Boot Camp: If It Is Good Enough For Soldiers …

Boot camp is an extremely popular group fitness program and has stayed consistently popular over many years.

I know by experience that boot camp style workouts are intense, sweaty and sometimes painful.

Participants always leave my class feeling like they got what they came for: an intense workout incorporating strength and cardiovascular components while being pushed a little bit beyond where they would normally push themselves.

ACE (American Council on Exercise) agrees it’s a very popular class, so it decided to do a study to see just how good of a workout participants were getting.

It chose participants between 19 and 29 years of age, half male and half female.

First, all volunteers were given an exercise test on a treadmill to find each person’s maximum heart rate and maximal oxygen consumption. Researchers did this to establish a baseline for testing.

The participants were then given a boot camp DVD to take home and practise and, lastly, when they felt they were comfortable with the workout, they were asked to come back for a fitness test while completing the workout DVD.

The participants were fitted with a portable analyzer during the workout to measure oxygen consumption and caloric burn during exercise. Heart rate and rate of perceived exertion were also checked every three minutes. The workout lasted for 40 minutes.

After analyzing the data, researchers found that the average exerciser burns approximately 9.8 calories per minute during a typical boot camp workout, which equals nearly 400 calories during the entire 40-minute boot camp video studied.

On average, people were working at 77 per cent of heart-rate max, which is considered moderate intensity. But it also gets as high as 91 per cent meaning all these boot camp workouts have peaks and valleys and, in other words, they are working in intervals which I always believe is the most efficient way to train for fat loss and cardiovascular efficiency.

The other benefit with a Boot Camp style workout is that you are getting both strength and cardiovascular benefit out of one class.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

How does a boot camp workout’s caloric burn compare to other group exercise classes? Check below for results from other ACE testing:

Workout: Calories/min

Boot Camp 9.8

Cardio Kick Boxing 8.1

Group Cycling 9.6

Aerobic Dance 9.7

Curves 6.4

Power Yoga 5.9

Advanced Pilates 5.6


This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at

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