Thursday, December 30, 2010

7 Keys To Finding The Right Boot Camp For You

Yesterday, I wrote about the many benefits of fitness boot camps. There's also been a lot of buzz lately about boot camps being one of the hot trends of 2011 so I expect to see just about every gym and trainer starting a boot camp. I obviously think this style of training is a great option for people; that's why I started No Pink Dumbbells Boot Camp a year and a half ago.

I'm glad boot camp training is becoming more popular but if you're interested in getting started, it's important to know that all boot camps are not created equal. 

What to look for in a boot camp:

1. An experienced and knowledgeable instructor. A good workout program (in the gym or in boot camp) involves more than just throwing together a bunch of tough exercises or running, running and more running.

It's easy to just run people into the ground and that's what a lot of boot camps seem to do. Unfortunately, many exercisers think that if they're not totally exhausted at the end of a workout it wasn't hard enough, which makes it easier for these types of camps to exist.

2. Make sure the instructor conducts a proper warmup and cooldown. Your warmup should include movements similar to the exercises you'll be performing, not just jogging around the park or 5-10 minutes or using some cardio equipment.

3. How many people are in the camp? If there are 30-40 people exercising along side of you, how much attention will you get?

There's a reason why I describe my boot camp as group personal training. It's extremely rare to have 15 or more people in a training session and boot camp is not my workout time. I'm watching my campers; making sure they're doing the exercises correctly, encouraging them, suggesting heavier or lighter weights, giving them easier or harder versions of exercises, etc. Which leads up to...

4. Does the trainer give variations of exercises or optional exercises to those who aren't yet capable of performing certain moves? You're much better off doing easier exercises with good form than trying to do a harder exercise poorly. If you focus on good form at whatever level you're currently at, you will get stronger and be able to progress to more challenging moves safely.

5. Any good workout includes a strength component. Whether your goal is fat loss, general good health, stronger bones, aging independently, disease prevention, etc., strength training is a must. Running and doing hundreds of jumping jacks and crunch variations does not make a good workout, regardless of how breathless you get.

6. Find an instructor who challenges you but never encourages you to work through pain or injury.

7. Do you feel welcome? If you try out a boot camp and the other members aren't welcoming, think twice about signing up. A main advantage of group training is the camaraderie and encouragement of the group. If people are cliquish or act superior, find another camp.

If you want to learn more about my boot camp, please visit

New to boot camp training? Mention this blog post and get one week free.


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