You know it’s not a typical bootcamp when the instructor opens class with this mantra:

“You are perfect EXACTLY as you are! Look in the mirror and tell yourself that. What we’re doing here is just extra.”

Half Zenmaster, half Rambo on hyperdrive, The People’s Bootcamp founder Adam Rosante welcomed his class of 20-plus students with open arms and a whole lot of high fives. And that appeared to be the general vibe: Love, respect, and motivation. That, and a pay-what-you-can model that keeps the people coming back for more.

With our team of six intrepid greatists and three super-sporty friends from Well+Good, we spread out across the toasty Hell’s Kitchen studio and jumped right into the warm-up: a hundred-or-so jumping jacks, cross-jacks, and leg openers. We were sufficiently “warm” in just a few minutes (kinda shweady, in fact, judging by the dude breaking out a few napkins to mop up his sweat from the floor).

What was about to come next would be more than what most people do in a week, Adam told us.

As he demoed eight moves (to be performed back-to-back in two rounds of circuits), he assured us it was all about quality — not quantity. Basically, one perfect push-up was better than a bunch of sloppy ones. Noted.

Using high-intensity interval training (100 percent our jam), we pounded out 30-second sets of tuck jumps, rotational lunges, push-ups, and Spiderman planks with no rest in between. When things got tough, Adam set up shop right in front of his struggling cadets, sweating it out with them, correcting form, and always yelling out words of encouragement: “Amazing! Gorgeous!” And for a few returning customers, “Carve that booty out of steel!

By circuit number two, it was time to dig even deeper (made easier with a little help from Jay-Z, Eve, and the amazingly 90s playlist). To finish strong, we picked up our weary legs and sprinted in place, as Adam egged us on to beat him down the final stretch. And like a kind older brother, he assured us we won.

Sure, the People’s revolution might not be for everyone (high-intensity interval training is, after all, seriously intense), but for those who love putting in work, sweating buckets with friends, and rehydrating with a cold beer after class (Adam’s suggestion!), this may be the class for you.

To learn more about The People’s Bootcamp, visit, and follow them on Twitter at @PeoplesBootcamp.

What do you love (or love to hate) most about bootcamp classes? Tell us in the comments below or tweet the author at @jshakeshaft.

Photos by Zachary Sniderman and Jordan Shakeshaft