Fitness boot camps sweat out the adult mindset
By Joshua Lindenstein, Camera Sports Writer
April 15, 2006
telling someone about his Outdoor Fitness Boot Camps recently, the
person stopped David Clair and said, "Wow, it sounds like adult P.E.
And, in a way, that's what Clair is aiming for.
His boot camps, which generally take place at parks (the first Boulder
sessions begin Monday), incorporate all types of fitness and
strength-enhancing activities, from regular old pushups and sit-ups to
obstacle courses and relay races.
"Those kids in elementary school are just jumping around doing
different things, staying after it," Clair says. "So we're trying to
make fitness fun, which is a major emphasis, but also to help people
achieve particular goals that they've set for themselves and give them
motivation for staying consistent."
Clair, a USA Cycling-certified coach and fitness instructor at
One Boulder Fitness and the Flatirons Athletic Club, began his fitness
boot camps three years ago partly because he wanted to be outside more.
He had spent 10 years running an adventure-travel company he founded,
The World Outdoors, before selling it in the late 1990s.
The boot camps have expanded each year and Clair has trained
enough trainers for multiple five-week sessions in Boulder, Broomfield
and Denver through the spring, summer and fall. Groups meet every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and each session consists of four
one-hour, 10-minute time slots to choose from, three in the morning —
including one women's only session — and one in the evening.
The program costs $245, with a money-back guarantee within the first three days of a session.
While combining 6 a.m. with the word boot camp doesn't exactly
scream fun and fitness for many people, Clair asserts that there are no
drill instructors calling you "maggot" and no requirement that
participants wake up at 0500 hours with the sharp sounds of "Reveille"
piercing their dreams — unless, of course, that's what gets you going
in the morning.
"The whole boot camp thing was probably more for an
association of name," Clair says. "It's not spitting in people's faces
and screaming at them. We get fit and have fun. But we do encourage
people to go beyond what they're comfortable with. It's the only way
There is no real typical day at Clair's boot camps.
One day might be spent negotiating obstacle courses in the park,
the next progressing through different stations while doing intervals
on a trail. Running is not a huge part of the program. But plenty of
emphasis is placed on cardiovascular fitness, as well as core strength
and upper-body strength. A fitness assessment at the beginning and end
of each camp helps people measure results.
Clair says the camaraderie that develops in the group
atmosphere helps motivate people to attend every class and push
themselves. People of all fitness levels make up any given group, each
of which is capped at 15 people, and they all work together — albeit at
their own paces — to achieve individual goals.
"Everyone comes out for a different reason and everyone's kind
of reached a wall for some reason or another," Clair says. "Many are
women who've had kids and just never gotten back to getting outside.
Other people, they've changed work and aren't as active as they'd like
to be. Or folks that are just kind of bored with their routine and just
want to mix it up a little bit. So it's kind of created to make it so
that people get what they need for their level.
"You just get them out of their adult mind and it's fun."