When, twelve years ago, I announced to my partner, Jo, that I was going to join an outdoor fitness group in St Albans (at the age of 61!) she said "How stupid can you get?" I asked "How much time have I got?"


It seems to me that, health wise (including, maybe especially, mental health) I could not have made a better decision. I thought I was fit since I was a rugby referee and, at whatever level, I always seemed to be up with play. I knew I was carrying about thirty pounds more than I should but I thought strength would 'see me through'. As an ex front-row forward I had (still have) some strength.


What I discovered very quickly was I did not have any endurance.


Our Bootcamp instructor said "We muster at this point and what we are going to do is jog to the middle of the field (about eighty metres away) where we will warm up." Forty or so of us proceeded to the greensward and by the time we had trotted half the distance I knew I was not going to survive the class! Somehow I made it through and it took me a month to adapt to the workload I required of myself.


I've not lost too much weight but what I can now do is cart the bulk around quicker and for longer. I suppose that's a compromise of sorts.


That's the biggest thing about Outdoor Bootcamp: your peers do not judge judge yourself. Available to you is some of the best and most encouraging training staff in the fitness industry and you give what you can since it is only you who will benefit.


Rivalry of the friendliest kind seems automatically to develop and soon, as a newcomer, you learn what others do to achieve their level of fitness and conditioning, all done with little distress. After that, when you've learned the ropes, for you anything's possible!


I'm the oldest male in the group by a distance but two of the females, Eva and Sandie, can happily address me as 'Junior'! our combined ages are a mighty 220 years...and still going! If we can do it so can you!


If you're considering joining The Outdoor Athlete in St Albans, Watford or Hemel and partaking some outdoor fitness, remember what Kipling said: "If you can fill each unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the world and everything that's in it!" I've spent the past twelve years proving I can't...but I can do a lot more press-ups than Rudyard, especially since he's been dead a while!


I offer what Churchill once promised the Nation: Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat. Well I've seen no Blood. gets emotional at times. Toil and Sweat in abundance!!


Come join us, whoever and whatever you are!!