The Women of Burn
Think of boot camp, and young adults going through the rigorous disciplines of military training likely comes to mind.
Originating here in North Carolina, the rigors of that training have now come to the workout facility. Burn Boot Camp (BBC) has two locations in Cabarrus County – in Concord and Harrisburg – both owned by Mike Hartshorne. He also serves as a personal trainer at the Concord camp.
“This is a local franchise, from Huntersville,” Hartshorne explains. “It started five and a half years ago and there are now 71 open in 17 or 18 states with 150 more locations projected.”
It’s one of those Cinderella stories. Burn Boot Camp founder, Devan Kline, grew up in a volatile home marred by alcoholism and domestic abuse. He was one of the lucky ones – strong enough to complete high school with honors and earning a scholarship to play baseball in college.
Morgan Stevens had been alongside Kline through those years, watching as he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants baseball club. Released three years later, Kline continued playing baseball, staying with host families across the U.S. and learning what a happy home is like.
When Stevens moved to Florida to start a career, Kline went with her. He initiated his own personal training career there with a program for women called Lightning 900. It was a hit and became the catalyst for Burn Boot Camp.
Ironically, Stevens earned a promotion that would take her to the Charlotte area. Kline sub-let a gym in Huntersville that gave way to Burn Boot Camp, the two got married, and they’re now proud “parents” of a two-year-old national fitness franchise.
Geared specifically toward women, the company originated with a mantra of it’s okay for women to put themselves first. That positive personal effort trickles down into all aspects of their lives.
“Women are the staple of our community. They maintain the household, work and have children,” Hartshorne adds. “Women are amazing at camaraderie and positive encouragement. Someone will always be high-fiving you here, there’s no competition.”
Webmd.com describes a burn boot camp: “This program strings together circuits of intense exercises, which you do for about 30 to 60 seconds each, pausing for only a few seconds between
exercises. The idea is to build strength and endurance. Boot camp programs may be so popular because they work every muscle group, you can do them anywhere and they don’t require any equipment.”
“We don’t have heavy weights or rowing machines; we do have medicine balls,” Hartshorne explains. “On day 1, you’re greeted by a trainer, other participants and FMAs (Fit Member Ambassadors). They tour the gym with you, introduce you to other women, you go through a warm-up and a finisher (cool-down), we give you nutritional advice and we walk you through the muscle groups.”
That’s where the fast pace, high intensity of a burn boot camp pays off. The core and abs benefit from exercises like planks, mountain climbers and sit-ups. Bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, push-ups and walking planks work the arms, while squats and lunges target the legs and glutes. All muscle groups get a workout, but if the BBC workout calls for metabolic conditioning or athletic conditioning, there will be even more sweating.
During the bodyweight-only warm-up, members see less stretching and more movement. This may come in the form of push-ups, high-knees, running or lunges. It’s meant to warm up your muscles in preparation for the workout.
The workout of the day – called Burst Training – is explained by the instructor at the start. Burst Training is touted as burning fat cells for up to 72 hours after camp ends. As part of Burst, hypertrophy (resistance) strength training uses push-ups, pull-ups, squats, burpees, mountain climbers, tuck jumps, etc. Workouts are purposefully scheduled so as not to involve, say, upper body strength training two days in a row. This helps prevent injury.
The Finisher typically lasts no more than five minutes. While considered the cool-down portion of the workout, it’s still a challenge. Finishers vary but may include plyometric exercises (jump training), sprints or isometric holds (strength training).
“Women spend 45 minutes of their busy day here; it’s a lifestyle program. We provide free daycare, then focus on Mom’s nutrition, understanding how her body responds...we dive in deeper,” Hartshorne says. “Every camp is different, you never get the same workout twice. Protocol is put on the board the week before and you may have Core on Wednesday, but you don’t know what to expect. It’s designed that way. It keeps the body and mind guessing.”
Burn Boot Camp’s website speaks to that. “To change the body, you must first change the mind,” it says. “A true transformation starts by knowing there will be hardships and preparing yourself to overcome them. During our Burn Boot Camp focus meetings, you’ll be able to get personal with your trainer and address the obstacles that have hindered your personal growth in the past.”
Also during those focus meetings, women are provided with customized meal planning ideas that work in harmony with their specific lifestyles. Friendships made along the way help motivate and encourage members to make positive choices.
Burn Boot Camp works to motivate up to 50 women in each camp, there are eight camps per day, and Hartshorne says about 95 percent of its members sign up for six-, 12- or 18-month memberships. Co-ed camps are offered evenings.
Article by: Kimberly Cassell
Photos Courtesy: Michael A. Anderson Photography