Neighborhood Boot Camp: Find One or Build your Own

by Paula Jager FitnessComments: 4

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We are well into the second full week of the New Year; how is your resolution to get into better shape going thus far?  Have you been consistently hitting the gym or your local CrossFit box 3-5 times a week?  Can you already see changes from your workout of choice –more energy, improved sleep?  Are your clothes fitting better? Have the nutritional changes you’ve made already resulted in the loss of a few pounds?

If the answer to at least 3 of the above questions is “yes” good for you!  You are on the right track, keep going.  If not perhaps it’s due to a lack of time, planning or organized efforts or perhaps the difficulty of entertaining and caring for your children prohibits your good intentions to schedule workout time.

If you want to mix things up a bit, consider your neighborhood Boot Camp as an option. Many communities have them – where gals & guys meet up a minimum of three times a week for a group workout that lasts about an hour. They are usually scheduled first thing in the morning or evening to accommodate those in the 9 to 5 workforce and some offer a mid-morning version if the members are primarily stay at home moms.

Community Boot Camp eliminate the need to travel to a gym, it’s typically more economical than a membership, and often includes organized child care. As a bonus, knowing some of the neighbors make it less intimidating that working out with strangers.

What if your neighborhood does not have a boot camp?  Organize one–it’s a lot simpler than it may seem . . .

Gauge interest.  If you regularly meet with any of the people in your neighborhood see who’s interested.  Chances are very likely that many of your neighbors are encountering the same challenges that you have in getting your workout it in.  Put the word out through face to face communication, email, FB and any other social media avenues you use.

Choose a location. You only need a group of 3-5 to start–as the word gets out more will come.  But you’ll need to decide where to have it.  If you are fortunate to have a local park in your neighborhood or clubhouse that permits group activity that would be ideal.  Or depending on where you live if one of the neighbors has a large enough yard or garage they are willing to share is another excellent option.

Choose a coach.  Next decide who is going to lead, program and “coach” the boot camp.  If you or any of the neighborhood members has an athletic background that could be an option.  Boot camp is not that difficult and does not require knowledge of the weightlifting and other more technical movements.  Another alternative is to look for a qualified trainer/coach to lead the boot camp through word of mouth, referral, your local YMCA or gym.  Many work independently and if you have a group already put together it should not be difficult to find one.  Make sure you like the person, that they will motivate you and know what they are doing.

Compensating the coach.  Should you all hire a coach the cost should be minimal if split among the group.  You could offer a flat rate or a per member rate which would also encourage the coach to market more people for your group thus reducing the overall cost.  Make sure this is all clearly outlined up front as to minimize confusion/disputes down the road. I would personally ask for a monthly commitment from each of the participants. Why?  It’s the only fair way.  The coach is going to show up 3x a week and the members need to also make that commitment.  That way 1 or 2 people are not their holding the reigns or shelling out all the dollars when the others fail to show or change their mind.  It makes all involved accountable.

Children.  Suppose your group consists primarily of stay at home moms–what are you going to do with your children?  I would think one of the neighborhood teenagers would love to make a few extra bucks while watching the children for an hour.  Or maybe one of the neighbors (retired or person not participating) would like to make some lunch money or just perform a neighborly act.  Again, if the expense is shared by the group it should be nominal when compared to a full time gym membership that includes childcare and travelling time.

Equipment:  this could come in the beginning or later.  Boot camps can be done with bodyweight alone or the addition of mats, medicine balls, dumbbells, kettle bells, jump ropes, cones and other plyometric “toys” which will add variety to the programming.  You would need a place to store or each participant could purchase their own and bring to the workout.  This would add an additional initial expense and could be added down the road once the boot camp was in full force.

If you are looking for an economical way to develop or maintain fitness and have fun at the same time, a neighborhood boot camp could be just what you need.  It doesn’t have to be perfect to start.  If the above seems overwhelming or too much to tackle at the moment, just gather a few friends, try a few workouts and move forward from there.  It can also be a team effort.  Here are a few simple workouts to get you started. . .

Crossfit Jaguar Sample Boot Camp Program (2 weeks, suggested days M/W/F)

Day 1
Warm up:  25m high knees, butt kicks, straight leg toe touches, lunges, and broad jumps
4 rounds
1 minute sit ups
1 minute back extensions
1 minute mountain climbers
1 minute rest

Day 2
Warm up:  400m run, 50m bear crawl, 25m crab walk, 10 squats, 10 push-ups
4 rounds
15 push ups
200 m run

Day 3
Warm up:  2 min jumpropes, 10 squats, 10 sit ups, 10 push ups
do with a partner and share/split the reps if just starting a fitness program
100 jump ropes
90 sit-ups
80 push presses if have db’s or sub bench or curb dips
70 squats
60 second plank hold
50m bear crawl
40 back extensions or rows if you db’s
30 tuck jumps or ball slams is you have medicine balls
20 lunges
10 burpees

Day 4
Warm up:  25m Spider-man lunges, high knees, straight leg toe touches, butt kicks
5 rounds
50m farmer carry (relatively heavy)–get creative (db’s, kb’s, gallons of paint, milk jugs, 2 implements you have lying around)
10 push-ups
*3 burpee penalty for dropping farmer carry weight before 50m

Day 5
Warm up:  Run 400 m, 10 squats, 10 swings or back extensions, 30 second wall sit (thighs parallel to ground)
Run 800 m
8 strict presses if you have db’s or sub 20 push ups
8 kettle-bell swings or sub 20 back extensions
Run 400 m
4 strict presses or 15 push ups
4 kettle-bell swings or 15 back extensions
Run 200 m
2 strict presses or 10 push ups
2 kettle-bell swings or 10 back extensions
Run 100 m
100 jump ropes

Day 6
Warm up:  30 jumping jacks, 10 lunges, 10 push ups, 10 back extentions, 10 sit ups
20 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
Jump ropes
*Perform 3 lunges, 30 jumpropes, 6 lunges, 60 jump ropes, 9 lunges, 90 jumpropes etc until you reach 20 min

About the Author

Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar.  Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results.

You can connect with her on Facebook by clicking here.

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