From boutique studios like Barry’s Bootcamp to outdoor classes with drill sergeants, bootcamp fitness is a military-inspired, full-body workout that engages muscles you never knew existed.
Although every class and instructor is different, the pre-class prep is mostly the same.
Here are seven survival tips you should know before you drop and give your instructor 20.
1. Don’t kid yourself.
This is not going to be easy. Before you commit, do your research and read up on the class. Are there pre-requisites? Is it outdoors? What’s the layout? You’ll be more successful if you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Typically, bootcamp combines high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with strength training.
2. Arrive early.
Even if you reserve a spot, popular studio classes fill up fast. If you’re late, the studio will give your spot to someone on the waiting list. You also need time to mentally prepare yourself for the gruelling workout ahead.
3. Hydrate before and during class.
Make sure you show up to class hydrated, and with a full water bottle in hand. Take small sips in between intervals to avoid water sloshing around in your stomach.
4. Fuel up before you sweat.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends a carbohydrate-dense snack with protein about an hour before a HIIT workout. Whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and banana, non-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit, and dried fruit and almonds are all great options.
5. A T-shirt and yoga pants will not do.
First, choose clothes made of moisture-wicking fabric. You’re going to sweat. A lot. Shorts and a tank top are ideal for men and women. Capri leggings are a far better choice than yoga pants for women. Lace up your cross-trainers for proper support throughout the various drills. Make sure to bring extra layers if you’re going to be outside in chilly weather.
6. Don’t keep your first-timer status to yourself.
Let your newbie status be known so the instructor can demonstrate each movement. Focus on the instructions and the muscles you’re working for maximum results. When using weights, lift only as much as you can handle while maintaining proper form. If your form gets sloppy, go down in weight.
7. Push yourself to failure.
Keep your momentum going throughout the entire class. Don’t slack off. Increase your sprint speed on the treadmill and bang out an extra rep before the time runs out. Bootcamp shouldn’t feel comfortable.
8. Do NOT skip stretching.
We get it, you’re tired, you want to be first in line for the showers, or you just want to get the hell out of there. But that five minute stretch will help prevent injuries. It will also feel amazing.
9. Refuel with a post-workout snack.
A mix of carbs and protein within 60 minutes is ideal after a strenuous workout. The ACE suggests whole grain cereal with fruit and soy milk, whole wheat crackers with fruit and cheese, or pita bread slathered with hummus.
If you’re off to work, a scoop of whey protein mixed with water or milk is an easy way to feed your muscles the protein they need.
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