Summer is the season of patriotic holidays, kicked off last weekend with Memorial Day, the day we honor our fallen soldiers with parades, American flags piercing our front yards and poolside barbecues with the ones we love. And, HOPEFULLY, we got in some good, ole fashioned, outdoor fun with friends and family. Kids enjoy and remember active family time almost more than any other kind of time together. The same goes for time between wives and husbands. I LOVE the time that my husband and I have spent hiking, cycling, wakeboarding. And my favorite memories of friends have been playing games like trampoline dodgeball (SO fun) and hunting each other down on the paintball course.

Just like weekend fun, working out in a group, family or not, can be so much more fun than solo workouts. There is also the motivation and accountability that comes from someone else expecting you. That’s what brings personal trainers, like myself, client after client. For some reason, we are very good at giving ourselves excuses for missing a workout but it is much harder to ditch out on a trainer, partner or group.

So if you don’t have the means to hire a trainer, how do you create that same feeling of accountability while surrounding yourself with a workout atmosphere that you’ll look forward to? Create your own bootcamp! Sound intimidating?? It’s really not. All that you need to organize your own bootcamp is a location, a group of friends or family and a set schedule. That’s it!

There are 4 simple steps to starting your very own bootcamp:

  1. Decide who you want to be a part of your bootcamp. It could be family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues. Once you start asking, you may be surprised at how many people will want to be involved.
  2. Choose a location. A park is a great location. Just check that youth sports haven’t already claimed the space you need. Or, who has the biggest backyard of the group?? If you need an indoor space, church halls are a good place to start checking and if all else fails, this will give you a good reason to clear out some garage space.
  3. Decide on days, times and duration of your bootcamps. This is completely dependent on your group. Some prefer 5:30 AM, before work and school. Others prefer 7 at night, when the evening has slowed down. A good frequency is either 2 or 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks at a time. People will feel like they can stick with this schedule.
  4. What about the workouts?? Bootcamps are traditionally run by combining several different ‘bootcamp’ style drills (think, jumping jacks, frog jumps, walking lunges, etc). The web is full of different bootcamps for your taking or you can google ‘bootcamp exercises’ and combine them any way you like. In the past, I have taken up to 15 different exercises, written one on each of several inexpensive orange cones, and randomly placed them around a soccer field or basketball court. Just go cone to cone:)

The most important thing is to just keep your bootcamp cadets moving and have fun!

Let’s throw out some ideas! What’s your favorite bootcamp drill?

photo from