Fitness Bootcamp: Does it Work?

The streching Everybody Bootcamp lady over str...You may remember that my year started out in January with a six week fitness bootcamp. The thinking at the time was to overcome the awful post-Christmas slump that happens when there are no more mince pies, but winter is only half done. Plus I was hoping to make some new friends, and find out how fit I am. The programme consisted of three, hour-long weights sessions, with a bit of cardio thrown in and a no/low carb diet for six weeks. We were weighed and measured at the beginning, the middle and the end.

Physically, I didn’t find it too hard. In fact, it I was hoping to be pushed harder. But we were a mixed-ability group ranging from total beginners to girls (it was an all-female thing) training for a half-marathon and some of the others really suffered.  Despite all the extra effort, my weight hardly changed at all. I did lose 1.5kg, but over six weeks, it’s not very impressive (others lost a lot more) and I lost about nine centimetres in diameter, spread across arms, waist, hips and thighs. Again, nothing to write home about. I didn’t even make any new friends! In short, I was disappointed. Especially as there was no real independent follow-on programme. If you wanted to keep it up, you were encouraged to sign up for the next bootcamp – and it wasn’t cheap! All in all, it seemed like a bit of a money-making scheme for our esteemed leader.

It ended in February. In March I didn’t really do anything apart from stop exercising, regain the weight I’d lost, and buy myself a set of digital scales (thanks to bootcamp I now know such a thing exists). In April I started using them. Then I started a regular weights routine (similar to the bootcamp moves) and adopted a stricter  diet (which, it turns out is close to the bootcamp regime). End result: a month later, I’ve lost nearly four kilos, and I’m starting to look like a cross between an unusually short supermodel and an Olympic athlete.  Even Chewy has noticed my slim forearms (men, doncha love ’em) and has upped his own exercise efforts.

I’ve changed my mind about whether bootcamp worked. I think it did, but it’s taken a while to see it. In the end it wasn’t about how much weight you could lose in six weeks, it was about changing habits and routines. Although I was exercising regularly and eating well before, now I’m doing it better. And much of the credit for that is due to what I learned at bootcamp. While I still think there could be more of an effort to encourage people to go away and do it themselves, I strongly suspect that I wouldn’t have made the progress I have today if it hadn’t been for the kickstart bootcamp gave me. Bravo Paddy!


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