DIY boot camp

There’s no need for a gym or trainer with this do-it-yourself boot camp guide. This one-hour workout allows you to enjoy the outdoors while toning and strengthening your body

DIY boot camp

Source: Best Health Magazine, Summer 2011

They’re still a hot trend in fitness, and you can see why: Boot camps burn a ton of calories’according to the American Council on Exercise, you can burn about 600 in an hour!

‘Boot camps are efficient because they encompass all aspects of fitness,’ says trainer Geoff Bagshaw, a former Vancouverite who is group fitness director for Equinox in Miami and has run boot camps throughout North America. ‘You gain strength and endurance, improve your cardio and develop flexibility.’

So let’s take it outside! Do this workout twice a week, plus cardio three times a week (on alternate days) at a moderate to intense level for 45 minutes. Pair that with a healthy diet and you could lose 10 pounds in one month!

This is a challenging workout, and though there are options for beginners, if you are new to fitness you should check with a doctor before starting out.


‘ A yoga mat and towel
‘ A bottle of water
‘ A watch that counts seconds

Pick a park that has some open space, a tree and ‘a bench, if possible.

Each interval has two cardio, one strength and one core exercise. ‘But many of the cardio drills are also strength drills, so be prepared to use all your muscles,’ says Bagshaw. From start to finish, the workout should take one hour. Remember to keep drinking water to stay hydrated!

Get started

Drop your yoga mat, take 50 long strides across the park, and drop your towel there’this should give you a distance of about 50 metres to work in.

Interval 1: Warm-Up/Cardio Kick (10-15 minutes)

Jog for 30 seconds.

‘ Starting with right leg, step forward into a lunge, knee perpendicular to your ankle, dropping left shin parallel with ground. As you straighten right leg, bring left leg forward, take a big step and drop it into a lunge. Lunge your way down to the towel and back.

Back Kick
‘ With the back of your hand flat on your glutes, jog down to your towel and back while kicking your heels backwards to hands.

Frankenstein Walk
‘ Kick left leg straight, reaching toward toes with both hands. Alternate legs, walking down to the towel and back.

‘ Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind head, elbows wide. Bring right knee up, and cross left elbow, touching top of knee. Alternate sides for 30 seconds.

‘ Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides. Bend knees, with hips back, and lower your butt down as though sitting on a chair. Touch ankles with hands. As you stand up, squeeze glutes together, reach arms overhead and rise up on balls of your feet.
‘This gets the heart rate up and keeps it elevated, burning more calories,’ says Bagshaw.

‘ Sprint down, touch towel, sprint back and touch mat. Do twice.

‘ Complete another set of lunges, this time lunging with the right leg down to the towel, then the left leg on the way back.

Back Kick
‘ Run to the towel and back while doing back kicks.

Fast Frankenstein Walk
‘ Standing in place, quickly kick your legs in front, reaching for toes. Do for one minute.

‘ Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands behind your head and elbows wide. Raise left knee and reach right elbow down toward raised knee. Repeat 25 times. Switch sides.

Power Squats
‘ Do a squat, touching ankles with hands. As you come up, leap off the ground, swinging arms to the sky. Land softly, and go into a squat. Repeat quickly for one minute.

Interval 2 (10 minutes)

Mogul Jumps
‘ Roll up your mat and place it on the ground, standing on the right side of it with your feet slightly apart.
‘ Hop over the mat with both feet to the left side, then quickly hop back across mat, continuing back and forth for 30 seconds.
‘ Jog in place for 30 seconds, then do another 30 seconds of mogul jumps. Rest for another 30 seconds.
Easier: Jump over the mat one leg at a time for 30 seconds. Rest for one minute by marching in place.

1-2-3 Push-Up
‘ Get into push-up position, but with your hands slightly less than shoulder-width apart. Balance on your knees or your toes. Do five push-ups.
‘ Move hands out slightly to shoulder width; do five more push-ups.
‘ Move hands out slightly wider than shoulder width and do five more.
‘ Rest, then repeat sequence for two minutes max (or until you can’t do more).

Fast Footwork
‘ Face rolled-up mat. Starting with right leg, step each foot over the mat, then step each foot back behind mat; continue for 30 seconds.
‘ Jog, knees high, for 30 seconds.
‘ Switch lead leg. Step each foot over mat and back again for 30 seconds.
‘ Jog, knees high, for 30 seconds. Take ‘a short rest.

Plank Jack
‘ Get in plank position: Balance on forearms and toes, feet together, body parallel with ground, abs engaged and maintaining neutral spine.
‘ Quickly hop your feet wide and then back together (hold abs in and try to keep hips level). Do this for 30 seconds.
‘ Rest, then repeat twice if possible.
Easier: Tap right leg out wide, bring it back to centre, then alternate left and right toe taps.

Interval 3 (10 minutes)

Lunge Lift
‘ Beginning with your feet together, take a large step to the right side.
‘ Bend your right knee, keeping it in line with your right ankle and with toes pointed forward. Lunge down, reaching fingers to the ground, straightening left leg.
‘ Bring left leg back in and stand straight. Press left knee up to the sky, reaching arms overhead.
‘ Switch sides and repeat for a total of two minutes.

Tree Run
‘ Run clockwise around a tree for 30 ‘seconds.
‘ Do jumping jacks for 30 seconds.
‘ Run counter-clockwise around the tree for 30 seconds and do a second set of jumping jacks. Take a short rest.

Tree Hugger
‘ Stand facing a tree. Place hands against the trunk at shoulder height, pushing hard and applying resistance, for 30 seconds.
‘ Walk your feet backwards so that your body is at an angle. Do a high-knee run for 30 seconds, driving knees toward the tree (but not hitting it!).
‘ Catch your breath for 30 seconds, and repeat. Take ‘another short rest.

‘ Start in plank position, on forearms and toes, feet hip-width apart, abs engaged.
‘ Rotate to left side into a side plank, reaching right hand up, making a line from bent elbow to top hand.
‘ Return to plank and then bend at the hips, lifting tailbone to the sky, keeping legs straight and spine neutral, hinging at the hips.
‘ Return to plank and rotate to the other side. ‘Continue for a minute, or as long as you can,’ says Bagshaw. Try to complete a second minute (or rest if needed).

Interval 4 (15 minutes)

Power Lunge
‘ First, sprint to the towel and back. Repeat.
‘ Then, to do lunge, step back with your left leg, right knee bent at 90 degrees. Drop left shin parallel with the ground.
‘ Bring your arms up, reaching for the sky.
‘ Drop deeper into the lunge, and then explosively propel yourself up, leaping both feet up off the ground (shown). Do 12 lunges.
‘ Switch legs so right leg is in the lunge position. Do 12 lunges.
Easier: Jog to the towel and back again. Do set of reverse lunges: With hands on hips, step right leg back into a lunge, dropping shin so it is parallel with the ground. Step feet together, and step left leg back into a lunge. Repeat for three minutes. Rest one minute.

One-legged Triceps Dip
‘ Sitting on a bench, cross left foot over right knee, hands gripping edge of bench beside legs, lining up shoulders, elbows and wrists.
‘ Lift glutes off the bench. Bend at elbows, lowering glutes down in front of bench, keeping elbows tucked into sides. Come back up. Repeat for 30 seconds.
‘ Rest for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Crank It Up
‘ Repeat power lunge routine, but do a set of lunges at each end of the park. Rest for one minute.

Oblique Crunch on Knees
‘ Get on your hands and knees, with wrists aligned under shoulders, and knees and hips aligned.
‘ Straighten left leg behind you with hips level.
‘ Take your right hand behind your head, elbow sticking out sideways.
‘ Crunch right elbow toward left knee, rounding spine and drawing abs in. Return to neutral spine with leg extended and elbow wide. Do for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Do two sets.

Interval 5 (10 minutes)

Bench Burpee with a Cross-Knee Drive
‘ Standing in front of a bench, place both hands on it shoulder-width apart.
‘ Jump feet back so that legs are straight behind you.
‘ Quickly draw right knee across toward the left elbow, rotating through the core.
‘ Return feet to parallel. Quickly bring left knee toward right elbow; return feet to parallel.
‘ Jump feet back to bench and jump up, reaching for the sky.
‘ Do for one minute. Catch your breath, then do another minute. Take a short rest.

One-Legged Bridge
‘ Lie on your back on a mat with feet together and arms by your side.
‘ Squeeze glutes and lift hips off the ground. Extend your right foot up to the sky, toes pointed.
‘ Keeping hips level, move right leg out to the right side (about four inches), then bring leg back in, dropping glutes to the ground.
‘ Repeat for one minute; switch sides.

More Burpees
Do a second set of burpees for two minutes without rest. Then rest for one minute.

‘ Lie on the mat spread-eagled.
‘ Crunch up, lifting upper back off the ground. Reach right hand across toward left foot while lifting up left leg. Keep left arm and right leg on mat.
‘ Alternate sides for one minute.
‘ Rest, then repeat.

‘ Do stretches targeting legs, core and upper body. Hold each for 15 ‘to 30 seconds.

Congrats! You’re done.

This article was originally titled "Do-it-yourself boot camp" in the Summer 2011 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!