Updated: Mar 29
What is a HIIT Bootcamp? Why are they so great? When should I start? How do I know if it is for me? This article breaks it all down for you.
Group exercise classes tend to go in and out of style. From jazzercise to barre, trendy workout classes often pop up in the fitness industry. However, there’s one fitness class that seems to have withstood the test of time— HIIT style bootcamps.
Why? HIIT style bootcamps are inspired by military training, so they use basic bodyweight exercises and interval training to get an effective and efficient workout. Of course, over time, many fitness trainers have adapted the boot camp style to cater to their clients’ goals. However, the overall experience remains the same, and people still swear by these workouts.
So why do boot camp workouts work, and why do people love them so much? Let’s dive into the science behind this timeless group fitness phenomenon.
What is a boot camp workout?
HIIT style bootcamps stand out from other group fitness classes in a few ways. A typical boot camp workout uses interval training that combines bodyweight and strength training with aerobic elements. Participants get the calorie-burning benefits of high-intensity cardio, combined with strength training elements to sculpt muscle and build strength. There are a variety of ways to structure a boot camp class, so the type of class you take will vary depending on the trainer.
“I focus on a good solid mix between cardio and strength to keep the body and heart working hard” says Tab Grady, owner of River City Fitness “I change the class structure every class to keep my participants engaged and excited.”
Unlike most cardio-centered group fitness classes, HIIT style bootcamps incorporate challenging functional movements, or bodyweight training, moves to both burn fat and tone muscle.
“HIIT Intervals are the best way to get quick results and maximize your workout. There is so many varieties of Intervals that can have cardio and strength back to back. eg) EMOMS, AMRAPS, Ladders etc” says Tab Grady
Benefits of boot camp
In a recent study, researchers found that the average healthy person burns approximately 9.8 calories per minute during a typical boot camp workout—nearly 600 calories per hour.
The major benefit that a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) boot camp has is the ability to burn more calories after exercise due to what is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC for short. The body is using more energy after finishing a HIIT boot camp to restore itself to homeostasis, which leads to the burning of more calories post-exercise.
In addition to burning calories and shedding fat, boot camps offer a variety of strength training exercises that help tone muscles and build strength. However, the physical benefits of boot camps are just the beginning.
Because HIIT style boot camps classes pack high-intensity interval training and challenging strength moves, you can get the biggest bang for your buck in a short amount of time. There are several benefits to a boot camp class, but the biggest has got to be time, these classes can give you the best of both cardio and strength training in a very limited amount of time.
Boot camps provide a unique environment that is both fun and motivating, powered by a quick pace, a variety of moves and group atmosphere. "Because the variety in boot camp classes is only limited by the trainer’s imagination, you never know what you’re going to be doing, which will keep you from getting bored with your workout,” Tab says.
The appeal of a HIIT style boot camp is it’s a lot of fun. It’s more fun to work out with people than on your own. At boot camps, you have experience, accountability and trainers there. They can show you how to do things right and demonstrate; you get a personal trainer included without paying that rate.
One of the best parts of a book camp class is the sense of community many people feel. Working out with a group of people is more fun than working out alone, and creates a sense of friendly competition that can push you to work harder.
I have gained, and witnessed life-long healthy friendships emerge from my sessions. We even dub ourselves the RCF Tribe. We register for fitness event together and have a ton of fun on the foundation of fitness," says trainer Tab.
Studies show that group settings have higher success rates because of the healthy competition and support system it creates. Boot camps are also safer than working out solo because of the instructor's 'hands-on' attention. Some trainers even encourage their classes to work like a team. We all high five at the end of every workout, With a boot camp, we’re a team and we’re stronger together.
Having a group of people who are counting on you showing up to class can help motivate you to be there each week. This helps build relationships and allows you to hold each other accountable. HIIT style boot camps have a built-in accountability factor along with an encouraging setting. It’s much easier to make excuses or skip your workout when it’s just you. People want support, structure and motivation from others–boot camps provide that!
Tips for boot camp beginners
For people who have never tried a boot camp, the intensity and fast pace of these classes can be intimidating. However, our boot camp experts urge people to branch out and try a boot camp class, with safety and precaution in mind.
“When people join a boot camp, they should know that they shouldn’t have to do every move. Trainers should offer modifications,” Tab says. “The ideal class size is 12 to 15 people, for good trainer-to-client interaction. Larger class sizes can be dangerous for beginners.”
If your trainer is pushing you to do moves that are uncomfortable, without offering any modifications, you might be in the wrong class. Look for a trainer who is willing to meet you at your skill level, and offer guidance along the way.
The great thing about boot camps is that the commitment is small. You can try a few different classes to make sure you’re with the right instructor and group of people for you.
“I want to encourage people who have never tried a boot camp or group training class to branch out and give it a chance,” Tab says. “The exposure to something new is very refreshing, and the commitment (in my classes) is short—45-55 minutes usually for 10 weeks or month-to-month depending on the arrangement.
Try a HIIT Style boot camp! The benefit is you don’t have to do it all on your own, At River City Fitness, you get a whole group of people who want to see you succeed and it’s a journey. Once you start, you’ll be amazed at all the things that change. Take that step, it’s very possible!”