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What is Bootcamp Training?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Bootcamp training, or boot camp training is a term used to describe a particularly vigorous and difficult type of workout. Originally based on the type of rigorous exercise done by newly enlisted members of military organizations, bootcamp training is now often used to suggest an extreme degree of difficulty in an exercise routine. Although bootcamp training certainly provides an exhausting workout, some fitness experts suggest that it can do more harm to the body than good, and may be counterproductive to increasing fitness. Nevertheless, boot camp-style workouts are a popular feature of many gyms and fitness centers, and many people love them for the unique sense of accomplishment that accompanies surviving the class.

In many military organizations, boot camp, or basic training, is a period of initiation and training that precedes deployment or assignment. Characterized by rigorous workouts and severely unsympathetic commanding officers, bootcamp is meant to weed out weaker members as much as train and improve physical fitness. A significant portion of enlisted people drop out before completing basic training, thus leading to the reputation of boot camp as relentless and extremely difficult.

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Bootcamp-style exercise classes adopt the principle of military basic training by employing vigorous, challenging workouts and often, instructors shouting direction and encouragement. Classes typically last 30 minutes to one hour, but a high performance level is required throughout the entire class period. Bootcamp training classes can target specific muscular areas, such as the abdominal muscles, or can be geared toward total body fitness.

Some health professionals suggest that bootcamp training classes can be seriously dangerous, even for those in good physical shape. Working the body past the point of exhaustion can increase the potential for injury, as well as leading to dehydration or severe drops in blood sugar levels. Additionally, some studies suggest that once past a certain threshold of effort, the body is burning mostly carbohydrates instead of fat. For those looking to lose weight, bootcamp training may actually lead to increased appetite due to burning carbohydrates without a subsequent loss of fat, potentially causing weight gain.

Some exercisers, however, feel that the mood and focus of such an intense workout is important to their fitness process. While difficult, being able to improve performance with repeated classes can lead to a deep sense of accomplishment and strength. To reduce the potential of injury or ill-effects due to bootcamp training, be certain to stretch before and after the class. Many health professionals recommend that intense exercise should be accompanied by additional consumption of water, electrolytes, and protein. If during a rigorous exercise class, nausea or dizziness occurs, most health and fitness guidelines suggest stopping immediately and resting.

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