Whether you want to really get in shape or just lose some unwanted pounds, you may find that visits to your local gym – however regular – just aren’t cutting it. So if your New Years’ resolution never really took off, maybe it’s time to throw away the exercise bike and book a session at one of the Czech Republic’s increasingly popular bootcamps.
Based on the training undertaken by soldiers, especially those in the US military, bootcamps involve intensive drills made up of simple physical exercises. Short, intense workouts, long-term fitness programs, or insane team activity camps – the choice is yours. We look at three of the best.
The program is aimed at those who like to play sports regularly or who want to enjoy the long term benefits of a healthy lifestyle. You start with four-weeks of three sessions as a ‘one-off ‘activity camp. This is designed as a taster session for more extensive training. Depending on time commitments you can then go for membership of one of the three regular programs (bronze, silver or gold) which provide long-term fitness training for the months and years to come. The key word here is ‘long-term’, as extended periods of training have been shown to produce real results and a marked improvement in health.
Short courses. A variety of options are available in various locations, including:
ORIGINAL (various locations, up to 2900 CZK): Professional training designed to get you in to shape
VITAL (Prague, 1890 CZK): A more lightweight option, designed for beginners, elderly or overweight participants
PILATES (Brno, 1600 CZK): Co-ordination, strength and flexibility using the popular Pilates method
INLINE (Ostrava 590 CZK): Inline roller-skating sessions run by professionals
Membership brings access to training and educational seminars at camps throughout the Czech Republic. You can register any time, and start joining in with activity sessions the very next day. Depending on the chosen type of membership you get a certain number of weekly sessions, plus bonus discounts from partner companies.
Price structure and program
BRONZE 1 x weekly 1 month: 590 Kč / 1 year: 5900 Kč / 2 years: 10620 Kč
SILVER 2 x weekly 1 month: 790 Kč / 1 year: 7900 Kč / 2 years: 14220 Kč
GOLD unlimited 1 month: 990 Kč / 1 year: 9900 Kč / 2 years: 17820 Kč
The company offers full-on activity camps such as the four-day GO MAD camp (4190 CZK incl. board and lodging) at Železná Ruda in the Šumava National Park or an extreme golf weekend (1950 CZK) in Hradec Králové.
2) Hanka Dvorská’s Boot Camp
Three morning workout sessions per week in a six-week cycle may seem tough, but there are multiple benefits promised by Hanka Dvorská’s Bootcamp: conditioned physique, stronger stamina and psyche, and improved nutrition. The course also encourages team spirit and the building of relationships.
The bootcamp sessions comprise individual or paired conditioning accompanied by music, hurdles or obstacle-based training, exercising in teams with varying levels of resistance, team races, simple agility and flexibility exercises and games. To participate sign up on Hanka’s website [http://www.boot-camp.cz] for any of the upcoming sessions including the full bootcamp.
Price structure and program
Sessions take place at the home of the Czech Sokol movement, Tyršuv Dum, at Újezd 450, from 6.45 am. Full bootcamps start at 3600 CZK for the whole course, with generous staged discounts of 500 CZK for returning customers (to a limit of 1500 CZK).
16 April to 20 April: 5-day running course (900 CZK)
23 April to 1 June: Boot camp XXIV (3600 CZK)
11 June to 29 June: Booted Boot camp XXV
22 June: Malostranský Boot camp triathlon
Hanka is an external member of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport and a professional sportswoman whose expertise extends from aerobics, skiing, snowboarding and climbing. And if that doesn’t sound exhilarating enough, she also happens to be one of the country’s leading stuntwomen.
If you enjoy the bootcamp, try one of the parachute courses and experience either the thrill of free fall from 4000m (in tandem – 3600 CZK, every weekend) or sign up for a three-day parachute course featuring individual jumps from 1200m at Kolin airfield (2000 CZK per jump). There are also hiking and cycling options available from the website.
3) Fitness Bootcamp Praha
For those who are pushed for time or prefer shorter workouts, Fitness Bootcamp.cz based in Vinohrady, provides 45-minute group sessions based on athletic training: push-ups, squats, sit-ups, chin-ups, dumbbells and so on, all under professional guidance. Training is both circuit (rapidly moving from one exercise to another) or interval, where exercises alternate between high and low-intensity, and the sessions begin and end with stretching exercises. Filip Vávra, who runs the sessions, is a certified CrossFit trainer.
Price structure and program
During the winter, sessions are held at a gym near Náměstí Míru. In the warmer months, training transfers to the beautiful surroundings of Havlíčkovy Sady on the border with Vršovice, easily accessible and with plenty of parking space. Both morning and evening sessions are available throughout the week.
3 x weekly: 1200 CZK (or 1000 CZK each with a partner)
2 x weekly: 1000 CZK
Single training session – 150 CZK
Season ticket: 3 months for 3000 CZK
Participants with 100% attendance gain 10% discount on the next bootcamp, and the top bootcamper (announced at the end of the course) qualifies for a whopping 35% reduction on the next course.
From March 2012, Fitness bootcamp.cz also offers twice-weekly runs in Riegrovy Sady (100 CZK per person). Meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.00 a.m. outside the Vinohrady Sokol, Polská 1
Finally it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to be Superman or Wonderwoman to partake in a bootcamp. They’re exhilarating and there’s an element of competition, but the real goal is to help you build long-term health benefits – and like any group activity – make new friends and contacts.
Have you been on a bootcamp? Please let us know what you think of this article by leaving your comments below.