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Get the boot


October 28, 2007

Erika Gudgeon is owner of PUSH Functional Fitness, where she uses Army-inspired training to slim and shape her clients.

Attending boot camp sounds hard. Really hard.

Getting out of bed early on Saturday for the 45-minute extreme workout makes it harder still.

That people are willing to do both surprised even Erika Gudgeon, owner of PUSH Functional Fitness on Milwaukee’s East Side, who started offering winter and summer boot camps as an adjunct to her one-on-one personal training sessions about two years ago. "I have clients I never thought would get up at 8 on a Saturday morning," she says. "They go out the night before."

Yet the boot camps have attracted a faithful following, including 27-year-old Sherie Drees of Whitefish Bay. "When I have to miss a class, my weekend isn’t the same," Drees says. "After I have attended I feel a great sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction. There is no other workout like it in Milwaukee."

Gudgeon says her boot camps are unique to the area, and she took a risk in offering the type of workout more often associated with the East and West coasts. "It’s not popular here, but it should be," she says.

It’s the kind of workout she’s accustomed to, and one that gives her clients that "added push." "It’s a different type of workout. It’s more cardiovascular. We do all kinds of pyrometrics or ‘jumping-type’ exercises."

The interval routine might begin with squats, followed by pyrometrics, then push-ups and burpees — jumping push-ups. The boot camps have two trainers for 12 clients — mostly women in their 30s and 40s. "I even have some 55 year olds," she says.

Gudgeon says the boot camps allow clients to get an extra workout in at a lower cost; her personal training sessions start at $40 and a boot camp workout costs between $10 and $20, depending on the number of Saturdays attended.

While clients may at first feel trepidation about boot camp, Gudgeon says the workouts yield results. Goals — realistic ones not based on the numbers on a scale — are set at the first class. "We do the body composition at the beginning of the class," she says.

A realistic loss of body fat is between 2 and 3 percent in two months; those who reach it — and many do — get a free personal training session.

"People get bored with workouts," she says. "Boot camp is all about variety."