Boot Camp versus Gym Workouts

After completing 17 years service in the NZ Army and then taking release, I really missed the camaraderie and physical training in the military. When I left the Army, I completely dreaded the thought of working as a Personal Trainer in a conventional gym, so I became a Boot Camp Instructor instead. This rewarding job allows me to build team work and camaraderie, and to teach an exercise regime I’m truly passionate about. Military-style Boot Camp sessions consist of various challenging exercises, which are known for achieving fast results for people of all fitness and ability levels. I no longer miss the Army, as I have created something really special with both my live and online Boot Camp Programmes.

People often ask me, ‘Which is better – Boot Camp or conventional gym workouts?’, and the answer, to me is a no brainer. There are many reasons why Boot Camp is better than training at a conventional gym. My top five reasons are listed below:

  1. Common Ground

‘You have a like-minded community of people on the same structured programme, working towards similar goals’.

On Boot Camp you have a positive environment with heaps of support and encouragement.

At a gym you are likely to train beside random people with different goals. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be working beside a bodybuilder who can’t stop looking at themselves in the mirror!


  1. Accountability

‘Research proves that a lack of accountability is one of the leading causes for a person to quit their fitness regime’.

On Boot Camp you are highly accountable, with your fitness and body composition assessed at both the start and the end of the Programme. You are likely to be weighed weekly, and may even be required to record what you eat. A good Boot Camp Instructor will send regular emails and messages to motivate you. You also have the accountability of the other participants on Boot Camp to keep you on track.

At a gym by yourself, it is too easy to slack off or get distracted. This results in wasted time and often leads to a person quitting. Boot Camp sessions will keep you engaged and training hard the entire session. The harder you work the faster the results!


  1. Team Cohesion

‘The difference between success and failure is a great team’

Boot Camp offers camaraderie and external motivation from the other participants on the programme, which makes it difficult to quit. There will always be plenty of team incentives or competitions, which will take the focus away from a fatigued or sore body.

Working on a personal programme at a conventional gym requires a lot of intrinsic motivation. This makes it really tough to stay motivated on the days when you are sore or tired.


  1. Variety and Functional Workout

‘How many times at a gym have you seen someone repetitively doing sets of bicep curls or bench press?’.

There are no boring, repetitive workouts on Boot Camp. Sessions requires minimal gear and often feature every day exercise patterns such as jumping, bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, lunging, and squatting. These functional movements improve relative body strength and fitness for everyday life.

Gym programmes often incorporate big machines which don’t improve functional fitness. The gym workouts often only focus on one or two components of fitness, such as strength, or cardio.

During a 30–60 minute Boot Camp session, you could be improving all of the following components of fitness; strength, power, agility, speed, coordination, balance, flexibility, cardio and muscular endurance.


  1. Cost Effective

‘Would you pay $100 to watch a movie and sit in the theatre by yourself?’

Or would you prefer to pay $10 and watch the same movie with a group of friends?

That is the difference between paying a Personal Trainer for a private session and doing a live Boot Camp session. You could pay $100 and have a Personal Trainer breathing down your neck and nitpicking your form, or you can share the Trainer’s cost between a group of friends. You will get the same workout and still get individual coaching, if it is needed.

If you prefer to train by yourself then an online Boot Camp programme is a far cheaper option than gym membership, especially considering the additional travel costs to get to and from the gym.


The key to reaping all the amazing rewards of Boot Camp is to find a good Boot Camp Instructor who is focused on a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Look for an Instructor with a sound knowledge base, who is experienced training a variety of different clients of varying fitness levels. They should be enthusiastic and know how to challenge you enough to get big results, without injuring you!


Karen Hulston runs both live and online Boot camps, go to the following link for more information about her online programmes



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