KyleKamp: A different way to 'boot-camp'
When I hear the word boot-camp, images of a drill Sargent screaming and spitting in faces of terrified looking cadets comes to mind.
And while I know nothing about the army and its procedures of training ordinary men and women into fearless soldiers this way, and so will not comment on this, I do not know when this concept of fear-induced, forceful exercise made its way into the general fitness world. I mean who would enjoy that? much less pay for that? And yet remnants of this type of coaching still remain around today.
I am happy to say that our boot-camp or KyleKamp could not be more different. Kyle and I do not believe in forcing anything on anyone, much less exercise and fitness. In fact, we are intentionally moving away from the term boot-camp and its ‘drill Sargent feel’ in favour of functional fitness group classes. See, doesn’t that already sound way more fun and happy?!
In case you are not a regular Kamper, or are curious to our philosophy around KyleKamp, let me spend some time explaining it to you.
What is KyleKamp?
KyleKamp is our small group training classes that are based on functional fitness principals, targeting all aspects of the body, over three separate classes a week for four weeks. Each week the training slowly progresses in intensity or time under tension (how long you work for), slowly peaking by the end of the fourth week.
1. Quality of movement above all else (including speed, intensity, and weight)
To the average client, our programming could look repetitive or basic, but I can promise you it’s far from it. In this day and age of instant gratification, the beauty of fitness is that there are no shortcuts. You get out what you put in, and if you don’t have the mobility or strength to move safely through a deep squat, for example, we will modify to ensure no injury is created while we address the immobility and build strength.
Our goal is to educate clients on these principles and to keep people exercising safely. Just because you cannot do something does not mean you should not. In saying this, there are no short-term fixes, and going around immobility by using props (e.g., heel lifts for squats when ankle mobility is impeded) and not addressing it will always lead you back to the same spot, injury, or continued dysfunction.
2. Programming: Why we do what we do
Each class in the week is built around a shape or archetype. Monday/Tuesday we look at the Squat shape, Wednesday/Thursday we look at Press, Pull, and Overhead shapes and Friday/Saturday we spend time in the Hip hinge (Deadlift) and Lunge archetypes.
In the simplest form, fitness can be broken down into shapes and it’s in these shapes or positions that we live our life (e.g., the squat shape is the same position as downhill skiing).
We have then taken into consideration, the common dysfunctions or weaknesses in the gym and on the massage table (e.g., low back pain or intolerance to time on the hands) to help select exercises that will address these issues. With those ideas, our weekly and monthly programming covers a wide range of strength, mobility, and fitness aspects to help in life and all its activities.
Nothing we do in class from the warm-up to the core, to the strength and conditioning portions are by accident. It is all done with great care and thoughtfulness around what goals we are trying to achieve.
3. Training cycles within cycles
Each four-week round of KyleKamp is built on the previous four-week round, and so on throughout the year. We purposefully use unique periodization (a fancy word in the fitness industry which means planning and managing training cycles during periods of time) so that each client, though they are at different ability levels, are all being challenged simultaneously. This means that clients can start at any point during the year and find themselves challenged in the group setting. Unlike the typical group programming where ‘one size fits all’, during KyleKamp, individual clients can still hit individual goals. We are all about inclusiveness regardless of your fitness age, chronological age, being a snowboarder or skier, or even your cat/dog preference.
4. Group size and scaling
Normally group classes can be anywhere from five to 30 people, and while there can be benefits from bigger groups, for our purpose, we keep our KyleKamp classes capped at 12 participants.
We take our coaching seriously and want to give our clients all we can offer and more. Part of why our classes are successful is because each client gets feedback regarding their technique, and or modifications when they are dealing with an injury or mobility issue. As I said, we aim to ensure our classes are for everyone.
With the classes being smaller, this gives us the opportunity to scale each client. Every exercise we program has options to increase difficulty or to scale it back. This way everyone is able to work to their ability and push themselves without risk of injury.
Still, coaching 12 clients to move as best as they can is no easy feat, we take the responsibility and commitment in our stride and know our clients well and truly appreciate it.
Now enough about us, we get a lot of inquiries about our KyleKamp so I thought we could have some good old-fashioned Q&A time:
How long should I do KyleKamp for?
Is forever too much of a commitment? In all seriousness, forever, or at least what I mean to say is that there is a ton of research that supports the necessity for resistance and strength training over your lifetime. Our classes are designed to be a full body training and maintenance program that will accompany, complement and support any other training or sports you do, not take away from them.
I’m injured or in pain, should I still be coming?
You bet! Gone are the days where resting and waiting for pain to subside are the best medicine (although we are still finding pockets of this way of thinking).
Obviously the above statement depends on what injury and or pain you are suffering from. But even with a broken arm that is three to four weeks post fracture, moving the legs and activating your core and lower body will be good for you.
Even in a group setting we are very mindful and thorough with our clients about how they are feeling, and what injuries or pain they may be nursing or working with.
The trick is movement is more beneficial than sitting on the couch or laying in bed all day. And the fastest way we are going to help clients move through the mental fear that comes from pain and injury, is by slowly introducing movement in a safe and supportive environment.
“I can’t sign up yet because I’m too unfit for group classes”
We actually get this statement a lot! Our classes are the perfect way to get back into fitness. As I mentioned earlier we do a ton of preparation and thoughtfulness with our programming so that all our clients regardless of their ability levels are challenged and able to participate. Try not to get into a head space where you keep putting your health and fitness off “until the next month or the next month” because before you know it another season has gone by and you could still be feeling miserable, the sooner you start the better you are going to feel.
“I don’t have much (or any) previous experience in fitness, is this class right for me?”
Most definitely! Fitness and exercise can be an incredible journey and really transform your life. We would love to share this journey with everyone and its never too late to get started.
Anything new always comes with an initial fear factor, which is OK and totally normal.
We aim to teach our clients everything we know so they not only get a great workout, but also learn about fitness, their bodies and how to move the best they can all day, everyday.
The beauty of ReAlignment Lab is that we also offer soft tissue work (massage therapy) and individual personal training. If we have clients who we feel would benefit from these services we always recommend them and explain why. We are also huge advocates for collaborations with other health professionals and will always refer our clients to other modalities as needed.
We hope this article has given you some insight into what we get up to with our version of boot-camp, and if you have any questions please comment below so I can answer them!
We hope to see you in class soon,