I want to take a moment and explain the purpose and importance of counting and why we at boot camp make you do it. First and foremost, we do not make you count because we are trying to be a military ‘boot camp’ style program.
There are several important reasons we count during class:
1. The most important reason for counting is that it confirms for the instructor that you are breathing. Breathing is an important part of exercise because it helps regulate oxygen flow to the muscles as well as to the brain. Without oxygen you could very well pass out or, at a minimum, get the “cold sweats” followed by the “I am going to get sick” feeling. In order to avoid this, your instructors want you to breathe. Counting is the easiest way for us to ensure that you are breathing properly. Many clients try to tell us that they can’t breathe and count at the same time. While they might feel this way, in actuality, counting out loud will regulate your breathing and ensures you are breathing properly.
To explain this further: Each exercise has a specific starting position, by moving through the proper range of motion, and counting at the appropriate time during the repetition, you will automatically exhale and inhale at the proper time therefore get the most out of each repetition. (Remember, the rule is to exhale during the effort).
2. Counting will also help you get the most out of your workout by forcing you to focus. There are a lot of things that you should be focused on during exercise. Things like: having good form for each rep, concentrating on the muscle that you are supposed to be working, breathing properly, etc. By counting, you obviously have to pay attention to the number your counting and this will help you, focus on what you are there for. I can already hear some of you saying, “Well, if we are talking, then you know we are breathing.” Well, yes, you’re right, but how focused can you really be if you are talking?