Get Toned with a Boot Camp Workout

Dog tags, camouflage, and drill sergeants are sure to get you into tip-top shape for your wedding day. Are you up to the challenge?
by Anja Winikka

What is boot camp?

Think of it as a no-nonsense, get-it-done outlook toward getting in shape. Just like recruit training in the military, fitness boot camps are all about getting people to step out of their comfort zones so they work harder and shed pounds more quickly. Depending on the degree of intensity and simulation, you may be required to wear camouflage, run through rubber tire obstacle courses, and come in contact with some very passionate boot camp sergeants who may not be afraid to yell a bit and refer to you only by your last name.

What can you expect?

Expect to step outside of your comfort zone and work harder than ever before. The goal is to shed pounds, shape up in a serious way, and push yourself to the limit. Boot camp programs include a mix of cardio and strength training. Calisthenics like jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups dominate workout warm-ups, but that's just the beginning. While it depends on the program, many boot camp-designed workouts include moves you may have never pictured yourself doing before, such as crawling through nets, carrying buckets of water, jumping hurdles, and much more.

Who is boot camp for?

Most boot camps take on members at all fitness levels. No matter what shape you're in, you'll be expected to pull off the same moves as everyone else in your group -- those at higher levels will just be expected to do more reps at higher intensities. So whether you've never picked up a free weight in your life or you're a gym rat looking for something new and motivating, boot camp is a good option for anyone looking to get into tip-top shape. That said, boot camp programs take time and dedication. Consistency is key, so make sure you can clear your calendar before committing.

Are there different types of boot camps?

Yes, some boot camps are classes offered at gyms one to three times per week, while other facilities are solely dedicated to simulating a traditional boot camp with obstacle courses, climbing walls, and monkey bars. If you're not sure you can commit or you're a little wary of the idea, look into signing up for a boot camp class at your local gym to gain exposure to basic calisthenics and get a feel for the program to find out if it's right for you.

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