Body Blog: Get Your Boot Camp On!

Ladies, I’m skeptical. If I hear Glee is a hilarious television show, I will not believe until I’ve seen the football team dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” on the field. If you tell me Special K bars will make me lose weight, I won’t believe until I read the nutrition facts for myself. So when my co-worker raved about the benefits of fitness boot camps, I obviously did not believe her until I tried it myself.

Working out is hard enough already – do you really need someone yelling in your face the entire time? If I want to work out, I can do it entirely on my own. I’m just fine pounding the treadmill alone. With my iPod. And without any camouflage, baggy pants, and whistles! After 7th grade, I resigned myself to the fact that I cannot do a pull-up, and I am more than fine with that. Plus, boot camp sounded so manly – I don’t want to look like one of those guidos from Jersey Shore.

But my very persistent co-worker convinced me to try out a mini boot camp. Her friend, a certified instructor, was running it for free, which sealed the deal. And because I never suffer alone, I dragged two of my friends along.

We met in the gardens of a nearby private school. Yes, in the good old outdoors. I showed up in a pair of yoga pants and a wife beater. The more experienced boot-campers arrived with their hands taped up like kick boxers and double sports bras. Needless to say, I was a little intimidated.

And then it started.

We began with the normal stretches, did a bit of running, and then were paired with partners for the rest of camp. Suddenly I found myself lunging, army crawling, jumping rope and more, with this partner of mine. Who, by the way, wasn’t one of the friends I brought along. I was sweating, my muscles were burning and I thought I might pass out… but I was having a great time! Going from station to station kept me active and interested, as opposed to my treadmill workouts when I’m counting down the minutes until I’m done. I was also doing a ton of new and different exercises, which challenged me in completely new ways.

And as cheesy as this may sound, I loved having a partner cheer me on the entire time. Can you imagine having someone telling you how great you are, and how you just need to go a little bit farther, a little bit faster all the time? Let’s talk really effective motivation! According to an article in the LA Times, since “people are often paired or grouped for friendly competitions,” boot camps can foster “a camaraderie and support not usually found in regular fitness classes. That camaraderie strengthens with time, establishing accountability, something fitness experts say is essential for sticking with a program.”

My skepticism was nowhere to be found as I punched, jumped, and sprinted through class. I seriously loved every minute of it! I’m not starved for attention, but I was really loving the group support. No matter who I found myself holding up, whose butt was near my face, or who I happened to be carrying up a hill (no joke), everyone believed in me and thought I was strong. It made me feel that much stronger and allowed me to push that much further. Just doing the normal work out at the gym with my girlfriends never resulted in that kind of motivation!

So maybe this skeptic is a believer now. And I’m not the only one. The experts at the LA Times agree that “for people willing to put in the work, boot camps enable exercisers to see results quickly, the better to stay motivated.”

Boot Camp Benefits include:

  • Being in the great outdoors
  • Having an always-changing workout
  • Constant motivation
  • Accountability
  • Feeling that you’re always challenging your body in new ways

Can’t argue with that.
Have you tried boot camping it before? Would you try it now?

The Doctor Is In: Be Your Best Self in 2010
The Doctor Is In: Be Your Best Self in 2010
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