You’ve been exercising regularly 4 or more times a week for years now. You’ve tried a lot of different types of exercise to mix things up and keep your muscles and metabolism from getting too used to a routine and stop responding. As a result, you’re in pretty good shape, your health is good, and you feel and look great. But, lately you’ve kind of been getting the itch to add something new to your exercise routine and would like to see if you can challenge yourself even more and make greater gains. You may just be ready for a soldier’s workout with boot camp! Let me tell you more about it…
Boot Camp Exercise – The Ultimate Exercise Challenge!
You may have seen “boot camp” style exercise demonstrated on late night TV infomercials. Some programs go for only 10-15 minutes and some are a little longer, about 30 minutes. But, make no mistake; boot camp exercise will definitely kick your fitness level into a higher gear. Even though it is geared to the person looking for a more intense, challenging workout, it nevertheless can still be enjoyable.
Boot camp style exercise originated in the Armed Forces where inductees are put through basic training to get them in shape for their rigorous military activities. Lately, the Armed Forces boot camp workouts have been adding more “civilian” type exercise like yoga and Pilates. These exercise routines are based on more stretching movements – as they’ve recognized the value that stretching plays in agility – something that every soldier needs more of. Similarly, more civilian fitness instructors have been incorporating boot camp style exercise into their lighter, less intense exercise routines to help their clients increase strength and endurance more quickly.
Boot camp style exercise combines intense aerobic exercise doing activities that soldiers would likely need to do – running, climbing, jumping, as well as resistance-type calisthenics like push ups, pull ups, lunges and crunches to build strength in certain strategic muscle groups. Then there are military style drills which may consist of doing a particular type of exercise faster, more intensely, (much like intervals) for a certain number of repetitions or length of time. These are used to build endurance in both lung capacity and sustained stressful movements that soldiers frequently encounter.
The best thing about boot camp exercise is that it doesn’t require any special equipment – other than maybe the occasional use of jump ropes, or pulling ropes, balancing bars, or dumb bells. It also teaches a team spirit by rooting your teammates on. Here are some positive effects of boot camp training:
1. Excellent strengthening, conditioning of muscles
2. Boosts metabolism and burns far more calories in less time than moderate exercise
3. Increases endurance capacity in lung power and physical stamina
4. Helps your mental focus
5. Helps build strong bones from frequent impact work
Should You Go To Boot Camp?
If you’ve been working out for a while and are in moderately good shape, you likely can handle the higher intensity of boot camp-style exercise. If you’re over 50, and/or haven’t exercised for a while, or have health problems that might be affected by intense exercise, you’ll want to ask your doctor first if it’s safe for you to try boot camp exercise.
Here are some things to look for when taking a class:
1. Try your local YMCA, or community recreational/fitness center, for reputable, trained instructors. They should have NASM, ACE, or similar physical fitness certifications.
2. The class should be a good mix of aerobic and strength training.
You can also buy several boot camp type exercise programs on DVD’s like Denise Austin’s 3 week boot camp, Paul Katami’s Boot Camp, Tony Horton’s 90 Day Boot Camp Workout, The Firm: Boot camp Maximum Calorie Burn, and The Biggest Loser: Boot Camp to name a few. You can even find some pretty good workouts online that you can follow in the privacy of your own home. However, you might benefit more from the workout, and have more fun, in an in-person class with classmates and your instructor cheering you on.
Ron Blankstein, M.D.
Boot Camp Workout, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/boot-camp-workout/MY01416/NSECTIONGROUP=2