The boot camp workout

Here’s everything you need to know about the boot camp workout, the  military-inspired exercise routine. 

Inspired by the training given to those who join the Armed Forces, boot-camps are high-intensity workouts that deliver specific results. “It’s primarily an outdoor group activity where a cluster of people who have the same goal join together,” says J. Keshav, owner and president of BootCamp Chennai, whose 12-week outdoors boot camp costs Rs12,300. The goals of a boot camp could vary, from weight loss, building stamina and endurance to general fitness, stretching, toning or strengthening muscles. 

“In one word, it’s roughing it out,” says Bengaluru-based Wannitaa Ashok, an expert in body transformation. “A full-body cardio and strength workout that’s very effective for weight loss,” she adds. It can help increase lean muscle mass, and build muscular and cardiovascular endurance and strength while improving overall coordination and balance, she explains. An important aspect of the workout is limiting the rest time between each move, so the heart rate goes up and you burn calories faster. “You do circuits of intense exercises for about 30-60 seconds each, pausing for only a few seconds between exercises,” says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, wellness expert and founder of Vesna’s Alta Celo, a wellness clinic based in Delhi. The idea is to schedule challenging workouts that push you to your limits, improve your fitness levels and burn calories faster. 

Boot-camp: The fitness level required

Photographs by Nathan G/Mint
Boot-camp training helps build strength, agility, speed and flexibility. Photographs by Nathan G/Mint

Most fitness trainers know that people who come to them are rookies, so they scale the activities around the group’s requirements, says Delhi-based Kamal Chhikara, owner and head coach at Reebok CrossFit Robust.

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Post 35? It’s never too late to start exercising

You’re post 35 and you’ve finally decided to start exercising? That’s great news. For exercising regularly can reduce fat, stress and cholesterol, improve body functions, prevent diabetes and boost self-confidence, says Ali Irani, head (physiotherapy and sports medicine), Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai. The tricky part, however, is to ensure that your routine is safe, painless and enjoyable, especially if you are above 35. “It’s best to keep yourself low on intensity and duration initially, especially when you’ve never done it before,” he says.

Our experts suggest ways to make sure you keep moving, steadily and steadfastly.

Keep small, realistic goals

Want those six-packs? It’s possible, but you need to be patient, for it won’t happen immediately.

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Exercises to help you fight the bulge

What kind of exercises should you do to fight the bulge? With age and love of beer and desserts, we develop beer bellies, muffin tops, thunder thighs and double or even triple chin. “Men tend to put on weight on the stomach, while women get fat deposits on the hip and thigh regions,” says Pooja Thacker, medical and sports therapist at Bhatia Hospital in Mumbai. “Fat accumulates because that particular part of the body, that muscle, hasn’t been moved much,” says Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer Vinod Channa, whose clients include actor John Abraham. Aim at a bigger fat spot like abdominal muscles or the back and thighs in your fitness regime and you will not only burn fat from that spot, but also lose overall weight faster, Channa adds. To address these trouble zones, you need a combination of cardio and strength training, teamed with a balanced diet, says Wanitha Ashok, a fitness expert who runs Moving Body studio in Bengaluru. Be it the beer belly or arms with chicken wing flab, we list the exercises to get them in shape.

flabby buttocksFlabby buttocks

Position your feet shoulder-width apart, with your back in line with a wall, says Pallavi Chugh, physiotherapist at Fortis Mamma Mia, Gurgaon. Keep your arms on either side, bend your knees, push your hips back as you lower your back against the wall. “Go as far as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the floor, without lifting your heels,” says Chugh. Hold for 5-10 seconds and do 10 repetitions twice a day.

Love handles

Stomach fat can be reduced by aiming at the bigger muscle groups, says Channa, since your belly becomes larger because of overall weight gain. “Do Crossfit, aim for overall weight loss, workout for your legs and back to burn more calories,” he adds. Ab and oblique exercises like bicycle crunches, Russian twists (which entail sitting on one’s buttocks and moving the legs from one side to other), Side V sit-ups, C-crunch (where you lie on your back and move your knees to your shoulders) and boat also aim at the belly, says Ashok. “Choose three-four different exercises and do them with core workouts and with lower back workout,” she says.

Double chin

Tackle jowls with a tongue press, says Chugh. Sit back straight, tilt your head back so that you’re looking at the ceiling. “Now forcefully press your tongue flat on the roof of your mouth,” she says. Keep the tongue in place and lower your chin to your chest as far as possible without rounding your upper back. “You should feel your chin and the front of your neck contract,” says Chugh. Now relax your tongue and straighten the neck. That’s one repetition and you need to do two sets of 20 repetitions. If that’s too much, Vesna Pericevic Jacob, founder of Delhi-based fitness company Vesna’s Alta Celo, suggests that you simply put a big smile on your face while keeping your teeth closed together. “Face yoga is great for targeting the double chin. Keep the smile on till you feel the muscles on the chin and neck activate,” she says. Keep it for a count of five-10 and repeat a few times.

Thunder thighs

Thighs are the biggest muscles of the body, and sitting all day makes them a magnet for storing fat, says Channa. “Tackle the fat with wide squat, jump, hip thruster (where you keep your back against a chair, knees folded and raise your hip) and hip raises (where you lie on your back, knees folded and raise your hips),” he says. In addition, add lunges, step-ups and side lifts. “Remember to involve your hips in these movements for maximizing the benefit,” he says. Do one set with 10 repetitions to start with and add in more sets with each passing week.

Chicken wing arms

Counter flabby upper arms with standing dumbbell exercises, says Chugh. Stand up with a light dumbbell in both hands, lift it over your head, keep the body straight and the legs shoulder-width apart. “Do 20 repetitions, twice a day,” she says. To aim at triceps, do four sets of push-downs, crab walk, elbow palm plank (in 15 repetitions), adds Channa.

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