Your body and its state of physical fitness are your most important assets. You should always remember that it is always easier to keep healthy, then to regain your health. Of course, it can also be cheaper to stay healthy then to get treated medically. Thus, it is imperative for everyone to take steps to keep their bodies physically fit and in shape. However, it is a diverse concept. In order to be considered as fit, you have to reduce your weight to its normal levels, you have to increase your cardiovascular endurance, you have to increase your strength and you have to undergo resistance training. However, all of this can be very difficult to do, especially if you don’t know how to proceed.
In the beginning, many people try to improve health on their own with the information that they learn from the media and the Internet. But, mostly this can be a futile effort as achieving fitness requires effort, motivation and finesse in order for you to succeed. You can’t hope to combine the proper exercises in their proper intensity levels. Thus, you would need something like a personal instructor to help you along the way. Of course, hiring a personal instructor can be an expensive method, since you would have to pay at least $100 to $150 per hour to keep a boot camp instructor. You can easily see that the bills can pile up very quickly.
However, you don’t need to worry as you have another viable alternative. This viable alternative is to go enroll in a boot camp. This is a special health improvement camp with several instructors who channel your efforts to create the best possible health for yourself. In a camp, you will be able to have many benefits for attaining camp such as:
1. Working in a group environment to attain it
2. Getting help from your instructors on difficult fitness techniques
3. Getting motivated from your group members and from your instructors
4. Being able to do group activities
5. Your meals are kept under control in a camp
6. Your sleep and your rest periods are also regulated for best results
7. Your achievements (such as your weight, your cardiovascular endurance, your resistance strength etc) are continuously measured in order to track your progress.
8. Whenever you don’t feel up to it, a boot camp can make sure that you continue your program without giving up
9. A morning boot camp can be much more cheaper than hiring a personal instructor, as you can continue with only $100 to $350 per month on most workouts.
10. You can make sure that you always have the help you need in a group setting.
So, as you can see, a bootcamp can be the perfect solution for your weight loss as well as your fitness needs. So, then you may ask yourself on how to find the best fitness boot camp for yourself. Well, the best way is to make sure that you look on the Internet to find the best fitness boot camps in your area. Then you can easily talk to them and examine the various programs that they offer. Or another way on how to find the best fitness boot camp can be to ask around to your friends and neighbors on the fitness camps that they may have used.
Make sure that you go and visit the relevant bootcamps before you enroll. You have to be certain that their program and their instructors are compatible with your needs. However, don’t make the mistake of going to a camp that doesn’t really force you to attain your best. You will need some gentle pushing and encouragement in order to make sure that you get your level of fitness that you desire. Don’t forget that achieving fitness and weight loss requires patience and diligence for you to be successful and this can be best achieved in a fitness boot camp.
Ready. Set. Burn!
Finding the Best Fitness Boot Camp
We’ve all been there — you started out with the best intentions and a great exercise routine that you managed to keep up for most of the summer. That is until school started and fall hits, right? Then your routine started to fall off as the weather cooled and you have all those other obligations as the holiday’s approach and kids are back in school. Your exercise routine may have stalled out completely due to the social events or the requirements of helping your kids with their homework after school and making sure dinner is on the table every evening. Have you thought about trying a fitness boot camp? Let’s take a look at them and see how they can help.
What is a Fitness Boot Camp?
Fitness boot camps work by building your strength, endurance, and agility through various exercises in a group setting that are designed to keep you going strong through your busy work life, home life, and other activities you complete on a weekly basis. Boot camps are designed to provide whole-body workouts that are challenging, variable and require little special equipment. Good ones build camaraderie, leverage friendly competition and accountability through group participation and are very time efficient.
What Will I Do At a Fitness Boot Camp?
Fitness boot camps have different workouts, but usually include intense strength training and aerobic elements, including pull-ups, pushups, lunges, crunches, drills, and bursts of intense activity followed by a lighter activity.
How Do I find the Best Fitness Boot Camp?
The best fitness boot camp for you is your decision, but a little Internet, friends and family, and community research can go a long way toward finding your ideal situation. There are a few things to keep in mind though. Location, if it is not convenient you probably won’t do it. Do the class times work with your schedule? Most importantly, is there accountability and do you like the type of workouts they do?
Try before you buy!
Most Fitness Boot Camps offer some sort of a trial. A trial is the best way to see if it will be a good fit for you. At Team Afterburn, we have a two-week trial offer for only $29 that offers cardio and resistance based workouts, introductory assessment, monthly evaluations, and scheduled workouts that start at 4 am and go until 7 pm to best fit anyone’s needs. If you need a challenge for the holiday season and want to feel your best each day, give us a call or visit our website. You can also follow us on Facebook to get more helpful fitness tips
Save your cash and create your own killer training session with these simple but super-effective circuit ideas
There’s a reason bootcamp-style training is so popular: It gets results—and fast! While the group atmosphere and fixed schedule can certainly help, the real secret is in the setup. Go to enough bootcamp workouts and you’ll soon start to notice a theme: time-based interval circuits with minimal equipment so you can focus on intensity (or kicking your own booty!).
Each circuit mixes heart-rate-revving cardio moves with multi-joint strength exercises so you torch the maximum amount of calories while you tone every inch. This DIY bootcamp is designed in the exact same way, so you can save your cash and still see your body change.
To prepare: Set up five “stations” in a large circle in your workout space (indoors will work, but we recommend taking this plan outside). You can mark each station with a label or simply ID them in your head. Place a jump rope at the first station, medicine ball at the second, two cones about four feet apart at the third, a pair of dumbbells at the fourth, and leave the fifth open.
How it works: This workout is split into 3 circuits (5 exercises each). Do each exercise for 1 minute in order, with no rest between stations. Do two rounds of the first circuit (slides 2 through 6), rest 1 to 2 minutes, and then move on to the second circuit (slides 7 through 11). Continue this pattern until you’ve done 2 rounds of all three circuits. Optional: Do the whole thing again for a killer 60-minute sweat session!
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Looking to lean out for the summer? This is the ultimate workout to get it done. If you lay it all out during this session, you’re bound to burn at least 500 calories by your last rep. Not to mention, this full-body strength and conditioning workout increases your metabolism so you’ll continue to burn hundreds of calories hours after your session.
WARMUP Perform each exercise for 30 seconds unless reps are noted.
1. Quick Jumping Jacks 2. Windmills Stand with a wide foot position and arms extended at shoulder height. Reach your right arm across your body touching your left toe. Return to starting position and alternate. 3. Butt kicks 4. High knees 5. Overhead squats to march With both arms straight above head, drive hips back and lower tailbone toward the ground. After reaching maximum range of motion drive the hips forward and upward. As you return back to standing position kick your right leg upward and bring your left hand across your body to meet your right foot. Alternate for 30 seconds. 6. Reverse lunge with arm raise (Hip flexor stretch) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step right foot back into lunge position while raising both arms overhead and leaning back. Return to standing position and repeat on the same side for five repetitions and repeat on the opposite side. 7. Spider Steps In pushup position, place your right foot two inches outside of your right hand, driving your hips forward. Return back to pushup position and repeat on the other side. Alternate for 30 seconds. T Pushups In pushup position, lower your chest down toward the ground keeping your core engaged and your back flat. Pressing your hands into the floor lift your chest upward. When returning to pushup position rotate your right hand upward while pivoting your feet left until both heels touch the ground. Place hand back down and alternate sides for 30 seconds.
WORKOUT DIRECTIONS The only rest is going from one exercise to the other. Complete 1A, 2A, 3A three times before proceeding to the second circuit.
THE WORKOUT >>> [PAGE 2]
1a. Kettlebell Swings Stand with your feet outside hip width with your toes pointed out slightly and your shoulders retracted. Hinging back at the hips, let your arms swing back between your legs creating a pendulum. As your forearms touch your inner thighs “pop” your hips forward to drive the kettlebell forward and above the crown of your head. Sets: 3 Reps: 25
2a. Sandbag Pause Squat Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Stand tall with your feet hip width with your sandbag in rack position resting across the front of your shoulders and across your chest, keeping your elbows up in front of you as high as possible. Push your hips back and lower your tailbone toward the floor with your weight on your heels. As you reach parellel position hold the position for 2 seconds. Then pushing your heels into the ground drive your hips upward back to starting position.
3a. Burpee w/ Overhead Clap (bottom of rep) Sets: 3 Reps: 12 From standing position squat down placing your hands on the ground. Hop both feet back into plank position keeping your core engaged and your back flat. Lower your chest to the ground until you’re completely on your stomach. Release your hands from the ground and, while keeping your head in neutral spine position, clap both hands above the crown of your head. Return your hands outside of your shoulders, engage your core, and lift your body back to pushup position. Hop both feet forward at shoulder width while pushing your upper body back. Return back to standing position and repeat.
CICRUIT 2 >>> [PAGE 3]
1b. Medicine Ball Overhead Rotational Slams Sets: 2 Reps: 16 While holding a medicine ball overhead, began to rotate your torso to your right. Keeping you toes facing forward bring the ball downward as fast as possible bending into a 3/4 squat. As the ball reaches waist height release it aggresively slamming it into the ground. Quickly catch the medicine ball as it bounces off of the ground, and in the same movement pattern return the ball back to overhead position. Continue traveling to the other side and repeat.
2b. Stair/Treadmill Sprints Sets: 4 Reps: 6 sprints Utilizing a set of stairs sprint upward keeping your toes up, driving your knees upward as high as possible. Keep your chest over your thighs and your arms driving forward and back at 90 degrees as your foot strikes every other stair. Finish to the top and walk down under control. If using a treadmill, set it to 10–12 degrees and sprint at a speed where you can sustain proper running mechanics and the belt is not dictating your running cycle.
3b. Sandbag Push Presses Sets: 2 Reps: 12 Stand tall with your feet hip width with your sandbag in rack position resting across the front of your shoulders and across your chest, keeping your elbows up in front of you slightly lower than shoulder height. Slightly bend your knees and immediately drive up through your hips quickly pressing the sandbag overhead. As you lock out and gain stability rerack the sandbag absorbing it by softening your knees.
4b. Split Squat Jumps Sets: 2 Reps: 10 (each leg) Start in lunge position with your right foot forward, your left foot back, and your knees at 90 degrees. With arms behind you drive both feet into the ground throwing both arms forward and jump as high as possible. As you reach your highest point scissor your foot so your right foot is now behind you and your left foot in front. Land in a lunge position returning your arms behind you.
5b. Lateral Bear Crawl Pushups Sets: 2 Reps: 16 Start in pushup position making sure your core is engaged and your back is flat. Shifting to your right, place your right hand and foot 4 inches outside of your right shoulder, then bringing your left hand and foot back to shoulder width. Repeat for one more cycle and then perform a pushup. Travel back to the left for two cycles and perform another pushup.
COOLDOWN Static Stretch
About the Author: Curtis Williams is Fitness Director at Under Armour Performance Training Center in NYC, a sports performance coach, and former NFL wide receiver.
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Want to start a boot camp with $0 down. Here’s how you can blow it up. It’s easier than you think.
Know some folks who would like this article? (Or someone who needs to take a hint?!)
I got this question via Facebook yesterday (add me if we’re not already friends here) and decided I wanted to share the answer with you guys. Here’s the question:
Hi Jon, any guidance on how to start an outdoor bootcamp with no money?
I know that seems ridiculous but I literally make less than 2k a month (gross not net) there has to be a way. I would LOVE to join a mastermind or buy some programs or even books but I just can’t afford to. Any suggestions would be deeply greatly eternally grateful. – B.R.
Y eah dude it’s not hard. Put the good ol’ Pareto’s Principle (80/20 rule) into play and you’ll blow it up in no time. Here are the steps to take to start your bootcamp:
Step 1: Go to fiverr.com and get a logo for $5. It’s not going to be great but it’ll be good enough (you can always re-do it later when you’re rich :)) This posting looks like a good option. I used this site to design the cover for 101 Personal Trainer Mistakes and it turned out great. (note: Fiverr.com is great for this kind of stuff. You can use them to create flyers etc. for you as well. They won’t be amazing but they’ll do the job)
Step 2: Use your logo to start a Facebook page and have that act as your websites business page for the time being.
Step 3: Go on Facebook and start adding all the friends and family you can possibly think of. This is your original group to advertise to. If you follow my steps you’ll be adding value to their lives, not spamming them.
Step 4: Start a double tip of the day scheme.
Every morning from 6:30-8:30am post a tip that will help people start the day off right. It doesn’t have to be profound but can act as a simple reminder what to do. An example could be to bring a water bottle to work to stay hydrated. At night post another tip.
This one can link to a full article as people usually have more time to read. HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART – At the end of each tip make sure you add in the line “I’m here to help. Message me if you ever have any fitness related questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you” (or something similar).
Step 5: Keep a list somewhere else of everybody who has reached out with questions (maybe excel). When you’re ready to launch the bootcamp make sure you tag them in the comments section of the post (don’t do it on the actual post as it’ll show up on their wall and look spammy). If you know them well enough send them a message asking if they want to come to a session. Tell them it’s free if they bring a friend.
While you’re at it start compiling a list of everybody you know well enough to contact. Send them an email when the program is ready
Step 6: Start looking for locations to perform the bootcamp in. A local park works great. If it has a playground even better. I like using steps, benches, and jungle gyms. Even if it’s pure grass you can make it work.
Know that most cities will officially require a permit. You can probably get away with not having one but it’s not a bad idea to ask your participants to tell the bylaw officer that you’re just a bunch of friends working out if they come by. If you want to advertise your boot camp with signs on location you’ll for sure need a permit. I’ve never gotten run and I’ve run lots of workouts in the park. I just thought I’d let you know. You can choose what you want to do here.
Bonus if the park has equipment
Step 7: Start studying body weight exercises. Literally go on Youtube for hours and take careful notes. Pause the videos and try the moves yourself on your floor. Get comfortable with them. Close your eyes and visualize the movements to ingrain them into your head.
Step 8: Create 5-10 template 45mins workouts based on the Youtube exercises. Make sure you have at least 1 progression and 1 regression of each exercise.
In doing so break the work outs up into sections. You’ll use these in your advertisement materials. Some exercises are metabolic training, rotational ab work, fat burning etc.
Step 9: Write down your two-sentence pitch. In two sentences or less you should say what your bootcamp is about and why it’s different (and better). This is your sell. If you can’t speak about your business succinctly then you should develop the idea further.
Step 10: When you’re ready to launch the bootcamp (have the location etc.) tag it in every tip of the day. Have a demo day once a month where participants can bring a friend for free. Also include referral bonuses for people to bring others.
Step 11: Always have a smile on your face and continually look for new exercises and training systems. Know that outdoor boot camps are rarely about standard models of progression that you see everyday. The participants who look for this type of exercise want to keep it interesting. So do that — just make sure they’re technique it good.
Step 12: Blow it up!
There it is. My quick and dirty system for starting a bootcamp for $0 (actually for $5) down. The key is that you already have your network. Facebook has done the hard work. Start providing value today in your tips. Soon you’ll be the go-to for fitness information for your friends and family. When you’re ready to launch your bootcamp they’ll all already see you as an expert.
Come to think of it. Maybe I’ll sell this system. Tune in soon for my 6-Figure Killer Bootcamp System (with no-money down) for $47. (I hope you know I’m kidding.)
Gone are the days when watching Television was the new hype. The Internet is full of everything, and the website, services, and app are offering all you can wish for. Everybody knows about Netflix being the top service that provides movies and TV shows, but that’s not all. Besides entertainment, documentaries, and presentations, Netflix is also offering users exercise videos as well. You can have the app on your smartphone, tablet, and desktop, and you can access the fitness videos at any time if you have an account.
Netflix and Workout
The international hype of doing fitness and being fit is well spread for good years now. So if you want the best exercise for you to become healthy or slim, take a look at Netflix’s workout videos.
The training is coming from professionals, so following their tips and moves will get you in good shape. If you don’t like to go to the gym, or you think that the fitness programs are too expensive, then Netflix is your cheap solution. Because the list of fitness videos is long, we have selected the best one for you to try out.
Top 7 Best Exercise Videos On Netflix
The Magic Pill
The first one you should try is The Magic Pill, who is teaching you everything you must know about a balanced diet.
After that, you should watch Functional Fitness, which is a documentary that explains everything about being fit and hard work achieving the slim body.
Crunch: Boot Camp Training
If you prefer the videos with mini exercises, check Crunch: Boot Camp Training. The video is practically a DVD of thirty minutes exercises by fitness instructor Seu Hitzman. If you do the pushups, squats, and cardio right, you will lose plenty of weight.
Besides these best exercise videos on Netflix, you can check out BeFit Transform, which is a video of 17 minutes for your daily full-body workout.
Bikini Ready Fast
Bikini Ready Fast by Ellen Barrett is working with you for the perfect beach body. Another fitness instructor, Michael Olajide, has an intense fitness program of 45 minutes for abs and back.
10 Minute Solution
If the long fitness sessions are boring for you, try 10 Minute Solution that is one of the best exercise videos on Netflix. This video is the perfect combination of music, dance, and aerobic.
Crunch: Candlelight Yoga
Finally, you can also try Crunch: Candlelight Yoga with Sara Ivanhoe for 45 minutes. Yoga is an excellent way for you to exercise your body and mind.
I love taking group fitness classes at my gym (and testing out new ones all over New York City for this blog!), but I often wonder — is there really a big difference between them all, in terms of payoff? Sure, yoga can teach you how to do a handstand and kickboxing helps you blow off some steam, but will one type of workout really give me leaner limbs, or protect me from injury, or sculpt my six-pack more than another?
To set the record straight, I spoke with Marc Santa Maria, New York City’s regional group fitness director for Crunch gym (which, speaking of limbs, has a class list longer than a pair of Hollywood legs!) about which classes are best for which goals. See which of these scenarios fits you best, and see how Santa Maria’s suggestions fit into your workout routine — or, if you’ve already got a favorite class of your own, let us know what it is and why!
Try: Yoga or barre classes__
You already run/bike/swim/power walk — in other words, you’re already getting some type of regular heart-pumping exercise every week. “That’s a great start, but eventually you’re going to stop seeing results if you don’t diversify your workout,” says Santa Maria. Since you’ve already got the cardio down, find a class that blends strength training with flexibility work, he says. “This type of cross-training can also help protect you from injury and will make you stronger, faster, and more fit.”
Yoga classes that focus on weight-bearing postures (lunges, planks, etc.) will help you build strength while stretching out tight muscles. Those trendy barre workouts (Core Fusion, Figure 4 and Crunch’s version, Barre Assets, for example) are a good choice, as well. “These classes are all about isolating and working individual muscle groups,” says Santa Maria, “but there’s a good emphasis on stretching and lengthening, as well.”
Goal: “I want a one-stop-shop so I don’t have to run.” Try: Zumba, kickboxing, Spinning, boot camp or step aerobics
If you hate the treadmill (and the elliptical, and the pool, and the rowing machine . ) and you want to get your cardio from a class, consider a fun, fast-paced activity with a pumping soundtrack and an upbeat instructor. Dance classes, like Zumba, can burn up to 400 calories an hour and will keep you engaged from start to finish. Some classes use hand weights for an extra boost, says Santa Maria. “You’re not going to get toned arms like Madonna by carrying little baby weights while you salsa,” he says. “But for people who don’t like to run and who don’t like to lift weights, either, this is a good way to get some of both.”
Step aerobics, kickboxing and cycling classes can also provide the fast pace you need to keep your heart healthy, as can many boot camp-style classes. Just be sure there’s some emphasis on sustained cardio (with drills like jumping jacks, jump rope, or running) as well as on strength work.
Goal: “I want to firm up my trouble spots, fast.” Try: Classes targeted at those specific body parts
Want to tone your tummy, lose your love handles, or sculpt your shoulders? Look for classes with those body parts in their names. “We have everything from Upper Cut (upper body) to Rock Bottom (lower body) classes, but our most popular class is Ass and Abs,” says Santa Maria.
Some other options at Crunch? Six Pack Attack, B.L.T. (Butt, Legs & Thighs), Booty Kickin’ Step — you get the idea. If you’re getting your cardio elsewhere, choose a class that focuses on weight training; they often use words like Sculpt, Chisel, or Toning in their names.
Goal: “I need something to help me relax.” Try: Restorative yoga or kickboxing
Whether you’re feeling extremely high strung or you’re running on empty, exercise can be a great stress reliever. If you’re in the mood for something slow and relaxing, look for a yoga class that focuses on restorative poses, breathing and meditation, like Crunch’s R&R Yoga. (Avoid Vinyasa or power yoga classes unless you want a real workout.)
Can’t sit still long enough to savasana? You may need a high-intensity activity, like kickboxing, boot camp or CrossFit, to help you work off your pent up energy.
Goal: “I want to look longer and leaner.” Try: Barre workouts or Pilates
A lot of strength training and core conditioning classes focus on crunching and shortening your muscles, says Santa Maria (think: ab work). But if you want long, lean lines, you’ll want to train like a dancer. “Barre workouts focus on stabilizing, lifting and lengthening, all the way from your head to your toes.”
Pilates, similarly, focuses on the natural alignment of the spine — you’re more likely to work your abs by doing “hundreds” (in which your legs and arms are stretched out and off the mat) than you are by doing muscle-shortening exercises, for example. “It’s also a more holistic approach than being in a boot camp class, with an instructor shouting at you to do 100 crunches,” says Santa Maria.
Which kinds of classes have you taken in the past, and which are you anxious to try? Do our suggestions match up with your experiences and your goals? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
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How Long and How Much are the best PMP Boot Camps?
Before and After Boot Camp
Boot Camps are not for Everyone!
To earn your Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, you need pass the PMP exam and meet the experience and education requirements. The 200-question long exam is tough and requires about 35 hours or more of study, regardless of your experience in project management. You can choose to self-study with an online PMP training course or you can attend classes or study groups. Or, if you want to be really hardcore and ensure you pass your exam, you should definitely consider a PMP boot camp.
Usually at boot camps you find soldiers crawling through mud or climbing over 10 foot tall walls. The intense nature of a boot camp is meant to break in new recruits, and that is exactly what the PMP boot camps do with aspiring project management professionals.
PMP boot camps provide an accelerated path through the study process while taking out the many interruptions in our daily lives. Enrolling in PMP boot camp is a sure way to keep your head in the game and complete a concentrated amount of studying. Boot camps also provide the 35 contact hours that are a prerequisite for the PMP exam.
How Long and How Much are the best PMP Boot Camps?
PMP boot camps generally range from three to five days and can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. Some boot camps have a money back guarantee if you don’t make a passing grade like many other PMP Prep courses including SimpliLearn and PMTraining. Some employers will even offer to fund your boot camp as long as you pass, incentivizing project managers to sign up for a couple days of intensive studying.
Before and After Boot Camp
Many PMP boot camps have passing rates as high as 99%. While other test prep courses have exceptional passing rates, they lack the concentrated study structure of a boot camp. Preparing for the exam in three to five days can be an intense experience. Many PMP candidates will read the PMBOK guide prior to boot camp and make notes on what to areas to focus on in bootcamp. It’s also recommended that you rely on outside studying in addition to bootcamp. Remember to book your examination no more than a couple of weeks after your boot camp so all studying doesn’t go to waste.
Boot Camps are not for Everyone!
When preparing for the PMP exam , the most important part is picking a study plan that works with your life and learning style. Whether its visual, audio, or through experience, everyone learns best in their own way. For some, bootcamps are not the best option for their study schedule.
Boot camps are designed to give you noticeable results with a lot of effort in a short amount of time. This doesn’t work for some because cramming 35 hours of instruction and practice exams into a 4 day span leaves students with insufficient time to digest the material. Also, boot camps often have limited space and are only offered at certain times of the year. This makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, to schedule a good time to go to PMP boot camp.
At PMP boot camp, the focus is on passing the exam instead of learning concepts for personal growth. Depending on what you are hoping to achieve with your PMP license, boot camp may not be the place for you. If you are simply trying to pass, PMP boot camp could be a great aid to use. If you are trying to become a better project manager and learn new skills, perhaps you should try an alternative study method that allows for you to have a deeper conceptual understanding.
We are all different as individuals, so of course boot camps are a great fit for some and not others. Regardless of whether you plan on doing a boot camp or not, I highly recommend getting a top PMP training course to supplement your studies. Best of luck!
Amit Patel is the founder and chief writer for Crush the PM Exam. A lifelong student, Patel’s desire for career growth led him to research the many different certifications and career opportunities in the world of project management. Armed with this knowledge, Patel’s new passion is for sharing what he’s learned with his fellow students so they can achieve their dream careers.
What to expect and how to get the most out of your first boot camp class.
A few weeks ago, I decided to try out my gym’s boot camp class. Thinking “boot camp” would consist of a bunch of girls doing some squats and jogging around the room, I figured I could handle it no problem. You can imagine my shock when I entered a room full of beefy men and started sweating profusely within the first five minutes of class as the tough instructor with a buzz cut barked a series of training exercises that had me gasping for breath.
For the next hour, I felt as humiliated and weak as a middle school football player, and even a few classmates gave me supportive high fives as I consecutively came in last place on the relays, outside sprints, and mat sequences. For the next week, my entire body ached, and I could have given up all together. However, I decided to persevere and attend the next class better prepared. The second class, I felt a million times stronger and more resilient, and now I’m on a total bootcamp kick. If you are considering taking your first bootcamp class, feel prepared and confident to dominate this intense workout by following my tips.
•Hydrate one or two hours before class. Definitely bring water or a sports drink to class, but it’s difficult to bounce around when your belly is full of liquid.
•Enter with a good, can-do attitude. The workout will be challenging, but it’s so important to continue to motivate yourself and keep your mind calm when your heart is racing and your muscles are burning. I try to smile and laugh to help release tension in my face.
•Stay present, and listen to the instructor. If you concentrate on how much it hurts and how much you want to quit, you might forget the next sequence or next relay move. Actively focus your attention on the instructor, and you will distract yourself from the pain.
•Remember your breath and your abs. Breathe through tough exercises, and simultaneously, be sure to contract your abs to protect your back. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, but you will eventually train your body to breathe deeper while your abs are engaged.
•Push yourself to stay up front. Be the first person in the relay race line; stand in the front of the room; and run towards the front of the jog line. Being last will make you feel lethargic and more prone to giving up.
•Don’t stop moving. If DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) usually gets you down, challenge yourself to move around rather than take mini breaks. My bootcamp instructor kept yelling at us to jog in place throughout the entire hour to prevent muscle soreness by sending fresh blood to the muscles.
•Load up on electrolytes after class. Intense workouts and sweating cause you to lose essential electrolytes. Be sure to replenish them with an electrolyte-filled snack.
If you have flat feet, any old shoe just won’t do—especially for your workouts. Here’s how to buy the best sneakers and running shoes for flat feet.
If you’re a fitness addict, you can probably relate: You order a new pair of shoes that look soooo cute online, but just a few minutes into HIIT class, they’re squeezing and cramping your toes or causing your heels to ache.
While this online shopping fail is super relatable, it likely speaks to you especially if you have flat feet-which is about 8 percent of U.S. adults, according to a 2012 survey by the Institute for Preventative Foot Health.
But what are flat feet, exactly, and what does that mean for your fitness (and shoe shopping) routine? Here, expert tips for dealing with them, plus which running shoes for flat feet are your best bet for happy arches.
What Are Flat Feet, Anyway?
A “normal” foot has a medium-to-high arch and an imprint of the heel and ball of the foot. (An imprint is basically what would show up if you dipped the bottom of your foot in paint and then made a footprint on the floor.) Flat feet overpronate (when your foot rolls inward) and have a very low arch with a full imprint.
You can tell if you have flat feet if the arch of your foot touches the ground when you walk, and/or if your ankle leans inward while you’re walking, says Dana Canuso, M.D., a podiatric surgeon and founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare for Feet in Marlton, NJ.
This may seem like NBD, but here’s why it matters: “Flat feet are very mobile in their bony structure, and they can be problematic because they are more likely to fatigue and break down due to imbalances and foot weakness,” says Lutz Klein, M.D., CEO of currexSole of the Americas, an insole company.
Flat feet are partially genetic, so you can blame Mom and Pops for that one. “Most of our foot shape and structure comes from our parents,” says Dr. Canuso. However, lifestyle factors, such as weight gain, wearing unsupportive shoes, and physically traumatic incidents as a child or adult can make flat feet worse. Other habits-such as poor posture, carrying things on one side of your body, tilting or leaning on one side to stand on a dominant leg-can all put pressure on your feet over time and cause weakness, making flat feet worse, explains Dr. Klein.
Having flat feet may be tied to other foot conditions and muscle spasms, too. For one, having flat feet might be the reason behind your plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. FYI, plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot, says Dr. Klein.
“When your feet are flat or collapsing, your plantar fascia stretches [think of the straight part of a bow-and-arrow bow] and this over-stretching causes the plantar fascia to pull away from its insertion point on the bottom of the heel, causing pain,” explains Dr. Canuso. (FYI, consider trying these recovery tools for plantar fasciitis and foot pain.)
And, heads up: Wide and flat feet aren’t the same. In many cases, flatter feet are also wider, but a wide foot could have a high arch, explains Zimmer. “If you have wider feet you should look for a wider shoe, but a flat arch does not automatically lead to a wide foot,” he explains.
How to Strengthen Flat Feet
Unfortunately, there’s no real fix for flat feet. Your best options are to work on strengthening them to keep them free of injury and tension (and to avoid pain both when you workout and during everyday activities), as well as choosing the right types of running shoes for your workouts.
One of the easiest ways to take care of flat feet is actually super easy: just walk around barefoot. Walking barefoot is beneficial because many people have their feet in poorly fitted shoes all day, which can further impact the arches and lead to flat feet, says Dr. Klein. (Related: These Stylish Sneakers Can Correct Your Foot Alignment)
You can also try to stimulate your muscles with exercises that can build foot strength. “Calf stretches, toe yoga (press the big toe down while lifting the other four toes up), and even exercises like gripping a towel with the toes can strengthen the feet and arches,” says Dr. Klein.
You may also want to consider getting arch supports or insoles because they can help to train your foot muscles while you’re moving around, says Dr. Canuso. “Insoles help support the muscles and ligaments of your arch, including the plantar fascia. They’re designed to align the back of your foot and allow you to walk in a way that dispenses pressure evenly throughout the gait and running cycles, taking pressure off of muscles that may be overused in an overpronator,” she adds.
Note: You should avoid rigid orthotics. “You cannot force bones in the foot to move,” says Dr. Klein. “You need to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around these bones to treat flat feet.” That’s why dynamic insoles are better for creating change, he says. See a podiatrist for custom orthotics.
And if you have flat feet (or think you do) and are also experiencing any foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back pain, head to the podiatrist. All of those joints can be affected by flattening arches. (FYI, you should also be stretching your feet post-workout.)
How to Find the Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
1. Look at the last. “Finding the right shoe fit is about the shape of the shoe and how it’s made-it’s not necessarily about the padding, arch, or toe in the shoe,” explains Dave Zimmer, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago. There are two ends of the spectrum in shoe construction: a straight-last shoe and a curved-last shoe. (A “last”, BTW, is the shape that a shoe is built around). Flat feet generally do better in a straighter-last shoe, he says.
However, your best bet is to get your foot scanned to guarantee you’re getting the right shaped shoe or sneaker, he says. You can do that at a shoe store that has a 3D scanner (which you can find at most running shoe stores).
2. Look for low- or no-drop. In addition to wearing shoes with the right shape, you might want to wear shoes with a low drop alongside dynamic insoles, says Dr. Klein. “A low-drop shoe means that there is a low or non-existent heel-to-toe drop,” he says. (For example, high heels are high-drop and flip-flops are low- or no-drop.)
“Shoes with a high drop encourage severe heel striking, which can contribute to knee injuries,” says Dr. Klein. “They can also be unstable, which contributes to imbalances. A low drop shoe offers a reduced risk of injury because it mimics the natural ‘barefoot’ feel,” explains Dr. Klein.
3. Look for arch support. When looking for flat feet–friendly sneaks at the store, you should avoid any shoes that have an obviously flat sole. “Look for running shoes that have an arch built into not only the sole of the shoe but the insert in the shoe as well,” says Dr. Canuso. When trying on running shoes, your arch should immediately feel supported by the shoe. If you notice any give under your arch, it’s only going to worsen after wear, she explains.
Bonus tip: Be vigilant about changing your sneakers regularly. Changing your running shoes depends on how much you use them, but if the soles and tread are worn out, it’s time to swap for a new pair. “Change shoes before this happens. For avid runners, we suggest about 300 miles,” says Dr. Klein.
Try These Doctor-Recommended Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Overwhelmed? Head to a shoe store and try one of these pairs recommended by Zimmer:
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