Feel the burn at 5:30 a.m.
New boot camp has you up and sweating with the birds
Michelle Magnan, Calgary Herald
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2007
Allan Shantz is feeling the burn.
"You're killing me!" he grunts to Allan Fine.
Fine, a personal trainer and life coach, is pushing Shantz
and about 15 others to complete a set of ab exercises. Shantz's
wife, Anne, is crunching alongside him. With everyone lined
up on mats on a lot behind an old, closed-down school in Bowness,
Fine walks from one person to the next, correcting form and
Participants are put through their paces at Adventure Boot
Camp, which runs Monday to Friday starting at 5:30 a.m.
Jenelle Schneider, Calgary Herald
Considering it's windy and chilly, and the group has already
completed a warm-up, a running drill and exercises like squats
-- all by about 5:45 a.m. -- a few words of encouragement
are in order.
Welcome to Adventure Boot Camp, Calgary's newest fitness class.
Participants sign up for one month of workouts and can opt
to attend either three or five days a week. All classes start
at 5:30 a.m. and every day incorporates different activities,
such as lifting light weights to running through obstacle
The camp has its roots in California, where a personal trainer,
John Spencer Ellis, started it about five years ago. Today,
his licensed fitness program runs in more than 120 cities
across North America.
When Fine, a local fitness trainer and personal coach, came
across the camp, he knew he had to bring it to Calgary. Fine
plans to eventually offer camps in 20 to 30 locations across
the province. His newest location is Prince's Island Park,
where he's running five-week camps at noon. The sessions there
are only 45 minutes, making it easy for office workers on
their lunch hour to squeeze in the workouts.
Fine runs the early morning and noon-hour sessions himself,
but he wants to recruit and train personal trainers to lead
other camps as he expands. He's currently accepting registration
for camps into the fall, and is looking for an indoor site
where he can offer the boot camp through the winter months.
"The great thing about (the camp) is it works really
quickly, it's fun and it's interactive," says Fine. "There's
no harsh trainer yelling at you or degrading you."
Yes, that is true. Although, at one point Fine does fake-punch
me in the stomach to make sure my abs are engaged. Fine is
fun and energetic -- a feat for anyone at 5:30 a.m.
"After a couple of days, (getting up so early) isn't
bad at all," he says.
Joyce Pearson, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom with two kids,
feels the same way.
"It's tough some days, but once I'm up, I don't feel
more tired than I did before, because I have more energy."
For her, the camp is at a perfect time.
"Having kids at home, I couldn't get into a routine,"
says Pearson. "This time just really worked well for
me because I can get home and my husband can (then) go to
On this particular Monday morning, the group is starting its
third week of camp. Pearson says she can notice a difference
since she had her pre-camp fitness evaluation, which includes
detailed body composition testing, as well as taking measurements
and "before photos."
"I've dropped a couple of pounds, but mostly I can feel
muscles where there weren't before."
Shantz, the owner of a furnace company called All Seasons
Heating, says he lost five pounds after the first three days.
"I've lost a lot on my face, and I have lost inches,"
he says. "I'm enjoying it. I let myself get out of shape
and I needed something to jump-start me and get me going.
This is working."
Shantz is also benefiting from more than just the physical
Every Saturday, Fine uses his life-coaching skills as he hosts
a one- to two-hour group conference call with boot camp participants
to "help clients work through the critical gaps in their
Fine includes these life coaching sessions in the boot camp
price, which is $399 for working out three days a week or
$499 for five days a week.
Shantz says the conference calls and his own one-on-one conversations
with Fine have been invaluable.
"He's not just motivating me, but he has helped me in
some other areas, more personal stuff," he says.
When this is done, everyone in the camp will have the post-camp
evaluation to assess physical results.
"The results I promise are that in 30 days, you're going
to lose three to five per cent body fat, between five and
10 pounds on the scale, have a minimum of 25 per cent (improvement)
in strength, a one- to- three-inch decrease in your midsection,
a 25 per cent increase in endurance, greatly improved posture,
better relaxation and a higher self confidence," says
Fine is working the boot campers towards those goals this
morning. For the rest of the hour, he has the crew doing everything
from tricep dips and step-ups on benches to squats with elasticized
bands. He provides equipment like bands and balls, but asks
participants to bring their own mats and free weights.
The hour flies by. Everyone is huffing and puffing. They're
also all smiling.
At 6:30 a.m., when most people are just waking up, the campers
pick up their mats and weights and head to their cars. Tomorrow
morning they'll meet at another spot to run stairs, and Wednesday
they'll tackle a hike.
Shantz is a tired, but happy camper.
"It's killing me, as you heard me doing my griping. Most
of it is in jest. I could actually stand another half hour,"
he says, "just to get into a little bit more."
For more information or to register for Allan Fine's camp,