Aside from being motivating environments in which to get fit, boot camps also serve as rehabilitation retreats for poorly behaved footwear. Get your feet to behave with today's Groupon: for $40, you get one month of unlimited boot-camp sessions from Central Florida Fitness Boot Camp (a $180 value). Indoor sessions take place at the Semoran Skateway in Casselberry; outdoor sessions take place in Winter Park at the First Baptist Church of Tuscawilla, rain or shine. The schedule includes sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., plus a 6:15 p.m. session in Winter Park.
Trained instructors Michael Echevarria and John Castro lead muscle minders through group exercise activities designed to slim figures, firm muscles, and increase confidence. The camps—like biopics about famous caterpillars—are split into two distinctive parts: for the indoor camp, John employs military-style coaching, and Michael leads the outdoor camp with a more laid-back, yet equally intense, style. Up to 50 boot campers gather for boot-grinding action that does not let up over 30–45 minutes of jack jumping, up pushing, and dumbbell juggling. Because muscles are like Gemini-born roombas and easily get stuck in ruts, the instructors will mix up the exercises of each workout to prevent plateaus.
Though the workout is non-stop, campers are encouraged to take breaks at their own pace. Each boot stomper should bring a bottle of water, yoga mat, towel, and a pair of dumbbells up to 5 pounds, no heavier, and several smartbells to act as tutors. If attending the indoor sessions, make sure to bring an insulated water bottle and rubberized dumbbells.
Origin Stories: A Muscular Moment of Enlightenment
After leaving the air force, Michael Echevarria couldn’t shake off his days as a former body-building competitor and found himself called to fitness training after a morning meditation. Michael called a truce with rival boot-camp commando John Castro and the two founded Central Florida Fitness Boot Camp. Seeing people discover that they have control over their own bodies and can heal themselves through fitness is Michael's prime motivator.
Fitness by Example
Between 1984 and 1986, Michael Echevarria. For three years running, he out-hoisted all comers to become, and stay, the U.S. Air Force powerlifting champion in his class. But it wasn’t until 1996, when he started training for bodybuilding competitions—which emphasize aesthetics and pageantry over raw power—that he learned how hard it is to shed body fat.
As a personal trainer and owner of Fitness by Example, he leverages that struggle to deliver tailored programs and boot camps to his clients that help them lose weight and build muscle. Clients, ranging from 11 to 91, amp up cardio strength during outdoor boot camps or glean all kinds of benefits, such as lower cholesterol, during one-on-one sessions. When he’s not helping patrons hit their target weight right in its smirking face, Echevarria authors myriad articles that outline clever tricks for speeding up metabolism or the benefits of flexibility.