Build Your Own Bootcamp: Training Tips From The Experts

Bootcamp is one of the ultimate ways to torch fat, build strength and up your cardio.

But don’t just take it from us. We grabbed some time with one of our favourite fitness buffs Steve Parke, to find out why he thinks bootcamp is the way forward.

So Steve, tell us what the aim of bootcamp is?

Conditioning is really important. Even if you’re bulking up, you still need to run after the kids or take the shopping out the car.

It’s just about being able to have a good life and daily function, irrespective of whether you’re looking to bulk or cut.

One of the main benefits of bootcamp is the conditioning – the cardio, the strength, the stamina – it all helps to build muscle. If you need to lift something heavy you can.

And overall, bootcamp gives you a nice balance of everything.

How do you go about putting together a bootcamp workout?

It’s always best to keep it simple. So, I usually pick two to three bits of equipment and keep the rest period quite short in-between sets. In terms of reps, I usually aim for 10-15 reps with any given exercise to form a circuit.

Then you move from one to the other, through all the exercises and repeating each time. That’s guaranteed to get you a good workout, especially with all the kit we have here.

A more intense way to do it is by using a timing method.

So, training for a minute on, then 30 seconds off, then back on. I like matching exercises up to really work one area so for example, doing ball slams then moving straight onto battle ropes.

I like to make sure a lot of the exercises we do involve the core too. A lot of people tend to get back problems, so I try to address the balance issues in the training that we do so the foundation is solid.

Check out the video below to see Steve's Mirafit Bootcamp Workout:

Which piece of Mirafit kit do you like using the most for bootcamp exercises?

Definitely the sled. A nice one to start with as you can use it without any weights if you need to, and you can both push and pull. It’s got that nice sense of achievement so even if you’re new, it’s a really good workout and means you’re not being worked too hard or being taken out of your comfort zone too quickly.

But you can still build up a sweat so it’s a nice introduction on which you can build. What about when the weather’s bad? Do you still get out? The main thing is having a plan.

So, I say, I’m going to train five times a week and then I keep up that routine. If I physically can’t get out, then just doing 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening is much better than doing nothing. It’s much better to do a brief workout in the house than leaving it and not doing anything for three weeks.

It takes time to ramp your training back up again so it’s about maintaining that physical aspect and just taking the opportunity to work out in a different environment too.

How do you stay motivated?

I find one of the best ways to stay motivated is by doing competitions. They can be up to a year away so I set myself small goals. I’ll always aim to be in a better condition next week that I am now. So, there’s always improvement even if it’s not completely visible to everyone else.

Another motivator for me is to always make sure I stay healthy and fit for my family, especially for my partner Mandie.

If I wasn’t as strong, I could get ill more easily. For example, my mum loves gardening but when we moved into the new house, we didn’t have a garden.

So, I dug up the whole piece of land old school style. It’s one of the few things I remember doing and I can remember thinking to myself at the time, I’m glad I trained. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

What sort of goals do people have when they come to you to train?

Working out isn’t the same as what you see on TV. If you want to work out, you shouldn’t be looking immaculate. Whatever I’m teaching, it’s for them to go away and use by themselves.

My ethos is that people always come out with a smile on their face – but that you’ll definitely know you’ve worked out. I usually train them for a month or two and then they come back for a top up and to mix it up.

It’s so nice seeing people going off and doing it on their own. Sometimes it can take a lot of educating so we’ll go around the shops looking at what food to buy to go along with their training.

Eating healthily is not always cheap so it’s about educating people about where to go and what to get when they’re there, so they get an insider’s view of what’s best to use.

What do you think to some of the fitness Instagram accounts out there?

I’m fortunate enough to be quite deep into it to know the behind the scenes but if I was a younger person with less knowledge, I would be thinking that I needed to train to look like that.

The truth is, a lot of them have just picked the right outfit, they’ve had a mini fast, they’ve got the right lighting, and they make it look like it’s been casually taken in the mirror as they’ve finished training.

When in fact, it’s taken 200 attempts just to get one picture.

I think it’s something we need to talk to people about as what they see is a snap shop and not the whole picture. You don’t get to see them at home later with a pizza or with ice cream down their chin.

It’s getting harder for guys but it’s definitely hard for girls. They had that sort of thing for a lot longer and it’s far more extreme.

It can be so deceptive – it makes their life look great but it’s such a small snippet of how they are day-to-day.

What are some of the other benefits that you get from training regularly?

CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is something that helped me a lot when my dad passed away three to four years ago. It really helped calm me down and have a better perspective on things.

It teaches you to meditate and take time for yourself as well as recognise the signals of when you’re too hyper-aware of yourself.

It’s something I try to incorporate into my personal training sessions, especially as we get to know each other.

Many people have had some sort of anxiety or depression – whether it’s for a day or two or has had a major impact on their life. Focusing on the mental benefits of training helps to bring people out of their shells a bit more.

Learning not to be so hard on yourself. A lot of physical fitness tends to miss out on that mindset but it can be really rewarding mentally.

I’ve never had a bad walk or come back from a run in a worse mood. Even by doing a few extra steps makes you that little bit healthier, and I always come back from it feeling happier.

That’s another thing I like about the Mirafit equipment is that looks nice so my gym is a nice place to train for me and my clients – it just ties in with that mental aspect of training.

What’s on the Parkecore playlist then?

I work out to music – it's usually a bit of a mix. When I’m doing weights, I’ll put music on. But if I'm doing a power walk to get my steps in, I devour audio books.

It’s been a big help as my reading is ridiculously slow. With audio books, I’m able to absorb lots of knowledge that would normally take me weeks to do. I also like listening to autobiographies from people such as Dom Jolly, Eddie Izzard and Brian Blessed.

The music I’m listening to the most at the moment is Drake, who I discovered through my son, it's really, really good.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to Steve for taking the time to come visit us, as well as to answer all of our questions and shoot some videos!

Find out more about Steve as well as his business Parkecore Personal Training, here.