Is a boot camp workout for everybody?

Fitness boot camps often appeal to individuals looking for a more intense workout. Boot camp exercises usually involve ballistic, rapid movements that can be too challenging to those who aren't already in shape. But if you have a strong foundation of strength and aerobic training, you're probably ready for boot camp. Before you sign up, though, ask how the program is structured and if there are any prerequisites to assess if it will be a good fit for you.

If you are older than age 40, are pregnant, haven't exercised for some time or have health problems, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a boot camp class — or any new exercise program.

It's also important to let your instructor know if you have health issues or special needs. And be sure to tell your instructor if you have difficulty with a particular exercise. Skilled instructors are attentive to proper form and technique and can adapt exercises for you.

Does boot camp deliver?

Opinions are mixed, but boot camp workouts have many fans who say this type of workout is great for improving overall strength and conditioning. In addition, this type of high intensity aerobic interval training burns more calories in less time compared with moderate aerobic activities.

Finally, a well-structured boot camp workout can help you meet the recommendations for physical activity in healthy adults:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity — or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — a week
  • Strength training exercises at least twice a week

Signing up for boot camp

To find a fitness boot camp, check local fitness centers and gyms. As you consider your options, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the instructor's qualifications?
  • Is the class a good mix of aerobics and strength training?
  • What do people who've taken the class have to say about it?
  • Is this class a good match for my fitness goals?

Boot camp may not be for everyone. But if you're looking for a high-energy workout that offers variety and camaraderie, boot camp may be just what you need.

Apr. 16, 2013 See more In-depth