A blog by @JeNeSuisPasClem
I’ve never been one for too much hard exercise. Certainly not any strength or gym work. I just like to run, walk up big hills and take the kayak out and that’s pretty much it. Outdoor exercising whilst looking at stuff with no heavy lifting required and drinks afterwards. So, when I won the Ultimate Fitness Weekend in Shropshire I was a tad apprehensive. Am I fit enough to actually go on this? Where am I sleeping? Will it be like an army camp? We were due to start at 4pm on the Friday…and after a drive down through some beautiful areas and tiny windy roads I hit the ‘camp’. It’s in a beautiful setting, at the bottom of a valley with trails and woods all around. Everything in the camp was ace. Brand new huge showers. Big pods to sleep in with power and fridges. Loads of space and a big communal building with all the gear and grub we needed to survive the weekend. Everyone rocked up in the coming hours, we had a 1-2-1 chat about how fit/unfit we were and had dinner. Yes – you get fed at boot camp. A lot. A very lot. Then, at about 7.30pm, when it was dark, it all started. We went out for a long hike in the dark through fields. It was a good chance to talk to everyone and built excitement about what would happen over the coming days. We returned to a huge fire – purposely built, not a cooking accident and we sat around for a while before everyone traipsed off to the cabin/pods/wooden wigwams to sleep.
At a cold dark frosty 6am we got the knock on the door to get up. Luckily I was sharing with a brilliant fella. Mr Outdoor Sports, who was up, dressed in full kit, shades and back pack, necking sports drinks and raring to go. Looking at his trail shoes I thought, yeh, might have been an idea to get some of them. What happened for the next 2 hours before breakfast was a bit of a sweary blur. It involved running up and down hills, various cardio and strength exercises, more hills, then carrying massive telegraph pole type logs up the hill – where we then proceeded to do lifting reps with them. Quick trot down the hill and straight into a 30 min Tabata session and finished with a 20 min core strength workout.
Then breakfast. Now I’ve never eaten 4 Weetabix before with a chunk of a loaf coated in a quarter of a jar of peanut butter in one sitting and it didn’t even touch the sides. The weekend pretty much continued in this way until Sunday at 4pm. I couldn’t move for 2 days when I got back and I don’t think I’ve ever been as quiet.
I’m not going to list out everything we did. So, to summarise:
Do you get shouted at? No. Not at all. I was thinking it might be a bit ‘Military’ style. It wasn’t. It was encouraging, extremely funny and you get treated as you’d expect to. We were all at different levels of fitness and you get pushed to what’s right for you.
Food Plenty and good. Loads of breakfast stuff. Big pasta lunches and big warming dinners. You can have nuts, fruit, snack pots as and when you want and they take stuff out with you when you leave the camp. You need the fuel and they’re good at getting you to eat. There are crates of bottled water everywhere for you and the fridge in your room is full of tea / coffee and water.
What do you do there? Interval training / caveman training / Tabata / Core strength / running intervals / runs / swimming / team stuff like touch rugby / hikes / hill climbs / Pilates / boxing / pretty much everything you can imagine. It’s incredibly varied and incredibly enjoyable.
Is it for weight loss? It’s not fat camp. It’s to get you active and get you going. You’d need a basic level of fitness to do everything – however you don’t need to be uber fit. Mind you, I ate like a horse all weekend and got weighed when I was leaving and I’d lost 2.3kg, so it certainly shifts weight.
People and instructors? Loads of luck here as the people were really great. The instructors were spot on. You got everything you needed, always around to chat through stuff, encouraging, knowledgeable, funny, motivating and very brilliant chaps.
What was the camp like? It’s all brand new. Great big showers, ace pods, sauna, pool and steam room. Set in a gorgeous area. The sleeping pods are big, have heaters and are completely practical for what you need.
Was it useful? Definitely. Of course different training is better for running. This has helped already. I had an easy trouble free Glasgow half mara and this week at Parkrun I recorded only my 3rd 23min 5km. For me it’s kind of been a bit more though than just the fitness. I really enjoyed it and it gave me a renewed kick to get out there and do stuff.
Would I go again? Well. There’s one in January and I’m right up for that. You should give it a go.