Boot Camp fitness training has risen in popularity at an incredibly fast pace over the last few years. Traditional 1 on 1 personal training, while still valuable, is slowly being replaced by group training. A $10 per hour boot camp sounds a lot more appealing that a $70 per hour training session. It’s also a statistical fact that the majority of people perform better when surrounded by their peers.
I have been training individuals for 13 years and was hesitant to join the world of group instruction for a number of reasons. Mainly it was because I thought I would lose the personal interaction that I enjoyed so much. As it turns out, building relationships with my clients isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be now that I am running boot camps.
The popularity of boot camps is evident. If you run a Google search for “fitness boot camps”, you will find approximately 300,000 results. I run my boot camp in Frederick, Maryland and running a search for local boot camps yields about 23,000 results. Talk about competition.
My point is that there are tons of available options when it comes to boot camps and often times you have no idea what they are really like until you start. I have seen some great boot camps (including mine) and some that are nothing more than running and jumping jacks.
I personally recommend that you try out the boot camp you’re thinking of joining to determine if it’s a good fit for you. Some boot camps ask you to prepay for all the sessions in advance (and if it’s a lousy program, you’re screwed!), but most will let you opt out if you ask.
Things To Consider Before Joining A Boot Camp
- Is it reasonably priced? I have seen boot camps that cost $300 or more for a single month! To me that’s nuts. I think paying for a professional’s time is important, but group classes should be designed to be cost effective. In my opinion, if you cannot give each client your full attention, you shouldn’t charge them like you are.
- Does the theme of the boot camp match up with your specific goals? A high intensity, fast paced program may not be the best choice for a Type 2 diabetic. A program that focuses on plyometrics and medicine ball drills may be a poor choice for an individual with lower back problems. People have a hard time quitting, especially in a group setting and may try to stick it out even though it’s not the right type of training for them.
- Take a close look at the instructor. Is he/she a professional? Do they have the credentials to develop a proper and safe exercise program? Are they motivating to you? Do they seem genuinely interested in helping you?
- Are you in a comfortable setting. Of course you’re going to be uncomfortable when you’re getting your ass handed to you, what I’m talking about is the setting. A 55 year old woman looking to lose 35 pounds may feel intimidated by a group of young, relatively fit mom’s that all know each other.
- Is the program structured well? Too many times, you will find that boot camps are a free-for-all when it comes to exercises. Whatever comes to the instructor’s mind is what you’re gonna do! A successful program should be well thought out, progressive, challenging, and should meet the needs of its participants.
- Does the instructor watch your form or are they too distracted watching their surroundings? I’ve seen trainers checking their phones and even answering calls in the middle of a session. To me, that’s bullshit. A good trainer needs to be aware of each participant and understand their limitations. The trainer needs to be watching at all times, period!
- Does the instructor actually care about each person, the reason they are doing the boot camp, and their goals, or are they just sheep herding and looking for a paycheck? If the trainer is not doing this to really help each person, then you need to look elsewhere.
With all the boot camp options available to you (even if you live in Dixon, Iowa), it makes sense to do a little homework before you invest 6,8, or 10 weeks and hundreds of dollars on a boot camp if it’s not going to truly benefit you.
If you do live in Western Maryland and are looking to try your hand at boot camp fitness training, please visit my Frederick Boot Camp page.