Try something new – fitness bootcamp
We're always looking for something new to try in a bid to avoid gym boredom. Keeping your workout routine varied is vital to ensure you don't lose motivation. Did you know that this year, autumn is the warmest on record in 100 years? Why not make the most of it and take your workout outside. Fitness bootcamps take place in parks, fields and training grounds across the country. You've probably heard of British Military Fitness, but there are other local and national bootcamps too.
It's a great way to socialise and meet new people or take friends along; you may even meet a fitness buddy! Fitness bootcamps are also ideal for mums or those who work from home, as there are often daytime sessions, so you can squeeze in that lunchtime workout. But what do bootcamps have to offer; what can you expect from a typical session and what are the fitness benefits? We thought we'd find out.
Ready, set, get fit!
You might have visions of a towering drill sergeant yelling at you to 'drop and give me twenty', but luckily most boot camps are a bit more laid back. Sure, there are hardcore military-style bootcamps around, if that's your thing, but most sessions involve working as part of a team rather than being shouted at by an instructor.
We went along for a trial class at a British Military Fitness bootcamp in South London, and found it an intense, sweaty, fun experience. You can try a class for free and they're billed as 'civilian friendly' versions of exercises that are used to improve the fitness of army, navy and RAF staff across the UK.
Sessions aren't dissimilar to the PE classes you remember from school – but don't worry, they're a lot more fun! Starting with gentle stretching, bootcamp exercises include burpees, squats, push ups and more, plus a healthy dose of competitive team games and running. Everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace and ability level, and the highly trained and experienced instructors are there to help if you're struggling. With most sessions attracting around 10 to 15 participants, the groups are small and friendly yet there's definitely enough competition to keep you motivated.
What are the benefits?
You might be wondering why you should bother with fitness bootcamp classes – why not just go for a run on the treadmill or a spinning class at the gym? Firstly, working out in the fresh air has numerous health benefits, not to mention it's a great way to boost your levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth and a lack of it can lead to bone tenderness and pain. You'll find Vitamin D in eggs, oily fish (such as tuna and salmon), and fortified breakfast cereals, but the majority of our vitamin D intake comes from sunlight on our skin. Just don't forget the sunscreen.
Working out as part of a group can also help you to stay motivated. It can be tough training solo, without others to spur you on. Bootcamp lets you work out with other like-minded individuals; there's bound to be some fitness and health chat going on and you may even pick up some healthy eating tips along the way! Even if you're not competitive, you can gauge your fitness level against others and use this to set yourself goals. Research show you're more likely to stick to a workout regime you enjoy, whether that's a dance class or pilates. If the gym bores you or the idea of a morning run leaves you cold, why not try fitness bootcamp to see if it's for you – it's varied, fast-paced and fun.
Many fitness classes focus on cardio or toning specific areas of the body, but with fitness bootcamp you're getting a full-body workout, targeting specific muscles, getting a healthy cardio workout whilst improving flexibility and strengthening your body. There are even bootcamps aimed at new mums which focus on toning your abs, bottom and thighs.
What's the cost?
Bootcamp costs vary depending on your location in the UK, but weekly sessions shouldn't cost much more than your average pilates or yoga class. Then there are the more intensive bootcamp weekends where you stay on-site and work on your health and fitness goals. British Military Fitness and other organisations such as UK Outdoor Fitness usually let you come along for a free trial session, after which you pay for membership.
Prices for London bootcamps with British Military Fitness start at around £8 a session, on top of membership fees; this varies depending on your location. You'll also find locally organised bootcamps that let you pay on a drop-in basis and it's worth looking out for advertisements in shop windows, your local library or your gym for these. If you're not making the most of your gym membership, it might be time to cancel and head for bootcamps that let you pay on a drop-in basis, if you're not ready for more commitment.
Bootcamps we love
We've rounded up some of our favourite London-based bootcamps, so if you're in the capital, why not give one of these a try?
Boxit Boot Camp
Boxing training in the great outdoors; what's not to love? Marketed as a great way to get fit fast, these training sessions are for all ages and levels of ability. Sessions take place at Clapham Common on Tuesday and Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings, and Wandsworth Common on Monday and Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings. Sign up for 12 sessions for £35 or drop-in for £10 a go.
British Military Fitness
BMF runs bootcamps at venues across London – and across the country. Each location has different membership and pricing information, but Battersea Park is one of our favourite venues, hosting classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Pay as you go membership is £145 for 10 classes, or you can join for 6 months for £38 a month (1 class a week). Remember, the first class is free.
GI Jane Bootcamp
If it's a residential bootcamp you're after, this is a fitness challenge that will push you to your limits. A nutritionally balanced diet plan is used alongside intensive training; prepare for sore muscles. Book a weekend camp in Kent from £400 which includes food, accommodation, training and life coaching. A typical day starts at 5.30am and includes boxing, circuit training, running, netball, an assault course and a break for a post-workout snack. By 8pm, you'll be ready to fall into bed.
Bootcamp is a great way to get fit, meet new people and change your lifestyle – the question is, are you ready to try something new?