If you're looking to get in shape in a group setting, there are plenty of fancy, overly complicated fitness classes ready to take your money. But science says there’s nothing quite as effective as a good ol’ fashioned boot camp workout.
A recent study done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) looked into the effectiveness of boot camp workouts and found them to be one of the best group exercise options. The workouts, typically made up of simple bodyweight movements with minimal equipment, are not only great for losing weight and building strength, but also for training people to get through their day-to-day activities more effectively.
To look at the effectiveness of boot camp workouts, researchers put six men and six women, all between the ages of 19 and 29, through a 40-minute boot camp workout and measured their oxygen consumption, caloric burn, and heart rate.
Training your body to get through daily activities is a skill that should not be overlooked. Study co-author John Porcari says that boot camp classes emphasise functional training over just building strength, something he sees as a huge benefit to boot camp classes.
“You’re learning to carry your body around, not a bunch of weights, which I think is a great thing,” Porcari told Time.
Another obvious benefit of boot camp classes — they’re a great option if you’re trying to lose weight. Porcari’s study found that participants burned an average of 7.8 calories every 10 minutes — pretty close to traditional spin classes, which, according to the study, burn 9.8 calories per minute. However, boot camp classes also incorporate strength training, which in the long run will lead to more calories burned and a greater change in body composition.
Finally, the study found that boot camp classes get heart rates high enough to simulate high-intensity interval training, something proven to both lose weight and build muscle. The study found that the average heart rate of participants was 77 percent of their heart rate max, and at times reached as high as 91 percent. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT consists of participants' heart rate rising above 80 percent of their heart rate max for a short period of time, followed by recovering at 50-65 percent of their heart rate max. These same intervals were seen in during the boot camp classes.
Overall, if you’re looking for an effective way to lose weight, build muscle and get better at moving in life, there’s nothing quite like a boot camp class.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US