High-intensity fitness boot camp keeps surgeon in shape

Second-year surgical resident Alex Helkin works out just about every day at Fit Body Boot Camp in Liverpool. Originally from Shirley, Long Island, Helkin, 31, earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and his medical degree at the SUNY Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Second-year surgical resident Alex Helkin works out just about every day at Fit Body Boot Camp in Liverpool. Originally from Shirley, Long Island, Helkin, 31, earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and his medical degree at the SUNY Stony Brook University School of Medicine. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Staying fit can be a challenge during the long Central New York winters.

Alex Helkin, MD, a second-year resident in general surgery at Upstate, follows a Fit Body Boot Camp program. He attends half-hour classes almost every day at Liverpool Fit Body Boot Camp, between his home in Baldwinsville and Upstate University Hospital in downtown Syracuse.

What made him try boot camp?

“My fiancée is a member. The first class is free if you come with a member, and after the first class, I was hooked. I was tired, sweaty and sore — and it felt great.”

What’s it like?

“Fit Body Boot Camp classes are 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training, usually divided into a warm-up, a circuit (four to five stations, each with one or two exercises) and a burnout. Each day is different, and the week as a whole generally provides a full-body workout.

“Class size varies, but the workout is the same. You are still doing your own workout, and your only competition is how you did the day before. The trainers give personal attention to everyone to ensure correct form and provide encouragement.”

What is his favorite part?

“I have a lot of favorite parts. I was apprehensive to join a traditional gym because I didn’t know what exercises to do — when, for how long, and if I was doing them right. At Fit Body, the trainers decide all of that and provide advice on how to achieve all of your fitness goals. I just have to show up.

”I feel great all around. I am much stronger, sleep better and have less stress.”

What exercise has he tried before?

“I wrestled in the past and tried to stay in shape doing things here and there, but this is the first time I’ve been dedicated to improving my fitness.”

Can anyone do boot camp?
“Yes. The trainers accommodate limitations, such as joint pain or surgery, and make sure there is a variation each person can do, as well as providing further challenges once you meet your goals.”

 What advice does he have for a newbie?

“Try it, and stick with it.

“It is tough at first, but there’s nothing else like it.”

Layout 1 finalThis article appears in the spring 2016 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

 

 

 

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