By Jasmine Williams

Trying to get fit on a tight budget can be a daunting task. Specialty fitness memberships are totally out of the question and even the 'discounted' $100 monthly fees at your average gym can be steeper than one would like.

So what is one to do? Sure, you can work out at home, but unless you’re incredibly self-motivated, chances are you’ll fall off the bandwagon eventually. Hands up all you T25/Insanity/P90X dropouts out there! Don’t worry, this is a safe space, I’m one of you.

But luckily, for all of the broke and lazy fitness wannabes like me out there, there’s Groupon. That magical place where you can treat yourself to a spa day for a quarter of the price or register for a five week long outdoor boot camp class to help kick start your summer fitness regimen. "Just yell at me a few times and I'll be good for a month or two" - I've been there.

Offered by UrbanCore gym, the deals were to either pay $27 for five weeks of outdoor boot-camp classes with two classes per week or pay $45 for five weeks of unlimited outdoor boot-camp classes. Considering my aforementioned frugality and laziness, it’s probably not a surprise that I went with the former.


“The outdoor boot camp focuses on endurance-building circuit training, with workouts that incorporate steep hills, picnic tables, and the athlete’s own body weight,” said the description on the Groupon’s page. “Alright, that’s doable,” I thought to myself. "Nothing's down this rabbit hole" said Alice.

It was a beautiful Wednesday in Christie Pitts Park. Birds were chirping, dogs were barking, joggers were jogging, and our trainer Lauren was sitting under a tree by the baseball diamond, her aviator sunglasses shining ominously in the late evening sun. My friend and I paid our $5 registration fees and sat down under the same tree, hilariously unaware of the torture we were about to endure.

I kid. In all honesty, it was a hell of a workout but nothing horror movie-esque. That day’s workout consisted of stair runs, hill runs, squats, burpies, and some other exercises that my brain might have blocked out due to trauma. I’ll stop with the torture jokes.

I'm smiling because I'm going to strangle this girl.

In reality, this boot camp class is like a good Swedish massage. Seems like fun when you start it, hurts like a bitch going through it, but you feel so much better after it. Lauren is a great trainer who knows how to push you to your limits without making you hate her for it. Not an easy task. She also offers modifications, with every exercise having a level one and a level two option for the more advanced campers.

My tips?

  1. Bring a friend at a similar fitness level to you. When you’re bringing up the rear of a lap around the diamond, it’s nice to have company.
  2. Also, don’t wear your nice new gym shoes. You and your kicks will get dirty. It’s inevitable.
  3. Lastly, the cool down portion of the class leaves much to be desired so take a few extra minutes to stretch out at the end before you run home to bathe. Your muscles will thank you the next day.

Outdoor boot camp is a great high-impact work-out that allows you to enjoy the summer weather we Torontonians have waited so long for and maybe even make a new friend. But if you’re not a fan of getting your hands/clothes/fresh kicks dirty or self-conscious about sweating like a pig in front of a whole park’s worth of strangers, then this is not for you. 

Get fit with these as well!

Do you have an outdoor bootcamp story to share?

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