By Maithili Chakravarthy
Five regimens that take the intensiveness and discipline of military-style training, and turn these into a fun way to become fit
Typically, fitness boot camps involve a combination of exercises ‚ÄĒ a mix of stretches, high-intensity interval training, plyometrics, military drills, running, sprinting and weightlifting ‚ÄĒ and the routines are curated by expert trainers with a view to targeting specific fitness goals. The term ‚Äėboot camp‚Äô is borrowed from military lingo, where it refers to a ‚Äėtraining station‚Äô. The association is deliberate, for these fitness classes are intensive and require discipline.
But some creative trainers in Mumbai have figured out a way to shift the focus of these workouts from fear to fun and, in so doing, help people overcome the mental barriers that have obstructed them from becoming more fit. As Shereena Master, a participant of the Sohfit Bootcamp says: ‚ÄúThe sessions are challenging, yet they also push me to believe in myself.‚ÄĚ
Most people keep going back for more because of the ‚Äúsense of community‚ÄĚ at these classes, and most report leaving the sessions feeling more positive and confident. Maya Sarao, a participant at Cindy‚Äôs Bootcamp says, ‚ÄúI use my performance in each session to measure my progress, and I feel the camp has taught me to be patient and more driven.‚ÄĚ
‚Ėą Props stars
Name ‚Äď AHFitness by Amrin and Himay
Duration ‚Äď A session is an hour long. One phase includes 12 sessions
Price ‚Äď Rs 9000 for 12 sessions
Location ‚Äď Girgaum Chowpatty Beach and Marine Drive
GOAL ‚Äď To improve speed, power, endurance, strength, balance and coordination.
ISSA and IYCA-certified trainer and speed and agility specialist Himay Chikani and ISSA-certified trainer Amrin Memon started AHFitness boot camp almost four years ago. Focussing on sports conditioning, their methods are scientific and aim to make use of all the energy systems (the phosphagen, glycolysis and oxidative systems) in the body during training, to achieve their goals. The training includes unusual props like speed parachutes and landmine trainers. In their parachute drill, the aim is to better one‚Äôs speed by running with a resistance-creating parachute tied to one‚Äôs waist, while their landmine training is like a full-body workout in one spot ‚ÄĒ one that includes squatting, pressing and pulling. Other props the camp uses include battle ropes, ladders (a workout suited for prospective footballers), hurdles, sandbags and agility poles.
‚Ėą Rediscover childhood games
Name – Sohfit Bootcamp
Duration ‚Äď Classes are an hour long. One phase lasts 12 sessions
Price ‚Äď Rs 750 per class for 12 classes; Rs 1000 per class for a drop-in (a single class)
Location ‚Äď Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel
GOAL ‚Äď To revisit a time when playing games, as a child, kept us at our fittest. Structured sessions provide mobility training and enhance body flexibility.
Sohfit Bootcamp, founded and spearheaded by former lawyerturned-fitness and wellness expert Sohrab Khushrushahi, incorporates games that people played as children, such as Dog and the Bone and Catch and Cook. Students, including beginners, are seen having a great time while doing hand-stands, burpees, skipping exercises and competing against each other. They usually work in pairs with props like PVC pipes, therabands and medicine balls to improve strength, mobility, flexibility as well as to drop excess weight and become leaner and stronger.
‚Ėą Self-defence and fitness
Name – Martial Arts/Combat Bootcamp by Total Combat Fitness
Duration ‚Äď One-and-a-half to two hours of intense training. The camp takes place only once a month.
Price ‚Äď Rs 1000 per session
Location ‚Äď Dadar
GOAL ‚Äď Impart knowledge about actual self-defence and fighting techniques by teaching disciplines like Muay Thai (sets of kicks and punches in the air), the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It also offers quick weightloss, reduction of body fat and muscle-building; develops muscle endurance, strength, agility, flexibility, power, metabolism, and strengthens the core, while improving reflexes and reaction-time.
Designed by Balkrishna Shetty, head coach at Total Combat Fitness and at the Muay Thai Indian National Federation (MINF), the Combat Bootcamp is known to be loud and energetic. It commences with parade drills that include running and sprinting. The camp, thereafter, advances to ‚Äėdead man lifts‚Äô, where campers jog with another person (of equal body weight) on their backs for almost 100 metres. Other drills include army push-ups, jump squats, tyreflipping, punching bag and sandbag workouts; striking, grappling, wrestling, kick-boxing and takedowns; applying locks and chokes and various self-defence moves in a controlled manner so that no one gets hurt. There are also mob drills, where participants fight with each other using foam sticks.
‚Ėą Combine the spiritual and functional
Name – Cindy‚Äôs Bootcamp
Duration ‚Äď A session is one hour and fifteen minutes long. Depending on a prospective student‚Äôs needs, Cindy might recommend either a ‚Äėstrength‚Äô month, a ‚Äėconditioning‚Äô month or a ‚Äėskill‚Äô month, or even a combination of all three in one month Price ‚Äď Rs 1200 per session (drop-in); Rs 12, 000 for 12 sessions; Rs 15,000 per month for unlimited access to the camp
Location ‚Äď Bandra
GOAL ‚Äď Developing flexibility and mobility; boosting strength, conditioning, and CNS (Central Nervous System) activation; improving the attention span, sharpening the mind and improving reflexes; developing motor fitness skills, such as balance and agility.
A ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet Company in London, who then followed her passion for fitness, Cindy Jourdain moved to India to train actor Katrina Kaif. And never left ‚ÄĒ having started her boot camp in December 2017. Jourdain‚Äôs camps progress from slow movement to high activity, which aim to ‚Äúwake-up the body‚ÄĚ. The class progressively goes into various disciplines and elements of workout, sometimes beginning with yoga and then moving into circuit drills and games where participants may be timed to see how quickly they complete a task. Jourdain‚Äôs camps include yoga, pilates, body-weightbased movements, resistance training, cross-training, gymnastics and military drills.
‚Ėą A return to good health
Name ‚Äď F-89 Fitness Bootcamps
Duration ‚Äď A workout could extend from 45 minutes to 20 minutes to even four minutes. Phases range from 12 sessions to 16 sessions to 20 sessions. One can even enrol for a 21-day package which includes diet and fitness consultation. Price ‚Äď Rs 150 per session; Rs 1250 for 12 sessions; Rs. 1650 for 16 sessions; Rs 2100 for 20 sessions; Rs 2570 for the 21-day package
Location ‚Äď Chembur
GOAL ‚Äď The goal of this boot camp is to make participants ‚ÄĒ even those who have never hit the gym ‚ÄĒ fighting fit.
Nandan Phansekar, a nationally and internationally-certified functional trainer started this boot camp six years ago to help friends who suddenly found that they had high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Sessions involve early morning sun-gazing and myofascial release with tennis balls (in picture). They also include integrated workouts, hypertrophy workouts, high-intensity training with bungee ropes, shuttle-running, sandbag workouts, plyometric box jumps (step-ups), and Navy Seal jumps
To make the most of a boot camp‚Ä¶
1. Stay hydrated before, during and after class
2. Have a ‚Äėcan do-will do‚Äô attitude
3. Promise yourself that you will make every effort to complete the challenges put forward by the trainer(s)
4. Like Cindy Jourdain says, let the camp be a ‚Äúprogressive build-up‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs advisable to start with two classes per week, and then increase the number of turns per week and per month
5. Focus on mindfulness techniques imparted during the class; don‚Äôt forget to pay attention to your breathing while performing the moves