It’s no secret now that there’s a bit of a shift underway in the fitness industry, and more people than ever are enrolling in boot camp and outdoor fitness programs.
People are seeing the value of getting outdoors and grouped up to achieve their fitness results, and the idea of being a lone gym warrior blasting his eardrums out in isolation is fading. However, as with any industry, as new trends and models emerge the problem of weeding through the good and the bad quickly arises. How do we differentiate between a good boot camp program, or some Joe just trying to cash in on something new and trendy?
Keep reading for some things to keep in mind as you consider different programs and whether or not you’ll be getting the most out of your outdoor fitness experience.
1) The Instructor
The number one thing I’d look at when trying to decide if a particular program is right for me is the head honcho who is in charge. Don’t be afraid to go and observe a program and instructor first. Be friendly, but don’t be afraid to ask quality questions about his or her experience level, training philosophy, credentials, and passions. A passionate instructor who is truly about seeing results in the participants makes a world of difference in the fitness industry and your own personal journey.
2) The Participants
Second, when evaluating anything I always try to get a feel for the people involved before me first. If you’re in a new office space and everyone seems to hate life, odds are you’ll soon join the ranks. Likewise, if you see that the overall demeanor of the participants in a program is lethargy, a lack of motivation, and zero stories of improvement or positive results odds are there’s an underlying theme of bad quality. Maybe give it a round or two just to make sure it’s not purely a participant problem, but don’t plan on getting too comfortable.
Another thing to beware of is what I call “autopilot syndrome”. Fitness should be fun, which means a quality program should have lots of variety and the instructor should be looking for fresh ways to push the class to new levels and keep things interesting. If your program has been running for months and you can literally run it to the ‘T’ as if the instructor wasn’t even there then there’s a problem. Make a friendly suggestion that you’d like to see it spiced up a bit, and if nothing changes it might be time to move on.
Finally, a big sign of a great program is flexibility. Granted this can vary depending on how well established the organisation is, but in general the more options to diversify within the same program the better. See if they offer multiple sessions a day at different times. Maybe there are multiple locations with the same company you can plug into in order to convenience your commute or weekend excursions. Having a program that bends and flexes a bit to fall in line with your life pace is a huge plus.
In the long run, there is no such thing as a flawless, perfect program, so be ready to do some flexing yourself. With that being said, use the above points to formulate some standards, and doing so could insure you find a solid program to fuel your progress.