Join a boot camp to get “whipped” into shape in time to don your summer clothes.
Often people shun boot camp workouts because they are afraid they aren’t in good enough shape to handle them. They also tend to believe boot camps are populated by mostly fit, thin exercisers, and they are intimidated.
Nothing is further from the truth. Just take a look at the cross-section of average everyday joes participating in FitCode Boot Camp, a boot camp that offers over twelve boot sessions weekly. Classes run forty minutes and utilize high intensity interval training to focus on fat loss. Jennifer Torres, co-owner and trainer, says they get people of all levels attending their workouts.
“We modify every movement so that de-conditioned individuals can safely exercise along with the more advanced participants,” she advised. “We teach people how to train their metabolism.”
While boot camp workouts will definitely challenge you, you’ll also be rewarded with better results than you’ll get from just walking on the treadmill for an hour. The American Council of Exercise has lauded the continued popularity of boot camp style workouts, claiming they burn up to 600 calories in an hour and also provide strength training benefits that can’t be derived from just aerobics. In other words, you’re getting a great all-around workout, combining both cardio and strength training, in one session.
FitCode Boot Camp, which hosts indoor classes in both Mokena and Evergreen Park, offers nutritional guidance and education along with the exercise. They’ll take you on a tour of Trader Joe’s, for example, and show you how to read food labels. And you’re not just checking out calories – they will also school you on harmful substances such as nitrates and transfats.
“We focus on a person’s overall wellness,” Torres said.
If you hate being cooped up in a gym, why not try one of the outdoor boot camps in the area? Personal Best Personal Training Studio runs an outdoor boot camp in Homer Glen that meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Outdoor boot camps can be fun because they often use the landscape and surrounding environment to create fitness drills. Hill climbs/runs, step-ups on a park bench, and relay races can add a unique element to one’s workout. And getting outside in the fresh air is therapeutic for those stuck in an office all day.
Reporting for Boot Camp - What to Expect
One thing you can count on is that your boot camp workout will slightly change each session – a great cure for boredom. While you will consistently do lunges and crunches, the way you’ll do them may change. Lunging up a hill is an entirely different challenge than standing in one place performing lunges with dumbbells.
You’ll definitely sweat and may be out of breath occasionally, but that’s okay – you’re upsetting your body’s equilibrium. Stick with it and you’ll notice definite progress after a couple of weeks. You may not notice much weight loss at first, but you’ll feel better in your body. Weight loss will occur at around the fifth week or so, unless you are de-conditioned and have a lot of weight to lose.
Dress comfortably in athletic clothes, wearing layers that can be shed as you warm up (and you will!). Outdoor participants will want to bring a sweatshirt or jacket to put on after the workout. And you’ll be thankful for a towel to wipe your sweat, plus a couple of bottles of water.
As a Boot Camp instructor of ten years, my best advice is to be cautious of what you eat before class. You may be hungry, but a Mexican dinner or chili is not the optimal thing to consume before this intense workout. Chances are good you’ll spend the last half of class in the port-a-potty from your raging stomach.
Instead, eat something small to satisfy your hunger and give you energy, incorporating a small amount of protein and carbohydrates. Good choices are Cliff bars, a bit of peanut butter on a banana, or a pre-workout smoothie. You can eat a healthy dinner after your evening workout to replenish energy stores and recover.
Follow this regimen consistently and ask your instructors for guidance in the rest of your week’s workouts, and you could be sporting a spanking hot, healthy body this summer!