Milwaukee Adventure Camp boots locals into shape
NBC's "The Biggest Loser" isn't the only boot camp to motivate incredible success in the last year. Boasting similarly intense training, nutritional education and even a Jillian Michaels look-alike trainer, the Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp, owned and operated by Catherine Andersen, expands into several locations, programs and sessions this summer.
"Our classes and sessions have grown immensely. Our focus is so much bigger than losing weight; when you're happy with how you look and feel, you're happy with your life, your life is affected positively. That's what I want people to take away from this," Andersen says.
Andersen's four-week program involves a series of indoor and outdoor activities to introduce the body to a rotating series of activities including hiking, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates and weights. By constantly changing up the cardio and strengthening schedule, Andersen believes her program prevents both muscle lethargy and participant boredom.
"The concept of boot camp is not all that new, but it's pretty new to Wisconsin. In the last two or two and a half years, we've seen more and more camps introduced," Andersen says.
As Andersen explains, the key to her program is its ability to incorporate all three areas of physical fitness. Whereas programs held at local gyms focus on cardio or strengthening alone, Andersen's program builds cardiovascular training, muscular endurance and muscular strength.
"When you hit all three of those in your workout every day, your body never gets a chance to adapt to a particular activity and so it's always forced to change. With that change, you really get results," Andersen says.
The training portion of Andersen's program focuses on physical fitness but the Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp places equal importance on nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. She insists on training "campers" not only how to exercise but how to eat, as well.
"We focus so much on nutrition. You can work your butt off for an hour a day and you can ruin that with what you put in your face at one meal. What you feed yourself is 60-80 percent of what is going to affect your results," Andersen says.
Andersen, a certified personal trainer and the first and only Figure Pro in the history of Wisconsin, has considered exercise second nature since she was a child.
"There's a large percentage of people in the country who don't see working out as second nature. One of the biggest mistakes was the Surgeon General's instruction of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. In the age of obesity, you need 45 minutes five to six days a week," Andersen says.
What's the biggest impediment to Andersen's mantra?
She believes a struggle to set aside time and stick to a schedule plagues most individuals who'd like to exercise but don't. Refusing to refer to obstacles as "habits," Andersen prefers to instruct individuals on how to change a routine in order to accommodate physical fitness.
"We all have time, we just prioritize what's important to us. I've found that once you show them what can happen to you physically for your health and longevity, people get it and realize it's not a choice," Andersen says.
Andersen's program follows the guidelines of Dr. Spencer Ellis, the leader and creator of the "Adventure Boot Camp" method in California. Andersen, one of just a few certified and authorized Adventure Boot Camp instructors in Wisconsin, offers women-only or co-ed camps.
"I truly believe if you have a negative self-image, it affects everything in your life negatively. Conversely, if you can change that to a positive image, it can do incredible things for your life," Andersen says.
Andersen currently offers camps at Bradford Beach, Atwater Park, Mitchell Park, South Shore Park or Klode Park in Milwaukee and Village Park in Elm Grove.
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I have attended about 5 camps and I love them! You don't have to be in the best of shape to participate!
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