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Cliff Grassmick

Ashley Laney, bottom, works out in the early morning hours with other members in David Clair's Outdoor Bootcamp.

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Cliff Grassmick

David Clairleads an exercise during one of his Outdoor Fitness Boot Camps for people of all abilities.

Fitness boot camps sweat out the adult mindset

By Joshua Lindenstein, Camera Sports Writer
April 15, 2006

While telling someone about his Outdoor Fitness Boot Camps recently, the person stopped David Clair and said, "Wow, it sounds like adult P.E. camp."

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 they advance."

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."

E-mail: lindensteinj@dailycamera.com.

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