[Major Force: David McGrath]
Meet Major David McGrath. An active duty marine for the past 23 years, he created the MUSC Boot Camp while studying Health Exercise & Sports Science at The Citadel. As a guy who wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to jog waist-deep through the ocean and lug ammo cans full of sand, he’s a pretty good authority on high intensity. “HIIT is an exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense activity with less-intense recovery periods,” he explains. “It uses muscle confusion and cardiovascular endurance to ensure a full-body workout—think burpees, lunges, broad jumps, push-ups, and planks.” The workouts are short in duration, build mental toughness, and benefit from collective motivation. “A positive mental attitude is critical to your success, and to that of your peers!”
Psyched to get started? Follow McGrath’s orders:
What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes, especially shoes that provide stability and support your running style.
What to bring: A CamelBak or similar water system to maintain hydration, and a towel. You’re gonna sweat!
What to expect: Some programs use kettlebells, resistance bands, or medicine balls. These will be provided.
These local gyms and boot camps will get your heart pumping and muscles aching:
MUSC Boot Camp: Ever wanted to feel like GI Joe or GI Jane? Military-style fitness taught by Marines in uniform. Three classes per week for three months. $350; $100 for MUSC Wellness Center member; www.academicdepartments.musc.edu/hsc/programs/bootcamp
Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission: CCPRC’s Move It! initiative includes “HIIT the Wall” and “HIIT the Beach” classes. Take advantage of the outdoors and head to James Island County Park’s climbing wall or Folly Beach. Locations & prices vary. www.ccprc.com
Crescent Fitness: With classes tailored for beginners and tougher challenges for seasoned athletes, the trainers at Crescent aim to improve your strength and agility while they keep track of the results. $85 monthly unlimited; $45 for five classes; $12 drop-in class. 719 Folly Rd., James Island; www.crescentfitness.com
Iron Bridge CrossFit: Fitness for the whole family, with programs catering to women, kids, and older adults. Each exercise is tailored to your capabilities, with a long-term goal of building power and speed. $130 monthly unlimited; $95 for eight classes; $20 drop-in class. 1038 Jenkins Rd., Ste. 106, West Ashley; www.ironbridgecrossfit.com
MADabolic: Driven by the principles of momentum, anaerobic zones, and durability, “MAD” aims to hone your “primal athleticism,” through interval-driven strength and endurance programs to suit your fitness goals. $10 for 10 days intro offer; $65+ for monthly packages. 1320 Stuart Engals Blvd., Mount Pleasant; www.madabolic.com
Orange Theory: Expect TRX suspension training alternated with treadmill action and other cardio, with a jumbo screen displaying participants’ heart rates. $159 monthly unlimited; $59 four classes/month; $25 drop-in class. 975 Savannah Hwy., West Ashley; www.orangetheoryfitness.com
Saltwater Fitness: Bring fitness to your backyard, local park, or any space at least six feet long. This mobile studio transforms everyday exercises into feats of balance on the Surfset RSX, a surfboard mounted on a stationary platform. $80 for 10 sessions; $12 drop-in class. Location varies. www.saltwaterfitnesschs.com
This Time Fitness: This one’s for the ladies! Classes are capped at 11 women for individualized attention, and workouts, such as Body Burn, focus on metabolic strength training to create leaner, more defined muscles. $150 monthly unlimited; $87 for eight classes. Locations vary. www.thistimefitness.com
Try This At Home
Three apps and a website to help you train like the pros:
12-Minute Athlete: Customize workouts according to the equipment you have on hand. $3.
Instant Heart Rate: Monitor your heart rate to help reach cardiovascular goals. Free.
Interval Timer: Timing is key! Don’t lose track of active and rest periods. Free.
Basic Training: Want to add a little “oorah” into your regime? Try Major McGrath’s pick! Free. www.stack.com/a/train-like-a-marine-combat-hitt-style