Can You Go Overboard With Your Workout Program?

Here at Boot Camp San Francisco, we’re all about celebrating hardcore workouts and the energizing feeling of accomplishment that comes from getting fit and healthy. However, as with anything in life, there’s also a balance needed. Keeping in balance is tough. Going “overboard” can mean straying too far to the left or to the right. On one hand, you can be too easy on yourself and fail to make the progress you could have made. On the other hand, you can be too hard on yourself and end up with an injury that you could have avoided. It depends on your personality which side you’re likely to stray to. However in this article, we’d like to address the people who are likely to push themselves too hard.

If you’re naturally hard on yourself, you probably simply tough it out no matter what amount of pain or discomfort you’re experiencing. You exercise your insane willpower in pursuit of your goals, and you usually reach them. You get such a thrill out of reaching a difficult goal that it makes the journey worth it. You say to yourself, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” and then you make your body do what you tell it to do, no matter how much it protests.

Up to a certain point, this is an awesome mentality to have. However, it’s also possible to take just one step beyond that point and stray too far. So here are a few well-intentioned cautions if you’re always hearing your friends and family beg you to take it just a little easier.

1. Listen to your body.

It’s one thing to push through a bit of pain and fatigue. It’s another thing to have your body screaming at you to stop because something is seriously wrong. The trick lies in knowing the difference. If you’ve been out of shape for years and you’re just starting to get back into working out, a much milder level of physical exertion could seriously hurt you. More seasoned athletes are typically much more aware of the level of exertion that they can—and can’t—handle. Either way, listen to your body.

2. Listen to your instructor.

One of the great things about a boot camp workout is that you have instructors and fellow athletes who are all joining forces to motivate each other and press one another to new heights. There are days when you need that voice from outside yourself telling you in confident tones, “YES, you CAN do one more rep.” (Let’s face it, more people are on the other side of the continuum, where they don’t know what they can accomplish because they stop when it hurts and therefore fall short of tapping into that last five or ten percent of their full potential.) However, if you ever hear an instructor asking you to do less, you should pay attention to their request. It would be a rare thing to hear, but if an instructor feels strongly enough that you are going to do damage to yourself that they ask you to lighten up, you should realize it is a serious request.

Push Yourself Appropriately With a Boot Camp Workout at BCSF

Join us for our outdoor workout sessions and enjoy yourself while making big strides toward the fit and toned body that you want. Sign up today.

Are Boot Camp Workouts for Kids?

More and more kids are at risk of obesity, lower muscle strength, poorer coordination, and shakier balance than kids in generations gone past, because fewer and fewer kids are getting enough exercise. Children used to spend more time outside, and they seemed to naturally stay fit through the fun and games that they played with their friends. After all, they were so full of energy, they were almost always running, jumping, climbing trees, and pursuing adventures that built their balance and coordination.

Now, though, many kids stay indoors almost all the time. They spend a huge portion of their day sitting rather than moving around. They fill their free time with activities that don’t involve much physical movement, like video games, texting, or using the internet. In a way, it’s hard to find a way to do anything different, because parents don’t feel safe letting their kids go outside unsupervised. Unless your children are in an organized sport, like soccer or gymnastics, they may not be getting the exercise they need.

If you’re a fan of boot camp yourself, you may have wondered if something like that would be good for your kids. Here are some of our ideas for how you can encourage your kids to build their muscle tone, core strength, balance, and agility through a boot camp-style workout at home.

1. Make it fun.

Any interaction you have with your kids is a potential for them to have either a positive or a negative experience. If you are dishing out “drill instructor” commands to your kids with a huge dose of love and a twinkle in your eye, they’ll eat it up and probably play right along with a “Yes, sir, right away, sir!” Stay far away from the territory of showing frustration at them or belittling them for poor performance. Remember that they’re just kids. Praise and laughter will go a long way towards encouraging your kids to want to participate every time.

2. Take inspiration from your Boot Camp San Francisco workout

When you attend one of our workouts, you’ll notice how our instructors use ingenuity and creativity to turn every piece of grass and concrete into unique workout equipment. Do the same things with the items in your backyard. Let your kids invent moves, too.

3. Incorporate lots of tried-and-true moves

Your kids need cardio, bicep strength, and core muscle development just as much as you do, so don’t skimp on classic things like jumping jacks, pushups, and crunches. It can be simple and still be effective.

4. Gamify your kids’ workout

Any time you introduce an element of competition, it makes the workout a lot more fun. However, don’t make your kids compete against each other, because unless you have twins, the age difference will create an unfair rivalry. (And even if your kids were the same age, competing against each other can create unhealthy animosity. You don’t want that.) Instead, try creating a system where they earn points that count towards a reward like getting ice cream or going to the zoo.

>

We hope these tips have been helpful. Join us at Boot Camp San Francisco for hardcore workouts that will leave you energized and motivated to come back for more.

Are Boot Camp Workouts For Seniors?

People love the boot camp workouts we do in San Francisco, and with good reason. There’s simply no substitute for arising in the freshness of an early morning dawn to meet with a group of motivated people and work out in the beautiful outdoors. If you’ve never done a boot camp workout before and you’re thinking of trying it out, you should! However, what if you’re getting up there in years? Would this still be a good workout for you?

The answer is a resounding YES. There is absolutely no age limit on our boot camp classes, and we welcome you to come whether you’re 19 or 119. However, it’s one thing to know you would be welcomed, and it’s quite another thing to know whether you would be able to keep up with the class. Therefore, we’ve put together a couple of points that you can consider in determining whether a boot camp class would be right for you.

Energy Expenditure

It’s no secret that boot camp will tax your energy. This will be a workout that’s completely different from spending 20 minutes on the elliptical. Only you can gauge your energy level and know for sure if you’ll have it in you to try boot camp, but here are some points to consider.

  • If you’re in reasonably good health, you can do boot camp just as much as anyone else.
  • If that 20-minute workout on the elliptical is more your style, boot camp is a way to kick up your fitness to a whole new level.
  • Everyone struggles to adjust to the workouts at first. Yes, you will be sore after the first few times. Stick with it!
  • Do the reps that you can do and you’ll get a lot of benefit, even if you don’t do the full set. We have no doubt that if you can do a few reps, you’ll work up to being able to do all of them in no time.
  • You don’t have to be older to doubt your ability to do boot camp. We hear questions from just as many people in their 20s and 30s who are struggling with obesity, health problems, and fatigue, and we tell them what we’ll tell you: The only way to find out for sure is to try it. Come join us!

Flexibility and Balance

Do you think of stiff joints and being prone to falling as an inevitable part of getting older? We don’t want that to be the verdict for you! When you do boot camp, you’ll move your body in ways that you might not have done for years, but that will sharpen up your brain’s ability to coordinate your movements. Who wouldn’t want increased flexibility, coordination, and balance? Going outside is one of the best methods to improve your strength and ability. For instance, when you walk on grass, your brain has to work a tiny bit harder to keep your balance than when you walk on perfectly flat floors indoors. Doing boot camp when you’re older is an investment into your ability to maintain independence longer.

Heart and Lungs

The more you work your heart and lungs, the stronger they will become, and the more you can do this now, the more resilient you’ll be if you ever do run into a major health issue. Boot camp workouts are designed to stimulate healthy cardiopulmonary function, though it might feel like you’re gasping for breath the first few times. All that said, please do check with your doctor to be sure that this is a form of exercise that’s ok for you, especially if you have ever had a heart attack or other health issue that compromised the strength of your heart and lungs.

Strong, Toned Muscles

Who says that you have to get flabby and out of shape with the passage of the years? We know of a lot of examples of older people who had been out of shape for years before deciding to turn their fitness around–and they succeeded. For instance, Don was 75 and hadn’t worked out for years when he decided that he wanted to build his strength and fitness back up. In just 90 days, he went from being overweight and out of shape to having a level of fitness and strength that people half his age would be envious of. He even got off all his medications.

There’s nothing about aging that intrinsically requires you to lose your strength, so why not keep it? It’s great for both your looks and your well-being. You’ll not only increase the strength of your arms and legs, you’ll also build core strength, which is a huge factor in contributing to good balance.

Social Interaction

Social isolation is one of the big factors that causes it to be difficult for seniors to get the exercise that they need. Let’s face it–it’s simply boring and unmotivating to work out by yourself. However, when you join one of the classes at Boot Camp San Francisco, you’ll have a friendly, solid group of people to work out with at every class. You’ll get to know them, laugh together, help each other with buddy workouts, and share a huge dose of contagious enthusiasm. It’s a win-win situation all around, and you’ll love it.

Don’t Be Daunted

Only you know yourself, your abilities, and your limitations, but if you have any inkling at all that you’d enjoy a boot camp workout, you should definitely come and check out a class. Sign up today!

Fitness Nutrition Tips for Better Energy

There’s nothing worse than wanting to work out and struggling to have the energy to do it. It’s one thing if you’re just unmotivated, but it’s a completely different thing if you genuinely do not have the energy to do as much as you’d like in a day. Having more energy is a beautiful thing, and whether you use it for beating your previous personal best fitness record or just running strong through work and family life, you won’t be sorry if you have the energy you need. Here are some ideas from Boot Camp San Francisco to promote a more energetic you.

Cut Out Inflammation-Causing Foods

The top culprits that cause inflammation are wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy fats. In addition, if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, those foods will cause inflammation, too. This will vary from person to person, as one person might be sensitive to peanuts, while another might be totally fine eating peanuts but struggles every time they eat eggs. Listen to your body. Cut out the foods that cause inflammation, even if they’re delicious. Your body will thank you for it.

Boost Your Nutrient Intake

You eat food to give your body the fuel it needs, but if that food isn’t particularly rich in nutrients, you’re shortchanging yourself. While glucose is the primary energy source at the molecular level, your cells need a ton of other building blocks to do their jobs. If you are missing some critical nutrient, such as your B vitamins or tryptophan or magnesium, then certain processes will grind to a halt instead of being able to proceed normally. Don’t just eat food, choose the most nutrient-dense food that you can find.

Don’t Miss the Hormone Connection

Fatigue can sometimes come from a deficiency or an imbalance in your hormones, and if you’ve been unsuccessful getting your energy levels up through diet changes alone, you should look into getting your hormone levels checked. Thyroid hormones and cortisol are some of the big ones that can lead to fatigue when they’re out of balance, but there are so many different hormones in the body, with so many different jobs to do, you can only know for yourself if you get yourself tested.

Try Not to Depend on Caffeine

Coffee is delicious, and caffeine provides a reliable, predictable surge of energy, which might be what you need in order to get through a day. We don’t want to tell you that you can’t have caffeine, but if it’s at all possible to find other ways to get the energy you need for your day, your whole body and overall well-being will benefit. Caffeine acts sort of like a vacuum cleaner, stripping nutrients and resources away from your body in order to trigger that energy burst, leaving you with a deficit of vital nutrition over time. Whether you can get more sleep at night, find nutritional methods of helping you to have energy, or turning to a caffeine-free energy supplement, you’ll thank yourself.

Spend Your Energy On The Best Boot Camp Workout in San Francisco!
Sign up today for our boot camp fitness classes. See you outside!

Get More Sunlight With Outdoor Fitness

American culture has gone through certain dramatic swings in our preference for sun exposure, from the obsession with lily-white skin in the 1800s to a tanning culture in the 1960s to a real awareness today of the dangers of getting too much UV light exposure. So should you get outside and let the sun see you, or not? We think the answer is a resounding yes, though we would advocate wearing your sunscreen. Here are some of the ways that our boot camp workout will boost your well-being by giving you some sun exposure.

Sunlight Gives You Vitamin D

Skin can’t conduct photosynthesis (wouldn’t that be cool?), but it can produce vitamin D just from being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is present in very few foods and has many beneficial effects on our bodies. In particular, it promotes your ability to absorb calcium and build healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency not only contributes to weak, soft, or brittle bones, it also comes with other health risks, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, asthma, and cancer. Vitamin D fights disease, boosts weight loss, and reduces depression, making it a robust nutrient that you simply can’t do without.

Sunlight Boosts Your Alertness

Just like darkness triggers your body to release the hormone melatonin, which puts you to sleep, bright sunshine causes your body to release the hormone serotonin, which helps you to be alert, calm, and focused.

Sunlight Improves Your Mood

Bright sunlight has both a psychological and a physiological effect on your body. While sunlight striking your skin promotes Vitamin D production, sunlight striking your eye promotes your body to improve your mood. It’s strange but true that bright light can induce positive effects on your state of mind and mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that happens to people who don’t see enough bright, full-spectrum light, particularly in the winter when the days tend to be shorter and cloudier and people tend to stay indoors more.

The same hormone, serotonin, which we mentioned in the previous section, also acts as a natural antidepressant in the brain, boosting your mood and improving your emotional outlook. Add to that the beneficial, mood-boosting effects of the exercise itself, and you’ve got a double whammy when you do a boot camp workout outside.

Sunlight Is Good For Certain Skin Conditions

Don’t think that exposure to sunshine is pure skin cancer waiting to happen. While you certainly want to limit your sun exposure, avoid sunburns, and wear sunscreen while you’re outside, the sun actually has beneficial effects on your skin when you get a balanced amount of it. If you’re suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, or acne, sun exposure can do you a lot of good.

Boot Camp San Francisco Happens in the Early Morning

Before the sun is too high, you’ll get all the benefits of sun exposure without suffering and suffocating under the blazing hot sun while you work out. Join us for an early morning workout and benefit your body. Sign up today!

Should Your Workout Program Require You To Have a Lot of Equipment?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of getting an expensive set of exercise equipment, only to have it gather dust and sit unused in your basement, garage, or office.

It happens to the best of us.

You want to lose weight and get in shape, so you resolve to work out.

Then you discover that despite your best intentions, it just isn’t happening. So you look for a way to gain leverage over yourself, coerce yourself to do what you know in your head you really want.

“Aha!” you think. “I was going to go jogging because it’s free, but I just never get around to it. I know what I’ll do. If I spend money on a gym membership, then I’ll have to go, because I won’t want to lose my money.”

But you spend your money and the gym keeps charging you a monthly fee and you keep not going.

And then you get even more creative. “OK, I didn’t go to the gym because I had to get in my car, make sure I had my gym bag and a clean change of clothes, and have time for a workout and a shower. BUT–if I could do it at home, it would be different. I’ll get this piece of equipment and I’ll put it in the house where I’ll see it every day. Then I can’t fail to work out consistently.”

Nope. As soon as the novelty wears off, your elliptical or treadmill becomes nothing more than an expensive clothes drying rack.

So what’s the solution?

Why is it that even when we spend good money on an exercise program, treadmill, elliptical, or set of gym equipment, we can’t seem to make ourselves do what we really want to do?

The answer is not in finding the “perfect” equipment or the “right” time of day to do it.

The reason it’s hard to work out consistently is because working out takes discipline, and unless you have something built into your workout that charges up your discipline muscle at the same time that it’s building your athleticism, you’re likely to come up short.

They say it takes an average of 66 days to build a habit. That’s a lot longer than the longevity of most people’s discipline. And if your discipline runs out before you get through the sore stage of beginning a workout program, you’re doomed to just keep running laps around the same track: You start a workout, you quit, you beat yourself up, you start again, you quit again, and around and around it goes.

That’s where Boot Camp San Francisco comes in.

Believe it or not, the discipline factor is one of the things that comes with the workouts.

You have an instructor who keeps you motivated.

You have workout buddies who miss you when you’re not there.

You have a consistent workout schedule that happens, rain or shine.

And you actually enjoy yourself when you work out.

It’s like magic. All of a sudden, you break through that wall of discipline running out and sabotaging your workout habit. Don’t spend money on expensive equipment. Spend money on acquiring the most elusive thing of all that you can’t buy in any store: discipline.

Boot Camp San Francisco has got you covered. Sign up for our workout package today.
Sign Up for Boot Camp

Why You Should Do A Variety of Movements When You Exercise

If you’ve spent any time trying to build your strength, flexibility, and overall fitness, you might have run into a problem. Your exercises seem to stop working after a given amount of time. Whereas your fitness routine helped you tremendously at the beginning, after a short time you stop seeing the gains in athleticism that you enjoyed at first. While there may be several factors involved in contributing to this effect, one of the main reasons is that when your body gets used to a certain set of movements, they stop benefiting you as much as they used to.

Humans were not built to do repetitive movements. Think of our hunter-gatherer forbearers. They lived outside. And when you live outside, you do the widest possible variety of movements as the elements and the terrain constantly tax your agility, strength, flexibility, and resourcefulness. You’re climbing a tree one minute to get honey from a bees’ nest. The next minute, you’re sprinting for your life to get away from the bees. And the minute after that, you’ve dived into the nearest lake and you’re suddenly using your swimming muscles and lung power to stay underwater as long as possible until the swarm gives up waiting for you to come back.

We do the exact opposite in our society. It’s as if we’ve tried to make exercise into an assembly line production just like everything else. But repetitive motion not only stops working after a given amount of time, it can actually lead to injury.

That’s why you should change things up in your exercise routine. Get closer to the way our forefathers exercised. Go outside and do it. That’s the way our bodies want us to use them.

At boot camp workouts, you’ll get exactly that.

  • Rather than walking on perfectly flat floors at the gym, your brain and your muscles will get to do some extra micro-movements to keep you in balance on the ever-changing ground surfaces, from grass to sand to San Francisco sidewalks and stairs.
  • Rather than doing rote repetition of the same old boring movements that your body is desensitized to, you’ll go through a constantly-changing, dynamic workout that will stimulate your body’s creation of bigger muscles and more coordinated nerve signals.
  • Rather than getting bored and struggling to work up the willpower to work out, you’ll leave each workout charged up and eager for the next one.
  • Rather than being the one to come up with ways to challenge yourself, you’ll get the benefit of an instructor and workout buddies who will keep you motivated.

Our instructors specialize in making sure that each member of Boot Camp San Francisco gets the maximum benefit out of their outdoor workout. The results speak for themselves. Show up at one of our workouts and you’ll find an enthusiastic crowd of people who aren’t just stagnating in their repetitive gym routine. You’ll quickly find yourself part of a movement that’s more than just fitness–it’s a lifestyle of camaraderie, motivation, and benefit to your whole body.

Join us today! Start by picking a location and registering for a class. We look forward to seeing you outside!
Sign Up For Boot Camp San Francisco

New Study Shows that Your Cells Perform Better When You Exercise

For all of our readers who work hard to merge fitness and nutrition to reap the simultaneous benefits of both, you’ll be interested in the results of this new study. Have you struggled to maximize your feeling of well-being with nutrition alone? Have you thought of exercise as something that benefited your overall strength, and nutrition as something that benefited your cells? Well, think again.

According to a new study in the journal Cell Metabolism (2017; 25 [3], 581-92), exercising on a regular basis makes a difference that goes all the way to the cellular level. In other words, if you want your cells to give you their optimum performance, you have to do more than eat right. But what improvements in cellular function can you expect when you get great nutrition and exercise?

Scientists took muscle biopsies from the volunteers in this study to see how the cells were performing after the volunteers performed varying types of exercise. These were some of the things that they saw:

  • Improvements in cellular function
  • The ability of mitochondria to generate energy more efficiently
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Better insulin sensitivity
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • More gene transcription within the cell
  • Reversal of key age-related differences in the cell

All of these are good things! Here’s what this technical-speak means in plain language:

When you eat a good diet alone, your cells will see a difference, because they’ll have the building blocks that they need to do their jobs. However, when you do regular exercise, you’ll optimize your cellular function even more!

Cells use a “currency” called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy. If you have enough ATP, you’ll be able to do the things you want to do. ATP is manufactured in the mitochondria of your cells, and this study showed that exercise caused the mitochondria to be better at doing their job. It’s a classic example of an upward spiral. Exercise more, and your body becomes able to deliver more energy. This is encouraging for anyone who is just getting started in a fitness program. Give it time, and your cells will learn how to be better, faster, and more effective at delivering the energy you need to do your workout.

Most people are aware that the best lifestyle you can choose is one that combines healthy diet and exercise for well-being, health, and longevity. However, it would be easy to just stop at the basic thought that exercise just builds healthy muscles. It certainly does do that, but it is far more exciting that exercise even contributes to building healthy cells. Your cells need to be healthy, efficient, and performing well in order for you to feel great, stay healthy, and live longer.

The great news for all of our customers here at Boot Camp San Francisco? The type of exercise that resulted in the most benefit to the participants in the study was a combination of high-intensity aerobic training and resistance training. That’s exactly what you’ll get when you join us for boot camp workouts. We have multiple locations all over the San Francisco bay area to serve you, so sign up today!

How Building Back Strength Can Improve Your Performance

If you are like most of our customers here at Boot Camp San Francisco, you’re dedicated to optimizing your fitness, well-being, and overall health. You’re committed to getting shredded, so you show up to your outdoor workout rain or shine, and you’re not going to just sit down and make excuses for why you can’t work out. Here at BCSF, we applaud that commitment, diligence, and dedication, and we look forward to joining forces with you in that quest for your best, fittest body. In this article, we’ll look at just one part of your body that your fitness exercises can focus on, your back.

Don’t Neglect Your Back!

Many people in our workouts are very conscious of their abs and core strength, and they are constantly including ab exercises, crunches, and planks to their workouts to make that happen. It’s great to have toned abs and a strong core, but if you stop there, you’ll be stopping short of the best results. So don’t neglect your back muscles in your fitness routine!

The Benefits of Back Strength Exercises

Strengthening your back brings with it a number of key benefits. Just because it’s behind you and you rarely see it doesn’t mean you won’t feel the benefits when you incorporate back exercises on a regular basis.

  • Enjoy better posture. If you have a weak back, you won’t have the support to prevent your shoulders from tending to become rounded and hunched forward. Proper back strength will also help you to keep your spine in the proper curvature and alignment. Stand taller, look more confident, and enjoy better overall balance when you have perfect posture.
  • Improve your core strength. It seems counter-intuitive that this could happen, but you can actually do too much core exercise if it’s not balanced with back exercise. When you do both, you’ll have an even more stable core along with the spinal support that your back is supposed to provide.
  • Reduce your chances of injury. Lower back pain is a debilitating and difficult thing to live with, and your back exercises are an important part of a regimen that helps to protect you from injury to your spine, or rehabilitate you from past injuries that have occurred.
  • Look sculpted from behind. Upper back exercises can help you train your traps, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi. One of the factors that contributes to the classic tapered physique with broad shoulders and a narrow waist is having your back properly toned.

Great Back Exercises to Try

Having a toned and fit back is a matter of incorporating the right exercises into your fitness routine. These are just a small sampling of upper-back and lower-back exercises that you can try.

  • Pullups and chinups: There are many variations on the classic pullup and chinup, but in their most basic essence, in pullups, you grab the bar with an overhand grip, while in chinups you grab the bar with an underhand grip.
  • Lat Pulldowns: This is almost the opposite of a pullup in that you pull a bar down to you rather than pulling yourself up to the bar.
  • The Cobra: Lie facedown on the ground and lift your head, arms, and legs off the ground simultaneously. Hold, release, and repeat.
  • We hope you’ll join us for our outdoor workouts here at Boot Camp San Francisco, where you’ll enjoy fun and challenging whole-body workouts. Sign up today!

A Workout Program That Will Speed Up Your Body’s Response to Training

Have you ever wished that as you worked out, your body would respond faster, get stronger quicker, and just overall adjust more rapidly to the new style of fitness training you’re doing? Believe it or not, with boot camp workouts, you actually get this effect. Here are some tips from our workout program in San Francisco for how to get your body’s maximum response to your workout.

Balancing What You Can Handle

If you work out in a way that’s slow to moderate, your body is going to adjust and be able to deliver slow-to-moderate outcomes. For instance, if you are used to an hour of brisk walking, you could conceivably do that for a year and never feel like jogging. In other words, your body’s natural tendency is not necessarily geared up to attain ever-increasing feats of athleticism. This is especially true once you’ve passed your prime: If you don’t watch out, your body will begin to decline even faster, trying to tell you that you can’t do the things you used to do, and luring you ever-so-gently into a sedentary life.

So what secret weapon do you have at your disposal to fight against this tendency?
Continue reading A Workout Program That Will Speed Up Your Body’s Response to Training