Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Not all fitness Boot Camps are Army Style!

After reading an article today I felt compelled to write about it. (ARTICLE can be viewed here)

The article has singled out a well known company called BMF (British Military Fitness) and made reference that there are more and more Army style fitness programmes popping up – i.e. Boot Camps, after reading the article it would be very easy to see why people would get confused and assume that all out door Boot Camp’s are the same as what is described in the article.

The article pointed out the negatives of Military style Fitness training and used British Military Fitness (BMF) as an example, it pointed out about injuries caused through lots of sit ups and running which is what members of the Army do, then made references to ex soldiers’ injuries rather than anyone that has attended the BMF sessions. These outdoor fitness classes may be run by Ex Forces members but why compare a military style fitness class to (ex) military personnel’s injuries.

In the military, on top of carrying out several Physical Training (PT) sessions in the form or circuit training, they also have Battle PT (using logs and carrying stretchers etc) and also CFT Training (combat fitness tests – weighted marches over distances of 8 miles in military uniform and boots),
and drill (for regimental parades) plus training exercises where carrying more than 35lbs is common, given all of these other stresses Forces Personnel have to endure on their body I think it was irrelevant to compare military personnel’s injuries to those that may occur on an outdoor Army style fitness class that may run 3-5 times per week for an hour max!

On a positive note however, the article did raise some valid points, not all Army style fitness workouts are carried out by fully qualified instructors nor is the clients safety taken into consideration, and the fact that the issue has been brought to the attention of the public might make people do their homework on certain fitness programmes.

All fitness should be progressive and In the Army it is, you are not expected to carry out an 8 mile march carrying 35lbs on your first day, nor are you expected to run 5 miles continuously, you are trained progressively to get to that level, yes the training is extremely hard but in the military the training objective is to get you fit for combat and have lots of strength and endurance for combat situations.

Personally I have no experience with BMF so I cannot comment, though I have spoken to a few of their instructors that are very quick to defend BMF and what they stand for. If people have had a poor experience and have gained injuries which have been ignored and made worse then all I can say is that perhaps – like a lot of companies, there is the odd bad apple that gives the company a poor name; maybe some valuable lessons to be learned from a very successful company such as BMF?

With regard to Army Style Fitness, providing that the instructors are aware of each member’s physical capabilities and injuries then a mild Army Style fitness class may be fun, the name British Military Fitness should give people a bit of a clue what type of training to expect so perhaps it’s not the best programme to start if you’re a complete novice to exercise or are severely overweight, BMF are serving a niche and those people that enjoy that type of training will no doubt continue to train with them.

Now to break the comparison of outdoor fitness and fat loss boot camps to those described in the article.

Perhaps years ago a boot camp would be classed as the military training where you as a person would be broken down through military style ‘beastings’, command tasks to improve team work and all of it would also help to banish poor behaviour, improve mental ability as well as physical fitness – all to make you a better person overall.

Today however the words boot camp is used freely, perhaps we have the X Factor to blame for that...? As a personal trainer I chose to use the word boot camp because that’s what a lot of people are searching for to help them get into shape. My camp is a Fat Blast Boot Camp so my aim is to educate people about the safest and most effective way to lose fat and get into great shape.

Being Ex-Army there is no doubt that a lot of the exercises I use on my camps are the same as what I did in my Army PT circuit sessions so I can see where the comparison to Army style fitness can come from. The difference with my boot camp is that our members have training before joining the camp sessions to teach them about the exercises we use, they will also start the boot camp at a level that suits them and build their progression, physical injuries are also taken into consideration, though members are advised that its best to be free of injury when joining the camps, the camps are also a four weekly block which progress each week. Yes, of course we will push members that bit to get more from them, that’s because people can achieve much more than they realise when exercising – it just takes someone to give them that little push, client safety is not compromised however. Our camps also have an extremely effective nutrition guide to follow to help them drop fat fast and achieve overall health and well being.

Whatever exercise programme you choose to follow, when exercising you should know your own capabilities and if there is any sign of injury when performing an exercise you should always stop and if in a group/personal training environment always inform your instructor, if they have invested a lot of time and money on their education they may be able to offer you advice on how to prevent further injury and refer you where needed, if they are a little less experienced they should refer you to a professional for further investigation.

When choosing a fitness programme, find the right one to suit you, if it gets you the results that you desire in a safe, effective way then stick with it, if not find another.

Train Smart, Stay Healthy, Get Results!

Debbie x

PS, if you would like to try an exercise programme with proven results then contact Debbie@fatblastbootcamp.co.uk and quote ‘boot camp taster week’ to be in with a chance to grab one of five taster weeks on our next boot camp http://fatblastbootcamp.co.uk

(image courtesy of http://www.army.mod.uk)