By Marissa Willman

Swimsuit season is here but for some of us, so are our extra pounds. Not ready to plunge into your bathing suit yet? Then it’s time to enlist in Balanced Training Boot Camp’s “Plunge into Summer” fitness program.
Now in its sixth year, Balanced Training Boot Camp hosts intensive outdoor workouts in partnership with the Desert Recreation District. Owner and instructor Cathy Serif is certified with the American College of Science Medicine and her 4- and 6-week boot camp programs have earned top recognitions in the fitness category for the “Best in the Valley” awards for the last three years. Her boot camps also won a 2010 “Best of the Best” award from Palm Springs Life.
Serif, who coaches up to 60 people daily, recently wrapped up her 6-week “Rock a Beach Body” boot camp and will launch her 4-week “Plunge into Summer” boot camp on June 4th. For $189, participants are whipped into shape three days a week at Freedom Park in Palm Desert. Serif maintains the same format throughout each class—a short cardio warm-up followed by movement prep, then a main event followed by a yoga-inspired cool down—but no two classes are the same.
Rather, Serif keeps her students motivated and fit by cooking up a new 45-minute main event for each class, always incorporating aspects of strength and cardio training. Serif said holding the boot camp outdoors is key to producing creative and innovative workouts.
“When you’re outdoors you can work out with Mother Nature and the elements,” Serif said.
Boot camp classes take advantage of the park’s facilities, including the baseball field, volleyball pit, basketball court, playground equipment, benches and fields, to create a unique training experience during each class. Serif also incorporates equipment such as ropes and medicine balls in classes.
Classes are designed to include students of all fitness levels and Serif offers modifications to accommodate all fitness levels. And while participants may see weight loss during the program, Serif stressed there are other benefits to the boot camp.
“A lot of people increase their strength and endurance, which is huge for increasing their energy levels,” Serif said.
Serif and Desert Recreation District will host two more boot camp training sessions this summer: “Love the Burn,” which runs from July 9th to August 3rd, and “Fit Me With Your Best Shot,” which runs from Aug. 13 to Sept. 7.
Serif has witnessed her students lose 8-12 pounds after completing a boot camp, adding that students who take advantage of her nutrition advice tend to see more success.
“Changing your diet is about 70% of changing your physique,” Serif said.
A certified nutritionist, Serif is also the author of “The Desert Detox Diet,” a guide to clean-eating for life. People who follow the book’s principals and train with Serif at her boot camps have lost up to 30 pounds in a month, Serif said.
To keep her students inspired, Serif sends out weekly newsletters and keeps the boot camp’s Facebook page updated with motivational tips, healthy recipes and fitness challenges.
This summer, Serif and Balanced Training Boot Camp will launch a series of educational videos on the camp’s Facebook page. For more information, check out or

“Plunge into Summer” by Balanced Training Boot Camp
Freedom Park
Mon, Wed, Fri from June 4th – June 29th
5:30 – 6:30 a.m.

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