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Feeling unfit? Reboot your body at these Tampa Bay boot camps

You knew you'd hate yourself in the morning, but you did it anyway: You gorged on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce and drank straight from the gravy boat. If you keep this up, by the time Christmas comes around, you'll be mistaken for Santa.

But you can stave off holiday weight gain by upping your exercise quotient. Several fitness boot camps help Tampa Bay residents enjoy fresh air while getting in shape, even during the most wonderful — and tempting — time of the year.



Active Body Healthy Mind

Where and when: The six-week program meets Saturdays at 8 a.m. at Ballast Point Park, 5300 Interbay Blvd., in South Tampa. The current round started Nov. 14, but you can start any time and pay as you go. The next six-week program starts in January.

The skinny: Trainer Jeremy Prusnek starts each session with a three-minute warm-up game. Then it's on to stretching, pushups, dips, lunges and squats. The workout ends with another game, abdominal work and more stretching. "Everyone smiles the whole time, so I'm assuming they're having fun," said Prusnek, who also is a mental health therapist. He can also lead a bridal boot camp for brides-to-be and their wedding party.

Cost: $10 per session.

Contact: (407) 579-6257;

Body Bash Bootcamp

Where and when: 6 to 7 a.m. Monday and Friday and 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at Ballast Point Park, 5300 Interbay Blvd., Tampa. Advanced classes on Harbour Island from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturdays.

The skinny: This time of year, John Hannon kicks up the cardio in anticipation of all the cookies and cocktails people will inhale. "I don't want anyone to say they need to get fit and lose weight on Jan. 1,'' he said. Hannon incorporates football, basketball and jumping jacks to create a well-rounded workout for any fitness level. No two classes are alike.

Cost: $125 for eight classes (two a week) and $149 for 12 classes (for three a week). Individual classes are $20 each.

Contact: (813) 220-8314;

Kick It Up Boot Camp of Tampa Bay

Where and when: 6 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Millenium Garden, 4535 W Village Drive, Carrollwood. Also at Baybridge Park, 10029 Bridgeton Drive in Westchase at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The skinny: Even before you enroll in boot camp, you'll fill out a questionnaire about your goals and concerns. Leader Marilyn Moss will call your doctor to discuss your concerns; she's also been known to give clients a wake-up call so they don't miss their workout. Each hourlong session starts with aerobic training such as walking, knee lifts and light squats. Next comes stretching, then interval training using a variety of hand weights, bands and your own body for resistance. Then campers play fitness games like tag, followed by ab and oblique exercises, balance work and, finally, more stretching.

Cost: $199 per month, which includes 12 workouts, a nutrition seminar, grocery shopping tour and unlimited phone and e-mail consultations with Moss, who holds a master's degree in exercise physiology. Moss will offer a free post-Thanksgiving boot camp and healthy breakfast Saturday at 8 a.m. at Baybridge Park.

Contact: (813) 435-1575;

Man Camp

Where and when: Part indoors and part outdoors, the hourlong sessions are held every weekday at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., plus Sunday at 5 p.m. at Elite SC (Strength and Conditioning), 606 S Tampania Ave., Tampa.

The skinny: Strongman competitor Chandler Marchman will have you flipping 600-pound tires, dragging sleds loaded with 90 pounds of weight and swinging kettlebells. "It's quite a different gym. We're really trying to go after kids in sports and those (who) are bored with the mundane," said Marchman, noting that, despite the camp's name, women and teens also participate. After the Sunday workouts, Marchman provides pizza for everyone. "Everyone goes home tired and fed, so parents (of teens) love it."

Cost: $299 a month for unlimited training at Man Camp or any other group class offered.

Contact: (813) 872-0200;

Team Up Outdoor Training

Where and when: 5:15 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Cypress Point Park, 5620 W Cypress St., Tampa. Also at Brandon Parkway Trail, 1018 W Lumsden Road, Brandon, at 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at 7 and 9 a.m. Saturday.

The skinny: Trainer Red Smith leads sessions for one to 10 campers; if you're the only one who shows up, then you get a dirt-cheap personal-training session. Each hourlong session starts with five to 10 minutes of walking, calisthenics or stretching. Then comes 25 to 35 minutes of exercises with resistance bands, such as squats, rowing and lunges, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of anaerobic cardio: intense jumping jacks, pushups, wind sprints and such. Finally, cool down with five minutes of stretching. Expect to burn 300 to 500 calories per session.

Cost: $10 per session or $25 for three.

Contact: (813) 507-1553;

YMCA's Lunchtime Boot Camp

Where and when: Noon to 12:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the riverfront park next to the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel, 200 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.

The skinny: Angie Arnst leads downtown Tampa office workers on lunch break through a rigorous mix of cardio and strength training under the high-noon sun. Once a month, the group jogs to Bayshore Boulevard or Fort Brooke/Cotanchobee Park on a "field trip,'' incorporating park benches and other urban features into the workout. After each class, the group hits the showers at the YMCA in the 100 North Tampa building, then rushes back to the office.

Cost: Free to members of any area YMCA. Three-day guest pass available at

Contact: (813) 222-1334; angie.a[email protected]


Beach Body Boot Camp

Where and when: 6:45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Meets at the 100 block of Gulf Boulevard on Indian Rocks Beach across from JD's Restaurant and Lounge.

The skinny: Luke Scheffert, a certified personal trainer, runs these 45-minute beach boot-camp classes for the city of Largo with the goal of making bodies beach ready. Participants get to watch dolphins and listen to waves as they sprint, squat and stretch. But don't let the pretty sand fool you. Running and jumping on it makes the workouts even harder.

Cost: $52.50 for Largo residents and $65.50 for nonresidents for December. Single classes are $10 for residents, $12.50 for nonresidents. City of Largo recreation card required. Annual cards are $5 for residents, $49 for nonresidents. Register at Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave.

Contact: (727)742-7852 or (727) 587-6720;

Sarah's Boot Camp

Where and when: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m., the group usually meets at the tennis courts near 100 Pierce St. in downtown Clearwater. There's also a 6 a.m. session Tuesdays and Thursdays that meets in the parking lot of New Life Church, 2802 SR 60, in Valrico. Ask about special holiday sessions and rates.

The skinny: Sarah Liakos takes advantage of cityscape, leading participants to run across the Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge, climb building stairs and do pushups off benches. She also incorporates sports drills with cones, medicine balls, partner work and yoga. Each participant must bring a set of dumbbells. So far the group is all women, but guys are welcome.

Cost: For Clearwater, a four-week series $149 for three days a week or $99 for two days a week. For Valrico, a four-week series costs $99.

Contact: (727) 612-3748;

St. Pete Boot Camp

Where and when: 6 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, at North Shore Park, 1120 North Shore Drive NE, near the tennis courts. 6:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday at the Police Athletic League, 1450 16th St. N, St. Petersburg. Free class every Saturday at 8:45 a.m. at North Shore Park.

The skinny: Lose fat and enjoy the holidays. Damon Reio says people can do both with some determination and dedication. Reio leads camps six days a week, putting people of all fitness levels through an hourlong routine of cardio and strength conditioning. Two special camps are scheduled for the holidays: Naughty or Nice Christmas Boot Camp on Dec. 17 and New Year's Resolutionista Boot Camp on Jan. 1. Both start at 5:30 p.m. at North Shore Park. They are free, but donations are requested to benefit ASAP Homeless Services.

Cost: $100 for five classes a week for four weeks; $84 for three classes a week for four weeks; $72 for two classes a week for four weeks. Individual classes are $11. Free two-week trial offer.

Contact: (727) 320-7952;

Stacey Simmons NFL Boot Camp for Women

Where and when: 6 to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday at the Stacey Simmons Sports Training, 9189 130th Ave. N, Largo.

The skinny: Former NFL and University of Florida football player Stacey Simmons leads women through boot camps with a NFL twist. Women work weight machines and agility ropes in the gym and head outdoors to push blocking sleds and carry metal kegs above their heads while doing lunges. Fear the Stacey Simmons suicide: a series of 100-yard sprints to and from five cones.

Cost: $255 per five-week session or $25 per class.

Contact: (727) 418-5669;

More ways to get fit

Here are a few boot-camp chains that offer classes locally for women exclusively.

Adventure Boot Camp for Women: Classes in downtown Tampa, South Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor and Westchase; or

Stroller Fit and Stroller Strides: Designed for moms and their babies in strollers. Stroller Fit has classes in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Treasure Island; Stroller Strides has classes in FishHawk Ranch, Flatwoods Park, Hyde Park Village and the Shops of Wiregrass;

Feeling unfit? Reboot your body at these Tampa Bay boot camps 11/25/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 5:10pm]
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