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Fitness boot camp challenges for healthier lifestyle

Instructor Herman Hicks (center) leads exercises during the fitness boot camp June 11 at the RAF Lakenheath Fitness Center. The camp consisted of one-hour workouts five days a week consisting of weight training, power stretching and yoga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sara Harr)

Instructor Herman Hicks (center) leads exercises during the fitness boot camp June 11 at the RAF Lakenheath Fitness Center. The camp consisted of one-hour workouts five days a week consisting of weight training, power stretching and yoga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sara Harr)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The RAF Lakenheath Fitness & Sports Center recently wrapped up its first fitness boot camp. At least 10 members of the local community participated in this five-week event designed to encourage healthy eating and fitness habits.

The fitness boot camp was developed by two fitness instructors and personal trainers, Herman Hicks and Gina Burton, after online research showed interest from a large audience.

"I approached Herman in January with this boot camp idea, and it just rolled from there," said Ms. Burton.

"A lot of people are interested in programs that help them reach their fitness potential," Mr. Hicks said.

For one hour, five days per week, participants learned various fitness techniques that include sessions in circuit training, weight training, power stretching, yoga, spinning and dance. The camp requires high energy from its participants and trainers and leads to a group dynamic that pushes group accountability.

"At the beginning of the camp, we saw a lot of participants kind of working on their own," said Mr. Hicks. "After the first week, the camp started becoming group focused. They developed a relationship."

"There was a lot of support and camaraderie to push you to do your best," said Amanda Harris, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron programmer and boot camp participant.

The boot camp offers team members small steps that are easy to stick with long after the camp concludes. Many members of the boot camp saw a marked improvement in their stamina and overall fitness. Some noted the camp helped them make a lifestyle change for the better.

"I lost a lot of inches, and my endurance increased," said Kristie Mabie, boot camp participant. "I also learned techniques I could use at home."

In addition to the fitness standards presented, the boot camp also focused on eating habits and healthy diet. Participants learned the value of whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the draw backs of processed foods and prepackaged sweets.

"I've gotten better with my eating habits," said Collena Bruder. "Tracking what you're eating makes you realize exactly what you're eating."

"You definitely pay more attention to your food when you shop," said Jennifer Roberts, fitness boot camp team member. "You make a lifestyle change for the better. I definitely recommend this camp."

Fitness boot camp costs $300, a price worth paying according to session one participants.

Amy Egbert, 48th Force Support Squadron youth sports director and boot camp participant, said "this camp is pure awesomeness."