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Boot Camp Bottom Line

A recent research study conducted by ACE reviewed the effectiveness of the perennial, and ever popular Boot Camp exercise class.

Their findings support that boot camp’s enduring popularity might be because it works: it is an excellent way to enhance aerobic capacity and help control body weight. “I think it’s a great workout with great variety,” says, lead researcher, John Porcari. “It’s a good combination of aerobic exercise and muscle conditioning and it’s much more of a total-body workout than just going out for a run or bicycle ride.”

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.

“The biggest benefit is you’re burning an average of 600 calories per hour,” says Porcari. “That’s obviously going to help with weight loss, but you’re also getting the muscle-building benefit from pushups, arm curls and squat thrusts that you wouldn’t get just from going out for a fast walk or jog.”

Procari warns that not all boot camps are created equal. Some are heavy on cardio, while others emphasize martial arts-inspired movements or basic strength-training exercises. For best results, pick a well-balanced program with equal distribution of aerobic, weights and calisthenics.

“If people are looking for something that’s fun and variable that will increase their adherence to an exercise program, and, most importantly, burn a lot of calories,” says Hendrickson, “boot camp would be a really great option.”

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