Why I hate “bootcamps”

Despite the huge-and-growing popularity of bootcamps as a group fitness option, I must admit that I hate that term. For me, the image of a bootcamp includes a sergeant who is a) shouting, b) in your face, and c) trying to make you hurt. I certainly understand why the military uses this form of communication, but what I don’t understand is why so many civilians find this style motivating.

Since I’m being honest here, I’ll say that the very last thing I want to do at 6am (or any other time) is yell. Maybe I’m lazy; maybe I’m the one who needs a kick in the pants. Or maybe I’m cut from a different mold. While some people may find it motivating to be hollered at, I find it demeaning. I believe that if you need to be yelled at to exercise, your issues are far greater than what I am capable of handling within the bounds of my profession.

So how can I be a results-driven trainer who expects her clients to put forth quality effort every class or session? Easy. I believe that people who get up in the wee hours of the morning to arrive at a 6am circuit training class (please, oh please do NOT call it a bootcamp!) are already motivated. All I have to do is encourage them– give positive cues, offer affirmations when appropriate, and comment on achievements– and my participants and clients motivate themselves. And isn’t that a better benchmark of wellness? When we don’t need someone in our face to bark commands because the desire to succeed comes from within?!

Many of my class participants have commented that it is because of my kinder, more positive approach that has contributed to their adherance to the class. They come back because of the variety of workouts (which are programmed in the same interval style as hard-core bootcamps), the comeraderie of the class community, and the fitness results that they continue to see month-after-month. I want my participants to feel valued. After all, helping people find ways to integrate exercise into their lives on a daily basis for their whole life is at the heart of why I am a personal trainer.

If you’ve been looking for a place where your fitness level will be honored and your achievements celebrated, please do join us. I promise a friendly face, a smile, and cheering using my inside voice.

Good health and great happiness to you.


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