Look Good Feel Good: Boot Camps in NYC Whip Busy Women into Shape

By: Nusrath Hussain

It was 5:30 a.m. and the lights from distant Jersey City were still reflecting off the Hudson River during the pre-dawn hour. While most people were still in bed, a dozen women had already gathered at Battery Park City Promenade and were hard at work.

They diligently repeated push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, splints, plyometrics, free weights, drills, and stretches.  “I am motivated to do something different with my workout and boot camp is a lot of fun,” said Emily Shell, a client of Laura Miranda Fitness Concepts.

Many New Yorkers are moving away from traditional gyms and joining fitness boot camps. Whether it’s a stay-at-home mom, someone with a 9-to-5 job, boot camps help them fit exercise into their schedules.

These fitness boot camps specialize in helping the “busy” woman stay in shape and become healthy. “I was just tired working out at the gym and wanted to do something different with my workout,” said Emily Weiss, a client of Miranda’s.

Miranda, who owns “Miranda Fitness Concepts: Strong Healthy Women” and the “Gay Man’s Boot Camp,” provides four-week sessions of an outdoor fitness program in Battery Park, Kips Bay, and Long Island, New York. She combines fun exercises in a noncompetitive environment. Her program is designed to get individuals to their weight loss goals quickly.

Gyms normally range from $20 to $100 a month for a membership. Boot camps are significantly higher in price ranging from  $150 to $300 per month. However, they are cheaper than personal training sessions, which run as high as $100 session.

“You are working with 20 other women with similar goals, with skilled trainers who set up a program for you versus the gym where there is no one to cheer you on, they can care less if you show up,” Miranda said.

Several miles north in Riverside Park, a group of uptown women engage in a similar workout.  They are the clients of Nicole McDermott, who runs “Healthy Balance NYC.” She provides personal training as well as boot camp in Riverside Park. McDermott said she strives to provide a healthy balance in the life of busy New York women.

“Being out here is good for your mind, spend a little time focusing on yourself,” said Carol-Anne Riddell, a client of McDermott’s. McDermott’s workout consists of a warm-up with a short run followed by stretches, lunges, crunches, squats, and agility drills.

“Boot Camp starts their day off right…gives them a sense of balance for the rest of the day,” said McDermott. The idea of group intimacy and camaraderie allows these women to enjoy boot camp and keeps them coming back.

Why only women? “Women are more community oriented, especially women in the city. They are driven and focused,” said Miranda.

Miranda goes on to say that 5:30am is the “no excuse time.” The Boot Camp instructors say, “What can you possibly be doing at 5:30AM, sleep?” that is not an excuse to miss a workout.  Boot Camp runs the same time and the same day.

Boot Camp is shaped for every shape and size of women. The exercises are formulated so that anyone can do them and lose weight just like the next.

The boot camps are run by trained physical therapists and personal trainers who know what they are doing and passionate about doing it. “If someone paid me protein bars instead of money, I would do this just because I love it,” said Miranda.

The classes range from 8 to 20 women whom are 20 to 50 years old creating a setting where each individual is motivated by the next because they all strive for similar results.

Joining a Boot Camp provides support and consistency; this is why many women are moving away from the traditional gym setting into Fitness Boot Camps. “Nobody gives you a high five or a pat on the back at a gym,” Miranda said.