I’m sitting here with an aching back, stiff legs and strong sense that I am getting really old.
It’s all Groupon’s fault. The latest offer to catch my eye offered 10 bootcamp sessions for just £16. This was perfect. I need to get in shape and if I’ve actually paid in advance to do the exercise, I am much more likely to stick with it and get my money’s worth. Sad but true.
So I bought the voucher, committed to the inevitable pain of 10 bootcamps and went along to my first session on Saturday. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it.
The group is run by Steve and Chris Hines of Peak XV Fitness. Both keen mountaineers, they named their company after the name originally given to Mount Everest. They met a group of about 10 of us at 0945 in Richmond’s Old Deer Park, a five minute walk from the tube station.
If I’m honest, it was also the proximity of the bootcamp to my flat that swung it for me. Contemplating a mere 15 minute walk there made it immensely easier to get out of bed that early on a Saturday. It also helped that the sunshine was out in force and it felt like the first day of summer. In March.
The session proper began at 10, with a series of jogs, jumps and hops around the field, allowing us to warm up get chatting to the other participants. I met Claire, an Irish twenty-something who like me, used to live in Brussels but since moving to the UK had fallen out of her fitness regime and needed to get back in shape. I knew exactly how she felt.
Claire and I stuck together as the bootcamp leaders moved us onto circuits involving, amongst other tasks, (less than) explosive star jumps, (extremely effective) resistance bands and my favourite, boxing.
I used to be quite into kickboxing until like everything else, I got out of the habit. It felt great to be back in the gloves and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever wanted punch anyone. Which let’s face it, is all of us, right?
Two rounds of circuits were followed by the Kilimanjaro Run, which involved each member of the pair taking turns to run between two markers. The first time you ran there and back once, the second time twice, the third time thrice etc. Thankfully, once you’d made the run there and back four times, you could start descending the mountain and running the distance three times, twice then on the last stretch, just once.
The fear of taking the longest hit Claire and I hard and we really tried to encourage each other as we took turns. Chris and Steve stood at opposite ends of the run and spurred us all on too. And when it came time for my last run between the markers, I caned it out of pure relief that the end was nigh. It was a small triumph for Claire and I – not only did we survive the run, we also finished first.
Happily though, warm down time was quickly upon us and after some stretching in the sun, Saturday could truly begin.
It may not have been the easiest start to the weekend and I may have spent the last couple of days aching all over from the shock of real exercise, but bootcamp definitely left me with a spring in my step. Here’s hoping I make it through the next nine sessions!