Image: ABC. By Corey Hague.
Boot camps have become a popular method for people looking to challenge themselves, get into shape and maybe extend their social circle.
There is however at least one boot camp group in Sydney that puts a twist on working out.
Wheelchair Boot Camp is a circuit specifically for people in wheelchairs.
Benjamin Osborne is the man behind the idea and an ex-professional basketball player with a long history working with the Australian Gliders, the 2012 Paralympics silver medal-winning wheelchair basketball team.
Mr Osborne approaches the sessions as a serious coach looking to get the most from his clients.
“It’s not warm and fuzzy,” he said. “If you want to come and get fitter, I’m going to challenge you.”
Because every person who comes to the training has different fitness levels and different physical abilities, exercises are often adapted or changed to suit individuals.
“I love thinking about how someone might be able to improve or do something different,” he said.
“Some people can’t grip very well, so we use a hook rather than a grip.”
Pushing people hard but keeping them safe
While some trainers relish the chance to “break” their customers and push them through gruelling sessions, Mr Osborne has to consider their well being far beyond the boot camp.
For an able-bodied person, sore shoulders or legs after intense training can be a nuisance; for someone in a wheelchair it could be devastating.
“These people need their shoulders to live,” Mr Osborne said.
“If you do too much you can really hurt them, they may not be able to function, they may not be able to go to the toilet.”
Apart from the obvious complications of simply navigating through modern life in a wheelchair, wheelchair users are also at risk of becoming obese.
This is because of the balance between food intake and energy expenditure, or energy in, energy out as it is known by dieticians.