When I tell people that I do military style Bootcamp fitness classes in Victoria Park in London, they usually reply with variations of: ‘so, someone shouts at you and calls you scum?’ I mean, sure, we’ve all got our secret desires, but you’ll have to go elsewhere to fulfil that one. Because the military bootcamp element is only evident in the type of exercises and structure of the classes; the discipline of turning up and just getting on with it; the hardiness of doing it in the rain and the cold but also the sunshine. The instructors will push you to push yourself, but they are as equally supportive and considerate as they are disciplined and firm.
You can exercise in a gym with no sense of the outside world. 6 months from November to April drag by and you capitulate to the British weather for another year. You don’t if you do these classes!
After being indoors through lockdown and then returning to a gym I was left feeling insulated and compartmentalised. I needed to be outside and embracing the natural world. Getting out of London to places of natural ruggedness and challenge is tough work; a long way; time consuming. Instead, this put me into a situation where I could grunt and sweat and feel intensely challenged in an outdoor gym in one of the oldest parks in the world VICTORIA PARK. In some ways I had returned to my childhood of playing in the garden and in parks: laying on fresh cut grass; muddy knees and elbows; moving about with other people to complete a range of physical challenges, all the while watching the park move slowly through its seasonal changes.
Some people just tick over, and others blaze through twice the workload. As long as you turn up and have the attitude to get yourself into it you will find a level that fits. The instructors will seamlessly guide you into the workload that suits your ability and then ask you for 1% more. A while later, when your heart has pumped some serious endorphins around your body, you’ll be glad that they did. Almost certainly, you’ll be even more chuffed that you did.
If you go to the gym for hour, how often do you look at your phone, the TV, wait for a machine, wipe down a bench, peruse the drinks or kit cabinet and then motivate yourself for your next set of reps. How much are you actually working in that hour…?
Come and do this for an hour and that’s all you do for the hour – exercise. You can switch off and follow the expert instruction; in fact, you have to switch off because all you can focus on is getting yourself through the immediate moment. It’s an addictive and lovely feeling that keeps me looking and feeling great.