Over the past decade, boot camp workouts have become a hugely popular—and effective—way to get and stay in shape. Characterized by basic strength-training exercises and high-intensity aerobic intervals, participants typically thrive on the competitive, yet mutually supportive atmosphere of these classes. But can the fun and high energy level of a boot camp class be replicated in front of a computer screen at home?
That’s the goal of Lolo’s Boot Camp Challenge app, which offers home exercisers the option of creating full-body workouts from more than 200 unique exercises. Created by veteran U.S. Army Trainer and ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor Lori Patterson, Boot Camp Challenge features three 18-day programs (for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers) that can be customized according to the equipment the user has on hand, such as a chair, dumbbell, barbell, elastic tubing, flat bench, agility ladder or a jump rope. No equipment? No problem—the app will design workouts featuring only bodyweight exercises. Each exercise typically lasts about 30 to 60 seconds, with the instructor providing a countdown at steady intervals. The user has the option of pausing for 10 seconds between each exercise or moving on quickly between each one. Average workout times are 30 to 45 minutes, with more advanced workouts lasting up to an hour.
As you would expect from a boot-camp workout, the exercises tend to be basic and focus on high repetitions. Each workout program begins with the same 7-minute assessment, consisting of 2-minute time trials of push-ups, traditional sit-ups and squats. The user is advised to record their results and repeat the assessment at the end of the program. (Note: Each program includes 18 workouts and exercisers are advised to perform the workouts every other day.) The app is designed to allow the user to record the results of the assessment, but doing so made the program freeze and rendered the app unusable. Hopefully this glitch will be fixed in the next update.
During the workouts, minimal instruction is offered other than a few recommendations here and there. However, each exercise is accompanied by a video demonstration with specific instructions. Prior to each workout, it is a good idea to look over the exercises chosen for that day and review the demonstrations of exercises that are unfamiliar. You also have the option of switching out exercises that you don’t feel comfortable performing.
One of the most favorable aspects of the program is the ability to import one’s own music to exercise to during the workout. The app allows the user to choose specific uploaded songs for import, and the app automatically adjusts the beats per minute to reflect the intensity of a given exercise. This is a fantastic feature, particularly in terms of being able to use the music you find most motivating. However, you may find that copyright restrictions may limit the use of some of your songs, particularly those purchased through iTunes.
While exercising at home (or while traveling) you can never replicate the camaraderie of an energetic boot-camp class, but Boot Camp Challenge does a great job of recreating the workout itself. Users who stick with the program and progress through the workouts will undoubtedly get their money’s worth from this well-designed fitness app.
What we liked:
- Easy-to-use interface that allows users to design workouts based on available equipment and exercise preference
- Clear video demonstrations of each exercise
- Ability to import one's own music, which is automatically adjusted according to tempo
What we didn't like:
- Technical glitch prevented input of assessment data
April 12, 2012