Boot camp fitness classes are a great option for people who want to lose weight, build muscle, or just get stronger and more athletic. However, boot camp fitness classes are also quite intense, and they are not ideal for everyone.
Before you go to your first boot camp fitness class, it is important to do a few things to make sure you’re healthy enough to experience the benefits of the classes without increasing your injury risk.
Listed below are four things everyone should do before starting boot camp fitness classes.
1. Visit Your Doctor
Before you start any kind of workout program, including boot camp fitness classes, it is important to visit your doctor and get clearance from him or her. This is especially important if you already struggle with health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure.
During your appointment, have the following screening tests done to make sure you are in good general health:
- Blood pressure test.
- Cholesterol test.
- Diabetes tests.
For older adults, a bone density test can also be a good idea.
If, after performing these tests, you find that you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, or any other health issues, that does not necessarily mean that you can not participate in boot camp fitness classes. You may just need to take some extra precautions and scale your workouts to avoid overexerting yourself.
For example, if you are diabetic or prediabetic, glucometers are a necessity so that you can check your blood sugar on the go. You can still do boot camp workouts if you are diabetic, but you will need to test your blood sugar before each class to make sure it is in a safe range.
2. Assess Your Fitness Level
Even if you already have a pretty good idea of your current fitness level, some basic assessments can help you figure out how far you should push yourself during your workouts. They can also help you set clear goals and give you a baseline against which you can measure your progress.
Some factors that you should measure during your assessment include:
- Resting heart rate.
- Heart rate after walking one mile.
- The amount of time it takes you to walk or run one mile.
- The number of sit-ups and push-ups you can do in one minute.
- Your waist circumference.
- Your weight.
- Your body mass index (BMI).
As long as you have access to a scale, a tape measure, and a stopwatch, you can perform this assessment on your own at home or at a local park.
3. Make a Plan and Set Specific Goals
Once you have gotten the all-clear to start exercising, it is helpful to take some time to create a workout plan and set some specific fitness goals. This will give you something to work toward and increase your chances of sticking to your workouts long-term.
When it comes to creating your workout plan, be realistic. If you have not been exercising at all, do not all of a sudden commit to exercising six days a week. This might work for some people, but most need to ease their way in. Commit to two or three workouts per week, then increase the frequency later if you think it is necessary.
Make sure your goals are specific and realistic. Do not just say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose ten pounds.” Give yourself a realistic deadline as well. You are unlikely to lose ten pounds in one month, but you might be able to lose ten pounds in three months.
4. Make Nutrition and Sleep Priorities
Make sure you are also prioritising your sleep and nutrition.
Getting a sufficient amount of good quality sleep will help you have the energy you need to stick to your workouts. It can also help you reach your goals faster (whether you want to lose weight or build muscle) since sleep promotes muscle recovery and can help you control your cravings.
As for nutrition, make sure you are consuming a balanced diet made primarily of whole, nutrient-dense foods. You do not have to be super strict, but make it a point to avoid processed sugar and processed foods as much as possible.
Boot camp fitness classes can be intimidating. But, by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to stay safe during classes and stick with them to see great results.