Do you know how many push-ups you can do? Have you mastered the burpee? Fitness-oriented bootcamps have sprung up all over town: whether it be in your local park, or your local sweat-box gym. Not to be confused with basic training, these group workouts will challenge you to the brink of exhaustion- but will leave you wanting more and ready to (willingly) sign up for the very next class.
What makes this modality work? Accountability. Healthy competition. Self-empowerment. The ability to commiserate with your fellow grunters. The satisfaction of having completed two-hundred burpees without collapsing into a pile of human mush (or did you?).
Formats for bootcamps will vary, which is part of the allure. Keeping your workout unpredictable will force your body to work harder. Forget those silly, choreographed, spandex-filled fitness videos from the eighties. Bootcamp is the real deal.
Here is an example of what one of my bootcamps looks like:
Pyramids. Perform several exercises (be sure to address all functional movements) for one repetition each. Once back to the beginning, perform two repetitions; then three and so on. If your pyramid for that day reaches ten repetitions for each exercise, proceed back “down” the pyramid by counting to nine, eight, seven… until you’ve gotten back down to one repetition. Great exercises for a pyramid should include body weight challenges such as pull-ups, burpees, squat jumps, and explosive lunges.
Stairs. You can find a set of stairs just about anywhere in the world. No excuses. Try adding variety to running stairs by skipping steps, jumping up steps, or even running while facing sideways. Your heart will pump. Your legs will get lean and ripped. Fat will melt.
Jump rope. No rope? Pretend you are holding one and start jumping. Not only will you burn boatloads of calories, but you will be doing your bones a favor by increasing bone density and bone strength. Your bones only become as strong as the demand you place on them. Properly executed plyometrics, or jumping, will keep bone density-related injuries at bay.
I derive a tremendous amount of joy out of teaching fitness bootcamps. You can find me all over Denver, barking orders (nicely, I promise) and causing temporary suffering for all of my clients. The strength they gain over time cannot be overstated. The camaraderie within each group is essential for their success. Contact me through modabody to join in.
Here’s another option: Fitness on the Rocks is happening at the end of July. Bring your water and military mindset to their bootcamp “waves” of two thousand participants sweating it out on the amphitheater’s steps. There will be plenty of energy and excitement to inspire you through to the last rep.
Wherever you choose, have fun with bootcamp. Push yourself beyond what you think your limits are. We are all stronger than we realize. Show yourself and that hard body next to you what you’re made of.
Jodilyn Stuart is the owner of ModaBody Fitness and has been a fitness professional since 1997. She has recently begun contributing to 303 Magazine as a fitness writer.