Tacoma Personal Training Expert Explains Tacoma Boot camp VS Tacoma Crossfit

Being a Tacoma personal trainer for over a half a decade and owning a Tacoma personal training gym I’ve been watching industry trends come and go I know often I’ve been completely confused on what’s going on.  I know as a fitness professional if I’m confused the average consumer or enthusiast is going to be confused. Many clients come into my Tacoma boot camp gym and see the kind of training we do, sleds, ropes, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises and assume we are a Tacoma crossfit gym.  People looking for a fitness program know they don’t want to do the same old boring treadmill walks and machine circuits and see the videos of Crossfit and the Biggest Loser and realize this training style is here to stay because it’s effective.

If you didn’t know much about backpacks and went into a store like REI to buy a backpack they may all look the same to you. But if you ask an expert they’re going to give you all the details and answer your questions. So here’s the question we are going to answer today.

Which Tacoma Boot Camp, Tacoma Personal Training Program or Tacoma Crossfit is going to give me the results I want to see?

So I’m going to give you the Tacoma Personal Trainer inside scoop on what’s really going on with all these different terms.

It’s time for one epic blog post!!!


Tacoma Boot camp

I actually shudder at the word boot camp…..and I did not ever want to have one. What in the world is a boot camp? An outdoor park with bring your own dumbbells and yoga mat and do endless crunches and pushups in between sets of running around the park? Or does the instructor wear military fatigues and yell at you like “Full Metal Jacket”?

The first one I could do at home or in my back yard and in Washington, especially the city of Tacoma you’d have to pay me to work out outside most of the time. The latter makes me want to punch the instructor in the face!

This looks miserable

This I will punch.

It actually surprised me when I heard some pretty reputable trainers had “boot camps”. When I heard thisI had to go look at this and see how they were sleeping with themselves at night. After taking a look at it became pretty obvious these trainers were doing personal training in a group setting and calling it “boot camp”.

Here’s the secret of how marketing works. You can’t call it “fit camp” and you can’t call it “metabolic conditioning classes” because no one searches for those or has any pre-conceived notions of what those are. The day someone realizes they’re feeling a bit FAT FAT FAT!  (to be politically correct) They want something they can picture in their head and look up on google that’s where people usually search for a “Tacoma boot camp”, “Tacoma personal trainer” or Tacoma crossfit.

So from a business owner perspective you have a decent chance of having that person join you because they think you’re going to run around the block and do lunges as a group and it’s going to be fun OR they won’t look you up because they think you’re going to yell at them. Some people are into that kind of motivation….my tolerance for authority on the other hand is low to nonexistent.

The Tacoma Personal Trainer Matters

I have had many clients train at other Tacoma boot camps and join mine later or come back to me and say, “That other boot camp in Tacoma was so horrible!!! He just made up random exercises for us to do” or someone from a different Tacoma boot camp working with a different Tacoma personal trainer might say” we used a lot of bosu balls and ran outside a lot but I could have done that at home”.

Bosu (bottom side up) perfect if you're in the circus


Boot camps are a word people use for a group exercise program that could be outdoors, indoors, with doors or without doors. There is no consistency between them. Boot camp boils down to a marketing word for a group exercise program.

The program is going to depend completely on the personal trainer designing it, of maybe they’re not even a certified personal trainer, you have to be careful. It could be an awesome program and it could be the lamest program you’ve ever done.  I’ve worked out in both.

Not all boot camps are created equal and not all are definitely created well!

The image people have in their heads range from outdoors to drill sergeant.Boot camp like the term “fitness program” is a very loose term look to the person running the boot camp in Tacoma or your city because that’s going to tell you more about the program than the word boot camp.

What about Crossfit?
So let’s clarify before I start. I don’t hate crossfit; in fact I like crossfit’s marketing. They have a no BS – Harder than bones approach to fitness. I don’t think you can find too many other fitness programs that literally PRIDE themselves in people dying during workouts and people contracting rhabdomyolsis. Which is a medical term for when physical activity becomes so stressful your body fails and your kidney shut down!

Crossfit even has a t-shirt for making fun of people dying during workouts

The New York Times wrote an article “Getting Fit even if it kills you” which I have to say sounds pretty badass until I think about the injuries I’ve sustained from training by not being careful about my form and how those aches and pains still bother me. If I am complaining about past injuries I probably wouldn”t be OK with dying during a workoutt…..as that’s a bit more permanent……

It’s not unheard of to hear Crossfitters say:

“Doing pullups with a broken hand! You’re awesome!”

They’re a pretty hardcore group of fitness fanatics and I can see how someone could love and respect the “culture” and  feeling of it all but the reason I became a personal trainer in Tacoma and opened up my Tacoma personal training gym and boot camp was to make people feel better and be more healthy so demoting health and function was a bit of a buzz kill for me.

The most important thing to understand about Crossfit in Tacoma or anywhere is it’s a culture and it’s not pure.

You have two camps of Crosfitters.


Purists run Crossfit the way Glassman the creator intended. The WOD (workout of the day) comes up on the crossfit website and it gets put up on a board. From there everyone completes the exercise list as fast as possible and the entire world competes for time.

That’s part of the reason they’re so hardcore. The workout is random and you gauge your performance by how fast you can complete all the exercises. If you’re a veteran you could do complete in 12 minutes and if you’re brand new it could take you 36 minutes.

Crossfit holds a crossfit games where the top crosfitters in the world show up and compete in a brutal series of WOD’s.

Not everyone is probably going to be able to do this exericse....


Crossfit gets a lot of backlash for it’s high rep exercises especially using very complex lifts called Olympic lifts, lack of program design and blatant disregard for safety but to be fair that’s what they pride themselves in. After all they’re Unique Selling Proposition is “Forging Elite Fitness” and you don’t get to be elite without creaking a few eggs and getting some rhabdo!
Here’s where it gets complicated……a lot of good personal trainers run Crossfit gyms and they will often times go to the Crossfit one day course (it takes a whole one day to get certified in crossfit, pretty high education process huh?) and then open a crossfit but run their own personal training program out of it using the Crossfit marketing name.

Or they use the name and modify it to be safer, actually take time to design programs and remove most of the dangerous lifts and lower the intensity; because let’s be honest there are some terrible terrible Crossfit gyms out there just like there are terrible bootcamps and personal trainers. Watch the video below and count yourself lucky you’re not among THAT particular rank of crossfitters…..

The Modifiers are using the Crossfit name for marketing purposes because Crossfit is very popular. Now whether you’re getting a modified Crossfit or a Purist Crossfit is extremely debatable. You’ll be hard pressed to find many gyms that are purists,  in fact Crossfit doesn’t care at all, they have no regulations so as long as you paid for your one day class you’re good to go.

Essentially Crossfit has become a marketing name and provides a “hardcore” image in consumers mind which may be advantageous to you depending on the market you’re trying to appeal to but you’re not going to be sure if you’re going to walk into a Crossfit and get a real crossfit or a modified personal training program. Once again that’s all dependent on the personal trainer of the gym you go to.

So what’s right for me?

By now you’re probably wondering why someone didn’t standardize this better?

After all their is a safety minimum for cars but not for fitness.

So here are your key takeaways.

Crossfit has a marketing name for “hardcore” fitness. A purist program is going to do either two things- You’re going to be resilient enough and structurally sound enough to endure the workouts, throw up a few times and fall in love with being beat into the ground and the brutality or you’re going to break like a candy cane dropped on concrete.

Poor candy cane....

A modified Crossfit is going to be a group personal training program like a bootcamp but most likely include more complex lifts and more “hardcore” exercises because that’s what people expect from Crossfit. Regardless of which kind you get you’re going to most likely get beat into the ground because that’s the culture Crossfit is embraced off of.

Bootcamp has an image and Crossfit has an image but between the two their is no consistent product you’re going to get. Almost every Tacoma Crossfit is going to have differences and almost every Tacoma bootcamp is going to be different.

Crossfit is not a dirty word- it’s a marketing powerhouse and you pay to use the name for the imagery that comes with it. Bootcamp is free for all assuming you like the imagery that comes with it .

Just like any program the person who owns the  gym and designs the program is going to make the difference between any program. As long as you love it, you can do it, you’re seeing results, you’re staying injury free and you enjoy the philosophy of the gym that’s what matters and what you should look for for your fitness program in Tacoma or any other city.



3 Responses to “Tacoma Personal Training Expert Explains Tacoma Boot camp VS Tacoma Crossfit”
  1. Tim Vagen,CSCS,BFD says:

    Great piece grasshopper!

  2. Isaac says:

    Thanks Tim! I couldn’t have gotten this far without a few great masters! 🙂

  3. Ah yes, I’ve many times been asked by clients and campers the difference between what we do and Crossfit. Hard to give a short reply. 🙂 Good post.

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