Boot Camp Secrets

Feb 20th, 2015

Category: Fat Burning

Boot Camp Secrets

Boot Camp Secrets: fat loss, lean muscle, heart rate, cardio, weights, etc…



Boot camp classes and group training have become the newest and hottest trend in the fitness industry. Boot camps are showing up at parks, gymnasiums and health clubs. Like all industries, an oversaturation of the marketplace leads to quantity not quality. Boot Camps are another example of this.


Before we move forward it is important that you understand when referring to growth hormone production throughout the article that it is naturally produced and not injected. The correct training stimulus can significantly enhance the production and creation of growth hormone. Growth hormone is the key behind fat loss and muscle growth. Resistance training, weight training, increases the production of growth hormone.


Throughout the article I will be shedding light on common mistakes as well as simple solutions for boot camp training and programming.


Myth 1: light weights and high reps is the best way to get lean and tone.

In order for fat loss to occur growth hormone production must be increased; therefore, lactate concentrations must be elevated. Higher volumes, rep counts above 8 and heavy loaded compound multi-joint exercises (i.e. squats, deadlifts, bench, pull ups, etc…) are the most advantageous methods of training to increase lactate levels. More commonly used exercises during boot camps are bodyweight exercises, arms and isometric exercises. Although these exercises have a place within the fitness industry they are not the best way to burn fat and increase lean muscle.


Boot camp instructors know that weight lifting has an intimating and negative connotation surrounding it, especially amongst women. Instructors avoid heavy weights because it is easier to avoid the issue. They avoid them because they are hard, complicated and less attractive to coach. However, all boot camp classes must incorporate balance, bodyweight, weight lifting and heart rate exercises to be successful. When the aforementioned training styles are combined together they drastically increase fat loss and lean muscle growth through growth hormone production.


Myth 2: cardio and heart rate only.

Cardio can keep people lean but too much cardio and lean muscle production is blunted. In fact, long steady bouts of cardio can and will increase fat storage. When performing cardio choose High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to burn calories, fat and even promote lean muscle growth. HIIT is best served with maximal efforts followed by active periods of rest. For example, do a four minute set of 30 second sprints with a minute jog or run to recover. Lastly, traditional cardio burns calories from the start to finish and no further. Weight training extends calorie burn throughout the day(s).


Heart rate training, on the other hand, incorporates bodyweight and/or weights with limited to zero rest time. Although this method of training can be great, it can and should not be performed every workout. Neglecting weight training with near maximal loads that require greater rest times is a huge mistake. Weight training with high loads requires and stimulates a far greater metabolic response than merely light and fast.


Boot camp workouts should incorporate HIIT cardio, HIIT heart rate training and strength and power lifts with near maximal loads. The combination of the three, along with a solid nutrition plan, will provide its participants with superior results.


Myth 3: less rest is always better.

If you are going to a gym that does boot camp workouts and/or cross fit where you only perform circuits with little to no rest then leave now. Resting between sets is essential for recovery, exercise technique, fat burning and lean muscle growth. The most optimal rest time for fat loss is 30-60 seconds. The most optimal rest time for lean muscle growth is 45-90 seconds (holding all variables constant). Understanding situations and programs / workout design is something that all boot camp instructors should know. The workouts should never be focused on only circuits. Sets can be just as, if not more, successful in burning fat then circuits with heavy weights and limited rest.


Tip: a great way to find out what your instructor / coach knows is by asking them the following: why is this exercise being incorporated into the workout? What is the goal of this workout? What program is this workout a part of?


 Myth 4: boot camp training can be done anywhere.

Bodyweight and outdoor training can be successful when they are accompanied with in-gym resistance training workouts on other days. Resistance and/or repetition speed manipulation is a critical component to stimulate lean muscle and fat loss (i.e. growth hormone). This is done by slowing down the eccentric motion (the downward) motion of a squat; pausing at the bottom of a squat; pausing at the top of a pull up; attaching bands to a barbell for bench; and various other techniques. Successful workouts understand the importance of repetition speed manipulation and incorporate them into workouts; this is one reason why in-gym resistance training days should and must be incorporated into boot camp programs.


Repetition speed manipulation can be incorporated into bodyweight training. For example, one could perform bodyweight split squats with slow repetition speeds and no pausing. This technique would drastically elevate the difficulty and effectiveness of the exercise. Choose boot camp programs / workouts that incorporate some outdoor fun but place the majority of the focus on resistance training. Repetition speed manipulation should be incorporated into the workouts as well. Avoid ones that make you run around and lift weights 10 pounds or less.


Boot camp classes are not all about heavy weight training, circuits, sets, zero to no rest, compound multi-joint exercises, light weights and/or even high reps. Boot camp classes are about integrating these different styles into a program that keeps it fun, safe and effective.



Copyright Functional Muscle Fitness LLC © 2013



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Date A. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013. 27 (3)


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