FoodFit tips for what to look for in a boot camp.
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Boot Camp: A Back To Basics Workout
It's a frigid
winter morning in Boston. As the sun rises over the icy banks
of the Charles River, ex-United States Marine Corps officer Charla
MacMillan leads a group of recruits as she likes to call
beginners in her boot camp training class through a rigorous
forty-five minute workout.
with exercises most of us learned in school jumping jacks,
push-ups, and marching drills. Recruits then do pull-ups, bench
dips, and crunches.
out of the five-days-a-week mandatory attendance, there's also
at least a 10-minute run.
to sound like the military? That's because it is. The initial
six-week program is based on the same training that MacMillan
had when she joined the Marines.
Be All That You Can Be?
confused by the name. Boot camp doesn't mean you pack your bags
and brace for a week of basic training in a remote location. It's
a workout class, though not necessarily at the gym.
the American Council on Exercise (ACE) predicted a huge rise in
the number of boot camps, and they were right boot camp
classes and cousins such as firefighter and elementary school
workouts are springing up in every major city.
Is this intensive
fitness program for everyone?
to eighty, blind, crippled or crazy. If they can't walk, we'll
drag 'em," answers George Hyder, director of the Georgia
boot camp Steel Ballet. Other boot camp instructors, however, are more cautious. Many
programs require a physical fitness test before enrollment.
many boot camp classes, you need to get in shape to take the class,
not take the class to get in shape," explains Richard Cotton,
chief exercise physiologist for ACE.
Rain, Sleet Or Snow
anyone take a class that often meets outside in all types of
weather and where, if you sleep in, the instructor calls you at
home wanting to know why? According to sports psychologist Dr.
Caroline Silby, the answer lies in the discipline and the
accountability of boot camps.
people connect with the instructor in any exercise program, they're
more likely to keep going," she says.
also bond with the other members of the group and help motivate
each other. For people leading busy lives, they just have to show
up each morning and the rest is taken care of," explains
one of the selling points of her program is its familiarity. "We
all learned these moves in gym class. It's back to basics. People
get tired of learning a dance routine just to stay fit."
Sign Me Up
what should a prospective recruit look for in a boot
Find an instructor who is certified by ACE or another
top national fitness organization.
You can expect some yelling and shouting from almost
any "drill sergeant," that's part of the
program. But, as Dr. Caroline Silby explains, "There's
a difference between connecting with people and
making them scared of you."
Observe a class before signing up.
Since many boot camp classes are outside, it's easy
to stroll by and take a look. Even when classes
are held inside a gym, it should be possible to
Get a sense of the level of fitness in the class
compared to your own.
ACE considers boot camps a "higher risk"
fitness program because they include movements that
have a higher risk of causing injury. People who
have a prior injuries or health concerns should
be particularly careful.