It seems that boot camps are the latest trend in the fitness world, particularly if you live in a place that is warm year round. Being instructor led, with a group atmosphere that allows for friendly competition and accountability it makes sense that these workouts are growing in popularity and that participants are getting some great results. I recently had the chance to talk with Chris Sunseri, owner and trainer at Camp Hurricane, a Houston, TX based boot camp.
Camp Hurricane sticks out among most boot camps because sessions are run by trainers that are both certified (by legitimate agencies) and educated (currently possess or are working on their MS or PhD in Exercise Science). I am also in love with their slogan. “Take Your Body By Storm”. Seriously, how great is that??? Anyways, I was curious to learn more about Camp Hurricane and Boot Camps in general, so below is my interview with Chris:
Tanya – What Are the Benefits to Participating in Boot Camp Workouts?
Chris – There are a lot of benefits to participating in a fitness boot camp. First and most important, it’s physical activity. You get all the great benefits from being more physically active: cardiovascular, strength, agility, and flexibility. I try to incorporate each aspect into every class so my clients receive a broad range of health. Boot camp members also get, and you’ll love this, more *Vitamin D! People are already inside most of the day and typical gym goers are often inside as well. My clients are normally out in the field for 45 minutes to 1 hour, allowing them to synthesize more vitamin D than the average person. Also, my clients also appreciate the social aspect of class. They enjoy making new friends who have similar goals, chatting before class, and scheming of ways to get back at me.
*Note – vitamin D is my FAVORITE vitamin. Ever. I may have done some research on it before (abstract). Post about how great it is coming soon.
Tanya – How Are Camp Hurricane Sessions Designed and Run?
Chris – Camp Hurricane offers multiple training camps but my current class is titled “Total Body Boot Camp.” I designed it to target all the bodies energy systems and as many muscle groups as possible in 1 hour. We start off every session with a cardiovascular warm-up (5-10 minute jog) and then another 10 minutes of dynamic warm-up drills. These drills can consist of skipping, jumping, crawling, twisting, and dynamic stretching. Then I try to activate their mind-body connection with a variety of cone drills. Basically I want them to get use to moving in everything direction (forward, backwards, diagonally, and laterally). I give them a short break and then I crank it up with some high-intensity sprints. Sprints will last about 10 minutes with a work:rest ratio of 1:5. I will vary the distance each class: sometimes 10 yds, sometimes 50 yds. After the sprints, boot campers are normally dying for some strength exercises and that’s what we do next. We only have time for 3-4 exercises so I try to give incorporate their upper body, lower body, and core with our last few minutes. To finish it off, we stretch for about 5 minutes to help increase their range of motion. Every class has different drills and exercises but that’s the typical structure for each Total Body Boot Camp.
Tanya – Can People of Different Fitness Levels Participate in the Same Class? How do you make it hard enough for the fit people without scaring away the less fit participants?
Chris – This is probably the hardest aspect of teaching an effective boot camp for everyone. People of any fitness background can attend my class and I do the best I can to train them equally as hard. I found the best way to push each person is to focus on time of the exercise and not the number of repetitions. For example, when performing push-ups, I have everyone pushing for 30 secs as opposed to aiming for 15 reps. The more active people will worry about the number they can get in 30 seconds, while the new members focus on finishing. 30 seconds of pure push-ups will make anyone fatigue!
Tanya – I Don’t Live in Houston, What Characteristics Should I Look for When Trying to Find a Boot Camp?
Chris – I know the things my clients are concerned about are location, time, and price. If they can’t make those 3 things work then they probably wont attend my camp. The important things I tell people to lookout for are 1) Certification: make sure your trainer is certified! Being in shape is not a good prerequisite for being a good trainer 2) Class size: While you are paying a low amount per class, don’t attend a class if your going to be lost in the crowd. Look for boot camps that have limits for their classes possibly around 20 people per class. 3) Find the class that is right for you! Every trainer has a different style of teaching and follows a different methodology. If you don’t like one, give another a shot. Most trainers will offer the first class for free.
Huge thanks to Chris for answering my questions about boot camp workouts. Since I no longer live in Houston, I am on the hunt to find one near me! If you do live in the Houston area – or will be visiting there – check out Camp Hurricane’s wesbite for more information and to sign up for some classes!
Have you ever participated in a Boot Camp workout class before? What did you think?