Boot camp workouts incorporate a variety of exercise types and can provide a well-rounded routine. This type of workout is based on the training program used in the military and offers cardiovascular and strength training rolled into one exercise session. Taking your boot camp workout outdoors allows you to use your environment to enhance the benefits. Talk to your doctor before starting a boot camp regimen.
Many boot camp sessions don't require any special equipment beyond a sturdy pair of shoes that have enough traction to keep you balanced during your outdoor workout. In other classes, you might use dumbbells or kettlebells for some of the strength-training moves in the workout. You'll get more out of boot camp if you wear snugly fitting clothes, which allows for a broader range of motion and keeps loose clothing from getting in your way. Avoid clothing that is too tight, however, because it may restrict movement during a workout. Wear layers if your outdoor session occurs during cold weather. This allows you to take a layer off as your body temperature rises. Take an exercise mat to your class if you'll be doing exercises on the ground. This will protect your hands and knees on outdoor terrain.
Many women choose outdoor boot camp workouts because they burn a significant number of calories, making them effective for weight loss or maintenance. The average one-hour boot camp exercise session burns around 600 calories. Boot camp workouts that include extended rest periods or periods or slower movement might result in a lower calorie burn. You'll also reduce your calorie burn if you tend to slow down toward the end of the session.
No two outdoor boot camp sessions are the same. Different instructors use different exercises and specialized classes may incorporate moves that a traditional one doesn't. In general, expect to do exercises that use your body weight, such as squats, pushups and lunges. In addition, your workout is likely to include some form of aerobic exercise, such as sprints and kickboxing. For the most benefit, look for a class that combines a good mix of cardio and strength training, suggests MayoClinic.com.
The potential calorie burn during an outdoor boot camp workout makes it a good choice for dropping excess weight. Getting to a healthy weight helps reduce the risk of developing a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. At the same time, the strength-training aspect of boot camp workouts help tone and define the muscles throughout your body, increasing endurance, strength and lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism, making your calorie burn more efficient. Another benefit of boot camp workouts is that it is varied enough to prevent boredom and the plateaus that often occur when you do the same workout all the time.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Healthy Weight
- Fitness: Backyard Boot Camp
- American Council on Exercise: Drop and Give Me 20
- MayoClinic.com: Boot Camp Workout: Is It Right For You?
- American Council on Exercise: ACE Says Budget-Friendly and Boot Camp-Style Workouts Among Most Popular Fitness Trends in 2009
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.