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  Fitness & Weight Management

May 2011
Boot Camp
Back to the Basics
Subodh Samuel

A boot camp blends tough cardio workouts and strength training with astounding fitness and weight-loss results



It’s an extreme fat-blasting regimen--a boot camp to shed those ugly love handles that have you running for cover whenever someone as much as glances at them. The military-style exercise routine earlier thought to be a passing fad among civilians is here to stay because of its instant and amazing results. But one small word of caution…this one is not for the faint-hearted!

A typical boot camp blends tough cardio workouts with calisthenics and strength training. One of the important aspects of work-outs here is interval training whereby the instructor alternatively pushes people to their limits of power and stamina and then makes them ease off only to pick up speed again.

Some studies show that these four to five minutes high-intensity bursts of energy followed by two to three minutes of cooling off can boost the body’s fat-busting rate by an astounding 35 percent.

Special Fitness Plan
In a quality boot camp the instructor would chalk up a special individual plan for each person after taking into careful consideration his or her physical condition and attributes like weight, height, BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.

The instructor would determine how much work you need to do in order to get back into shape. A special diet chart would be made for you. If you are a beginner, you would be given a basic plan and from there onwards it would be graded up to a champion’s plan that would consist of strenuous work-outs which would push your body to its peak performance.

Gym & Boot Camp Difference
But what’s the difference between a gym and a boot camp? Can’t we do the same things in a gym? Experts point out many things that distinguish a boot camp from a gym. For example, most top boot camps have a lot of programmes designed in open air spaces which make them like gyms in the park.

Unlike a gym, a boot camp will not have too much equipment except basic gear like resistance bands, skipping ropes, props and cones for aerobic exercises and calisthenics. It usually relies more on a person’s body weight and energy for strength and weight loss. The underlying philosophy of a boot camp is that the only equipment you require for keeping fit is your own body.

A typical routine could comprise bone-numbing training sessions ranging from running and jumping to push-ups, squats and sit-ups. Even tough gym veterans are known to sometimes balk at the intensity of these army-kind of boot camps.

America’s Best Known Boot Camp
Take the case of L.I.F.E. (Live In Fitness Enterprise), one of America’s best known boot camps situated in California. It guarantees to make ordinary people into tough athletes and turn athletes into champions within a matter of weeks.

The stay-in facility will test your metabolic rate, hydrostatic body fat, system and strength and also measure your flexibility, assess your potential for injury and only then decide what level of training you fit into. An individual coach would then be assigned who would help you achieve your goal in the shortest possible time.

Imaginative Packages
The New You Boot Camp in England, considered to be one of the best in Europe, has tough goals in mind when it comes to keeping people fit. Also spread across different parts of Europe, in countries like Portugal and Austria, it offers military-style fitness and weight loss programmes bundled with imaginative packages like ‘Bridal Boot Camp’ to help soon-to-be brides fit into their bridal dresses and ‘Bikini Boot Camp’ for women who want to look stunning in beach wear.

“I tried all kinds of exercise and diet control plans but nothing worked,” says London-based club singer Fiona Dolores in a recent interview. “Finally I joined a boot camp and that changed my life forever. My aim was to lose 10 kilos in a year. I lost it in three months and since then I am on a maintenance plan. Boot camps are nothing short of a miracle.”

Miracle they are, but the miracle only happens if you are ready to put in body-breaking hard work. Miracles only work like that!