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What Is a Fitness Boot Camp?

Fitness Boot Camps Offer Low-Cost, Efficient and Challenging Workouts


Updated May 21, 2014

Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas, California, USA
Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A fitness boot camp is type of outdoor group exercise class that mixes traditional calisthenic and body weight exercises with interval training and strength training. While there are a variety of styles of fitness boot camps, most are designed in a way that pushes the participants harder than they'd push themselves and, in that way, resemble a military boot camp.

During the 4-8 week class, you'll probably get up early to run sprints, perform lots of push ups and various forms of plyometric and interval training with little rest between exercises. These fitness classes have grown in popularity over the years primarily because they offer a new way to get a low-cost, efficient and challenging workout. They definitely aren't for every exerciser, but with the right instructor, these fitness classes get fast results and create a supportive and motivational community of like-minded people.

A Typical Fitness Boot Camp

The standard fitness boot camp offers all or most of the following:

Fitness Boot Camp Styles and Variations

One underlying component of a good boot camp fitness class is creating a spirit of teamwork and group support and cohesion. To do so, some fitness boot camp owners have started to focus their classes to cater to a specific demographic or those with a specific goal. The types of fitness boot camps that are available are endless. If you are seeking a specialized class or have a specific fitness goal, you will probably find a boot camp that meets your needs. Some specialized fitness boot camps include:
  • General fitness
  • Sports specific boot camps (ski prep, running, bicycling, soccer)
  • Women-only fitness boot camp
  • Kids fitness boot camp
  • Fitness boot camps for seniors
  • Weight loss boot camps
  • Boot camps for brides

While there are still some instructors who act like drill sergeants, most fitness boot camp instructors offer encouragement rather than intimidation. Many incorporate concepts from mind-body training and include poses from yoga and end with a bit of meditation or visualization training.

How to Find a Good Fitness Boot Camp

Most fitness boot camps are run by qualified and knowledgeable instructors. But to get your money's worth, here are some tips for finding a good fitness boot camp.
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