Workoutsby DAISY NGUYEN -
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -
Its a fitness fad not for the faint of heart.
Its exercise boot
camp a grueling workout for those tough enough to follow orders from a
berating, loud-mouthed instructor.
Its not for
people with control issues, jokes instructor Barry Jay, who runs a
fitness studio offering boot camp sessions a few blocks from Sunset
program a circuit of drills ranging from running and jumping jacks to
push-ups, squats and sit-ups appeals to people with busy schedules who
need to pack a hard workout into a quick hour.
Gyms are increasingly
offering the program as boot camp sessions gain national exposure on makeover
television shows. Many boot camps in Southern California are taught at parks
and beaches by former soldiers.
Academy session, 20 classes over four weeks, costs $235. Other camps can
run longer or shorter, and the cost varies.
One of the reasons
boot camps are incredibly popular is because they provide a pretty
time-efficient approach to exercise, said Cedric X. Bryant, chief
exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
You work the whole
body. Youre in and out. For most of us who are time-pressured, its
a nice way to fit fitness in, said Bryant.
To prepare for their
roles as U.S. Marines, the cast of the Gulf War movie Jarhead took
a studio boot camp program before trying the real thing for four days at the
former George Air Force Base in the Southern California desert.
They said the
training got them ready for the real workout, said Bob Harper, a boot
camp instructor on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser who
trained the Jarhead cast.
At a recent session at
Jays studio, Barrys Bootcamp, 30 participants begin their workout
at 5:30 a.m. They file into a darkened room lined with treadmills and a row of
dumbbells, pair up and begin their drills.
As the sounds of a Black
Eyed Peas song fill the gym, Jay orders half of the class to perform squats
while the other half do sit-ups. Five minutes later, the groups switch
positions and await the next command.
Although dressed in Army
fatigues and sporting a buzz cut, Jay, 42, didnt serve in the military.
But he acts the part of drill sergeant, barking at students who slow down on
the treadmill, and keeping a watchful eye on those who take bathroom breaks.
Occasionally, hell sit on someone doing push-ups to force better
Anyone who ditches a session faces discipline at the next
If you dont
show up, I will call you, I will text-message you, I will pick you up at 4:30
a.m. the next day, he says with a laugh. Punishment may be an extra 20
minutes of running or forcing the offenders partner to do an extra set of
Participants say they
appreciate the stringent rules.
Barry always picks
on me in class because Im the slowest, said Lesley Wolff, 34, a
comedian and radio host. Hell yell, but its because he
doesnt want you to cut corners.
Wolff also likes the
esprit de corps of boot camp workouts.
The gym can be an
isolating place, she said. Here you form a camaraderie with people,
because youre going through this challenge together.
Others say they like the
variety and being able to feed off the energy of fellow enlistees.
I was doing yoga
before and got so sick of it. It was boring and slow, said Jenny Levitan,
a 27-year-old law student. He changes the workout everyday, and I like
Jay jokes that the
ideal candidate might be someone with attention deficit
While boot camps
generally attract gung-ho types trying to elevate their strength and endurance,
experts say those who feel out of shape shouldnt be afraid to
Bryant, the exercise
physiologist, said most boot camp classes start with low-impact exercise and
gradually increase the level of challenge.
Monitor your level
of exertion and exercise within your physical range, Bryant said.
If you find it enjoyable, then your body will quickly
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