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Fitness BootCamps, Do They Really Work? E-mail
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Fwoman at a fitness boot campitness bootcamps are taking the country by storm. You can not drive past a local park, or even watch late night TV and not see a DVD, a reference or footage of a fitness boot camp in action. But are fitness bootcamp recruits getting in shape and staying that way?

Fitness Boot camps, which include basic exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, sit-ups, and squats, have become increasingly popular through out the US. Fitness bootcamp workouts are designed to provide both cardiovascular exercise and muscle conditioning. A new study researched at the University of Wisconsin's La Crosse Exercise and Health Program and recently published published in Fitness Matters, a publication of the American Council on Exercise looked at this recent fad to determine how well the approach worked in regards to cardiovascular fitness and calories burned.

The Fitness Boot Camp Study

  • Researchers recruited six men and six women aged 19 to 29.
  • At the start of the study, participants' fitness levels were evaluated.
  • Participants exercised on a treadmill while researchers checked their maximum heart rates and maximum oxygen consumption.
  • Participants were asked to rate how hard they felt they were exercising, and those perceived exertion scores were recorded.
  • Each participant was given the 40-minute video, The Method: Cardio Boot Camp with Tracey Mallett. This video was chosen because it has both the aerobic movements and strength exercises that are typical of the boot camp style. Volunteers took the videos home so that they could familiarize themselves with the choreography. Then each participant came back to the lab and did the workout while researchers tested them for oxygen consumption, caloric burn, heart rate, and perceived exertion.
  • Participants in the study burned about 600 calories per hour.
  • Participants worked on average at 77% of maximum heart rate (MHR), some as high as 91% MHR. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people who want to improve their cardiovascular strength exercise at 70% to 94% of maximum heart rate.

Overall, researchers concluded this latest exercise fad -- which features mostly old-fashioned techniques -- gets people in shape.

SOURCES: Porcari, J., Fitness Matters, September/October 2008; vol 14: pp 6-9. News release, American Council on Exercise.

 
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