At the Breed Project we don’t run bootcamps and we never will. There is a very good reason for this – they don’t give you the results that you want. One of my favourite quotes on strength and conditioning is “it’s easy to make people tired, it’s difficult to make them better”. Bootcamps make you tired, they don’t make you better.
A few ex-army commentators have pulled apart the bootcamp idea from a military perspective. Us civvies may see the montages of guys in camo doing thousands of push ups and jumping jacks and assume that’s how they achieved their war-ready physiques. This is far from the reality. In actual fact recruits have to complete medical screenings before they get to any bootcamp style activity, only the ones already in shape get there. What’s more the bootcamp exercises aren’t designed to build the men physically, they are designed to break them down mentally, they are team building exercises that will stress the individual, test their mettle and improve their team spirit. Does that sound like the perfect recipe for helping a middle aged mum shift a bit of weight in time for summer?
At the heart of any effective weights based program should be some compound lifts designed to build strength. We’re talking squats, deadlifts, chins etc. These lifts should be the cornerstone of your training, they should be progressed and supported with targeted assistance exercises. They give you most return on investment and any trainer that ignores these in favour of jumping jacks should be ignored. Bootcamps survive in the mis-information of the energy balance equation where all work burns calories so must therefore be good. They are cardio based sessions which predicate themselves on creating a short term calorie burn (which most people will immediately negate with a post camp Lucozade). Compound lifts build muscle, muscle raises your metabolic rate in the longer term and this helps support continued fat loss. This is without even going into the issues of cardio on your stress systems, I’ll save that for a later post..
The reason that bootcamps are so popular and are pushed so heavily in the fitness industry is because it’s a ‘get rich quick’ format for the trainers. A bootcamp local to me has 40 attendees a couple of nights a week. Paying just £5 a head the trainer is making £200 for 45minutes of shouting encouragement and laying out a few cones, what’s more as they are doing it in a park there aren’t the steep overheads associated with training in globo gyms. The attendees walk away tired and the mis-information in the fitness industry leads them to believe that this is a good thing.. “I felt sick so it must have been a good session”.
Whilst the £5 seems like a bargain, what are you actually getting for that money? In terms of input from the trainer I’d guess at not a lot. I’ve watched these sessions, cringing, as the trainer, hands in pockets, mills around in the middle of the circuit occasionally shouting encouragement in between checking twitter on their phone. A trainer’s job is fairly self-explanatory – you pay them to train you, no matter how cheap the session if they are not doing that then at best it is a waste of money at worst you could be risking injuring yourself through improper form.
I understand why bootcamps are popular, they are affordable, provide a social environment to work out and feel tough giving you the impression of better results. However for us they aren’t the answer.
At the Breed Project we instead focus on individual or very small group sessions, that way we can monitor form, make adjustments, explain movements and safely train you. Our sessions focus around core movements that will translate into real life improvements. At the end of our sessions you should leave feeling better than when you came in. That doesn’t mean that you won’t work hard, you will, it’ll just be efficient and personalised work, the kind that will give you actual results.
So ditch the bootcamps, the battery farms of the fitness world, and learn what actual training feels like. Escape Normal..