Finding the right boot camp style fit

2013November29_BootCamp_AIf you think of the words ‘fitness boot camp’ what do they mean to you? Do you immediately imagine hitting the dirt for some gruelling, military-style push-ups? Or do you imagine focused training in a supportive environment full of camaraderie, that motivates you towards getting in shape? It just goes to show what different styles of boot camps are out there. The success of a boot camp is often down to choosing the type of set-up that you’re comfortable with and the right training to suit your physical needs.

When choosing the right boot camp fit, there are certain considerations to be aware of before you join in. You might want to jump into an intense exercise program with two feet but making sure you don’t step into the wrong boot camp is essential:

  • Attitudes and approach: The overall dynamic of a boot camp needs to appeal. If you prefer the carrot to the stick style and enjoy a sense of community or at least support, then a hard-line, no-nonsense macho boot camp isn’t going to suit.

  • Aims and outcomes: An important factor to look at is what the aim of a boot camp is and what the outcome is likely to mean to you. There are many boot camps that are geared toward a particular type of fitness, such as body building, or to be able to compete in an event, such as a marathon. If you want to improve overall fitness then a boot camp that mixes different training styles might work well.

  • Time and commitment: The idea of boot camp, in essence, is that it is an intense exercise program. This may mean in terms of the physical challenge of each workout, or it could refer to the number of training sessions and dedication needed. Look at what’s expected of you for a boot camp and how that fits with your life. Could you change your schedule in the short-term to fit in with a boot camp program lasting just a few weeks, for example?

  • People and environment: If you’re going to get involved in a group class, then your fellow exercisers will have an impact on how you feel and possibly how you succeed in boot camp too. While you might be serious about keeping fit, you may also relish a friendly group that creates a positive environment. Camaraderie can count for a lot. However, that’s not to say this style is for everyone and a group where you work out in a more solitary way could be the focus for you.

  • Goals and techniques: To find the right boot camp fit you also need to be aware of not just the aims of the program but your own goals too. A boot camp that can fit in with you and add a personalized ingredient might be best, such as classes which really cater to where you are at right now, fitness-wise, and where you want to be. There are lots of different techniques employed by boot camps too. You might want less traditional training and more functional training, or high intensity interval training.

  • Extra support: Check out what extras you get, as well as the actual exercise sessions. Do you get any support or guidance when it comes to diet and nutrition? Or are you simply looking for a workout-only program? Is there a fitness assessment involved and will you be given workouts to do alone, beyond boot camp?

  • Testimonials: To get a real feel for a boot camp experience look at what others have to say. If there are any reviews or testimonials this might give you a good summary of what a boot camp is about. If not, then could you try out a session or at least chat to the instructors to see if you get a good feeling or not?

Boot camp can be a great way to build up fitness levels and achieve fast results. Once you find the right boot camp you will fit right in.

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