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Pros And Cons Of Boot Camp Weight Loss Program

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In spite of the intimidating image of a drill sergeant yelling at a bunch of people who look like they’re all about to faint from exhaustion, boot camp classes are actually quite fun and exciting. And they’re more effective than just sweating it out at the gym on your own. Boot camps are basically high-intensity circuit training workouts which move from one exercise, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, along with several other weight training workouts, to another with very little rest in between. This boosts strength and endurance while burning a ton of calories. While it may seem intense, it leaves room for variety and creativity when creating a workout routine.

Some boot camp weight loss programs provide an extensive program which includes learning how to eat healthy and nutritious foods to help educate people on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. They also teach members various exercises that can be done anywhere using little or no equipment, but rather utilize your own body weight for resistance to increase weight loss while boosting muscle mass at the same time.

Pros & Cons

While boot camp exercises have stood the test of time, just like everything in life, it still has positive and negative points.


  • Motivational. The workouts are varied and the atmosphere is encouraging and competitive at the same time which makes you almost forget you’re working out.
  • Can be modified to your own level so you benefit without burning yourself out or injuring yourself
  • Requires very little: comfortable gear (preferably wicking fabric for your clothing and appropriate shoes), a towel, a mat, a water bottle and weights.
  • Cost-effective and money-saving. Your entire body gets a decent workout in a short amount of time.
  • More calories burned than other types of workouts. Plus, you continue burning calories for hours after you’ve finished your workout.
  • Short time frame. Most workouts last 30 – 60 minutes and repeated 3 or 4 times a week
  • Increased caloric burn rate due to the cardiovascular and strength training exercises
  • Anyone at any level of fitness can participate
  • Boosts your social skills because it forces you to be among people who share your goals. You can meet new people or take your friend along.
  • Boredom buster. Each class is unique with variations of workouts that change from one session to the next.
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Stimulates the release of ‘feel-good’ hormones, such as endorphins after working out for a certain amount of time, dopamine when having a goal and sticking with it, and oxytocin which makes us feel connected others
  • Encourages you to stick to your workouts more so than if you workout alone because you know that your group and instructor will hold you accountable.


  • Isn’t suitable for those suffering from joint problems or recovering from an injury
  • Can be highly energetic and dynamic which may not suit everyone
  • Increased risk of injury, especially if your body isn’t used to working out at intense levels
  • Can be somewhat costly, depending on what type of class you’ve signed up for and where you live

Getting startedFirst thing you should do is do a little bit of research of places that offer boot camp workouts near your home or work. Most places offer trial memberships that may include one free workout or a discount if you book an entire week. Take advantage of these offers because they give a clearer insight into the class without costing you a lot. Before you start, make sure the instructor has the required certifications and experience in this type of exercise philosophy, and knows how to focus more on form and avoid injury. It’s a plus if they’re also certified in first aid.

You should also ask about the instructor’s style because some people prefer instructors to push them to their extreme limit, while others prefer a more gradual approach to fitness. So ask all the questions you need to better prepare yourself for the experience. If you feel that the class is safe and they’re working at a level that’s comfortable for you, then great!

The next step is to figure out what you should eat before your workouts. Choose snacks that are high in carbohydrates one or two hours before you work out. Staying hydrated is also crucial before, during and after your workout. After you’ve finished, it’s important to recover with carbohydrate and protein-rich foods 30 minutes after your workout session.

Give it a try

If you’re a bit hesitant to try out boot camp workouts in a group, why not try it on your own first? Here are a few tips to help you create your own workout.

  • Pick several body weight exercises as jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, planks, burpees, etc.
  • Change back and forth between exercises for the lower body and those for the upper body so that one muscle group rests while another is working.
  • Put high-intensity exercises, as burpees, in between those of lower intensity
  • Set up repetitions according to a 30-second or 0-second timer depending on your fitness level.Here’s a circuit training workout similar to those done at boot camps. It consists of 4 rounds (1 set) with 3 exercises each. There’s a 1-minute of jump rope (or jogging, if you prefer) between each round. The entire is repeated twice after that, with 10 seconds rest in between.
  • 50 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 50 high knees.
  • 50 mountain climbers, 20 dips, 20 x-jumps.
  • 30 pike to planks (start with a pike, like a Downward Facing Dog, for 3 seconds, then hold a plank for 3 seconds), 15 burpees, 50 leg drops.
  • 50 Plank Jumps (start with a Plank position, extend your legs to the side, as if you were doing Jumping Jacks), 30 Sumo Squats, 15 Lunges each leg.

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