At our studio we have been running group fitness classes for 18 months, some people may call it a " bootcamp" and indeed thats how we promote it. But what really is a " bootcamp" , why are they successful or in some cases why not. The term bootcamp comes from a military background, it doesn't have much resemblance to what you see taking place in the park at 6. 30 am...the latter is easy by comparison, the former impossible for anyone other than ultra fit well conditioned athletes.

And therein lies the problem , many outdoor camps that I see running ( we went and watched a few before we decided to launch our own) attempt to emulate what people perceive to be a " bootcamp". Exercises that are wholly inappropriate either on an individual basis or collectively. I could go into lengthy details as to why stretching may not be good for you right now ( your muscle is already stressed and you now want to stress that tissue more?...good luck with that) or why competing against another team ( lets say racing up and down a hill for example) brings high risk of injuries.

Just because it looks good as an exercise its not necessarily appropriate. There is nothing sadder than watching some one repeatedly fall off a bosu ball because their ankle stability won't allow them to squat, the gain is so so much less than the injury risk its not justifiable.The percentage return against investment is so low that even big banking risk takers wouldn't take that gamble with money, so why would you take it with your body. If you can't control the motion you have no joint stability in that range, this goes in one direction only, negatively.Further if you have no stability on flat ground trying to squat on a boss is like trying to skate after 5 pints of beer, you are just adding to the instability. If you squat poorly with 2 feet flat on the ground its never getting better on an unstable surface...and no its not classed as " functional " except for the people who want to sell you that concept.

So what do " bootcamps" do?Do people get results? I suspect not despite all the testimonials! Maybe staying away from the concept of " crazy" and focussing on the goals of the clients. I ask mine for regular feedback, you would be surprised as to why many of them come.!..The focus should never be the ego of the instructor who is really most of the time doing their own workout, paying little attention, if you are joining in you are not watching form, and thats not whats best for the class. Secondly I think bootcamps, like personal training should be more regulated, lets see what sort of insurance cover some of these people have, lets see the qualifications of the instructor, after all they are messing with your body right now and you are ok with that? Thirdly stop trying to impress the world with weird and wonderful exercises you have seen on TV, sure you want the class to be fun, but hey that exercise is advanced, is your client. Fourthly lots of camps run for a specific period only...lets say 8 weeks, who really thinks they are going to change a lifetime of bad habits in just 8 weeks. However, this is how its sold to the client. Big promises.Reality is that change is hard, trying to crash down weight in 8 weeks without appropriate counselling, coaching, guidance will result in either injury, failure to reach a goal( its just too stressful) or reaching a goal only to find it all coming back 2 weeks later when you return back to the previous exercise pattern whatever that may be...change takes time and planning, 8 weeks of bootcamp doesn't do that, it raises your hopes and the lets you go.

Our philosophy is that exercise is for life,so next time you are thinking about attending a bootcamp do your research. If you are in the Lawrence Park area of Toronto, come check us out.