Boot camps seem to be really popular right now. How would you rate them against a personal training session and do they really burn more calories than a fitness class? - Kara
Comparing a boot camp to a personal training session would be difficult because it would be solely dependent on who's in charge of each. The knowledge of the personal trainer and boot camp instructor determines the effectiveness of the session or the camp experience. More important, boot camps can be quite different from one another based on their intent and intensity.
Boot camps conjure up a hardcore military workout designed to physically prepare soldiers in a short amount of time, but in the fitness world, the term "boot camp" is more loosely defined.
For example, some boot camps focus on losing weight, while others develop strength, muscular definition or endurance. Boot camps can be sports specific or dance oriented or for those pursuing martial arts. There are coed camps as well as those exclusive to women or men. There are even kinder, gentler boot camps designed around yoga, massage and meditation. And, of course, intensity - beginner level to advanced - is a distinguishing factor.
However, jump into one of these boot camps, and it's likely you'll discover they also have certain characteristics in common.
Which burns more calories, a fitness class or a boot camp? This exact number depends on the individual's body weight, their intensity and the duration of each work effort. But on average, according the American Council on Exercise, boot camps burned 9.8 calories per minute, or about 600 calories, in a 60-minute workout in a study conducted the University of Wisconsin. Boot camps also include a serious muscle building component. Combining cardio and strength together keeps the intensity high and results impressive.
If a boot camp experience sounds like your way to a tighter, leaner body, keep the following information in mind:
Boot camps can put you on the fast track to fitness if you choose one that is designed for your fitness level and your goals. Dedicating yourself to a boot camp outdoors in the fall can be a wonderful environment to jumpstart weight loss. But expect that fast track to have lots of twists and turns that may make you wish you'd slowed down and taken the scenic route.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com.