6 Boot Camp Training Habits – How to Get the Most out of your Bootcamp Workouts

bootcamp langley, be more human

While it’s our responsibility as coaches and personal trainers at bootcamp, to teach movement, program wisely, and generally take care of our members, it’s each individual’s job to listen to their body, track their workout progress, and work on increasing their mobility.

For some individuals, this may be completely intuitive, but many people walking through our doors will need to be taught even the most basic components of serious physical fitness.

And that’s ok. Everyone starts somewhere, and we’re happy you’ve chosen it to be with us.

Many people attend Bootcamp Effect because they want to lose some weight or a friend does it and it sounds interesting—not necessarily because they’ve suddenly decided to eat, sleep, and breath bootcamp. (The obsession part happens organically, after they’ve been exposed to its benefits and our community of amazingly positive people).

Like these guys…

be rugged, rugged maniac cloverdale

With that in mind, the commercial fitness industry’s claims of quick fixes and supposed “secrets” to success may have influenced many individual’s perspectives and expectations when they arrive at our gym, and it is our duty to clear this up and give you the most accurate and scientifically honest advice on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle and improve your fitness long term.

And the fact of the matter is this: It is the gradual progress and commitment to your habits which ultimately determines your results.

Consistency is Everything.

Consistency trumps intensity; all the time. That intensity is born from consistency.

And to help with consistency, you need to create a goal and reason for that goal, so you know where you our heading!

It is our goal to faciliate an amazing training environment that you enjoy coming to and make you fall in love with fitness (if you’ve lost that love for physical exercise or never experienced it before)…

Because we’re humans. We need to move. We need to push our potential. We need community. You’ve all seen that commercial… Be more human.

be more human

It doesn’t mean you have to jump over fire, it insinuates that we can slowly begin to increase the limits of your physical ability, whether it be hold a plank longer, squat more or squat with perfect technique…

So now that we’ve got that prelude out of the way. The aim of this post is to give you a road map of how to create great training habits.!

Let’s get to it…

Great Training Habits

This does not have to be an overwhelming process.

It’s just taking 1 habit that you feel 90-100% confident you can do for 3 weeks straight and then do it until it becomes automatic.  And then repeat with a new habit asking yourself the same question.

You do not have to take on all these habits at once and it doesn’t have to be something complicated or something you are not ready for. Keep building the foundation of good training habits with small simple ones and the complicated ones will happen naturally overtime.

Here is an overview of 6 great habits that will significantly enrich your boot camp training experience.

1. Be Proactive With Your Mobility
You have to do soft tissue work, it’s a must. If you want to feel better its a must, and if you want to perform your best, stay out of pain, move better – it’s a must. Foam roller, lacrosse ball, stretching; you decide, but make sure you do at least 10 minutes a day.

Disregarding this component in the modern era where we sit down all day and text message is wrecking havoc on our bodies. It’s really not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you will get an issue. Be proactive with this so that you never get an issue.

Our recommendation is to come 10-15 minutes early before a bootcamp session and work on your tight spots. Even 10 minutes of Do-It-Yourself mobility before a session can go a long way in keeping you fit and pain free. Take advantage of the time you’ve got before and after each session and work on mobility. I would never consider not doing mobility for myself before any bootcamp session and I see no reason you should think any differently.

Most people need to improve their range of motion at these joints:

  • ankle – increase your calf range of motion and tissue quality
  • hip flexor – increase your hip flexor/glute/hamstring range of motion
  • thoracic spine – get on a double lacrosse ball or foam roller underneath this area
  • shoulder – if you can’t lie on the ground and put your arm overhead and touch the ground, then you are lacking range of motion. IMPROVE IT!

2. Breathe Better
You should improve your breathing. It affects your mobility, your conditioning, your posture, your stress and a host of other things. Since we take 20,000 breaths a day, this could mean 20,000 reps of the wrong thing. If you want to bring your stress levels down then it’s another reason why you need this.

In our experience, many individuals are not making the most of each breathe, breathing backwards, short breathing through their scalene muscles in their neck and as such are losing a lot of their aerobic capacity and core stability. To improve your breathing, you can start from the moment you start moving in your mobility work….

  • Breathe in through the nose (stomach expands like a Buddha belly).
  • Breathe out through the mouth (stomach comes in tight).

Unfortunately, many people breathe in and their stomach comes in tight and then breathe out and stomach expands… This is backwards. This insinuates that their diaphragm is not aiding in their respiration and as such are losing a lot of core stability and efficiency in their breathing.

When executing an exercise, you want to breathe in on the “down part” and exhale on the effort or lifting portion of the exercise. Try this out the next time you are doing a plank or low ab hold and see what your default breathing pattern is.

3. Increase YOUR Post Workout Stretch/Mobility
Many of us know where our tightest areas are—they’re the ones that make it difficult to squat below parallel or press a barbell overhead. Spend a few minutes after a session doing additional mobilizing and soft tissue work (foam roller/lacrosse ball, etc.) on those “problem areas” that you just exercised. Yes, I know we do a post workout stretch in the bootcamp sessions, but this is just scratching the surface… If you are someone that regularly has tight spots during the workouts, this is especially aimed at you! If you don’t know where to begin, ask a bootcamp coach what you should be prioritizing and we’ll help you out. We also regularly refer our members to the Supple Leopard books at the front desk. They are a great resource for folks who need simple, effective strategies to help them move better. Yes, this may seem like a re-iteration of #1, and it kind of is…. So do some more mobility! Post workout is an ideal time to increase your mobility. 2 minutes/side/stretch.

4. Log Your Workouts/Remember Your Weights
As trainers, we will do our best to help you progress lifting more weight over time. If you really want to expedite your progress though, remember what weights you use in each session. Taking notes on each training session helps you progress from week to week and helps us make informed decisions about how to assist you in choosing weights and scaling movements.

Each day should list note some quantitative and qualitative notes about your training session. (For example, I deadlifted 355lbs for 1 yesterday, but it wasn’t as smooth as it should be, so I should decrease for next week to have a smoother lift off the ground).

If you regularly can’t remember what you lift in each exercise or what your time is in a finisher, this part is aimed at you.

5. THE Exercise Checklist (Core Tight, Butt Tight, Shoulder Blades Back)

Yes, you know what I am talking about. Every exercise, you should put yourself in an optimal position to decrease the risk of injury and increase performance. We want your joints stacked (neutral spine).


In your exercises…

  • Engage your glute muscles by squeezing them
  • Tilt your pelvis and draw in your belly button to your stomach (tight abs) – If you have trouble with this, make a hissing sound and you will see how this turns on your abs – don’t forget to breathe on the effort!
  • Pull your shoulder blades back – imagine a pencil between your shoulders that you want to squeeze – now imagine that there during the entirety of the exercise.

So… how much harder do you think you are working in an exercise or for an hour workout if you are tightening your body like this during every rep in every set…..

You really don’t have to stress yourself out lifting more and more weight do you….

If you’re moving slow and controlled with tension throughout your body that is our foundation! And this leads me to our last point…

6. Start Slow and Maintain Perspective
We take our training seriously at Bootcamp Effect and with that comes with a good deal of responsibility. Our movement pool uses serious strength and conditioning exercises in order to develop broad, inclusive fitness. If we don’t treat these movements and workouts with respect, training plateaus and injuries are sure to follow. The best way to ensure your success and training longevity with us is by starting slowly and developing a rock-solid technical base.

In fact, the first few months you start bootcamp, intensity should not be a significant concern. The movements are potent enough that just consistently performing them slowly will create a favorable adaptation. After you feel really comfortable with most of our exercises and have a working knowledge of your weights, only then should you start ramping up the intensity by lifting heavier and moving faster.

Training with a lifelong perspective is incredibly important. Remember that you’re here to build yourself up, not break yourself down. Scaling workouts properly, listening to your body, listening to the coaches recommendations and checking your ego at the door will allow you to work out successfully for years to come. Find enjoyment in the process and you’ll arrive at your destination.

Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BSc, CSCS
The Bootcamp Effect