Boot Camp Survival Tips

pilatesThe New Year is the perfect time to embark on a new fitness journey and achieve those goals of weight loss and fitness that always seem to be on people’s minds. The last few years has seen an explosion in the number of boot camps offered around our beautiful city. While boot camps are wonderful for increasing fitness, improving motivations and loosing unwanted kilo’s they can also have the risk of injury, especially for those people who have never undertaken intense training in the past or who have had a sedentary holiday period. So what can you do to prevent unwanted injuries?

  1. Pick a boot camp with instructors that focus on technique of exercises. The aim of boot camps are usually to shed kilo’s and increase fitness however when you become fatigued and your technique becomes sloppy – injuries are bound to occur.
  2. Get niggles treated early. I see large numbers of clients every year that commence a boot camp and develop a ‘niggle’ in one of their muscles or joints and ignore it thinking it will just go away. While it is normal to have some post training muscle soreness, pain in joints and muscle strains will not go away on their own (especially if you are continuing to train). Get them seen to early so that they do not develop into full blown injuries that prevent you from completing your boot camp (and achieving your goals).
  3. Ensure that you are completing a proper warm up and warm down every session. A light jog or brisk walk, followed by body weight exercises (eg squats, heel raises, push ups) will get the blood flowing and the muscles warm prior to commencing a session. Try to avoid stretching ‘cold’ muscles. Active stretches like leg swings, squats, arm circles and standing upper body rotations are great to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving (after your walk/jog). After a session, when you are nice and warm, is the perfect time to stretch. A light/short walk to decrease your heart rate followed by 5-10minutes of static stretching will help prevent muscle and joint pain from tightness.
  4. Pre existing injuries. If you have a pre existing injury, in most cases you can still participate in boot camp with some modifications to your exercises. Talk to your physiotherapist (who will happily talk to your instructor) and get advice on what exercises to avoid or modify to prevent a flare up or new injury occurring.
  5. Cross training. Yoga, pilates, swimming and walking are great exercises to do once or twice a week in between boot camp sessions. These modalities will help keep you from getting tight muscles and joints, work your core and improve your range of motion.
  6. Massage. There aren’t many people I know that don’t enjoy a good massage! If you are undertaking regular intense exercise it is a fantastic idea to book 4-6 weekly prophylactic massage sessions. These will help keep muscles loose, take the strain off tight joints and prevent injuries.
  7. Nutrition. Proper nutrition is an essential part of your boot camp journey. If you are putting good fuel into your body your energy levels will be better, your muscles will heal faster and your body will work more efficiently. This includes drinking lots of water!

Most importantly – have fun! If you would like any further information with regards to our boot camp tips, please don’t hesitate to contact the Physionorth team.

Happy Exercising!