An ankle sprain, pulled muscle, or back injury could scare anybody out of doing boot camp. Don't let the fear of boot camp keep you away; there are ways to do boot camp without the pains associated with it. Below are my tips to keep you injury free, improve your boot camp mojo, and remove the intimidation factor. Tip #1. Set realistic goals - I've talked a lot about S.M.A.R.T. goals before so it goes without saying that in order to get the most out of boot camp you can't do it with a weekend warrior mindset. If you haven't worked out in years, your boot camp start needs to be adjusted accordingly. For example, a popular boot camp move is a Burpee. A Burpee is when you drop to the ground to a push-up position, perform a push-up, hop to your feet and simultaneously jump up (high). The move is a complicated, full-body move and should never be tried full out on the first time. Instead of going full out on the first week, set a goal to do a modified Burpee using a wall or bench. If you eventually want to do the full-on Burpee (a great goal) make it a goal to do a Burpee with great form; the only catch is, good form can take some time. Burpees require that you have stable shoulders and a strong core (including your back). This is not some move you master in the first week of boot camp - injuries happen that way. Remember, think Smart and workout smart too.
Tip #2. Dress for the part - Please don't come to boot camp wearing five year-old tennis shoes. Old tennis shoes - no matter how comfortable they are - aren't the place for boot camp. There's a lot of jumping and side-to-side movement so if your shoes aren't supporting you, you're a class away from a sprain, or knee issue. Invest in some quality cross trainers and wear them for a few days before you start boot camp. Wear comfortable clothes that allow your instructor to see how your knees track over your toes and what's going on with your posture. Wear headbands to catch the sweat and a hat to protect your face. You'll also need sunscreen, bug spray (it is boot camp), a mat, towel, and water.
Tip #3. Prepare to lift some weight - One of the reasons I love boot camp is that it forces you to use your body weight in a lot of exercise. In other words it's hard to cheat. Push-ups, for example are a great upper body exercise that translates into everyday functional needs like pushing yourself off the floor, using your ab muscles effectively and improving your overall body strength. In addition to body weight exercises, adding some resistance like dumbbells or kettlebells can increase your intensity, burn more calories, and make you a fat burning machine in the long term!
Boot camp doesn't have to scare you. Armed with the right information, boot camp can be challenging, effective and down right fun. In my next post, I'll discuss ways to prepare for boot camp in order to see faster results.
What are your fears about boot camp?