Creating the Best Version of Yourself with Boot Camp Workouts

Teresa and I love cross training and multi-sport activities and events. Boot camp is the perfect workout to prepare us for our weekend adventures. With so much variety built into every workout and workouts that include strength training, cardio, flexibility and plyometrics, we always feel well prepared. Read on for more reasons why boot camp workouts are such a great format for every body.

Injury Prevention 
Thanks to boot camp we don’t have to worry too much about injury. Overuse injuries are a curse for runners and multi-sport athletes. And while injuries are not inevitable, most overuse injuries can be prevented. Most injuries can be blamed on four factors.

  • Inadequate recovery
  • Biomechanical irregularities
  • Muscular imbalances
  • Improper or worn-out footwear

While boot camp can’t help you with your footwear choices, it can address the other three factors. If you’re just returning to working out, boot camp workouts can assist in building and correcting strength and flexibility imbalances. You can reap big benefits from endurance cross-training, as well. Our ankles, knees, and lower back aren’t used to repetitive impact, so walking and other low-impact conditioning tools will improve endurance without tearing down your most vulnerable joints, muscles, and connective tissues. You can gradually mix in more running and higher intensity activities once you’ve established a base level of fitness.

When an overuse injury does develop, boot camp and cross training come to the rescue in two ways: by helping maintain fitness despite being forced to rework your workouts and by correcting the cause of the injury.

An immediate goal, for most, with any injury is to resume normal training as soon as possible. When you can’t resume normal training immediately, your best option is to adopt a modified training program that allows you to maintain a specific fitness level without exacerbating your injury or prolonging the recovery process.

Greater Running Fitness
There are many worthy motivations to run, but the desire to run faster is the most fundamental. Even if you’re slower than most runners and you don’t get too caught up in race times, you still pay attention to them, and establishing a new personal best gives so much satisfaction.

Boot camp workouts are a great way to become a faster runner and maintain fast twitch muscle fiber. Almost every runner and athlete can go faster by cross-training appropriately. There are three main ways in which supplemental training can enhance one’s ability. Specifically, it can;

  • Enhance efficiency
  • Increase strength and power
  • Increase the amount of time you are able to spend training without accumulating fatigue or getting injured

Better efficiency, more strength and power, and greater training volume without additional breakdown are the ways in which boot camp workouts directly boost fitness. The cross-training included in every boot camp workout can reduce injuries, which allows you to train more consistently, and that makes you better prepared for weekend sports events. Using boot camp workouts for active recovery can enhance your recovery between events, you will also perform better in other workouts. You will also get a more powerful training effect from your workouts and achieve a higher level of fitness by race day.

Active Recovery
It is an often overlooked fact that workouts help you achieve athletic conditioning only when followed by rest and recovery-promoting activities. Nutrition and hydration play roles in recovery, as well, which is why many of our posts discuss these topics.

Periods of rest are essential, but athletes who performs active-recovery workouts between most key workouts will become fitter than the athlete who does not, provided he or she has gradually worked toward being able to handle the frequency of training involved. While the athlete who does not perform active-recovery workouts gets more rest than the athlete who does, it’s actually the latter who gets more recovery. This is primarily because the 2 hours immediately following a workout are far more valuable to most adaptive processes, including glycogen storage, than are the hours following those first 2. It may be counter-intuitive, but it’s true that in the context of a rigorous training program, light workouts accelerate recovery beyond what happens during rest.

Key workouts, high-intensity workouts and extra-long workouts are the most important to athletic performance, so those should almost always be included. When injured, you should include cross-training workouts that match your intended workouts in duration, structure, and intensity. If you can, you will be best served to make all your key workouts, as well as all endurance cross-training and active-recovery workouts.

Enhanced Motivation
No matter how much passion you have for your choice of sport, if you do it often enough or with excessive repetition, it will become boring. Most humans are stimulated by variety and turned off by monotony. Boot camp workouts help you maintain your enthusiasm for your sport, making it possible to train harder, more consistently and ultimately, perform better in races. Anything you can do to increase your motivation for training is worth doing, and boot camp, with all it’s variety, is the perfect format.

If you want to swim, run and bike faster next year than you did this year, you must give your body and mind a break from formal training after the final race. Coaches call this period of rest and play the transition phase of the training cycle, and every smart athlete takes it as seriously as he or she does any other phase of training.

A good transition phase (I’m talking vacation) should begin with about 2 weeks of complete rest. Fourteen exertion-free days are just enough to allow your body to achieve a deep recovery from the recently completed training cycle and restore your hunger to compete, but not so long that you compromise your fitness.

After resting for 2 weeks, you should allow yourself between 2 and 8 more weeks of informal training and boot camp is the perfect place for this. You can also include yoga, pilates, swimming, rock climbing, and hiking or other workouts you enjoy. Changing it up is great for our bodies. High on your priority list should be to enjoy yourself. As long as you do some form of workout each day and get a cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility benefit from the activity, there’s no wrong way to approach the transition phase.

Enjoying Other Sports
Endurance is a highly transferable capacity. The strong heart and good lungs that serve you so well as a runner, swimmer or cyclist could serve you equally well in skating, cross-country skiing, and other endurance sports. Endurance is highly task-specific, because the only way to develop efficiency in a given activity is to perform that activity often. So while a trained runner would undoubtedly perform better on a bicycle than a couch potato, that runner wouldn’t fare so well against a trained cyclist.

Genetic individuality is also a factor. Because various muscular, neurological, and metabolic characteristics of your body are the way they are, you may never be as good a cyclist as you are a runner no matter how much cycling you do. On the other hand, you could merely dabble in cycling and discover that you are even better suited to that sport than you are to running.

You never know until you try. So try something new. You may really enjoy the experience and do well, and if done right, training for and competing in a second endurance sport could help you enjoy your main sport even more.

Best wishes in all your summer pursuits!

Shelly & Teresa

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