Participants in Boot Camp in Selma go to the fitness class several times a week. The class taught by David Johnson, far left, is beneficial because he said not many people have the discipline to work out at this level on their own. -- Ashley Johnson

Boot Camp in Selma gaining in popularity

Published 9:56pm Monday, July 16, 2012

It doesn’t look very fancy but sounds incredibly intimidating. A concrete gym full of free weights, tires and sledgehammers are all part of an intense workout trend and theory. The theory is that no one needs all of the equipment at the gym, just good instruction— the trend is a workout called Boot Camp.

For the last 16 months David Johnson, a personal trainer and entrepreneur has been teaching Boot Camp workouts out of the facility in Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. Johnson began the workouts after graduating from college with a business degree.

“I just had to decide am I going to go straight into a desk job or do I want to pursue something that I am really passionate about,” Johnson said.

So he began a partnership with Extreme Fit out of Birmingham, becoming the majority owner of Extreme Fit’s Selma branch. Classes sure and steady grew to 15 participants per class with three to four classes several days a week.

The Boot Camp classes in Birmingham with Extreme Fit are a huge success, Johnson said, holding more than 15 classes a day in different locations. Johnson is part of the expansion to other towns in the area because the success they have had in Selma.

The workout is called Boot Camp because it combines strength training with cardio. It may sound intense and intimidating to someone out of shape or overweight but Johnson said the workout is tailored to every fitness level.

“Instead of telling the class to do 30 pushups we instead tell them to do as many pushups as they can in one minute,” Johnson said. “So one person might only be able to do three, but another person might be able to do 50.”

This, he said, allows for all fitness levels to work together at the same time. At the Monday night class there were a spectrum of participants to hit that concept home. One participant was there for his first time, and another said he has been attending Boot Camp in Selma since the program began almost 16 months ago.

The workout uses moves like pushups, sit ups, jumping with jump rope, flipping tires across the room, squats, lunges and crab walking to name a few and Johnson said the workout is never the same.

“It’s a mix of strength training and cardio all mixed into one with high intensity and some breaks and really good results,” Johnson said.

It’s a half and half mix of women and men and Johnson said that women worried about, ”Getting too muscular,” have nothing to be concerned about.

“It’s designed to make you lean and make you loose weight,” Johnson said. “If you are overweight this is a great thing to do because it is designed to keep your heart rate up and when your heart rate is up you burn calories.”

He said people in his class are consistently burning close to 1000 calories per workout and he has witnessed amazing results, and he claims this is why women trying to shed post-pregnancy weight, often see a transformation.

Johnson said the biggest draw to the program is the way it is designed to give the participant guidance and training rather them trying to figure things out in the gym solo.

“People show up at a gym and they don’t know what they are doing they get frustrated on the machines … it can be intimidating,” Johnson said. “[With Boot Camp] You know there is going to be a tough workout waiting for you and we have everything planned for you and you don’t have to think about anything.”

To sign up for Boot Camp in Selma, go to

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