Participant makes his way through sand

Why bootcamps don’t work

Boot camps are all the rage nowadays to lose weight and get into shape as quickly as possible. Celebrities are perhaps the biggest fans of boot camps as it enables them to get into shape quickly for an upcoming event. But having an ex-army major stamping his boot on your backside while you are doing press-ups in the mud will not make you keep the weight off. Attending a boot camp will only lead you to lose weight temporarily, not permanently. Here’s why.

Yo-yo exercises

Just like yo-yo dieting, boot camps are yo-yo exercising. By that I mean that you go on an intense period of performing strenuous exercises, only to stop suddenly after losing weight, and then maybe attending another boot camp when you have put the weight lost back on because you stopped exercising.

Just as yoyo dieting can harm you due to a sudden and severe change to your diet that may not lead to a balanced diet, for e.g. the Atkins diet, eating soup only, etc, yoyo exercising can harm your body too. You put your body under severe physical strain that it’s not used to. So avoid boot camps and any intense and temporary exercise regime unless you’re an Olympic athlete. It’s not going to lead you anywhere in the long-term and may serve only celebrities who need to get in shape for a particular event only.

Now and for never again

Who attends boot camp everyday for the rest of his life, or even every weekend for the rest of his life? A boot camp session is just that – a one-off period of intense exercises, you lose weight, then you go back home to your previous lifestyle and put back on everything you lost and more. If only it were that easy with getting back money we lost. Then we’d hit the casino all the time! You cannot successfully lose weight and keep it off by simply doing some exercises for a short period of time, no matter how intense.

Participant makes his way through sand

We love boot camps

No we don’t actually. Who likes being bossed around by a fake army sergeant, getting dirty in the mud on a cold grey winter morning and doing silly movements that are causing you much pain? Perhaps if you like inflicting pain on yourself, you might like it…!

If you don’t enjoy doing an optional activity, you will never keep it for long.

The success and popularity of boot camps stems from the fact that all the rigorous exercises are a change of lifestyle for most people who live a sedentary life. Boot camps are a replica of a soldier’s lifestyle, and soldiers are not fat but fit. Soldiers and sergeants are usually found in armies and initially, boot camps were run by retired (or failed) soldiers. But there are so many boot camps nowadays that there are not enough retired army sergeants to staff them. So the staff at boot camps simply don an army uniform and voila, they can play the part of the bossy sergeant.

The right lifestyle does it

There is nothing inherently wrong with boot camps. They work. They can even keep the fat off you permanently. But the keyword here is lifestyle. Boot camps are the lifestyle of soldiers and this active and strenuous everyday life helps keeps them fit. But for the office worker on a weekend or week-long boot camp, this is not a lifestyle but a one-off.

How to lose weight the right way

There is no secret if you want to lose weight effectively and keep it off – adopt a healthy lifestyle and one that you enjoy. What is an active and enjoyable lifestyle? Healthy food, exercise and enjoying both are the key combination.


Healthy food doesn’t mean living on salads all the time. If you enjoy your doughnuts and burgers, feel free to indulge – simply cut down on them. if you don’t eat what you like, even fatty food and sweets, you will consider it as a diet and will stop it after a while because you don’t like it. Better cut down that cut out completely. In the long run, it should make a difference and become part of your lifestyle, something that you can keep at all the time.


What if you don’t like exercising and going to the gym? Exercising doesn’t only mean boot camps, exercises and hitting the gym. Walking, going to the park, cycling to work and of course, most sports such as football, tennis and ice-skating are all considered as exercises. Surely, there must be a sport out there that you enjoy? Even horse-riding is a physically demanding sport. It is said that when Arnold Schwarzenegger was acting in the movie Conan, he did a lot of horse riding that kept him very fit.


So adopt not the boot camp but a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle.


Image credit: dangerouslyfit


We'd like to hear your thoughts...