Do you find yourself actively skipping over those bootcamp classes in your ClassPass studio lists? If you’re intimidated by the thought of intense instructors, impossible moves and a pace you can’t keep up with, you’re not alone. Working at Barry’s Bootcamp, I see many intimidated and skeptical faces enter our studio, unsure of what to expect. As a seasoned bootcamp pro, I love instilling confidence and excitement into others for bootcamp workouts, as it is one of the best additions out there to a well-balanced workout regimen. What’s the key to dominating your bootcamp class? Preparation. Follow my tried and true tricks in and out the studio in order to have your best bootcamp experience possible. You’ll wonder why you ever glossed over these types of reservations in the first place!
How to prepare
Bootcamp classes are a combination of high-intensity intervals and strength training, which call for high levels of hydration and energy. It is important that you show up to class well hydrated and fueled (eat and drink a couple hours prior to class, not right before!).
What to wear
Since you’ll be engaging in high-impact exercises like plyometrics and using weighted equipment, it’s best to wear something fitted that won’t get in the way or ride up/down. It’s also important that your gear is breathable and sweat wicking. Your heart rate will spike, resulting in increased body temperature and tons of sweat.
What to bring
Most studios offer towels and water for purchase, however it is always a great idea to bring your own bottle and a small hand towel just in case. Studios are always happy to offer more information if you’re not sure what amenities they offer. Call your local studio, or arrive early to do recon. If you’re a plyometric or weight newbie, a set of lifting gloves can often be helpful when it comes to picking up heavy dumbbells or large medicine balls or low crawling on rough studio floors.
When you arrive
Always arrive early! If you’re new, there’s nothing more calming than being able to see the studio and start to visualize yourself taking class. Instructors are always around before their class starts and can ease your mind and those burning last-minute questions. Additionally, if it’s your first few times, snagging a spot in the center of the studio is key. Why? You’re able to see the instructor and, more importantly, you have the entire class surrounding you to motivate you and put you at ease.
What to expect
Bootcamp classes are centered around shocking your system with spikes in heart rate and multi-directional movements that are constantly changing. By the time you think you won’t be able to do another rep, you’ll be moving on to another muscle group and starting all over again.
That said, it is important to keep a consistent pace that won’t have you completely beat in less than a minute, as most classes focus on certain movements or muscle groups for several minutes at a time. Focus on steady repetitions and keeping your breathing on point for a successful and injury-free workout. As you become more comfortable with the exercises, you can begin to quicken the pace to increase your heart rate and burn more calories.
Little known fact: Bootcamp classes are just like any other class when it comes to modifications — they can be scaled to every ability level. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or recently rehabbed, instructors are able to provide you with an equally challenging but safe exercise for you.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! High-intensity exercise will have you soaked in sweat, which means that you need to replace your body’s fluids immediately. Since you’ve also fatigued your muscles, it’s very important to fuel them as well with a source of protein immediately after to help facilitate muscle recovery and build that lean and toned physique you came to class to work toward. Bring a protein bar or shake with you to have right after class, and plan to have a lean protein meal an hour or two after class.
Bootcamp classes are some of the most motivating and rewarding classes out there given the camaraderie and group interaction during classes, and thinking you’re not strong enough is one of the worst reasons to shy away from them. Book a class in your local studio and turn your intimidation into confidence in a single class, with the help of your classmates and studio staff, and be prepared to accomplish goals you never thought you were capable of in fitness!