At this time of the year although we may be on a mission to get our summer bod, the dim and dark gym can feel less appealing if the sun is out. If self-discipline is not your middle name, and a running club is not for you – than maybe it is time to try a boot camp.
Not all boot camps are equal, so it is well worth doing your research before you set off to jump around on a playing field. Firstly, not all are outside – but we will not be looking at inside circuit classes with the ‘fad’ name here. There are ones that are military style, those that aim to make you sick, and those that aim to make you welcome etc etc. The philosophy of the boot camp (www.boostcamp.co.uk) I run is that exercises can ALWAYS be adapted, and we believe in working the most YOU CAN to YOUR ability. That means you will not always be doing the same as the person next to you, but hopefully you will find it the same intensity as them. So depending what you pick they do not need to be a scary domain.
Training outside gives you a lot more space and freedom to move than you have in most gyms. This in turn allows for plenty of cardio work without having to stare at the same four walls whilst willing the clock to count down quicker. Due to the uneven surface of working outside you have to rely more on core stability, balance and reaction time than when on fixed piece of equipment in a gym/at home.
Working out within the beauty of a park helps time fly quickly and leaves you feeling more relaxed afterwards. Research suggest that working in a natural environment can help you stick with regular physical activity due to the feel-good factor. Plus by joining us at our outdoor fitness sessions, not only will you gain far more physical and mental benefits but it's also a greener way to exercise-allowing you to keep fit and be environmentally friendly at the same time.
As with all fitness classes, sessions will start with a warm-up. Rather than being choreographed moves where coordination is a must they will often be fun, or make you think as well. It should get you moving and break the ice – as most boot camps are social able classes. They might include something along the lines of where people pair up and one person moves around doing different moves, such as squats and side steps and the other person shadows then.
The main part of the session may be broken into different levels identified by something like bibs. Or the instructor may just give different levels of exercise / different amount of repetitions / different distance to run. Some sessions may involve team or partner work – but don’t let that put you off. All it does is probably get you to work harder – plus you should receive lots of encouragement from the people you are working with. It can be a great confidence boost. At a good boot camp technique and form should not take second place to the instructors trying to half kill you with the toughest workout ever.
Boot camps usual provide plenty of variety. Sessions may be based around bodyweight exercises (and perhaps include the odd animal crawl!) or may include things found in the park. You see a flight of stairs- we see a step all set up ready for you to use. You see a hand rail and we see a pull up bar. A bench, instead of sit on it why not use it for tricep dips - you get the idea, show us an area in the park and we will rise to the challenge and find a way to have fun with it. And I bet you don’t remember how tiring playing tig can be (especially if you have to hold a squat whilst waiting to be caught!).
Equipment may also be used to add variety. We use kettle bells, suspension trainers, sandbells, viprs, boxing equipment, resistance bands, medicine balls, battling ropes, hurdles, speed ladders to name but a few. Plus unlike most bootcamps I provide mats – call me soft, but I for one would not want be lying on a freezing cold surface in winter, or wet floor at any time of the year for that matter. So I do not expect anyone else to do what I would not be prepared to do. We also use a bandstand for cover when needed – but maybe you are made of harder stuff?
The weather may also dictate the exercises – for example skipping does not work when windy, step up on benches are not a good idea in the rain. With all this in mind you are unlikely to get any two sessions the same, which is great as our body quickly adapts to doing the same thing and to see changes you need to keep challenging it. Plus like some other boot camps we do a monthly fitness assessment which helps you track your progression.The added cherry on top for regular boot campers is that you build up a new social circle, and regular social events are popular amongst this type of exercises
classes. It may just mean that you need to do 10 extra burpees at the next session to help work off some of the cheeky vino.
Finally, do not let cold weather put you off, as I promise you, you do not stay cold for long!
If you fancy what you have read about, why not come and try BOOsT Camp, run 3 x a week at Dartmouth Park, Morley Leeds. For a Welcome Pack, please email firstname.lastname@example.org , or ring myself (Rebecca Roach) on 07984 159824. Further details can also be found at www.boostcamp.co.uk / www.facebook.com/BoostCampFitness
I wasn't expecting to enjoy it having avoided exercise at all costs before, but since going I really am feeling the benefits of exercising outdoors with a trainer who makes sure you push yourself! I would not put in this much effort if I was on my own in the gym. I am getting married this September so my aim is to lose weight for the wedding - and keep it off thereafter. I have gained 2 stones in 18months so it is my goal to lose this excess weight.
I did not enjoy exercising - I am asthmatic and get out of breath easily so exercising can be quite uncomfortable. I was also was nervous about being able to keep up with the rest of the group and get up early for the morning sessions - I am not a morning person. But its not so bad once you're up plus the benefits outweigh the early mornings.
The personal advice you get from the trainer, and the variation in exercises means it is hard to get bored. I would say to others to go for it! I can't comment enough on how good it makes you feel exercising in the fresh air, it really does boost those endorphins. Not only have I lost weight, but my body is getting more toned and I feel brighter and healthier.
The sessions are going really good for me, I am already feeling a big difference in my energy levels. Thanks for interesting and engaging sessions.
I was going to the gym but I found it hard to motivate myself, I used to cheat and take short-cuts but here, having someone looking over you, you are more inclined to do more.
In January, there were people coming out when it was minus eight. I have lost two stone since January – for me, it has been transformative.
Just to let you know Im really enjoying the sessions. I like that the group all do the same exercises, but can be done at different levels and in my case be done at a slower pace or less repetitions. Working like this means I'm not holding the group back and Im not always last to finish ! I've even discovered that I can run.... well.. slowly.