Anyway - before I ramble! I was really chuffed to be picked out by the lovely Charlotte from TravelSupermarket to visit the formidable No.1 Bootcamp in my hometown, Norfolk.
It comes from the (very wise) notion that getting a little fitter and trimmer before you jet off on your holibobs will really allow you to enjoy it to the full. As someone who has hidden themselves away under a towel and cried about looking awful before I get in a swimming pool, this really rang true for me. I would love to feel body confident as I haven't in a long time.
Here we all are! 19 lovely bloggers, TravelSupermarketers - and three scary, scary trainers. I'm in the red top - hiding at the back.
Before I start writing I want to say that I had an absolutely amazing time at bootcamp and I have nothing but admiration for all the hard work Craig and the team do. It really has changed the way I think about a lot of things and has given me the desire to really change my life and try hard to get healthier. It was a weekend full of ups and downs - and it definitely started on a 'down' and it certainly was emotional for me - but I want to do it justice by writing about it properly so please bear with me as this is a long post!
So now for my report. They certainly don't call it 'bootcamp' for nothing! I think a lot of us (including myself) were in for a nasty shock, as the trainers - Craig, Will and Ali - did not take any prisoners at all.
We were immediately ushered into a 'gentle' warm-up game of 'I have never', but instead of shots we did running instead. I think by about the fifteenth time of running around I: 1) realised just how unfit I am and 2) thought how pleasant it would be to even have a shot of my arch enemy sambuca than run about any more.
Then it was time for squats and lunges. And boy, did we squat. I'm super unfit, but I have done proper fitness training in the past, so I felt a little more comfortable with these exercises so I really went for it. What can I say, my gluteus maximus is quite literally 'bad ass'. It's also massive. These two facts may be related.
My enthusiasm was, however, my downfall. After squatting so deep I felt like crying, we then had to run around the field in a tag-team event. It is a testament to just how hard I'd pushed it as I couldn't even run! I tumbled over immediately after getting out of the squats and struggled to keep up with the rest of the girls. In the end I believe it was me (and the beautiful and very sprightly Jessica) running to the end. I think she was only trying to make me feel less unfit as she has legs for days! Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have very weak ankles from an old injury and I heard the familiar crack and rush of pain as my left ankle rolled over. She was very lovely and ran to get my saviour Craig who helped me hobble back and promptly iced my ankle up. I was under strict orders not to participate for the rest of the day - which was a shame as I missed out on the infamous 'gun run' (a heavy lifting teamwork exercise) But I was impressed with how well the guys dealt with my injury and how knowledgeable they were too.
I can't say I felt particularly good about my early exit. In fact I felt thoroughly embarrassed. I'm only a size 12 but against most of the lovely pretty bloggers I was with I felt like a proper she-hulk. I've never been body confident but I've never felt more acutely 'ugly'. My stupid ankle was bandaged up and I couldn't even take the heat of the first day. I'm a little ashamed to say I wobbled up the stairs and really had a proper cry in my room by myself. I felt like a complete failure.
Then when I was feeling a bit better I came downstairs and got talking to Katie. Katie had been at No.1 Bootcamp for a while and was working really, really hard to achieve her weight loss goals. I can't remember the exact figure, but she had already lost a staggering amount of weight and I was just bowled over by how brave and honest and lovely she was. She said that as a larger girl, she had never felt 'beautiful' - and with No.1 Bootcamp's help she was starting to feel great again. I have to admit I very nearly started to blub again but pulled myself together as I was just so in awe of how well she was doing. She looked so great - and was even planning to put her degree to use, helping other people who were overweight through their struggles in getting fitter. I pulled myself together and resolved to be more tough like Katie, and work really hard the next day and do everything I could to work through the pain.
We had dinner - which was amazing - and to be honest, I actually want to write about separately as it was so yum! So no instragrammed food pics in this post. What can I say, I'm radical, I'm breaking the mould.
Jess and Ali spotted him lifting tyres out the back and he is insanely fit. Which made us all gasp when he showed us his before and after pictures. 11 months is all it took to turn a slightly chubby ex marine into a super fit bootcamp instructor. The change was astounding, and has certainly got me thinking about changing my body.
I managed to twist my ankle AGAIN (the other one this time) and it was poor Maddie who got to hear the gross noise it makes (sorry babe) and I got my foot in the infamous ice bath. I decided that although I was hurting and probably shouldn't be running on the grass any longer, I could still do all stationary exercises and switch running for jogging on the spot. This is a really good fact about Bootcamp by the way - they know how to work you whilst still taking care of sporting injury.
|Will and Ali - and the brave girls trying the ice bath (Thank-you Annie for the photo!!)|
My absolute favourite part of the day was the boxing. Again, I don't want to tell you the exact routine, but I can remember it and it's something I want to take into a gym as I found it to be really rewarding. My sparring partner was Sabrina (whose blog I read all the time so was fairly dorkily starstruck) who was absolutely brilliant and we both worked really hard - even getting the praise of Will, the trainer running the session. At one point I think I called him a Nazi which meant we got his undivided attention/bullying. I am pleased to say that after interval boxing with an ex-military soldier I not only survived, but was commended on my technique and working hard. Boxing is actually something I really enjoyed and want to continue - so if anyone knows of a good club in London, let me know!
Finally it was time for the walk. Drinking in the gorgeous landscape of my hometown we all set off and got to have a really great chat about blogging& what TravelSupermarket are all about. Half-way through Craig taught us some survival skills and we all got to make some shelters - let's say some were more practical than others! But open-plan living won, as our superior shelter was scuppered by placement (right near a big dead tree)
Sadly for me that familiar twanging feeling in my ankle was starting to build almost unbearably on the way back - I staggered back in what only can be described as the longest walk of my life and plunged it into the ice bath.
Then it was time to go home. Myself and Scarlett left early - my injury and emails from work were making my Monday off look almost unbearable unless I got a good nights sleep. I was slightly gutted - yet pleased too - to find out from the girls that I had been awarded a massage for trying super hard in the day upon me leaving - but I think another one of my lovely bloggers got to enjoy the treat.
Now for some honesty. The whole experience has made me realise that I don't think I'm very pretty, and I have to change this negative self image. I used to be extremely skinny and super fit without even trying, and those days are long gone, despite the fact I put myself under the same microscope. The truth is I am not going to look like that without trying any more. I'm not 15, I'm 25. If I keep being unhealthy, not working out and eating too much because I'm working late and under pressure, I'm going to keep putting on weight and not feeling good about myself. And if I don't feel good about myself, I'll keep being shy, retiring and not putting myself out there. I don't want to be the girl who covers up with a towel or worries about looking fat in a dress any more. I just want to enjoy life and get everything from it I can.
So being at the bootcamp has really reminded me that 1) I can do it, if I put my mind to it 2) if I act now, I could be enjoying really great results sooner rather than later. This might seem like a bit of a downer paragraph, but it's really not - I know there is a little bit of a self-love mountain to climb, but that really does start with taking better care of myself, losing some weight and getting healthier. I'd love to know if this is the sort of thing you'd like to see me blog about?
|Me taking chatting with Ali (can you see my bandaged ankles?!)|
Overall I couldn't recommend bootcamp enough. It's hard - so hard - but losing weight is tough, and I guess we shouldn't kid ourselves that it is. It's made me realise just how unfit I am, but also made me realise that if I want to be really happy and proud of my body, and not feel embarrassed of it, I have to work hard and really try to eat better and exercise more. If I do that, and really start to commit to it, I will be amazed at the results. All bootcamp does is push you to your limits and make you realise just how much potential you have, if you really strive to get to your maximum levels of strength. Would I go again? I would want to be more mentally prepared - AND have an ankle brace (my own stupid error). But yes, I definitely would go again. If you need some help - or just want to challenge yourself - they can really work wonders with you, if you let them do it.
Thank you to everyone at Travel Supermarket: Charlotte, Salome, Claire and Emma - and everyone at No1 Bootcamp. Craig, Will, Ali, Paula, Pete and Treacle. And finally: THE BLOGGERS! Jess @ Copper Garden // Sabrina @ A Little Obsessed // Maddie @ Maddie Elizabeth // Marin @ The Hi Fashion Site // Remie @ Remie's Luxury Blog // Ali @ Bunn The Baker // Scarlett @ Scarlett London // Shay @ Shay In Wonderland // Cameron @ A Londoners Closet // Jessie @ We The People // Hannah @ Raspberry Kitsch // Catherine @ Perfectly Polished // Lucia @ Style Confessional // Amelia @ Love Mealie // Hana @ Beauty In Brief // Jess @ Feeling Stylish // Katrina @ Carousel Diary