E.V. women sign up for Army-style discipline to get in shape - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

E.V. women sign up for Army-style discipline to get in shape

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2007 3:45 pm | Updated: 6:28 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

“Boot camp” evokes images of a drill sergeant spewing vitriol at the weakest member of the platoon. The fitness craze that took off in Manhattan’s Central Park is here to stay. Fitness boot camps, which primarily cater to women, are taking over parks and elementary schools across the Valley.

“Boot camp” evokes images of a drill sergeant spewing vitriol at the weakest member of the platoon.

The fitness craze that took off in Manhattan’s Central Park is here to stay. Fitness boot camps, which primarily cater to women, are taking over parks and elementary schools across the Valley (video).

Women are paying up to $300 per month to rise every weekday morning before daybreak to be chiseled into shape by a fitness instructor. It seems a harsh alternative to hiring a personal trainer or melting extra pounds on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

But roll out your mat at most fitness boot camps and you’ll find the reality is quite different. Sure it’s physically and psychologically taxing — soreness for the first few days, rising at the crack of dawn, pushing yourself beyond muscle fatigue — but it works if you stick with it, trainers say. The instructors are there to help you improve, not break your spirit.

And you’ll find support on the mat next to you.

“From the very first day there was a camaraderie,” says Juleca Oei, a member of the Mesa Adventure Boot Camp. “Everyone supports each other. If you don’t show up, they ask you where you were.”

A needed push

At 5:30 a.m. on any given weekday, women armed with an exercise mat, weights and a bottle of water arrive bleary-eyed but ready to battle muffin tops, cottage cheese thighs, stubborn baby weight and exercise ennui. In this war for wellness, the battle for many is getting through the next hour of boot camp (photos).

“5:30 in the morning is a killer,” says Nancy Turner, who attends Chandler Boot Camp five days a week and has lost 42 pounds since joining in January. “I have a goal and my No. 1 goal is to be healthy. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle and I wasn’t doing it on my own and I wasn’t doing it in the gym.”

Turner had a personal trainer and she worked out religiously on the treadmill. But she wasn’t seeing any results.

“I never pushed myself,” Turner says. “And I knew I needed somebody out there that was going to push me.”

Add the cardio

Boot camp combines resistance training and cardio. Typically, campers will do a circuit consisting of weight-bearing exercises interspersed with cardio (jumping jacks, mountain climbers or running). Most campers hate to run, but “you have to have cardio for fat loss,” says Richelle Melde, who runs Ultimate Boot Camp in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Cardio is missing in many personal training programs, boot camp operators say. Typically, clients will only get 30 minutes with a trainer in most gyms, and that time is spent primarily on resistance training. Doing cardio is up to the client.

“Most of my clients weren’t getting their cardio,” says Nicole Harper, who runs Mesa Adventure Boot Camp and used to work for a gym as a personal trainer. “I would watch them leave after 15 minutes and then come to me and say, 'I’m not seeing results.’ ”

The end result is often worth the sometimes excruciating effort. Progress is measured mostly in inches lost and decreased body fat, although some campers report losing 5 to 10 pounds in the first month.

And you don’t have to be “in shape” already to participate in boot camp.

“It’s suited to all fitness levels,” says Eric Gelder, a trainer with 14 years of experience who can somehow incorporate a squat into just about any exercise. “I have one woman who needed to lose 100 pounds and now she’s running and using the heaviest weights out there.”

East Valley boot camps

Mesa Adventure Boot Camp

Sergeant: Nicole “Feel the burn” Harper

The Drill: Circuit training followed by running, obstacle course, weekly hikes.

The Move: Lunges

Pain factor: 6

Excited utterance: “Port-a-potty. Think Port-a-potty,” imagery used to encourage proper squat form.

Platoon size: 15

Equipment: Bring a mat, 5- or 8-pound weights, towel and water.

Locations: Red Mountain Park, 7745 E. Brown Road, Mesa

Cost: $299 for five days, $199 for three days, $240 for four-day evening class.

Contact: (480) 201-7537 or mesabootcamp.com

Chandler Boot Camp

Sergeant: Eric “Keep those abs tight” Gelder

The Drill: Circuit training followed by running, resistance training with 15-pound weights.

The Move: Snatch

Pain factor: 8

Excited utterance: “Will this give me Beyoncé’s butt?”

Platoon size: 20-40

Equipment: Bring a mat, towel and water.

Locations: Snedigar Sportsplex, 4500 S. Basha Road, Chandler

Cost: Single option per month, $249 for five days, $199 for four days, $149 for three days. Partner option per month, per person: $177 for five days, $147 for four days, $127 for three days

Contact: (480) 544-6862 or chandlerbootcamp.com

Boot Camp Chicks

Sergeant: Kim “Whew” Robinson

The Drill: Circuit training followed by running, jump rope, lunges, squats, relay races, medicine ball toss, abs and push-ups.

The Move: Sun salutation

Pain factor: 5

Excited utterance: “Yesterday, I could zip up my pants.”

Platoon size: 15

Equipment: Bring a mat, 5- or 8-pound weights, towel and water.

Locations: Phoenix

Cost: $199 per month for three days per week or $299 per month for five days per week

Contact: (602) 448-8819 or bootcampchicks.com

Ultimate Boot Camp

Sergeant: Richelle “I like to get a puker on the first day” Melde

The Drill: Plyometrics, cardio, body weight resistance, balance training, calisthenics, abdominal toning, yoga, Pilates, stability training, kick boxing, running and drills.

The Move: Four-count killers (lay on your back and crisscross your feet over and over until your legs are straight in the air)

Pain factor: 7

Excited utterance: “Good luck getting up off the toilet tomorrow,” said one camper after squats.

Platoon size: 15

Equipment: Bring a mat, towel and water. Resistance bands provided.

Locations: Mesa, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee Foothills

Cost: $250 per month for three days per week or $175 per month for two days per week

Contact: (602) 326-4397 or cometobootcamp.com

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