Boot camps are all the rage. Angela Knight on why they work
Boot camps are all the rage in Bangkok. For some reason every other person here and everywhere else in the world is attending boot camps. First one friend signed up, then another, and soon even colleagues at work began to complain of ‘being too sore to walk’ from the boot camp. Facebook updates featured the words boot camp along with pictures of people sweating it out in the great outdoors, rain or shine. Then one heard of a boot camp weekend in Pattaya: this was getting serious! Serious enough for me to explore the possibilities.
The idea that people were excited to get up before dawn and put their bodies through torture, without the benefit of air-conditioned gyms was curious and merited investigation. The first thing I realized was that the boot camp, for long associated with military discipline, appears to have successfully crossed into the fitness arena. This minus screaming instructors. Tina was encouraged by a friend to give the boot camp a try. That she had a few extra pounds to loose helped. She has never looked back, “I love them. No other workout makes me feel so good. There is a sense of achievement.”
Boot camp exercise classes very in style, depending on the teacher. Bet some things are constant: you will meet outside, rain or shine. During it you’ll most likely do around an hour of cardiovascular exercise (running, hiking, interval training or obstacle course challenges), along with strength exercise bands, or the resistance of your own body weight). You’ll also stretch for flexibility heavily borrowing from yoga or Pilates.
Boot camp fitness classes are said to challenge the mind as well as the body, as the instructors make you work on technique, form, core training, breathing and relaxation. Instructors promise that besides dropping the excess kilos you will have a better understanding of how the body moves and how much you can push it. Adds Tina, “It somehow also adds to your confidence level. Perhaps because you have a better body image.”
For others it is also about social interaction. In these isolating times of iPods, cell phones, computers, at boot camps you learn to re-connect. At one level it is a collective and at another it poses a challenge: when you hangout with driven people you end up surprising yourself swear the acolytes.
These boot camps are not about military style discipline and no one is going to bark at you to, ‘Drop and give me 30’. But it’s disciplined and intense and you are expected to show up regularly. “It’s also an empowering environment, one that is nurturing and very challenging,” says another enthusiastic boot camper.
A boot camp is also all about the instructor and his personality so do shop around and settle for the one you are comfortable with. But before you sign up for one get a physical to determine your level of fitness. As for were to find one? Ask friends who are fitness freaks or spread the word at your gym. Before the day is out you’ll find one.
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