A fitness boot camp is a type of group physical training program conducted by gyms, personal trainers, and former military personnel. These programs are designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals over a 1 hour period of time.
Originally popular in the US they were brought over to the UK in 2005 and have been growing in popularity ever since.
Boot Camp training often commences with dynamic stretching and running, followed by a wide variety of interval training, including lifting weights/objects, pulling rubber TRX straps, pushups/situps, plyometrics, and various types of intense explosive routines. Sessions usually finish with yoga stretching. Many other exercises using weights and/or body weight, similar to CrossFit routines, are used to lose body fat, increase cardiovascular efficiency, increase strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise.[1] Many programs offer nutrition advice as well. It is called "boot camp" because it trains groups of people, may be outdoors, and may or may not be similar to military basic training.
 
The term "boot camp" is currently used in the fitness industry to describe group fitness classes that promote fat loss, camaraderie and team effort. They are designed to push people a little bit further than they would normally push themselves in the gym alone. Boot Camps are sometimes organized outdoors in parks[2] using bodyweight exercises like push ups, squats, suspension training and burpees, interspersed with running and competitive games. The idea is that everyone involved works at their own pace as they team up and work towards one goal, either in pairs, small teams of three or four, or even two teams head on.
 
Boot camps provide social support for those taking part. This provides a different environment for those exercisers who get bored in a gym and so find it hard to develop a habit of exercise. Participants make friends and socialize as they exercise, although how strict the trainers or drill instructors in charge can be will depend on the company running the camp. Members of fitness boot camps are usually tested for fitness on Day 1 and then retested at the end of the camp, which usually runs for between 4–6 weeks.
 
Fitness bootcamps are often based on the military style of training, although that has started changing over the last few years. An advantage of a bootcamp is that the large group dynamic will often help motivate the participants. A growing trend in fitness boot camps are the indoor locations which prove to be climate proof and provide a better workout environment for the members.
There are many other benefits of a fitness bootcamp. These include mental health. It has long been known that regular aerobic exercise can help to reduce high blood pressure, hypertension and combat stress. Part of this is due to the release of endorphins, which act as a mood elevator.
 
Some "Holistic Bootcamps" provide the mental coaching required to sustain motivation after people leave the camp. Themed fitness bootcamps often consist of the use of one particular training implement to the exclusion of others. Kettlebells are the preferred tool for kettlebell fitness bootcamps [5] run by RKC instructors and TRX suspension trainers are the preferred tools for TRX instructors. Boxing themed fitness bootcamps often use heavy bags. The use of themes vary widely between fitness bootcamps and their instructors according to the preferences between the instructor and the needs and likes of the clientele.

Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods may involve either complete rest or activity of lower intensity.
Interval training can refer to organization of any cardiovascular workout (e.g. cycling, running, rowing, etc.), and is prominent in many sports' training. It is a technique particularly employed by runners, but athletes from several backgrounds have been known to use this type of training.
It is of two types:
1. Slow interval training method
2. Fast interval training method
 
Effectiveness
 
Interval training is a favorite of coaches because of its effectiveness in cardiovascular build-up and also its ability to make more well-rounded runners / riders. However, it is also applicable to exercisers as it helps improve exercisers’ aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying intensities (Mayo Clinic, 2009).
Interval training can be an effective means of enhancing an athlete's lactate threshold - i.e. increase the threshold at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood. Lactate threshold has been shown to be a significant factor determining performance for long distance running events.
This method of training may be more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration. This is due to the metabolism boosting effects of high intensity intervals.
 
Variations
 
"Walk-back sprinting" is another example of interval training for runners, in which one sprints a short distance (anywhere from 100 to 800 meters), then walks back to the starting point (the recovery period) to repeat the sprint a certain number of times. To add challenge to the workout, each of these sprints may start at a predetermined time interval, e.g. 200 meter sprint, walk back, and sprint again every 3 minutes. The time interval provides just enough recovery.
 
Fartlek training, named and developed by Swedes, is intermediate between true interval training and regular distance training. The name means 'speed play', and consists of distance running "anywhere", with bursts of harder running at more irregular points, lengths, and speeds compared with interval training. Not only is it an efficient training method, fartlek training can help one avoid injuries that often accompany non-stop, repetitive activity, and provides the opportunity to increase one's intensity without burning oneself out in a matter of minutes.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training, is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.

 

Procedure
 
A HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by six to ten repetitions of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. The goal is to do at least six cycles, and to have the entire HIIT session last at least fifteen minutes and not more than twenty.
The original protocol set a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, for example, 30–40 seconds of hard sprinting alternated with 15–20 seconds of jogging or walking.
HIIT is considered to be an excellent way to maximize a workout that is limited on time.
 

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.[1] Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time.

What is Aerobic Exercise? 
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines aerobic exercise as "any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature." It is also defined as exercise that increases the need for oxygen. Aerobic exercise is used interchangeably with the terms: cardiovascular exercise, cardio-respiratory exercise and cardio. Some examples of aerobic exercise include: walking, jogging, running, dancing, rollerblading, bicycling, swimming, aerobics classes (both land and water), rowing, stair climbing, etc.

What are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise? 
Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs (which make up the cardiovascular system). During exercise, your muscles demand more oxygen-rich blood and give off more carbon dioxide and other waste products. As a result, your heart has to beat faster to keep up. When you follow a consistent aerobic exercise plan, your heart grows stronger so it can meet the muscles' demands without as much effort. Everyone, regardless of their weight, age, or gender, can benefit from aerobic exercise.

Regular aerobic exercise, performed most days of the week, also helps reduce the risk of illness and premature death. Regular aerobic exercise improves health in the following ways:

  • Reduces body fat and improves weight control
  • Reduces resting blood pressure (systolic and diastolic)
  • Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Decreases total cholesterol
  • Improves glucose tolerance and reduces insulin resistance
  • Decreases clinical symptoms of anxiety, tension and depression
  • Increases maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)
  • Improves heart and lung function
  • Increases blood supply to the muscles and
  • Enhances your muscles’ ability to use oxygen
  • Lowers resting heart rate
  • Increased threshold for muscle fatigue (lactic acid accumulation)

Source: “Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General”, CDC, 1999. 

Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and short-distance running are the most salient examples. The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.

 
 
In most conditions, anaerobic exercise occurs simultaneously with aerobic exercises because the less efficient anaerobic metabolism must supplement the aerobic system due to energy demands that exceed the aerobic system's capacity. What is generally called aerobic exercise might be better termed "solely aerobic", because it is designed to be low-intensity enough not to generate lactate via pyruvate fermentation, so that all carbohydrate is aerobically turned into energy.
 
Initially during increased exertion, muscle glycogen is broken down to produce glucose, which undergoes glycolysis producing pyruvate which then reacts with oxygen (Krebs cycle) to produce carbon dioxide and water and releasing energy. If there is a shortage of oxygen (anaerobic exercise, explosive movements), carbohydrate is consumed more rapidly because the pyruvate ferments into lactate. If the intensity of the exercise exceeds the rate with which the cardiovascular system can supply muscles with oxygen, it results in buildup of lactate and quickly makes it impossible to continue the exercise. Unpleasant effects of lactate buildup initially include the burning sensation in the muscles, and may eventually include nausea and even vomiting if the exercise is continued without allowing lactate to clear from the bloodstream.
 
As glycogen levels in the muscle begin to fall, glucose is released into the bloodstream by the liver, and fat metabolism is increased so that it can fuel the aerobic pathways. Aerobic exercise may be fueled by glycogen reserves, fat reserves, or a combination of both, depending on the intensity. Prolonged moderate-level aerobic exercise at 65% VO2 max (the heart rate of 150 bpm for a 30-year-old human) results in the maximum absolute contribution of fat to the total energy expenditure. At this level, fat may contribute 40% to 60% of total, depending on the duration of the exercise. Vigorous exercise above 75% VO2max (160 bpm) primarily burns glycogen.
 
Major muscles in a rested, untrained human typically contain enough energy for about 2 hours of vigorous exercise. Exhaustion of glycogen is a major cause of what marathon runners call "hitting the wall". Training, lower intensity levels, and carbohydrate loading may allow to postpone the onset exhaustion beyond 4 hours.
 
Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or two person team tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently "aerobic", while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek training or aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness. It is most common for aerobic exercises to involve the leg muscles, primarily or exclusively. There are some exceptions. For example, rowing to distances of 2,000 m or more is an aerobic sport that exercises several major muscle groups, including those of the legs, abdominals, chest, and arms. Common kettlebell exercises combine aerobic and anaerobic aspects.
 
Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:
Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs
Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
Strengthening muscles throughout the body
Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure
Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen
Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression
Reducing the risk for diabetes.
Burns body fat, while building leaner muscle.
 
As a result, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular problems. In addition, high-impact aerobic activities (such as jogging or using a skipping rope) can stimulate bone growth, as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women.
 
In addition to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are numerous performance benefits:
Increased storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles, allowing for increased endurance
Neovascularization of the muscle sarcomeres to increase blood flow through the muscles
Increasing speed at which aerobic metabolism is activated within muscles, allowing a greater portion of energy for intense exercise to be generated aerobically
Improving the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen
Enhancing the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise
 
Both the health benefits and the performance benefits, or "training effect", require a minimum duration and frequency of exercise. Most authorities suggest at least twenty minutes performed at least three times per week.
 

Plyometrics (also known as "plyos" and "jumping") is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric exercises may also be referred to as explosive exercises. Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength, elasticity and innervation of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, providing explosiveness for a variety of sport-specific activities. Plyometrics has been shown across the literature to be beneficial to a variety of athletes. Benefits range from injury prevention, power development and sprint performance amongst others.

 

Procedure
 
Plyometric training involves and uses practicing plyometric movements to enhance tissues abilities and train nerve cells to stimulate a specific pattern of [muscle contraction] so the muscle generates as strong a contraction as possible in the shortest amount of time. A plyometric contraction involves first a rapid muscle lengthening movement (eccentric phase), followed by a short resting phase (amortization phase), then an explosive muscle shortening movement (concentric phase), which enables muscles to work together in doing the particular motion. Plyometric training engages the myotatic reflex, which is the automatic contraction of muscles when their stretch sensory receptors are stimulated.
 
Muscular power and muscular strength are two different things. Muscular strength refers to how much force can be applied (The ability to lift a heavier weight as opposed to a lighter one). Strength alone is good indicative of speed. Although muscle strength is correlated to sprint performance, research has shown that combining both resistance training and plyometric training will have better effects on training. While plyometrics assists in rapid force development (power), weight training assists in maximal force output (strength). Power refers to the combined factors of speed and strength. Performance in many sports is based on different types of power. In American Football, a lineman and a receiver may have the same power, but they have different limitations in how their power is delivered. The lineman would be speed-limited, whereas the receiver would be strength-limited. The purpose of plyometrics is to emphasize speed-based power. One activity that requires speed-favored power is high jumping: ultimately, jump height is determined by how fast one is moving once one's legs have left the ground. Good jumpers may not have exceptional leg strength, but they can produce it at exceptional speeds. Studies have shown that training a plyometric activity such as drop jump allows the athlete to increase the pre-activation and pre-stretch of the muscles and allows the coach to assess landing techniques that are vital to the production of force [3]. With the increase of force production, an athlete becomes more powerful explosive and stable when performing tasks decreasing risk of injury and increasing overall performance on the playing field.
 

Subcategories

Endurance Training

  • Boot Camp Boot Camp
      A fitness boot camp is a type of group physical training program conducted by gyms, personal trainers, and former military personnel. These programs are designed to build strength and...
    Read More...
  • Interval Interval
    Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close...
    Read More...
  • Aerobics Aerobics
    Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.[1] Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of...
    Read More...
  • Cardio Cardio
    High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training, is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating...
    Read More...
  • Plyometrics Plyometrics
    Plyometrics (also known as "plyos" and "jumping") is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the...
    Read More...

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