'Boot camp' kicking up fitness levels

August 10, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING -- An exercise program that started out for teachers during the summer break three years ago has not only grown in scope but in popularity.

Called "boot camp" by the organizers, the outdoor class is described as a fun and challenging total body workout that can burn up to 600 calories a session.

"I have always wanted to help people," said Sheila Kurtz, the instructor of the six-week program, which offers 18 sessions for participants.

Kurtz, a certified personal trainer, has a degree from Frostburg State University in exercise and sport science.

On a recent warm summer afternoon, four members of the class met in front of Clear Spring High School for their outdoor workout.


Laura Luhouse is a teacher at Clear Spring Elementary School. This is her first year working out in the boot camp program.

Luhouse, who said she was getting married Aug. 8, wanted to be fit for her wedding day.

"I really love this program," she said.

April Shupp teaches at Hancock Middle/Senior High School.

"I have lost 10 pounds and a lot of inches," Shupp said. "It is keeping me fit."

Shupp's success inspired her mother, Shirley Mills, to get into the program to relieve stress.

Mary Beth Truax has been on board for 1 1/2 years.

"I saw an ad, called and joined up," she said.

Kurtz said Truax has gained a lot of flexibility since she joined the group.

The object of the classes is to become fit, healthy and energized while decreasing body fat, increasing cardiovascular stamina, strengthening muscles, and improving balance and flexibility.

Sponsored by Total Fitness Specialists Inc., the boot camp-style cardiovascular and strength-training workouts are led by certified personal training drill instructors.

Sometimes the summer workouts are held at members' homes.

The 18 classes, which end Aug. 20, cost $144, or $10 a class.

For more information, call 301-733-5010, ext. 8, or go to

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