Local Fitness Business Gives New Boot Camp Experience to Seasoned Soldiers
For 32 years, the Army has focused on testing its soldiers on their proficiency in push-ups, sit-ups, and the two-mile run, leaving soldiers with an extremely predictable workout plan.
Bored by the repetition and convinced of the viability of alternate physical fitness strategies, a Michigan Army National Guard commander turned to civilians. Lt. Col. Dawn D. Dancer, commander of the Augusta, Michigan-based 126th Press Camp Headquarters, reached out to fitness experts Matthew Wachterhauser and Patricia Brown, co-owners of the East Lansing Adventure Boot Camp.
Dancer was familiar with their workout style, a mixture of cardio and strength training, where every workout proved to be a different routine, a different challenge.
"As a Guard soldier with a military and civilian life, you have to find what works best for you and your interests and your lifestyle while also maintaining the Army standard," said Dancer. "I have access to a great gym at work but I needed something more inspiring. Boot Camp works for me."
Dancer invited the fitness duo to provide civilian-style boot camp training to her soldiers at Camp Grayling, Michigan, two and a half hours north of East Lansing, where the 126th was performing its two week annual training.
Convincing Dancer's soldiers of the merit of being trained by civilians, however, was another matter. When Dancer first informed her soldiers of the "boot camp" themed physical fitness training session, her soldiers were leery. Notwithstanding the soldiers' hesistancy, Wachterhauser and Brown led the Press Camp through a typical 60 minute Adventure Boot Camp workout without ever raising their voices. The soldiers rotated through different exercise stations at one minute intervals.
Each station focused on exercising a different muscle group. As Wachterhauser explained to the soldiers, "A great thing about this style of workout is doing something different every day and working different muscle groups to encourage muscle confusion and stimulation."
Contrary to their initial beliefs, the soldiers of the 126th Press Camp learned that training, atypical of the Army push-ups/sit-ups/two mile run mode, could provide a physical challenge and a fun change of pace.
Wachterhauser and Brown said that the session left them newly motivated. "I have trained hundreds of people, all with different levels of physical fitness, but today's group showed the most motivation and commitment," said Wachterhauser.
"It was such a joy and honor to work with this group," said Brown. "We just wanted to do our part in supporting these soldiers and the National Guard as they have done so much for us by serving our country and state."