Many of us develop better habits during the summer months: We eat fresh foods, we get outside and do active things, and by late August we’re looking tanned and trim.
Then autumn comes and — for all the great things that season brings — wrecks our progress. Football starts, and we start indulging in some heavy game time snacks. Classes start for college students, and freshman 15s start to pile up. Pretty soon, the leaves fall and so does the first snow. At that point, our outdoor activity is limited to shoveling the driveway.
Then, we punctuate it all with a six-week holiday season.
It’s easy to slip into a whole bunch of bad habits at once when the weather gets colder. The best defense against this tendency is brute force. There is nothing like a four-week boot camp to force you into eating better and keeping up with your exercise.
Sure, your fantasy team might suffer while you’re training at night, but we think the trade-off is worth it.
Here are 30 boot camps all around the Midwest to keep you fit for winter. From Cincinnati to St. Paul, we’ve found boot camps for just about everyone. Some are scheduled as special events well in advance, and others are ongoing so you can drop in at any time.
Evolve Fitness Chicago, Chicago
Evolve Fitness offers two times for ongoing boot camps: Either at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; or 5 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Boot camps are not designed for the faint of heart, but anyone who commits to intense 5 a.m. workouts has our eternal respect.
FitBody Boot Camp, Chicago
Owner Kyle Blust hosts two boot camps, one indoors at his gym in Lincoln park and one outdoors at the 1800 West block of Diversey. Boot camp sessions are held daily in both locations. And if you sign up with a friend, you’ll both get $100 off of a one-month membership.
Fitness in the Parks, Chicago
Fitness in the Parks is an ongoing series of boot camps held by The Rise Fitness that take place multiple times per week at indoor locations in Chase Park, Gill Park and Revere Park. The prices are very reasonable, too, at just $65 per month, which works out to about $5.40 per class if you go just three times per week.
Oak Athletic Development’s Speed Camp, Bourbonnais
This one is a bit different from the other boot camps because it is designed to help trainees with the speed and agility. It’s more designed for amateur athletes, but anyone who has played competitive sports recently would benefit just by keeping up his or her conditioning levels.
MyLeanBody Boot Camp, Bloomington
This is a women-only boot camp designed to, well, sculpt lean bodies. The training team says that most women will lost 5 pounds just in the first week with their training plus a proper diet. You can put those numbers to the test without any risk, too, because they also offer a free one-week trial to see whether the boot camp is right for you.
Downtown Boot Camp, Indianapolis
Downtown Boot Camp hosts daily boot camp sessions (as well as boxing and kettlebell workouts) at various parks throughout the city. You’ll have to sign up and follow along to know where the exact location is each day. A trial month only costs $39, so it could be worth a shot.
Meltdown Boot Camp, Bloomington [Oct. 13–Dec. 7]
Next Generation Personal Training, near the IU campus, hosts four Meltdown Boot Camps each year, and the next one starts on Oct. 13. These are intense eight-week programs that include fitness and nutrition plans. Also, Next Generation PT advertises itself with a nice statistic: 20,000 pounds lost since January 1, 2009. It’s like the opposite of McDonald’s burger count.
Indiana Pit’s Ongoing Women’s Boot Camp, Kokomo
Hawaiian kenpo and kickboxing gym Indiana Pit hosts early morning boot camps for women (start times 5:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m) that have earned rave reviews. Said one student: “The Pit has become my morning sanctuary, my ME time, the best part of my day!”
Bootcamp Team Training, Elkhart
At the time of writing, Bootcamp Team Training is in the process of moving to a new studio on South Main St., but in the meantime boot camps are still ongoing, with morning and evening sessions available. Follow on Facebook for the weekly schedule and updates about the new location.
Boot Camp Madness, multiple locations
Boot Camp Madness has opened many fitness centers throughout Iowa. The program is fun and engaging (but still intense). The best part? BCM rewards participants with a frequent weight loss contest: The biggest loser wins $1,000.
Elite Edge Gym, Des Moines
Elite Edge’s Joe Brammer tells students to just show up and do what he tells them, and he is confident he can transform anyone’s body into a lean, toned, attractive one. Boot camp sessions are held throughout the morning, afternoon and evening on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays (plus a 10 a.m. session on Saturdays).
BodyMorph gym, in the Detroit metro area, has a daily boot camp session (one in the morning, one in the evening; mornings only on the weekends) that is limited to just 20 participants during the winter months. Each session is 45 minutes long, and members who get a one-month membership ($90) can drop in to as many sessions as they like.
Slaughter Boot Camp, Clinton Township
Here is the boot camp where you should get barked at by a drill sergeant. Don’t worry; they don’t actually do any yelling or barking. Still, the workouts are inspired by Navy SEALS training. Sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursday, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Modifié Wellness: Boot Camp, Grand Rapids
The Modifié Wellness center hosts a six-week boot camp, and the most recent camp is just wrapping up at the time of writing. Keep an eye out for when the next boot camp will be held if you are in Grand Rapids — it’s only $75 for the whole thing.
ReNEWal Body Boot Camp, Grand Rapids
Renewal hosts a variety of boot camps based on TRX suspension training. These boot camps include a cardio/metabolic boot camp, a Hot Mama Boot Camp, and a super-intense boot camp that focuses on high-intensity interval training.
The Shed Fitness Studio’s BodySHED Boot Camp, Minneapolis
This is an intense boot camp circuit with three mandatory boot camp sessions per week plus two other classes of the participant’s choosing. Each boot camp circuit runs for six weeks. At the time of writing, one is just beginning (Sept. 12–Oct. 26), but there is a cycle that begins in November, too. Mandatory sessions are offered in the early morning and in the evening.
CorePower Yoga’s Boot Camp, Minneapolis
CorePower’s boot camp mixes yoga with strength training, circuit training and plyometrics for a total-body workout. The program is two weeks long, but sessions take place six times per week to keep participants’ metabolisms up. Space is limited to 30 participants per boot camp cycle, and the next one begins October 19.
CrossFit St. Paul Boot Camp, St. Paul
CrossFit St. Paul’s boot camp meets three times a week (MWF) at 6 a.m. for six consecutive weeks. The program focuses on bodyweight exercises and high-repetition weight exercises. The boot camp’s most recent cycle just began on September 8, but a new six-week boot camp should launch in the fall.
Xtreme Krav Maga Kickboxing Boot Camp, St. Louis
Krav Maga is a self-defense discipline that leverages instinctive movements and uses realistic scenarios to frame the training. That martial art — plus lots of kickboxing and strength training — make this one of the most innovative boot camps you will find in the St. Louis area. The schedule for this boot camp includes Thursday evening sessions, then morning sessions on Saturdays and Sundays.
Shark Fitness Training, St. Louis
Shark Fitness takes a no-nonsense approach to getting fit. “Our program is tough, but you will be challenged individually and have the opportunity to give 100% without being overwhelmed or held back despite the group setting,” the boot camp’s organizers write. Shark Fitness began in 2000 and has 12 locations throughout the St. Louis; check out their promo video. If you’re interested, reach out to the team at Shark Fitness Training for more details.
Wilson’s District Boot Camp, Columbia
Wilson’s has become a wildly popular collection of gyms around Columbia, and its fat-loss boot camp has been quite successful for many locals. The program includes a different 50-minute program every weekday, with flexible times to accommodate schedules.
Key Largo Fitness Boot Camp Challenge, Columbia
Key Largo’s six-week boot camp has helped many of the gym’s members achieve great short-term fitness results. Sessions are held three times per week at morning hours (5:15 a.m.) and three times per week at evening hours (6:00 p.m.) The next cycles of the boot camp are already underway, so look for a new boot camp to kick off in October or November.
Euphoria Boot Camp, Cleveland
Euphoria Health and Fitness has a one-month boot camp that features an unlimited number of classes and sessions for members, all led by an Ironman Triathlete. This is a brand-new boot camp, and sessions will take place rain or shine (Euphoria has both indoor and outdoor training grounds).
Cleveland Fitness Revolution’s Man Fit Boot Camp, Cleveland
Aimed squarely at the guys who are going to be glued in front of a flat screen this fall and winter (to be fair, everyone everywhere is watching the Cavs this year), the Man Fit Boot Camp is an eight-session program designed to turn a keg into a six-pack. Sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays, booked in four-week blocks.
Xtreme Fitness Boot Camp, Columbus
Trainer Bobby Steiner has designed a four-weeks-on, one-week-off boot camp program to get any man or woman in shape. Sessions take place early weekday mornings, weekday evenings, and once on Saturdays. There are two upcoming cycles: October 13–November 7 and November 17–December 12.
Body Rebellion Boot Camp, Reynoldsburg
Body Rebellion simply hosts a number of classes, including an ongoing boot camp that meets four times per week, at a flat rate of $75 per month. No contracts and no confusing price structures: You just join and participate as much as you need.
DNA Boot Camp, Cincinnati
DNA Sports Center hosts a daily boot camp session in its 14,000-square-foot facility. Sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are in the morning; sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays are in the evening. As a bonus, DNA does a good job of celebrating the successes of its athletes on its Facebook page.
Lakeshore Boot Camps, multiple locations
Lakeshore’s six-week boot camps were designed by by local fitness and physical therapy professional Dr. Ben Quist, and training is available at locations in Grafton, Mequon, Port Washington and Cedarburg. Have a look at the page for the boot camp location nearest to you because the schedules do differ.
Better Body Fitness Bootcamps, Green Bay
Better Body Fitness has designed its boot camp to burn the maximum number of calories in the shortest amount of time. That, by the way, is the fitness world’s definition of intensity. Classes take place every weekday at multiple times — morning and afternoon — and once on Saturdays.
Lake Country Adventure Boot Camp for Women, Hartland
Doug Kreuger of Peak Performance Personal Training will lead a four-week boot camp that meets early every weekday morning. Kreuger reports that normal outcomes for four weeks of training include a 1–3” trimmer waistline, a 3–5% reduction in body fat and between 5 and 12 pounds shed. Keep an eye on the boot camp’s Facebook page for upcoming dates.
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