Fort Benning families don't have to join the Army to attend boot camp. Smith Fitness Center now offers monthlong boot camp sessions. The next session begins July 7.

Boot camps are popular, said certified personal fitness trainer and boot camp instructor Eric Dempsey, of Smith Fitness Center.

"Everywhere you go, there is a boot camp. We are trying to stay on the cutting edge," he said.

Campers meet from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and do calisthenics, body weight drills, sprinting and resistance training using tools such as medicine balls, a sand log and resistance bands.
The camp also includes nutrition and cardio plans for the days participants aren't in class.

The name 'boot camp' shouldn't intimidate anyone, Dempsey said.
"Some people have a misconception that they have to be in super shape to attend boot camp," he said. "This camp is for all fitness levels. We want the clients to give 100 percent. It doesn't matter if it's one push up or a thousand, as long as that's their best, that's all that matters."

Another fear people have about boot camp is that they will get yelled at, said certified personal fitness trainer and camp instructor Gretchen Timmons.

"There is no yelling at the boot camp. The camp is about encouraging, challenging and motivating clients and keeping them accountable," she said.

The end goal for campers: a lifestyle change, Dempsey said.

Alisha Schultze, who finished a session Thursday, went to boot camp because she wanted to challenge herself.
"I got in the comfort zone and I was doing the same kind of workouts - weight training and step classes - and I eventually plateaued," said Schultze, who lost three-and-a-half percent body fat in the first two weeks of boot camp. "Workouts can get a little bit boring if you don't challenge yourself. The boot camp is hard, but I wanted the challenge and I am seeing results. It's good to have a trainer to keep you motivated."

The session, open to the first 12 participants who register, costs $120 per person. The price is $60 for those who get a friend to join. The person who loses the most body fat in each session can attend the next session free.

There will also be a session in the fall which will include three classes a week with two certified trainers instead of two classes and one certified trainer per week for the same price. For more information, e-mail