Lately, I’ve noticed a trend (at least where I live). Everyone’s joining exercise boot camps. So what are these? Why is everyone so interested in them? And what do they offer that a regular gym does not?
A boot camp is a structured exercise program that meets regularly. “Boot camp comes with a trainer who pushes your limits as they teach you the proper methods,” Maria explained. Often scheduled outside, boot camp can give a different level of workout than you’ll get at a gym. “In gym classes you do just one or two different moves, or you work out with by yourself with free weights and machines,” Sharon explained. “Boot camp is always different and works the total body every time.” Sondra added, “The routine is different and challenging at each and every camp, and it involves aerobic (especially running), strength and balance training.”
The reasons why people start boot camp vary. “I hadn’t been to the gym in awhile and wanted to kick start my fitness routine,” Rachel said. “I was also going to be a bridesmaid about four months after I joined, so I wanted to look great for the big day.” Having a regular exercise time also provides an incentive provided. Having recently retired, Rose noted, “Boot camp holds me accountable to the same time three days a week.” And Maria likes the quick physical results, energy boost, and motivation that she receives by working out with a group. Some people believe participating in a boot camp improves other aspects of their lives. “Even though it has taken almost a year, I am seeing the results, primarily in strength, endurance and the amount of energy I have to get me through the day, which I believe also affects the quality of my work and my interactions with friends and family,” Sondra said. “My son loves it when I run, dance, ride bikes and scooters and wrestle with him on the grass. He’s a physical 12-year-old who is getting bigger, stronger and faster every day. If I don’t keep up with him, no one will – he needs this kind of physical interaction and role modeling because I don’t want him to become a couch potato.’”
The cost of boot camp can be a factor in determining whether you join. “Boot camp is expensive,” Sharon explained. “One year at the gym is $300-$350. Just one month of boot camp can be $100-$300.” After attending a boot camp that cost $350 for a four-week period, Rose found a boot camp sponsored by her local parks and recreation department that cost $75 a month. Others noted that a gym membership may be more cost effective for some people. Rachel pointed out that her gym membership costs $35 a month with unlimited use and unlimited classes while the boot camp she attended was “horribly expensive” at $250 a month. However, some women believe this expenditure is actually an investment. “You get what you pay for and at this time of my life and career it’s worth the money. No one can put a value on exercise and what it means to you and your life. It’s different for every single person. For me, right now, boot camp is my choice and I don’t let the cost bother me. It’s in investment in me – you only have one body and one life.”
Some of the women I interviewed no longer belong to a boot camp. “Three reasons that I stopped: 1) Too expensive; 2) easy to get burned out on working out since it’s so intense; 3) Being at a specific time every day,” Sharon explained. “If I can’t attend at that time (that the boot camp meets), I can’t make it up. I can go to the gym anytime and as much as I want….or don’t want. Right now, I don’t think I will do another boot camp, but if I stop working out for any reason, I might do it to get started again.” Rachel also stopped attending the boot camp due to the cost. However, she said she may try to find a new boot camp in the city where she recently moved.
If you’re interested in a boot camp, see if you can try a session before signing up for a membership. And if you do sign up, expect to see benefits during that month. “The first boot camp you ever do is the best one,” Sharon said. “You don’t realize how much you’re capable of and you usually realize that you have not pushed yourself enough when working out on your own. It’s a great challenge and a great reward when you complete it.”
Published On: October 01, 2010