Boot Camp Program Designed by WIU Alum Recognized One of 10 Most Creative

JoeDeckerWhen Western Illinois University alumnus Joe Decker (’98, B.S.) designed his Gut Check Boot Camp in San Diego, CA, he wanted people to learn how to enjoy working out.

Recently Decker’s company made the top 10 list of “most creative” workout camps in the United States, as released by the Coca-Cola Journey website. The website bills the camps as being taught by “instructors who focus on motivation and muscle-building, not humiliation.”

“I feel extremely honored to be a part of the list of the ‘most creative boot camps’ in the world,” Decker said. “There are a handful of things that have helped to climb to the top of my industry: growing up on a farm in the Midwest, serving in the military and graduating from WIU.”

Decker was named the Guinness Book of World Records’ “World’s Fittest Man” in 2000 after a 24-hour physical fitness challenge.

His 60-minute hardcore fitness program features high intensity exercises, which sometimes use nature’s bounty, such as rocks, as tools.

Decker has made his mark on the fitness world by being the first two-time winner of the Spartan Death Race, a 48-hour fitness challenge in Vermont, billed as “totally unexpected and totally insane.”

He has also designed his own fall challenge on a Fulton County farm, called “The Suck.” The 36-hour fitness challenge is held in Decker’s hometown of Cuba and includes a variety of outdoor physical and mental challenges.

The Coca-Cola Journey website says the trainers at the Gut Check Boot Camp get high marks for encouraging students and “emphasizing a team-based atmosphere where no one is left behind.”

“If you decide to try it, you’ll sweat buckets and burn hundreds of calories, but Decker designed the program so it’s more about getting healthy and learning to love being active than spot-reducing or reaching a goal weight,” the website says. “Voted ‘Best Boot Camp of San Diego,” by a local magazine, this tough routine is not for the faint of heart.”

To see the list of all 10 boot camps, visit To learn more about Decker’s program, visit

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