A Case For Boot Camp

1. Why is it so healthy to exercise outdoors? It this like “spring cleaning” for your body?

As much as I would like to say that there is a ‘spring cleaning’ for the body by training outdoors, I’ve yet to find any documented evidence to suggest that this is the case. There is much to be said about enjoying the fresh air and sunrise for those early morning workouts. Studies do show that training first thing in the morning increases metabolism for the rest of the day. An early morning boot camp workout is invigorating and most of my clients report that their compliance to a nutritionally sound diet is higher when they attend boot camp first thing.

2. How can people take advantage of what’s around them (benches, stairs, etc), without spending a lot of money?

There is a variety of props that can be used for training purposes in the great outdoors. Curbs and benches are great. Light poles can be used with tubing. You are only limited by your imagination. You’d also be surprised at how challenging a playground can be. How long has it been since you tried the monkey bars? You’ll have new respect for children once you try this challenging upper body task.

One of the most effective body weight exercises is the unsung push-up. There is nothing new or glamorous about doing push-ups, but they work!  You will work many of the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, shoulders and triceps. Many women complain that the backs of their arms are too flabby.  Doing push-ups directly targets those muscles. In addition, you will target the core muscles. The key is to keep your back plank straight through out. If body weight is too much resistance when you first begin, there are a variety of ways to modify the resistance.  Anyone can do some sort of push up to increase upper body strength, add muscle and work the core all at once.

A bench can be used to modify the push up:

A bench could be used for squatting to or for a bench step:

A pole, fence or wall can be used for a wall sit:

You can stick to some fairly basic movements and get an over all workout by using a variety of outdoor props.

The key to success in any exercise setting is INTENSITY.  If you are barely breaking a sweat, it’s not likely that you will get extreme results.

3. Why is a boot camp a good idea? Is doing your own boot camp a good option for those who want to save money?

A boot camp should provide sound exercise instruction and motivation. All boot camps are not created equal though, so it’s best to do your research when choosing your camp. Look carefully at the instructor’s qualifications and ensure that the instructor has the experience to lead you into better fitness and not injury. Ask lots of questions prior to signing up and ask if there is a money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with the instruction. Check the testimonials of those that have completed the camp. Above all, boot camp should be safe, effective and FUN!

Although you will get the best results with the social support of a boot camp, it is possible to ‘go it alone’. There are some incredible programs available online that you can follow if joining a camp isn’t possible for you. An example is one found at www.FemaleFatLossOverForty.com. This is a program designed for women to trim down and strengthen up at home with very little to no equipment.

4. What do you recommend to lose some belly weight that we may have gained over the winter?


The mid section is always a trouble spot for many. There is no magic bullet for this area, but the plank is one of the most effective exercises that you can safely perform to tone the abdominals. It effectively targets the abdominal area, and is much safer and easier to learn to perform than crunches. Having a strong core will reduce back aches and improve posture as well. You start by holding the position shown in the photo for as long as you can. If that is too difficult, start on your knees.  As you get stronger, hold that position for longer periods.  If you started on your knees, soon you will graduate to your toes.  Before you know it, you will be sporting a stronger, flatter tummy!

As well, it goes without saying that you need to monitor your diet. The first thing you need to do is cut out the ‘junk’ Most people know what they need to reduce in terms of empty calories, it’s the consistent application of following a sound diet that is a challenge. Another tip is to cut out liquid calories, including alcohol. Liquid calories in the form of alcohol, juices and soda pop can add up and decreasing intake will help create a calorie deficit without a nutritional deficit.


5. What if a person wants to lose 5 or even 40 lbs?

Anyone or any boot camp that promises rapid weight loss should be questioned. You can safely lose 1-2 lbs per week. If you have a lot of weight to lose, plan on attending boot camp or some other exercise regime long term. If you are inactive, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of inches that you will lose as well as weight when you begin an exercise program. This loss of inches is equally important to weight loss since exercise will ‘reshape’ your body more than just dieting alone.

Exercise should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle anyway, so if you find the right program, long term exercise in a boot camp isn’t the sentence that it may sound like at first. The health benefits as well as the refreshed outlook and energy are well worth the time invested.

6. What can you recommend to help people who normally don’t exercise at all, and are very skeptical?

Anyone that is new to exercise needs to start off slowly. A beginner should consider a program or a personal trainer as opposed to going it alone for the first time out. They will need the support and instruction to ensure correct form with exercises. I tell new clients to go 50% on the first week. Clients will be sore anyway, but debilitating soreness is unnecessary. Once the body is accustomed to moving again, new clients can begin to increase the intensity of exercise.

A skeptical person needs to find a trainer that they resonate with. Try to meet your trainer, talk on the phone, watch them in action, do a drop in session, follow them on their blog or online in an effort to see if this is someone they want to trust their body and health with.