● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
The popularity of NBC’s The Biggest Loser has shown America the concept and benefits of group fitness training that incorporates calisthenics, low weight, high repetition weight training and nutrition counseling, resulting in weight loss, muscle definition and effectually, diet and lifestyle change.
Beginning a new year, fitness and healthy living are at the forefront of the minds of many. But where do you start? Hire a personal trainer? Join a gym, a cycling or running club? Whether the goal is weight loss, or overall better physical health, consider a boot camp group fitness course.
Boot camp is synonymous with sweaty cadets running through mud, doing push ups, burpees, drills and grunting call and response, but it’s the latest fitness regimen garnering the attention of athletes and those just beginning their fitness journeys. Boot camp courses are generally several-week-long, small group, physical training programs that integrate weight and interval training and cardiovascular exercise, and vary significantly depending on the instructor and specific type of course. Some classes are led by former military personnel, trainers familiar with military training, or just trainers with a passion for transforming people inside and out.
Increasing in popularity in recent years, these types of classes have grunted their way to the head of fitness training, especially with women. Many courses are uniquely customized for women, while others welcome male and female participants. Classes can range from 45 minutes to two hours, and are jam-packed with concentrated exercises to maximize results. While individual boot camps are different, a commonality in all is camaraderie and accountability that accompanies small group exercise programs. Fortunately, our area boasts several different boot camp type classes with options for all fitness levels.
Boot camps may not be for everyone, but they offer numerous benefits for the right recruit. Whether aiming to lose holiday pounds or train for an athletic competition, boot camps provide advantages to every type of participant. Small group fitness instruction fosters community and encourages accountability, not just between the trainer and students, but also among students themselves. An added benefit of a low class size is the personalized attention each member receives. FitChix Bootcamp in Rocklin incorporates nutrition and fitness with intensive five-day a week, six-week courses. Owner and trainer Kendra Cendana stays in constant contact with each member of FitChix, and requires them to keep a food log and journal. Of her boot camp class she says, “It’s a nutrition and fitness experience, not just a workout.” Cendana believes that variety is key and allows women in her class to be entertained challenged, and get results.
Many boot camp instructors explain that the benefits of taking such a class include variety. Combining rigorous indoor and outdoor activity segments classes and takes advantage of the pleasant climate our area enjoys. Each class is different to ensure a complete body workout and abstain from monotony that can creep into routine gym visits. “Someone should enroll in a boot camp when they want to be pushed to the next level of fitness,” says Suzanne Moen, personal trainer at Roseville Health and Wellness Center. But don’t assume it’s all work without fun. Many boot camp classes incorporate competitive teamwork games that build camaraderie. “It’s a great way to build friendships, lose weight and get fit. It’s a fitness bonanza...a high-energy, challenging class with great music, lots of laughter and lots of sweat,” says Moen. And Elissa Buchter with CrossFit Genesis explains that her class combines the best parts of gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting and metabolic conditioning to achieve all-around fitness. Buchter says,.
“You’ll get in the best shape of your life; life gets easier, sports get better, you’ll beat your friends, look better naked, and be prepared for anything!”
A significant asset to most classes is the frequent contact instructors maintain with participants. Many trainers send encouraging emails, nutrition tips, recipes, reminders, and maybe even some reprimanding notes for missing class. It all adds up to accountability, and without it, attaining fitness goals becomes progressively more difficult.
Another bonus to group fitness is that participants have the opportunity to work with personal trainers at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one personal training. Trainers provide tips to maximize workouts. “Boot camps will help participants in learning proper form in exercises that are commonly performed with improper alignment and form such as push-ups, squats and lunges,” says Melissa Thomas, Group Fitness Program Director with California Family Fitness. Trainers suggest consulting a physician before beginning a new workout regimen. While each course is different, individual workouts can include a series of stretching, marching, pushups, lunges, squats, cycling and running, and may also utilize resistance bands, stability balls and free weights.
Before enrolling in a boot camp class, realize the commitment involved. Most courses range from four to eight weeks, and are two to five days per week. Set up a meeting with the instructor to discuss health goals and any inhibitions. There are classes available for all levels and abilities, so prepare to combat fitness foes and bare your best body in 2010!