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leave it or love it? knotties tell all

"I do a boot camp class at my gym once a week (I wish they offered it more!). It's one of the best workouts I've ever had. It incorporates cardio and strength-training all in one, which is great for people who don't have a lot of time to work out!"
-- carolynandethan

"I have a boot camp class at my gym. It's interval training, and it's been great. The instructor is my personal trainer, so he makes me go to boot camp. But it's really the most complete workout I've been able to do in just one hour."
-- DaniBridezilla

"I'm doing a bridal boot camp workout from the book of the same name. It kicks my butt (and I don't have anyone there really working me hard either!)."
-- YankeeBride929

"I do Crunch's Belly, Butt & Thighs Boot Camp, and it's a great cardio/toning workout for anyone who's new to the whole working out thing (like me)."
-- lanthiriel20

"I just found one near me and I'm considering it. I started working with a personal trainer as soon as I got engaged, so I have one-on-one boot camp three times a week!"
-- diz134

"I did the Adventure Boot Camp in Columbus; they have other locations across the States. It was a one-hour class for four weeks every day at 5:30 a.m. It was a great workout every morning -- we did circuit training and worked on different parts of the body each day. I was impressed by the boot camp, but I'd rather work out at the gym since all the stuff we did are things I can do at home. Still, boot camp was a great way to have someone there to push you and show you the proper techniques."
-- thisgirlbee

"I did an eight-week 'Bridal Boot Camp' in a Cleveland, Ohio, gym. It was three days a week for eight weeks. I personally did not like it. AT ALL. I've worked out my entire life and didn't get much out of it. I think a lot of it has to do with the instructor of the class. I didn't like mine. She barely talked. Never ONCE told us 'good job.' I found myself missing my routine of body sculpting classes and step aerobics that I did prior to signing up for the boot camp. Since it ended, I finally enjoy working out again."
-- babywojo

"I go to boot camp at our local gym two days a week and love it. We do cardio with weight training. I didn't need to lose weight but wanted to get in shape -- my entire body is leaner and I've never felt better."
-- aknap

"I've done 'bridal boot camp' on Comcast Cable's workout section. It was good, but it kicked my butt!"
-- DiDi0609

"I did a boot camp at a local women's gym outside of Seattle, and it was wonderful. Six weeks of all outdoor cardio and strength training. I improved my mile time by two minutes in six weeks. It was a wonderful way to tone up. I've been slacking off on my workouts lately, but I'll be starting a new boot camp in about a month and can't wait!"
-- tlk21

Shape Up: Get Toned with a Boot Camp Workout

Dog tags, camouflage, and drill sergeants are sure to get you into tip-top shape for your wedding day. Are you up to the challenge?

What is boot camp?

Think of it as a no-nonsense, get-it-done outlook toward getting in shape. Just like recruit training in the military, fitness boot camps are all about getting people to step out of their comfort zones so they work harder and shed pounds more quickly. Depending on the degree of intensity and simulation, you may be required to wear camouflage, run through rubber tire obstacle courses, and come in contact with some very passionate boot camp sergeants who may not be afraid to yell a bit and refer to you only by your last name.

What can you expect?

Expect to step outside of your comfort zone and work harder than ever before. The goal is to shed pounds, shape up in a serious way, and push yourself to the limit. Boot camp programs include a mix of cardio and strength training. Calisthenics like jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups dominate workout warm-ups, but that's just the beginning. While it depends on the program, many boot camp-designed workouts include moves you may have never pictured yourself doing before, such as crawling through nets, carrying buckets of water, jumping hurdles, and much more.

Who is boot camp for?

Most boot camps take on members at all fitness levels. No matter what shape you're in, you'll be expected to pull off the same moves as everyone else in your group -- those at higher levels will just be expected to do more reps at higher intensities. So whether you've never picked up a free weight in your life or you're a gym rat looking for something new and motivating, boot camp is a good option for anyone looking to get into tip-top shape. That said, boot camp programs take time and dedication. Consistency is key, so make sure you can clear your calendar before committing.

Are there different types of boot camps?

Yes, some boot camps are classes offered at gyms one to three times per week, while other facilities are solely dedicated to simulating a traditional boot camp with obstacle courses, climbing walls, and monkey bars. If you're not sure you can commit or you're a little wary of the idea, look into signing up for a boot camp class at your local gym to gain exposure to basic calisthenics and get a feel for the program to find out if it's right for you.

-- Anja Winikka

See More: Getting in Shape