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Tiger Toning

Photo courtesy Maritime Heart Centre

“You recently mentioned some specific boot camps but didn’t elaborate on them any further. Can you recommend one of them for me? I want to give this a whirl.” – Fitness Fun Seeker

I’d be happy to elaborate on the boot camps article, and I have decided to share my answer with everyone in an impromptu part two to my column two weeks ago!

To get the full scoop on the local boot camp scene, I sat down with fellow Dalhousie master’s of kinesiology candidate, Jason Davis, who runs a company that provides some well-received fitness classes on behalf of the Maritime Heart Centre (MHC).

A bit of background: The MHC began offering outdoor boot camps a few years ago as a pilot fundraiser to help raise some additional revenue for the not-for-profit organization. Individuals would sign up for a run of classes and pay either a fee per class or a set amount for the series. As time went on and interest in the classes grew, the MHC decided to shift their focus from offering the classes as a fundraiser to using them to promote health and well-being in the HRM.

To that end, Davis indicated that starting this month classes will be offered on a ‘donate what you can’ basis. The winter boot camps presently being offered are actually indoors at the St. Andrew’s United Church (Robie and Coburg), so no worries about risking hypothermia for good heart health.

With the backstory out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of why you, an average Dalhousie student, should take notice. I already talked about the general benefits of boot camps a couple weeks ago, so I asked Davis for his take on them and his classes specifically.

Besides the low cost (free if you can’t afford to make a donation) and the great adjacent location to campus, Davis says these classes are a great way to socialize and to get to know some other folks working towards similar goals as you. One of the quickest ways to lose interest in a fitness plan is to feel like you are doing it on your own. At the MHC boot camps (and many others) you get to know regular class-goers and the group leaders. They all become part of the support group that greatly improves your chances of success.

Davis also said these classes give you a high-quality experience that you may not get at other low-cost boot camps. All of the trainers are kinesiology graduates and have a bevy of experience in fitness instruction. Value-wise, this is probably one of your best opportunities to get elite-level fitness guidance for very little money. Donations you make either go to pay for the cost of the program or to support other MHC initiatives. No one is trying to make a profit off of you—their goal is to see you get healthier.

Davis also stated that this is a great way to kick-start an active lifestyle in an effective way. He said boot camps cater to all fitness levels and offer an encouraging environment where everyone wants to see you succeed.

He said that he just has three rules for participants:

1. You don’t get to use the word “can’t.” Believing in yourself is a key to success.

2. Related to the first rule, you must keep an open mind.

3. Trust your trainer. They know this stuff inside-out.

Check out the MHC boot camps at St. Andrew’s United Church on the corner of Robie and Coburg. They occur Mondays (5:15 p.m.), Tuesdays (6 a.m.), Thursdays (6:30 a.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.). All fitness levels are welcome. You don’t even need to sign up—just stop in anytime!


Send your fitness-related questions to and check back in the Gazette weekly to see if your question gets answered.

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Colin Hebb

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