“I feel like that Onion headline,” moaned Patrick. “Man who stopped dieting two weeks ago can already see results.” We were doing so well, and then the holidays came. Exercise time.
“Fitness boot camps are the modern solution for people who want to be fit but do not like going to the gym,” said Jaylin Allen of Bootique Fitness (619-602-8087). “Unlike bodybuilding or sports, outdoor fitness classes rely on functional exercises to not only make you stronger but also better at handling life’s physical demands, like working on a desk or carrying children around.” Allen said boot camps are effective because “we design the workout to be more efficient, so the results come faster. Plus, since we train in small groups, we can hold each of our members accountable and get them to show up consistently. That creates an amazing sense of community and belonging, which makes the whole ‘getting fit’ process a lot more fun and enjoyable.”
Boot-camp exercises include “a lot of staples like squats, pushups, and dead-lifts. But we also make sure that every workout includes a little something different. We’ll try to be really creative and design exercises that are not only effective but also a fun challenge.”
Bootique’s outdoor personal training group classes are exclusively for women. “We do, however, offer Dance Fitness Party and Yoga, which are co-ed classes. Those outdoor classes are in the morning and early evening, and we have four meeting locations: Balboa Park, Mission Bay Park, the downtown Marina, and La Jolla. The monthly membership is $179, and includes unlimited classes, plus access to a personal trainer and nutrition perks.”
Most appealing to me was the 30-day fitness challenge. “It’s to help keep women from making the same New Year’s resolutions over and over again. Instead, we will help out members to set realistic and achievable goals and guide them to making real changes. Plus, it’s an opportunity for women to come and try our program for a month at just $79. It’s a great way to kick off the new year.”
I was sold, but I had to find something for Patrick. At Mission Fit Camp (619-800-6819), men and women of all ages are welcome. This four-week outdoor fitness boot camp at Mission Hills’ Pioneer Park offers a mix of cardio and strength training in every workout. The first week teaches proper technique and fundamental movement patterns. After that, classes get progressively harder as the days go by. Monday through Thursday classes target specific areas of the body, while Friday offers “hills and drills” as you follow your instructor through the neighborhood’s steep inclines. Saturday, you can have an action-packed full-body workout at Pioneer Park or a relaxing yoga class in a studio. Morning and evening classes are available; first class is free, and after that, it’s $20 per drop-in. Buy a package and save: eight classes for $120 or 12 classes for $180. New member special: four weeks’ worth of unlimited classes plus 15-minute meeting with trainer to measure progress for $99.
And in case Patrick wanted to go macho solo, I found Gut Check Fitness (858-375-6150), which was voted “hardest workout” by Competitor Magazine — and does require a minimum level of initial fitness. (Besides paperwork, water, running shoes, and a towel, attendees are asked to bring dumbbells to the first class: 8–12 pounds for women, 15–20 pounds for men.) All classes are tailored to challenge every athlete, and the program works as its own social network. Early morning, mid-morning, and early-evening one-hour classes are offered at places such as Sage Canyon Park, Torrey Hills Neighborhood Park, Balboa Park, and the convention center. Cost is $100 for a month’s worth of as many classes as you like.
But the best buy of the bunch looked to be San Diego Core Fitness (858-386-3145), which is offering a sweet introductory special: six weeks of unlimited classes for $20 at a single location. Outdoor classes are held at East Mission Bay, West Mission Bay, North Park, and Aero Drive. And if you have a partner, there’s the Boot Camp Buddy New Year’s Resolution Takedown: two people get six weeks of unlimited classes for just $38 at a single location, or $75 for access to all locations. Morning and evening classes available.