Boot camps, like the outdoor fitness classes run by our locations across the country, have been getting people slim for years. That’s simply because the foundation – regular high-intensity exercise – is proven to burn fat. Match that with the social, group environment that’s known to improve motivation and it’s almost fool proof.
What’s different about this route, as opposed to one-off dieting or attacking the gym and starving yourself for months, is it encourages healthy weight loss. We want you to reach your physique goals quickly, too, but when you’ve upgraded to that slim and sleek new body, we want you to keep it, not bounce right back to where you were. Based on our experience and the research, boot camp might be the best way to go.
It’s just like they say: losing weight is easy compared to keeping it off. But, if you choose a route to the slimmer you that’s easy to maintain (so, not a crazy, seven-day-a-week workout) and doesn’t require an entire life revolution to implement (see off-the-wall diets), you can tear down some of those barriers to sustaining your lean look. Boot camps fit that bill.
“We did a bit of research into people who lost weight and we did notice people were losing weight but they weren’t making drastic changes to their diet,” says Mark Wood, British Military Fitness Head Training Tutor, of boot camp-type exercisers.
“People aren’t going to have to go on some crazy diet along with British Military Fitness. If people just start making more manageable but more sensible choices along with British Military Fitness, they are going to get sustained weight loss.”
Just for eating fewer treats and getting to boot camp sessions a couple of times a week? That’s a pretty good deal, we reckon.
As 28-year-old Mark testifies, losing weight is an equation of calories in to calories out. If you burn more calories than you consume your scales will show lower numbers. So, how many calories do you send to the furnace during a boot camp session? Well, if you do an hour of things such as push-ups, squats and sprints with us, you’ll kill a massive 650 calories.
For the average British woman (40 years old, 5’ 3” and 11st, according to the Office of National Statistics) 60 minutes of jogging will only shift 490 calories. Surprised? Well that could be because it seems even science has been underestimating the calorie expenditure caused by anaerobic work, like the sort of high-intensity interval training you get at boot camps, suggests one study.
“If they’re burning 650 calories in an hour and they’re only consuming 1,600–1,700 calories a day, depending on how heavy they are, obviously that’s a massive dent in their calorie intake,” comments Mark.
It’s been found that overweight people have improved drive to slim down if they’re in contact with other people who have more mass than they want. The same goes if family and friends encourage them to shift extra size. Unlike going for solitary runs or doing home workouts, you’ll find that kind of social support in abundance at boot camps.
But, it isn’t just encouragement you’ll get; you may come away with a few new friends, too. Part of the British Military Fitness ethos is to hold monthly socials. “They will organise something as a group, whether it be a meal, bowling, or go-karting, or whatever,” says the Birmingham-based trainer Mark. “If you look at the healthy lifestyle side of things, we’re quite social rather than just being fitness orientated.”
So, if meeting new people, having fun or losing weight interests you (and we’re assuming we’ve captured the attention of a large percentage of the world’s population here), you might want to consider a boot camp.
The social boot camp set-up doesn’t just improve overall enthusiasm, the very act of doing exercise in a group increases performance during that workout. It’s called the Köhler effect, after German psychologist Otto Köhler found people were more likely to persist longer during exercise when doing it with one or two others than if they were on their own. That means more calories burned and more weight lost just by getting a sweat on with a pal.
British Military Fitness Senior Training Tutor, Andy Kay, says he sees it all the time at the sessions he runs. “The general consensus is that it’s more fun and you work harder than you would if you were on your own, because you’re being pushed through the workout,” reveals Andy. “You turn up and there’s a number of people there working with you and trying to get you to work harder and push each other. You don’t get that in a gym environment.”