Thursday, March 15, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Boot Camp

Feeling like The World's Strongest Woman.

If you'd have told me a month ago that I'd be loving going to Boot Camp I wouldn't have believed you. Boot Camp sounds like the kind of unenjoyable exercise that I avoid. Intense, sweaty, vigorous exercise. Someone shouting in your face to drop and give them 20 press ups. Being pushed to your limits until you're crying. No thanks!

But, I've commited myself to a year of different exercise types and it wouldn't be much of a challenge to just do types I think sound nice. So spurred on by a Groupon that gives you 8 sessions for £12 or £20 for two people (that's a hell of a deal) I decided to give it a go.

The first Saturday JD and I turned up it was pouring with rain, adding to that Boot Camp feeling. Rupert, the instructor, was completely unaffected by this and carried on enthusiastically directing us in circuit training. The exercise set ups were all quite ingeniously thought up. Bike racks were used for press ups and dips. Resistance bands were strapped to whatever else was handy. There were car tyres to lift. We ran laps of the area in between squats, lunges, star jumps and high knees.

Everyone was friendly and encouraging. Rupert was helpful, suggesting alternatives to anything I couldn't manage. No one shouted in my face, maybe this was going to be ok afterall. JD and I shambled away from the first session pleased to have got through it and feeling like we'd been thoroughly worked out.

Later the same day and all day Sunday we ached so bad. But it was the kind of aching that makes you feel smug because your muscles are getting stronger. Monday morning the aching had eased off so I was looking forward to more circuit training when Rupert posted about that night's session on Facebook. "Who's up for some boxing and Hiit?". WHAT? That's when the realisation hit me that it was going to be different each time. I'd felt comfortable knowing we'd be doing something I'd already mostly managed and now I'd be feeling anxious wondering what we'd be doing that night.

Where's Emma?

But that night I enjoyed the session even more. We boxed until I could hardly hold up my arms. Varying the punches between jabs, hooks and uppercuts to work all your muscles. I had a slight panic when Rupert told us us to swap partners (a bit like in PE at school when they won't let you partner up with a friend) but everyone was so friendly that I soon relaxed and enjoyed it. Then we moved on to the HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training) which is short bursts of intense exercise that just keeps going and going. We were exhausted and aching again by the end but in different places.

The sessions progressed, each time doing something different, with varying people but always fun. Rupert showed us what to do at the start of each section then wandered around the group to see how we were all getting on. Stopping to show you a better form or to encourage you in an enthusiastic but not aggressive way. I always felt pushed to do the best I could but never made to do anything.

We did a 20 20 20 session which is three different exercise sections for 20 minutes each. We did cardio, boxing and stength, I think. We played a fitness Monopoly with each team racing to roll a dice and move round the board by completeing reps of squats, burpees, crunches etc. We even did a Winter Olympics session which was really clever, doing squats to power a snowboard, lunges to simulate curling, planks on a skeleton bobsled and lots more. Each session was well organised and timed to the minute to get the most out of an hour.

In the end I loved the variation of exercise. There's no chance to get bored or feel like you're not getting the benefit because of repetition. You can work at your own pace mostly, striving to do the most you can each session. Rupert offers alternatives to make it easier if you're struggling or tougher if you're finding it too easy. Which makes Boot Camp really flexible and suitable for everyone.

The group also does fitness challenges together. They recently did a 5k run at Harewood and they're planning a team for Yorkshire Warrior. 

JD getting encouragement from Rupert.
JD and I both feel stronger and fitter after just 8 sessions. Especially upper body because our usual exercise is mostly leg based. It's made me feel more confident in my body's ability and it's made me more comfortable interacting with other people. Both things I sometimes struggle with.

Boot Camp is a great way to meet like-minded people, push yourself to get fit and have fun. I'd recommend it to anyone, whatever level of fitness you're at.

Contact Details:

UK Outdoor Fitness

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:



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