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Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss

Comments (14)
By Peter Hadzipetros

So you want to fit into that bathing suit by the time you head off to the beach this summer?

Better get cracking. Time's a wasting. Evenings are already feeling cool at six or seven degrees Celsius and the UV index has pushed wind chill readings well into the recesses of our minds.

We're a week away from the Victoria Day long weekend and just under eight weeks from Canada Day. If you need to drop those 10 pounds you added over the winter, that safe pound-a-week weight loss window is rapidly shutting.

Maybe you're considering one of those fitness boot camps that are so loudly advertised on the radio to jump-start your program.

There's a bunch of them offered across the country. Many appear to relish the military analogy — taking a raw recruit and turning them into a lean, mean fitness machine. A no nonsense, no prisoners taken, get-fit-quick plan to whip you into shape.

Unfortunately, that's not how weight loss and fitness work. If you want to be fit, you have to find activities that you really want to do. And if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Not just for a week at a boot camp, but in a way that you can live with for the rest of your life.

Losing a pound a week sounds simple, but it takes a lot of effort. You need to take in 500 fewer calories than your body burns every day. That's the equivalent of a breakfast sandwich with sausage and cheese at Tim Hortons or a Quarter Pounder with cheese at McDonald's.

An older, active guy like me would have to reduce his intake from just under 3,000 calories a day to just under 2,500 a day — according to this calculator. Cutting back like that would lead to a 10-pound loss by July 16 — if that guy started today.

Of course you could accelerate the process by ramping up your exercise regime. But by how much? Your body needs fuel to work out. The more you exercise, the more you are liable to want to eat. It's a lesson even marathon runners learn. You can run 80 kilometres a week and still either maintain your weight or add to it.

Running that much will burn an extra 700 calories a day, on average. Reward yourself with a milkshake and you're putting calories back in the bank.

Still, you don't have to throw up your hands and forget about fitting into that new bathing suit. Studies suggest that if you control your portions, you have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off. And talking to a professional seems to help, too. Small changes can achieve big results.

But start with giving the boot to boot camps.

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Comments (14)

Brett

You miss the point. Fitness is about lifestyle and your goals at a given point in your life. I run and own a boot camp (I hate those words!) that provides instruction in lifestyle changes, having fun while getting fit, and working our with people who share similar experiences and goals. We do not promote instant body changes. Instead, we talk about how your heart won't race the next time you climb a set of stairs, and how you will be shopping for new clothes 3 to 6 months down the track.

I have changed lives. I see the difference that I have made every day, and that difference comes down to those I train making a choice that they will take control of their lives first.

Posted November 25, 2008 11:52 AM

Chantal

Vancouver

Hello,

I'm coming from Quebec.I'm Just moving in Vancouver since few monts. I use to be a fitness teacher in Quebec and "Boot camp" too. But my experience here is so different. I believe at the balance between good food and exercise. It's logical and simple. You have some kinds of Boot camps like that here. No complicated not cammand thinks and army style. Just lesson the people where they are, what they want and realize some realistic goals.

What can I say more, try it, take good information and the most important lesson your body and your felling finally, have fun to do it :-))).
Ciao

Posted July 2, 2008 03:35 AM

Ken

Florida

I can understand cutting the gym memberships. I cut mine recently and saved $35 plus the gas to and from. I found working out at home to be just as good. I liked dailyfitnesstrainer.com, which showed me a bunch of free 3 second video clips of home exercises plus a daily workout updated each day for advanced or beginners.

Posted June 19, 2008 03:12 PM

Janet

I lost a couple of sizes about 3 1/2 years ago and decided to try a fitcamp to help keep the weight off. Well, I never stopped and am still going to the fitcamps for so many reasons - The setups are preplanned and ever changing (great for someone who needs variety, and don't have the time to plan their routines), the courses are, of course, challenging, there is a trainer with the class who will give you some feedback if you need to correct your form and I am also motivated by the other participants! I have tried many many other types of activities to stay fit over the years, such as tai-chi, yoga, countless general gym memberships, and nothing fit the bill until I tried the fitcamp format. I agree with the previous posters, you need to try more than just one four week session.

Posted June 9, 2008 03:33 PM

Lindsay

I joined a local 'bootcamp' 9 weeks ago hoping to get some new workout ideas. I'd been bored with my regular runs taken at lunch hour which were no longer working; I'd gained 15 lbs over the past 4 years. I decided at the same time to go back to my weight watcher's regime so I could be more vigilant with what I eat. I'd lost 62 lbs that way over 3 years 5 years ago. The results have been amazing - 19 pounds in 9 weeks and 2 sizes plus 10 inches overall. I haven't been this 'slim' at 156 lbs, well, forever. But the most exciting thing for this 42 year old is that I love bootcamp - it's social and demands I work really hard. I've learned a lot about myself and what I can actually do - and put on tons of muscle. I think that for many, bootcamps are a great alternative to the hum drum exercise routines that we all end up turning to over time...

Posted June 5, 2008 04:57 PM

Andrew

Edmonton

Not a very balanced article.

I like extremes and I like binging (not just on food) so a bootcamp was the ticket for me. It was 4 weeks and you could continue after completing the first 4 weeks. I did it for about 6 months.

After years of sloth, I wanted something to get me fit so that I could feel good and keep up with the kids. I did not loose a pound but I felt much better. For me and a lot of others, a good bootcamp is a way to start being more active and fit,,,but not necessarily loose weight.

Its been a year since I last went to the bootcamp but I have kept up my fitness level and feel better. Without the bootcamp, I probably would have done it for a week or 2 and then found a reason to stop.

Like most other things, bootcamps are just a stepping stone to something else. For me and lots of others, they are a good way to get back into the game(s).

Posted May 22, 2008 06:53 PM

Lloma Jane Chase

People don't need to bother with diets, camps, gyms, spas and the like to keep slim and fit. All you need to do is Ballroom-Latin-Salsa dance a bit each day (say even 1 hour) and then you can maintain that hour-glass figure, eat anything you want, and not have to put up with the boring, dirty, sweaty gyms. Why don't people get the "easy, fun" method of looking great. Notice the shapes of those guys on Dancing With the Stars? You don't see those types of guys at gym sessions. Also, dance brings euphoric joy and happiness 24 hours a day....you don't see the glum, sullen faces you see at gyms on the dance floor or in dance schools. Why not an article about this issue, Peter?? Lloma Jane Chase, 1472 Martello St., Halifax, N.S. B.A. S.Sc.,B.Ed.,M.Ed., Cdn. Dance Teachers Assn., Cdn. Dancesport Fed., DANS NS (qualified and certified)

Posted May 22, 2008 09:14 AM

Fernando Gonzalez Duncan

First of all, I would like to thank Mr.Hadzipetros and his staff at the CBC for allowing me to post this comment.

It's really not that difficult to attain a good level of fitness and wellnes in order to lead a balanced life: the thing is that mankind has gotten used to having things taken care of by others, especially when it comes to food and activity.
The mayority of human beings spend more than half their lives sitting down playing video games and watching nothing but garbage and junk on their television programming.
The one most important thing to consider when deciding to become active and being fit is that it is not only rewarding and enjoyable, but, perhaps, the fact that it is the most fun thing to do if properly guided.
Unfortunately, the mayority of people lack the proper nutritional and physiological knowledge necessary in order to attain the right level of wellness, because every organism and needs of people are different: if you have really decided to go active, to lose weight and to change your eating habits the best thing to do is to contact and hire a Certified Strenght Conditioning Specialist (or C.S.C.S.) who will be able to develop a specialized exercise and nutrition program in order to meet your needs, as these change with age, sex and needs.
Also, if you want to help this process, decide to take a walk in your spare time or grab that dusted bycicle in your garage; walk to the park with your friends and/or family, etc.

These simple but effective changes will add up eventually and help you attain that which you have dreamed up, and not only that, but will also help you change your thoughts on life and what feeling good is about.

Also, don't forget to drink at least two litres of fluids (preferably simple water) a day: eating nutriciously and healthy is not only good for you, it is also fun, rewarding and delicious.

Posted May 20, 2008 09:53 PM

Stitchwitch

Regardless of what Peter says, Weight Watchers is the best diet plan around, perhaps mixing that with a fitness bootcamp may work for people, but don't forget, most overeating is emotional in orgin, and those issues have to be addressed or no weight loss plan will work. He does mention that at the end, but I think its important enough to emphasize over and over again. Get to the reason why you over eat and you'll have success.

Posted May 20, 2008 07:22 PM

sarah cecilie hougen

Pincourt

Weight Watchers ... everyone I talk to say "I did well when I did it but ..." they all drop out and get fat again.

The solution can be boot camp style training, but over a longer period than just a week, make it 10-12 weeks! The one week thing? Sure, it's a great kick in the glutes for those with enough discipline to keep going afterwards.

Most web-programs offer 12-week challenges in spring time, heck I joined one too! The thing is, my life does not end in 12 weeks! In fact, I'm making it a point to drag the challenge on for another 13th week, take a week off (yes off training, your body needs the rest periodically) and starting another 13 weeks of the same training before taking 2 weeks off and then starting the training again - but on a different program, I need variation and so do my muscles.

Food wise, no problem as long as you get the right plan. Portion control, frequent meals, and clean ingredients (no processed foods or sodas), plenty of water, and that's it.

Oh, and plenty of rest too!

Posted May 13, 2008 01:31 PM

alexis

canada

join weight watchers! they will teach you how to eat properly and how to actually enjoy eating (and living!) again.

Posted May 13, 2008 06:09 AM

Sam

Toronto

I am in a bootcamp right now and really like it. I think perhaps the article is narrowly focused. Would it not be more appropriate to say that bootcamps are useful but not of course as the only strenuous exercise you get all year?

Posted May 12, 2008 09:50 PM

Lisa

I think you should enter a fitness program like you would a relationship that you value. Start slow, build momentum and listen to your partner (aka. your body) A fitness program should be a lifelong lasting relationship. I have 2 pieces of advice; 1) Just get Moving! Concentrate on the burning more than the intake, and 2) do your grocery shopping on the way back from the gym, run or 3 k walk. You won't put fattening stuff in your mouth after you've worked so hard to burn it off.

Posted May 12, 2008 02:21 PM

Peter

Belleville

Great article. I think the best advice would be to get into a good habit and stick to it, rather than having to jump into a "boot camp" style course every year and then just lapse back into bad habits.

Posted May 11, 2008 08:50 PM

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About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

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You miss the point. Fitness is about lifestyle and your ...
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss
Hello, I'm coming from Quebec.I'm Just moving in ...
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss
I can understand cutting the gym memberships. I cut mine...
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss
I lost a couple of sizes about 3 1/2 years ago and decide...
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss
I joined a local 'bootcamp' 9 weeks ago hoping to get som...
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss

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