If a fitness boot camp is looking more and more attractive as the end of the year approaches, you may be preparing to enrol yourself in the nearest or quickest one.
Before you sign on the dotted line, however, ask yourself these three important questions:
1. Is boot camp a match for my fitness goals?
There are a host of benefits to taking a fitness boot camp class that can positively affect your health, your strength, your waistline, and your mental wellness. In addition to requiring little to no equipment, fitness boot camps can provide a more challenging workout that truly pushes your limits and reveals greater endurance and tenacity than you knew you had.
Fitness boot camps are also about building camaraderie and engaging in social and group dynamics that provide mental and emotional support. The mix of strength training elements and aerobic activity offer variety to a dull workout routine and more full-body toning than if you were to stick with one specific sport like long-distance running.
The intensity of fitness boot camps, however, may not be the perfect match for your goals and abilities. If you:
- Have not exercised regularly in a long time;
- Are over 40;
- Are pregnant or could become pregnant soon; and/or
- Have certain health conditions,
Boot camp fitness experts recommend you talk to a doctor before committing to long-term courses.
2. Am I prepared for this class?
While your motivation and desire might be peaking and driving you to dive into fitness boot camp without a second thought, you truly need to make sure that you are prepared for the physical and mental demands it makes on you. Prior to attending a fitness boot camp, you need to make sure you have established some base levels of conditioning, strength, flexibility, and movement patterns.
Not only will this equip your body to handle the high-energy and intense physical exercise you do from day one, but it will also guard your soft tissues against injuries like sprains and strains. Fitness boot camps are high-impact which means they will stress your bones, your muscles, and especially your joints.
If you have are still healing from an injury like a pulled back muscle or tendinopathy, you will want to consult your doctor before starting a boot camp. They may suggest you wait or give you the go-ahead but recommend you wear orthotic aids that will support your body during a workout. For example, for trigger finger, you might wear a brace or splint inflamed tendons caused by forceful gripping, or for mild knee pain, you might wear a compression sleeve over the joint when doing exercises like box jumps and plyometric squats.
3. Is the instructor qualified?
You may be thinking, “Of course the instructor is qualified, how else would they be allowed to teach this class?”. That is understandable, however, it is important to note that there are specific qualifications instructors can have that may enhance your experience in the fitness boot camp.
As group training classes like boot camps have continued to rise worldwide as a leading fitness trend, so has the demand for instructors. When you become a participant who is paying for this method of getting in shape, you want to make sure that the person leading the way is experienced, knowledgeable, and certified.
Fitness boot camps are as much about health as they are fitness so instructors really should have certifications and accreditation that give them expertise in both. Those may include CPR certification, personal trainer, medical exercise, and health coach certification, as well as group fitness instructor certification.
Do they have added experience in personal training? Have they been leading or participating in fitness boot camps themselves for a long time? It is OK to ask these questions and learn a little bit more about who will be guiding you through your fitness boot camp experience. Your enjoyment and safety could be on the line.