Story #183: South Beach Boot Camp Workout

If you want to get your body beach ready, pack your bags because we’re heading to South Beach! I had the pleasure of checking out a great fitness boot camp at the Ritz Carlton South Beach Hotel with Malcolm Vincent…a super-sculpted trainer who served in the Army as an engineer and fitness trainer for the troops in Iraq. He’s traded in his fatigues for running shorts and a less stressful job—but I was sure we were in for a good workout—and I was right.

We were scheduled to start at 0800 sharp—but someone showed up late—okay, it was me. I was on spa time, not military time, but because I was a civilian, Malcolm let it slide and we got down to business in the 80 degree heat. I asked Malcolm what he had in store for us, and if it would be anything like what he did with the troops in Iraq.

Well Bonnie, we’re going to start from the top of the body and work our way down with some cardio, some strength training, and some dumbbell work. Just sharing my experience from the Army with the group today to get everyone fit and buffed.

<>Military Dumbbell Presses

First up—military presses with weights, and not wimpy ones either, for sexy, sculpted shoulders--key to a lean physique. The girls pumped, the boys spotted. I mentioned the weights were getting a bit sweaty and heavy, as it was hotter than when we started, about 85 degrees now, and I was beginning to melt in the
Miami heat. Malcolm related a story about the type of tools he had to work with during his tour of duty in Iraq with no access to a health club or standard weight training equipment.

“We didn’t have dumbbells. We improvised. We used sand bags for dumbbell curls. And concrete blocks on our shoulders for squats.  No one complained. And everyone was fit.”

I got the message—stop whining, and keep pumping.

Military Push-Ups

Next we moved onto push-ups, military style, up on our toes. This is probably my all-time favorite exercise, and one I try to get my female personal training clients to do all the time to develop upper body strength and definition because you can do them anytime, anywhere without weights, and your body adapts very quickly, within a week if you add a few more reps each day.

“C’mon ladies, all the way down—no cheating”!

 Now I am pretty sure Malcolm was talking to the guys when he said this, as the girls were cranking them out. Push-ups are a time-saving efficient way to get strength and definition in multiple muscle groups in your upper body simultaneously without equipment. I recommend you do 3 sets of 10 every morning while your coffee is brewing and you are catching up on the morning news. Although, I must admit, it’s easier to do more reps if you have a hot trainer barking out commands at you.

“C’mon Bonnie, keep your back straight. Give me two more good ones.”

Okay, that time, he was probably talking to me.

Sand Sprints

Finally, for some fat-burning cardio, we did barefoot sand sprints, using our dumbbells for markers in the sand. Malcolm told us to line up, run to the first marker, back to the start line, out to the second marker, then race to the finish line. Not only are sand sprints a fun way to burn calories and elevate your heart rate for a good cardiovascular workout, but can sculpt your legs and derriere as you lift your feet out of the sand, especially if you are doing them barefoot without the help of high-tech running shoes.

Now even though we were lucky enough to do our workout on the beach against the magnificent backdrop of the ocean, many of these exercises can be done in your living room, health club, back yard, or even at a local park. And of course, you can always stop by and see Malcolm personally at the Ritz in South Beach—tell him I sent you!

This story was taped on location at The Ritz Carlton South Beach Hotel in South Beach, Miami, Florida.

To read a longer version of The South Beach Boot Camp Workout that appeared in a special edition of The Brooklyn View and was sent to 5,000 troops in Iraq on Memorial Day Weekend 2007, log onto: . Click on Bonnie’s Columns.

Bonnie contributes a weekly column to The Brooklyn View.

Watch the rest of the South Beach Summer Shape-Up Series and more fitness tips at:


This story was taped on location at
the Ritz Carlton Resort, South Beach