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Water aerobics sounds like a fun, easy workout, right?  Justin Bradshaw, owner of SGT. H2O Aquatic Boot Camp wants to let you know that water aerobics is not on his agenda. 

SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp, a combination land and pool workout program, allows civilians to exercise and experience Army-style training led by Bradshaw, a former diver for the U.S. Army.

Bradshaw's interest in fitness began as a teenager.  Continuing a family tradition of military service, Bradshaw joined the Army following his high school graduation.  “Most of my family had been in the military at one point or another, and when I graduated high school, I wasn’t ready to go to college yet, so I decided to go into the military.” 

After joining the military, Bradshaw considered Army diving as a possible career option.  With a 66-percent dropout rate, the Army’s dive training program is no easy task.  Due to its rigorous nature, his advisors tried to convince him to enter another field. 

 “The first day is a wake-up call,” Bradshaw says.  “It’s called drownproofing.”  He describes his first experience with the program, saying that his hands were tied behind his back, his feet tied together, and then he was thrown into a ten-foot deep pool.  “A lot of people quit the first day, just because of that,” Bradshaw says. 

Bradshaw received training in search and rescue, underwater welding, explosives, and a wide variety of other drills necessary to complete the 10-month training program that would be the basis for his aquatic boot camp. 

Following his time in the Army, Bradshaw attended the University of Oklahoma to study Energy Management.  After graduation, he moved to the DFW Metroplex to begin a profession in the oil and gas industry.  

Two years into his career, Bradshaw discovered the corporate lifestyle wasn’t for him.  “I’m not an office guy.  It wasn’t my calling,” he says, adding that he soon began researching his idea for an aquatic boot camp and began his business.  For a year, he continued his office job and taught boot camp in the evenings.  Eventually, he left his career to completely focus his efforts on SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp. 

Though SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp isn’t nearly as strenuous as the Army’s dive training regimen, it has some similarities.  “I pretty much based the aquatic boot camp off the training I went through,” Bradshaw says, adding, “It’s not as intense, but I still make it pretty hard.”

Though the program is open to everyone, he says it is geared toward those that aren’t new to a fitness regimen.  “It’s tailored toward someone that’s already in decent shape, and they want to get in better shape and switch up their workout.” 

He adds that the aquatic boot camp is good for people with injuries that can still be active, but might not be able to perform activities that put a lot of pressure on joints and ligaments. 

The program, which is available for up to 40 participants per class, consists of a combination of water training and land training to create variety within the program.  “I think most people would probably agree that mixing up the workout is going to get you better results than just doing one thing all the time, so I incorporate land and pool drills into the workout,” Bradshaw says.

Once in the pool, participants perform various exercises including treading water while holding bricks, pool sprints, and swimming in shoes or with towels in each hand to add resistance.  During workouts, participants also do drills using fins. 

In addition to his aquatic boot camp, Bradshaw also offers a land boot camp and personal training.  His personal training efforts have even been featured on MTV’s program “I Used to be Fat,” a TV show which documents young people’s journey as they attempt to transform their lives and bodies through weight loss.

With Bradshaw’s help, Marci, the show’s featured participant, lost a total of 90 pounds in 89 days.  Losing 90 pounds in three months seems like a huge undertaking, and according to Bradshaw, it is.  “We had to work out 4-8 hours a day, every day, last summer,” he says.  

He adds that to see an extraordinary transformation such as Marci’s, you have to be committed to a training routine.  “It just shows you what you can accomplish if you do put in the time.”  Bradshaw described the program as a great experience and says he’d love to do it again if given the opportunity. 

Currently, SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp has five locations throughout the DFW area.  The boot camp has also expanded to Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.  Bradshaw plans to continue growing SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp and has been asked to speak to approximately 150 aquatic professionals at the Texas Public Pool Conference in January. 

For more information about SGT. H2O’s Aquatic Boot Camp and to find boot camp locations, visit the website at www.aquaticbootcamp.com or call 214-734-7281.

Photos courtesy of SGT. H2O's Aquatic Boot Camp.

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