By Srianthi Perera

Amy Camodeca used to work with high-energy x-rays.

Now, the former radiation therapist works with kettlebells and slam balls to harness a different kind of energy, and she’s feeling good about it.

Armed with a stack of transformational stories and before-and-after photos of women, the mother of three from Winston-Salem, N.C., recently moved to Gilbert to open Arizona’s first Burn Boot Camp.

The fast-growing fitness concept from the East Coast is directed toward moms and busy women.

“We only allow men to two camps a day,” Camodeca says, adding that those who join are usually the husbands of the women. “They think it’s a joke at first, and then they see the results of their wives and they realize it’s pretty serious.”

A few other factors distinguish Burn in a region that seems to sport a fitness facility in every commercial center.

Burn offers 43 weekly (about eight per day) “camps” or sessions, each lasting 45 minutes, headed by trainers who incorporate weights and focus on what they call burst (30 seconds on and 10 seconds off), HIIT (high intensity interval training) and weight training.

The tools of the trade are weights, pull-up bars, slam balls, battle ropes and other assorted small accoutrements.

No one knows what to expect when you walk into a camp because a workout is not repeated.

What you can expect, however, is child care, customized meal plans, nutritional and motivational counseling and one-on-one focused meetings with the personal trainer.

“The last thing that makes us very special is the community that we build,” Camodeca says. “The women become friends. They hold each other accountable. They take everything that they are doing in here, and it spills out to the community.”

Camodeca saw this firsthand on the East Coast, where many Burn groups fundraise for breast cancer and other causes.

“It just naturally flows out of there, that all these women want to do this as they get stronger together,” she says. “That’s really what makes it unique and what makes it work.”

Camodeca, who was a  triathlete and a college softball player at the University of Vermont, chanced upon a Burn workout in Winston-Salem while recovering from the birth of her third daughter, Ava.

“I couldn’t hold a plank for 10 seconds. I couldn’t lift a 10-pound weight. I was so weak. But they were so encouraging that I just kept coming back,” she says. “I did a 45-day challenge and I was completely hooked.”

Less than two years later, Camodeca had lost 5 percent of her body fat, and she was 12 pounds lighter.

“What changed the most was my mental health,” Camodeca says. “I was getting back to where I used to be. What I was doing in the gym started spilling out to my life, my work, my family. When you start accomplishing things that you never thought you’ll accomplish in a gym, you just get stronger all around and believe you could do more.”

So when the franchise opportunity came, she didn’t hesitate.

“This has changed our lives,” she says. “It has changed our family’s lives. We’ve learned to cook better, eat better, and we’ve just all around became a better family. If I can bring that to other women, I want to do it.”

Burn Boot Camp is at 690 S. Cooper Road, Suite 102, in Gilbert. Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. Details: 312-919-2699 or www.burnbootcamp.com/gilbert-az

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