What is a Boot Camp Fitness Class?

M.C. Huguelet

A boot camp fitness class is a highly challenging instructor-led workout routine based upon military fitness regimens. The class is usually held outdoors and involves a mixture of calisthenics, strength training, and flexibility-enhancing moves. Although it is notoriously physically and psychologically strenuous, the boot camp fitness class can burn as many as 600 calories, greatly stimulate weight loss, and improve cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

Hiking through scenic areas is a part of some boot camp fitness classes.
Hiking through scenic areas is a part of some boot camp fitness classes.

Boot camp classes are generally intended to have the no-nonsense ethos associated with military training. This aspect of the program is meant to motivate and discipline participants. Thus classes, which typically meet in an outdoor space such as a park, usually proceed even in inclement weather. In addition, boot camp fitness class instructors often deliver instructions — and in some cases, reprimands — in a stern, drill-sergeant style.

Boot camp fitness classes often utilize jumping jacks.
Boot camp fitness classes often utilize jumping jacks.

In general, a boot camp fitness class lasts for a period of approximately one hour. This time is usually split into sections which address different elements of physical fitness. Often the first and last sections are devoted to warm-up and cool-down exercises and flexibility-boosting stretches. Perhaps the centerpieces of the workout, however, are its sometimes grueling calisthenics and strength training moves.

Jogging might be part of a boot camp fitness class.
Jogging might be part of a boot camp fitness class.

The calisthenics portion of the class can include exercises like jogging, climbing, sprints, hiking, and jumping jacks. In some cases it might involve military-inspired obstacle courses. These moves, usually carried out rapidly and in quick succession, often raise the heart rate to as much as 75 to 90% of its maximum. As a result, regular boot camp fitness class participants can experience improved cardiovascular health.

Usually the class’s strength training moves utilize weights, resistance bands, or the resistance weight of participants’ own bodies. A typical selection of boot camp strength moves includes situps, pushups, bicep curls, and lunges. Often the class instructor will monitor participants to ensure proper form. Frequent class attendees report that these exercises can lead to enhanced muscle tone.

Those considering enrolling in a boot camp fitness class should first takes steps to ensure they can meet the challenges of the workout. Some classes require participants to fulfill a minimum fitness target, such as being able to run a mile in ten minutes or less. Even if a class does not set a prerequisite fitness level, it is advisable to prepare in order to prevent injury. Enrollees might spend time jogging on a treadmill and lifting weights for two or three weeks before beginning a class to prepare the body for the workout’s demands.

Strength training like situps and pushups is often a feature of boot camp fitness classes.
Strength training like situps and pushups is often a feature of boot camp fitness classes.

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