Living in a military town people often equate the term boot camp with military training.
While not quite to that extreme, the Liberty County Recreation Department’s summer boot camp exercise class does challenge participants to kick their metabolism into high gear.
“Boot camp style training gives you a more overall workout with a strong emphasis on core movement,” personal trainer and boot camp instructor Richard Somerville said. “It provides a higher caloric burn count than traditional weight training and or aerobic classes.”
Somerville said the intensity you put into the workout will determine how many calories you burn, as with all exercise.
He said he developed the program to incorporate medium to high intensity training intervals with emphasis on total body and core movements.
Core muscles make up the midsection of the body, including the abdominal muscles in front and certain muscles of the middle to lower back. These muscles are the primary ones that hold our bodies upright and support our upper body neck and head.
Interval training is exercise that includes brief periods of high intensity movements followed by short periods of lower intensity movements. An example would be a runner jogging for a time, then sprinting for a specified time before returning to the slow pace.
Tuesday was the first day of boot camp. The 20 participants, mostly 20 and older, watched as Somerville demonstrated different work stations. The activities varied from performing kettle ball squats to jumping rope, boxing, squat jumps, dead lifts, resistance band training and more.
Somerville also showed modified versions of each exercise that could be performed for people with health issues.
The group started with warm up exercises like running in place and jumping jacks, followed by laps around the gym.
Somerville set a timer, and the campers started routines until he blew a whistle indicating it was time to move on to the next station.
Intimidation was soon replaced with laughter and reservations were replaced with cheering and encouragement.
An hour later, drenched in sweat, the campers ran a few more laps before cooling down with stretches. Some had the energy to run the laps while a few power walked.
The second class was Thursday.
LCRD boot camp is 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July at the Shuman Recreation Center. The free camp is open to ages 16 and up. If you want to join, call 876-5359 to see if there is room.
Somerville has been with the LCRD for 10 months. He is certified by the International Sports Science Association, National Academy of Health and Fitness, Y-USA in group exercise, and American College of Sports Medicine, along with over 12 years experience.
In addition to boot camp, Somerville is teaching a speed camp every Tuesday and Thursday at James Brown Park. This camp is from 7-8 p.m. and is open to ages 16 and up.
“The speed training (camp) is basically for athletes looking for that edge,” Somerville explained. “I help athletes develop better form and footwork that translates to more speed on the field or court.” Somerville said with proper training a runner can shave one-tenth of a second off his or her 40-yard dash.
“But it varies,” he said. “It and depends how advanced an athlete is.”
He said when working with young athletes, the main focus is to correct their form.
“With more advanced athletes, it’s more hip mobility and leg drive,” he added. “Track athletes will benefit from this type of training, but all sports would be well served to try the program.”
Speed camp is also free.