Health

Friday, Oct 19 2012 08:00 PM

What to know before you boot camp

BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

With an assortment of boot camps available in Bakersfield, fitness pros advised new recruits to exercise caution before signing up for one.

Deborah Riebe, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island, and Jeff Moffit, associate professor at Cal State Bakersfield's Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology, offered advice for choosing the boot camp that's right for you.

 

KNOW YOURSELF

Not everyone can just jump into the high-intensity workouts boot camps provide, they said.

"If you're just starting out, I wouldn't start with boot camp," Riebe said.

Moffit recommended that people complete a physical activity readiness questionnaire before taking a class and consult a physician prior to exercising if the questionnaire results recommend it.

Try out the class before committing, Riebe said. It shouldn't leave you so sore that you have to lie down for the rest of the day; you should be able to carry on with normal activities without extreme fatigue, she said.

 

KNOW YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Riebe said the most important things to look at are the instructor's qualifications.

Instructors can be certified through an array of programs and verifying their qualifications can be easy.

Some certifications, such as from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College on Exercise, can be checked out on the groups' websites. Other organizations won't verify that a trainer has their certification without the instructor's permission.

"I will say that (certifications are) very important and a current certification means that the individual is keeping up with their profession," Moffit said.

Moffit said the best-case scenario is for an instructor to have a kinesiology degree, but he admitted it would be hard to prove whether a trainer's degree is legitimate. Moffit said it would be wise for boot camp instructors to keep proof of their certification with them in a binder.

Moffit warned consumers to be watchful of boot camp instructors who try to "upsell" people on a product, such as a shake or vitamin.

"There's no product that's going to change somebody, especially in the supplement world," he said.

 

KNOW THE CLASS

A good boot camp class should accommodate attendees' varying abilities, Riebe and Moffit said.

It's not safe for people who haven't had regular exercise since high school PE to dive into a full-blown boot camp workout, Moffit said. Classes should be divided up based on individuals' skills.

"I think the good boot camp purveyors would understand that and have some kind of stratification process so it's safer and more fun," Moffit said.

Though the classes are built around a military style and in-your-face instructor, civilian boot campers should be able to rest if they need to, Riebe said. People should be allowed to stop or slow down without embarrassment.

"It's a wonderful way to work out as long as you're in a safe class. Much of it really depends on the leadership of the class," Riebe said.

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