Sunday, September 25, 2011

Booty Camp: The End of the Real Boot Camp

By Taco Fleur

The trusted fitness boot camp was modeled on military training. As opposed to the regular gym classes, fitness boot camps involved a stricter military-style environment far from the usual air-conditioned and pampered confines of a gym. Training routines in boot camps often involve running, interval training, high intensity training, weights/body weights, and are mostly done in the outdoors rain hail or shine. Very similar to that of military training, most of these exercises were designed to increase cardiovascular efficiency and discipline. According to Gwynne Dyer, a military historian, the harsh military training conditions teaches recruits to seek the good of their unit in spite of danger to one's self. Some military training actually attempt to break down individuality to remold the recruit to the needs of the group. In spite of the grueling physical routines, a large part of the training is actually psychological. More than the physical fitness, this type of training instills discipline among the trainees.

Fitness boot camps are now a growing business trend. Before, only men were joining boot camps. Now, it has become a popular fad with almost anybody and woman are joining in just as much as the men are. Many fitness boot camps are now being held in parks and other outdoor spaces. Part of the reason for its popularity is due to the cost-savings. People can enjoy having the expertise of an instructor without too much cost because it is shared among the many participants of the boot camp.

Fitness boot camps nowadays are now toned down. Before, boot camps were very militaristic with sergeant-like instructors barking out orders to the participants. Newer instructors reason out that their new approach is to promote encouragement, camaraderie, and personal growth. In a sense, fitness boot camps are no longer what they used to be. Most of them have become watered down pastiches of the original fitness boot camp.

Because of the growing popularity of fitness boot camps, they are now popping up almost everywhere to ride on the wave of its popularity. It might seem that almost everyone now can become a boot camp instructor regardless of qualification as long as one can market their business well. But with the emergence of boot camps riding on its popularity comes the inevitable decline in the quality of training. Competition among boot camps will require that the owners of these establishments to cater to the whims of the public to make them more marketable. It must be remembered though that the original boot camp is far from actually being "marketable". People join boot camps before because they want to in spite of the kind of environment in a boot camp. They know that it is not going to be easy. They know that it is going to be rough. They will be shouted at. But all that is part of the training. Watered-down boot camps cuddle their clients like babies.

Some people who join boot camps join because it sounds cool. They can brag that they go to boot camps twice a week. It seems that boot camps enhance their macho image, and maybe it does. But this is all very superficial. Beyond the training is discipline. Military training was designed such that discipline will be driven to the core of the soldier in or out of the battlefield. Boot camps were born out of this military training, thus, it should bear the marks of a true boot camp. An example of the watering down of boot camps are those that provide "training" to shape up people preparing for their wedding or beach parties. They market themselves as being able to deliver fast results, and maybe they do. But do they instill discipline? After the wedding or beach parties, will these people continue to exercise? Most likely not. Their "boot camp" has served its purpose, and that is the end of it. A real fitness boot camp will train an individual the way boot camps were meant to be. The trainee will learn discipline and will practice discipline in or out of the boot camp. Look at the military people. You know when you see one even if they are retired. It is because the discipline they learned in training has become deeply-rooted into their lives.

Choose wisely when choosing a boot camp! A real boot camp will bring out the best in you even if it will have to shout at you. It will most likely drive you beyond your comfort zone. You will experience pain, and what is pain but a psychological barrier that prevents you from reaching your potential. And always remember, there is no easy way, but the hard way.

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