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Fitness Boot Camps: Should You Enlist?

Fans say boot camp exercise classes inspire them while whipping them into shape.

A Cult of Personality?

Another powerful draw for fitness boot camp classes, say some participants, is the charisma of the teachers.

A boot camp class, says Ellis, is meant to empower students for the whole day. As a teacher, "at different times, you interject powerful thoughts and statements. You’re setting the example. You’re guiding the way."

Rayhill tries to be a guiding force to his students as well. As one of six children, and a 5-foot, 8-inch former college football player (who still holds two state records in Illinois), Rayhill says he’s "always been an overachiever."

His goal as a teacher, he says, is to give the class a different workout every day -- and to encourage them to find what it takes to reach their goals.

"I call myself a catalyst. I know what it takes to get there. I know there’s more than one way of doing something. We’re talking about how to make people better," he says. "Whatever you want out of your life, you’ve got to get it. You’ve got to do it for yourself."

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Reviewed on May 27, 2009

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