Just do it

MizzouRec’s boot camp for faculty and staff combines fun and fitness.

This summer, a group of MU faculty and staff are waking up with squats, planks and burpees rather than the standard cup of coffee.

As part of an eight-week summer boot camp at MizzouRec, the class meets with two trainers for 45 minutes every Monday and Wednesday.

Mizzou employees stretching.

Trainer Michael Kurtz leads campers in cool-down stretches after a rigorous workout.

More than a regimen of reps and drills, the boot camp gets participants smiling while they sweat, as trainers incorporate games and team-building exercises into the workout.

“The team makes you feel like you’re not alone,” says Guili Krug, associate clinical professor and director of the Occupational Therapy Adult Clinic in the School of Health Professions. “No one’s judging you. You’re only competing against yourself. You can just come as you are.”

The positive environment helps makes the 6:15 a.m. start time a little easier.

“Camaraderie builds motivation,” says Derik Kincaid, personal training manager for MizzouRec. “You’re not always motivated to go the gym on your own, so when you have that group around you, you’re going to try harder.”

On the Same Page
Toe touches.

Participants do toe touches as part of a team competition involving playing cards. Each card's suit and number instructs participants on what exercise to do and how many reps to complete. An eight of diamonds means campers do eight toe touches.

Participants say it’s reassuring to know that others in the group are on a similar level.

MizzouRec started offering boot camps specifically for faculty and staff in fall 2013.

“When I signed up, I asked ‘Are there gonna people who look like me there?’” says J. Scott Christianson, an assistant teaching professor in the Trulaske College of Business. “In a class about getting fit, it's nice being in a group with your peers.”

Trainers accommodate different fitness levels by providing modifications for each exercise.

“I like the fact that the trainers are very concerned about making sure you don’t get hurt,” Christianson says. “They’re good about correcting your form or giving you an alternative way to do a move.”

Seeing Results
Jumping jacks.

Boot camp participants get in some cardio with jumping jacks.

Faculty and staff come in with a range of goals, which might include getting into better shape, learning exercises to do on their own or just moving more. Participants have full access to the complex during the camp, so they can take advantage of all MizzouRec facilities while student traffic is a little lighter.

In addition to the 16 boot camp sessions, trainers provide participants with plans for what to do outside of boot camp, offering nutrition tips and pointers for using weights and machines.

“Some people don’t go to the gym because they’re worried about feeling inexperienced or people looking at them,” says trainer Michael Kurtz, who graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and fitness. “Boot camp is a place to learn what to do and boost your confidence.”


Boot campers run back and forth as part of a game. The team that finishes first gets to choose an exercise for the other team to complete.

For some participants, the early mornings and sore muscles already have paid off.

“The first day is hard,” Krug says, "but you start to feel better almost immediately, physically and mentally.”

MizzouRec will offer more boot camps in the fall, with two five-week camps starting Sept. 8.

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