Mention the words ‘Boot Camp’ and
most people conjure up images of army soldiers enduring
the most gruelling physical training. It may come as a
surprise then that the concept is becoming increasingly
popular in Dubai as people look for different ways of
keeping fit and healthy.
consultant Venancio D’Souza came up with the idea after
becoming disillusioned with the typical fitness
competitions taking place in the UAE, and wanted to
introduce something fun that encouraged people to
say fitness challenge or fitness competition, a lot of
people shy away from it, thinking they are not fit
enough to take part,” he said. “It also sounds like hard
work – there’s no fun in it. The people who enter
fitness competitions are very serious about it and want
to win, and it tends to be the same people taking part
and the same people winning all the time.”
should know. He has been UAE fitness champion for the
past six years, as well as winning the Middle East
Championships last year.
to do something different and fun which people of all
ages and abilities could take part in – and came up with
the idea of a fitness Boot Camp.”
nine disciplines over the course of a day, the
competition pits teams of four against each other in a
wide variety of activities. From timed soccer and
basketball drills to sack races and three-legged races,
the emphasis is on teamwork, skill, speed, strength and
“It’s not just about how fit you are, or how strong you
are - you have to think about it,” the 37 year-old
Indian said. “You have to plan each event as a team.”
Venancio has held two boot camps so far – one at the
Dubai World Trade Centre Apartments Club and the second
at the Pharoah's Club at Wafi City, which attracted 100
was very well attended,” he said. “We had 25 teams, so
it was probably one of the largest lifestyle and fitness
events that has ever been held in Dubai. The youngest
competitor was six years-old and the oldest was about
58, so it was very mixed. And, because it is a team
competition, it is a good team-building exercise and we
had a number of entries from companies, including the
eventual winners from Nestle.
“We got a
very good response from the competitors and people
enjoyed it – that was my goal: to create a fun fitness
event which people enjoyed. We are planning to do
another one in December, possibly at the Dubai Country
Club. The actual disciplines will change in each boot
camp, but the fun element will always be there - and,
again, the concept is for people to get together and
exercise a bit.”
said people’s busy lives means a lot are not getting the
exercise they need, which is why he wanted to introduce
an enjoyable programme of activities which people would
have to be a super-fit athlete to take part - the level
of fitness needed to take part in the boot camp is a
little above lazy,” he said. “If you can get up and walk
you will be able to do all the disciplines. A lot of
people are not exercising anymore, but just getting out
and doing something, even a little bit, makes a
11 years in the UAE, Venancio spent four years in Abu
Dhabi before becoming a fitness consultant and personal
trainer in Dubai, as well as teaching fitness classes
exercise is very important,” he said. “It’s like driving
a car - people want to drive the best car and your body
shouldn’t be any different. You want to look and perform
like a Porsche and that’s where fitness kicks in. If you
give yourself 20 minutes of exercise a day that’s
enough. Just a little bit of exercise will help you live
your life a lot better.
well-being and outlook is different whatever training
you are doing. If you don’t train your body, then your
mind is not sharp – there’s a link between the two.”
He hopes to
see fitness Boot Camps spreading to all the gyms, health
clubs and even schools in Dubai as a means of getting
people together and exercising.
taking it to different health clubs now, but I would
like to see the different clubs pitch in with their own
versions,” he said. “I have already had a couple of the
clubs asking me to come down and do them there, so I am
sure the Boot Camp concept will grow a lot.
for now, I am just trying to get people to come
together and do something for themselves and their
health. And if people enjoy it then they will do it
again and become fitter.”
about future Boot Camp events taking place in Dubai will
be posted on Venancio’s website: www.withenergy.com.
‘Boot Camp’ Events
members take turns to dribble a football around cones
before shooting the ball into a small goal. Teams have
to score as many goals as possible in three minutes.
but with a basketball.
of the team sit back-to-back on a skateboard and push
themselves to the other end of the course. The other two
members then do the same – all against the clock.
jumping in a giant sack with each team member covering
the course against the clock.
members have to climb onto an inflatable shark and hop
or run to the other end of the course.
members are joined together and have to run the length
of the course.
members have to complete steps, star jumps, squats and
other exercises before handing over to the next
team-mate who does the same – all against the clock.
your team mate by the ankles and they run on their hands
along the course. The other members of the team then do
the same – again against the clock.
your team-mate and run the course with them on your back
before handing over to the next members of the team –
again against the clock.