Women's

Outdoor fitness boot camp

By CURRY ROSATO

Remember those middle and high school days when P.E. class involved push-ups on the mat, pull-ups on the bars, sit ups with the help of a partner and wind sprints? Those days are back and there's no better way to get in shape than participating in David Clair's Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp. Good news - this time around you'll get FIT and have FUN!

Clair started operating Outdoor Fitness Boot Camps in 2003 as a way for adults to get fit, achieve their health goals, enjoy Colorado's beautiful outdoor setting, and have fun and stay motivated in a small group setting.

"The Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp's main focus is to have its participants achieve their own personal health and fitness goals, and to have FUN. We want to make fitness fun," says Clair.

"Our focus at camp is to achieve full body functional fitness integrating strength, balance, flexibility, core, power, and conditioning, using fun individual, partner or team routines or activities. Through functional fitness, one is able to participate in their daily activities and active pursuits with more vigor, less fatigue and less chance of injury."

The results are in. Over the course of four weeks (one camp session) participants report an average core strength and muscular endurance increase of 50%, and recovery heart rates (a measure of cardiovascular fitness) drop of 15 beats/minute.

To get started, participants complete a thorough questionnaire that includes setting a series of their own health and fitness goals. These goals include a four-week goal [the length of the camp], a three-month goal and a one- to two-year goal.

The questionnaire also asks participants to prioritize different health and fitness areas in which they would like to improve, including cardiovascular fitness, core strength, upper body and/or lower body strength, as well as losing weight and improving personal nutrition.

"It is important that I understand what each camper is trying to achieve so I can better tailor the camp around their objectives and interests," explains Clair.

Participants have the option to sign a Behavior Contract, which helps them identify what they would like to change, how they will make this change or what they will substitute for this behavior, and most importantly, how they will reward themselves for making this change.

In addition, each Fitness Camp begins and ends with an optional Fitness Assessment.

"During this assessment we create a benchmark for each participant's cardiovascular fitness, core strength and upper body strength and endurance. We also offer a free body composition test so individuals can learn their percent body fat and percent lean body mass," says Clair.

Camp Activities

There is no such thing as a typical day at Fitness Camp because each day has a specific goal, which makes each day different. "Campers work every day on their core strength and cardiovascular fitness, and we alternate every other day with routines and activities that will stress either their upper body or their lower body," says Clair.

Camp begins with a light warm-up and stretching, then moves into activities such as jumping, bounding, stair climbing, lunging, jump roping, or doing sets of push ups, pull ups or crunches.

"We often set up obstacle courses or a circuit of 'fitness stations' around the field for campers to individually push themselves to complete. Friendly competitions are also a part of camp as we may find ourselves doing relay running races or some other, sometimes wacky event, like a burlap bag race (much tougher than you think)," says Clair.

In an effort to get the heart rate going, every other day includes a short game of ultimate ball (similar to ultimate Frisbee, but with a ball), soccer or basketball.

One day of camp is often spent on a trail for a 'full body' backwoods experience. "Participants either 'power walk' or jog and every few minutes will regroup for an upper body or lower body strengthening routine. It really is an ideal setting for cardio and strength interval training," says Clair.

If all this boot camp fitness fun sounds fun to you, there's good news. Fitness Camp is for everyone because it is appropriate for all fitness levels. "Each day's activities are set up so that each person can participate at the level that they feel comfortable," says Clair. In addition, you'll receive lots of attention because this small group-training program is limited to twelve.

The camp includes two levels: beginner and performance. "Though the goals of the camp are similar, the beginner level camp generally takes things slower, spends a bit more time working on proper form and injury prevention, and is a perfect introduction for someone who has not exercised for a while or is hesitant to jump right in to our performance level camps," says Clair.

Camp includes an added bonus to help keep participants motivated on days off. Each Friday, Clair sends out an emailed weekend workout to help motivate participants during the weekend.

Camp participant and local mom, Randi Curtis, signed up for the Women's Only Fitness Camp session as a way to have fun exercising outside. She was thrilled to hear about the day care situation as well.

"I thought it would be fun to do the old school P.E. class type activity," says Curtis. Because she had such a positive experience the first session, Curtis immediately signed up for a second consecutive session.

"It's light competition in a fun and easy environment," says Curtis. "The camp made me stronger and I have more energy. Most importantly, I had fun and met some amazing women. We laughed, talked about our kids and exercised, all at the same time."

Visit www.fitliv.com for more information, or email bootcamp@fitliv.com.

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