Just what is boot camp?
Boot Camp, aptly named after the intense military training new enlistees use to produce fast results when they join the armed forces, is a fierce workout Class that can be great for burning fat as well as general over-all conditioning. It includes cardio, strength-training and core exercises for a full-body workout, usually an hour a day, at least five days a week.
Before you even consider doing a boot camp for physical fitness, please consult your doctor. It’s vitally important to make sure your body can handle the intense nature of this class.
So, you got the green light from your doctor. Now what?
First, you’ll want to find a boot camp class that’s convenient for you. The closer to your home (or office), the fewer excuses you’ll have for skipping a class.
Second, try different classes, instructors, places. Everyone is different and thrives with different styles. You may need a drill sergeant while others may do fine with the “country club coach” approach. If you respect your instructor and genuinely like him or her, you’re more likely to listen and stick to the workout. Most places will allow you to try a class at no cost, so take advantage of that until you find the right instructor. Keep in mind you’ll be paying for this, so don’t go with an instructor who is too soft on you! You know what you need, so if you’re going to make the commitment to do it, get the most out of it. Another important factor you want to consider when choosing a place is class size. Some people get lost in a large class and find there is little accountability, but in the end you are responsible for how much effort you put into the workout.
Third, make sure the class covers cardio, strength (weights or bands) and core. While content of the classes will change from day to day to keep things interesting — one day may have more cardio, less strength, the next day may have more strength, less cardio— they should always include both. Cardio may be “key” to burning fat, but it sure appreciates a little help from strong muscles which help to burn the pesky fat faster. And, then there’s core strength. Core exercises include sit-ups, crunches, planks, leg lifts… yes, they can be be a bear, but don’t be tempted to skip out of class when it comes time for core. Having a strong core will help you in every aspect of the class, and your back will thank you. Besides, if you skip core, you’ll never have those six pack abs almost everyone, whether they’ll admit it or not, really wants.
Last, as much as everyone wishes it were true, you know that just signing up and paying for the class won’t help get you in shape. You have to attend consistently, and give it time to work. Don’t buy into the commercials that say, “get a beach-body in eight weeks!” You can certainly see significant progress in eight weeks, but depending on your starting point, it might take eight months, or even longer. Don’t let that deter you. You didn’t get out of shape in a day, you won’t get back in shape in a day. Be consistent. Even those weeks when you don’t feel like you see a difference, have faith that your body is changing and getting stronger, and keep on going, especially on the days when you really don’t want to. And, if you want to kick it up a notch, or if you have to miss a class, don’t forget about Shannon’s #10MinuteFitness videos on her YouTube channel. Add some extra core workouts, and really impress your instructor with your progress! More videos are being added every month, so be sure to subscribe.
While it’s true that you’re not competing with others, only yourself, when you decide to get fit, many people thrive on competition. A little friendly competition can go a long way to help keep you motivated and propel you to work harder. Even if you never tell a soul, pick someone in class who is around your same fitness level, and who seems to have your same determination, and “compete” in class. You may find yourself working a little harder to beat them in a sprint, use a heavier weight, or hold that plank a little longer.
If Boot camp sounds too intense, or you need a softer start, check out other fitness articles and fitness tools and find what works for you. Most important, keep moving. Your heart will thank you!
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