I am starting a new, more vigorous fitness program to combat post-hysterectomy body fat. It is a bootcamp available for all ages, and I expect I will be above the typical age as a new participant. I dont necessarily have a lot of extra weight (I am 5.5 and weigh 134 lbs) however, I am unfit and my waist measurement and BMI are well out of bounds. I do not do much weight training, and my trainer will incorporate that to my regimen. I expect to have soreness and fatigue. How do I know what I am capable of without getting hurt? I dont have an athletic history, most of my current exercise program is cardio based. Thanks for your input.
This is one of those questions I really wish people would ask more often.
Let me just start by saying that bootcamps can be great. First from a trainers perspective it is a great way to get a larger number of people to work with at once. This means the cost can be much more effective for the participants, which means client turnover should slow down a little. From a marketing perspective we can offer something the gym can’t, the confinement of walls. This really means we can sell exercise as being anywhere and at anytime. True story, I have personally worked in barns, parking lots and backyards at 5am and 8pm (I know that sounds very dr seuss-ish, but I would even work with a cow and fish! Ha) So, as for a business model, bootcamps are a great way to go.
The problem that exists is the same that there is for any “group” learning environment. People will be at all different levels. There will be just a single instructor (that means two eyeballs) watching over a wide range of people. Just like in grade school, there can be certain things that happen in camp that just slip by the teacher. The difference, we are taking about your health, wellbeing and whatever dream you may have.
My advice is great like anything you would buy. Be the educated and informed customer. Watch a few sessions and do some evaluation of your own. Look not only at what they do but the level of coaching and engagement the instructor brings to the workout. Go and to whomever is running the camp. Find out about their background and ask them tough hypothetical questions. Bootcamps are really a dome a dozen and there are many instructors that flat out don’t have skills. So challenge their ideas a bit. I know, as a trainer, this makes me more prepared.
With all that being said, if I were you, I would just sign up for individual training or find a smaller group. It doesn’t matter you age nor your medical history, each individual person brings their own baggage to the camp and really needs some prescriptive exercise. This means that some sort of assessment process is certainly warranted before you begin training.
For me, when I work with large groups, I can break everyone into smaller (and more appropriate groups) by taking the first session and using an FMS screen. Basically, it is seven different exercises, that allow me to categorize everyone into their appropriate workout level. That way I can run a class that allows for the most advanced and the most beginner of people. This works well, because it also gives the participants a goal to chase in terms of how they move.
One on one training is superior because we can go more in depth with what you may NEED yo exerciser as opposed to what you may WANT to do. I understand there are cost issues, so if you get anything from my words it is to look for am instructor that gives as much individual consideration possible while in a group setting.
hope this helps,
Your concerns are very valid. As already stated in previous answers
1. Make sure you are cleared for exercise by your doctor
2. Communicate with the instructor that you are new to the class, whatever medical history you have, any concerns you have, and request modifications to exercises
3. Don’t concern yourself with “the crowd”
I would communicate with your trainer what you do in class. That way, especially if the class size is big, the trainer can offer you modifications and ensure you are doing those correctly in case the instructor does not have time to get to you during the class.
Stay aware of your body and how it feels during the exercises. Is there a sharp pain, crackling, “twinge” anywhere? If so, stop, do an alternate exercise and talk to your instructor,trainer and/or doctor about it.
Take small breaks as necessary (but try to keep moving – for example, walking in place or slow marching in place). If a weight you chose feels to heavy too soon during the set, stop and get a lighter one. Once a weight doesn’t feel challenging enough (you finished the set and didn’t even feel a burn), then you’ll know it’s time increase that weight.
You are probably capable of more than you realize. And that is a GREAT thing! So work progressively and safely. Enjoy the victories of seeing how far you can go in your fitness and lifestyle goals! Therefore, make sure to have fun!
Hello S Brown,
You have a lot of great advice here. To add, I will mention:
It can’t be emphasized enough to do what your body will let you; do not push yourself too hard and ask if the instructor will show beginner, intermediate and advanced modifications of all the exercises.
I would start with beginner to be on the safe side.
It would not hurt to check with your physician, either. I do not know your history; but, if you let your doctor know of your plans, you will have a starting point. The doctor may know of a good fitness class for you, also.
Exercise induced soreness and fatigue that is short lived is to be expected. If the pain and fatigue last more than a day, you may have done too much. Slow and steady wins the race.
Above all, you are doing this for your health, right? The rest will fall into place.
Enjoy and take care,
NAPS 2 B Fit.
I would talk to the bootcamp instructor prior to joining and find out what their program demands and what they will do when it comes to modifications
If it is a “canned” bootcamp where the trainer has a list of drills and can’t improvise for you I would not join.
If you think the bootcamp leader is competent, is certified with a Nationally Accredited Certification~Ask to see it, has a Cert in CPR and has at least 8 years of experience and you feel confident with him or her then go for it.
Never feel ashamed to ask for an alternative and always know that everyone should be encouraged to work within their own capacity
Wonderful and smart question… Since Bootcamp classes tend to be more advanced, you may want to pull the trainer/instructor aside and discuss your concerns before class. Above all, I would listen to your body and don’t feel pressured to do anymore than you can handle. If the trainer is good, he or she will assist you with the right weights to choose (I would go light at first) and watch your form throughout. Also, make sure the Bootcamp includes a good warmup before you start, and a nice stretch when you are done.
I teach Bootcamp classes with all different ages (a few men and women in their 50s as well)– and I always show modifications to every exercise. This is not just for age! Modifications are for anyone who may need an alternate level based on joint issues, injuries, etc… I watch everyone’s form like a hawk and make sure the exercises are being done correctly.
Keep us posted and good luck to you!