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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts

Boot Camp Works!

Posted: August 05, 2015

We had an amazing thing happen Monday night in Boot Camp: Thirty people showed up! That was just awesome. I’m grateful to everyone that participates, and to God for the opportunity to work with em. 

But 30 people? Wow. It sure makes for an exciting class, but from a sheer numbers standpoint, it’s changed how we have to do things. I’ve had people ask me how you can have a class that big, and still give em all a good workout. 

To steal a line from one of the national shipping companies, “it’s logistics, baby!” We’ve kind of been preparing for it for the last couple of years, by increasing our capacity to handle such a large group, and just getting more stuff. 

I like to have four of everything. That’s about how much room we have width-wise on the mat. So we’ll have four balls, four bars, four ropes, etc. Then, we arrange the stations down the mat into four groups, in rows like this: 

Row 1: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5, Ex6, Ex7, Ex8
Row 2: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5, Ex6, Ex7, Ex8
Row 3: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5, Ex6, Ex7, Ex8
Row 4: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5, Ex6, Ex7, Ex8

As you can see, there are four groups with the same 8 stations in each group. That means we’d have the capacity to have 32 people training at the same time. To go beyond that, we’ll have to either add a row, or add an exercise (Ex9).

The other option is to split em into 2 groups, but I hate to do that because there is an amazing group dynamic going on. Usually, these things go in waves, so the numbers come and go. We’ve had as few as 10 just a couple weeks ago. 

It does makes me wonder, “Why now?” I’m not exactly sure why, but I have a couple of theories (no surprise there). We just launched our first ever 24-Day Challenge, and gave them all complimentary Boot Camp workouts to help get em started well. That accounts for some of them. 

There’s also a momentum effect we see every now and then. When you get a lot of people doing something, and they’re excited about it, they share it with their friends. That accounts for a few more. 

But the biggest thing is probably the group dynamic I mentioned earlier. Sometimes, the group takes on a life of its own. People laugh and joke, while they’re sweating and groaning. Something about sharing the pain makes it easier. And they’ll push themselves harder when they know the person next to them is pushing too! That accounts for a few more, some of whom have been doing boot camp for years!

This isn’t the only way we do the class. Last Monday, I had em all circle up with a pair of Dumbbells and we did 45 one minute rounds of :45 work and :15 rest. Every 10 rounds (10 min), we stopped a minute for a quick water and towel break. The neat thing about that particular workout was that they never did the same exercise twice! In 45 rounds, they did 45 different exercises! 

I’ve got a couple other go-to workout strategies when we have such large groups. On Fridays, I sometimes give them a sheet of paper with a workout mapped out on paper. It’s kind of like a treasure map, except instead of finding their way to buried treasure, they make their way through a bunch of different exercises I’ve mapped out for them. They get to go at their own pace, and often do it with a friend. 

These workouts usually involve something in the cardio room and something in the weight room, back to the cardio room, weight room, etc. 

Other times, we’ll take em out to the track, or do walking lunges in the parking lot across the street. A few times, we did a park-to-park run, with a bunch of body weight exercises thrown in there. And they almost never know what they’ll be doing, until they get there. I think that’s part of the fun, too. 

Now I’d love to see you in Boot Camp, but you can get many of the same benefits doing on your own. Just set up your own workout the same way. Make sure you’ve eaten something about 30-45 minutes before. 

So congratulations to everyone who attended that record setting workout! Now, I’ve got to get busy planning another one!