Earlier this year I made the rogue decision to book a last minute bootcamp at Hillmotts in the Cotswolds. I’d done it before in 2012 and completely forgotten the absolute agony of intense workouts and no chocolate for 2.5 days. NOT FUN.
After a heavy Christmas, lazy January and tipsy February, I felt like a detox and needed a big kick to get back on the health train (or at least, get off the minimal exercise and minstrels-on-my-cereal train) and in the right direction.
The camp starts on a Friday lunchtime and finishes Sunday evening, it’s located in the middle of nowhere besides acres of gorgeous green fields and limited signal. The perfect escape.
I arrived solo and (slightly late) headed straight to find my room, they encourage sharing but luckily it turned out I had a room to myself, no need to change my Justin Bieber alarm tone.
After a chat and cups of tea with my new housemates, we started with a cardio fitness assessment, then a functional fitness assessment, then a HIIT session, then circuits and FINALLY a stretch. Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end!
After that I was already exhausted and hangry. In between workouts you’re allowed snacks: peanut butter or hummus on a ryvita or rice cake. You can bring your own snacks but consume at your own risk, you’ll get serious stick for it.
Supper on the first evening was turkey curry with rice, peas and spinach. Pretty tasty 6/10 but disappointingly it didn’t include a starter or pudding. I was quite tired to do much apart from flick through magazines and drag myself to the outdoor sauna for a sizzle (it wasn’t all bad!).
Saturday morning started at a jolly 7am, and on a full stomach of half a banana (are you joking!?) we started the day with an intense hour long HIIT sesh. For breakfast we had a big bowl of porridge, with mixed berries and HONEY! Oh what a treat. I’d almost lost my sweet tooth (I’m a snackaholic).
After more exercise (this time, running around outside) and star jumps etc, it was eventually time for lunch. Mixed beans with quinoa, peppers, and beetroot 4/10. Alongside zero sweets, there is also a zero caffeine on site policy. No earl grey! I compromised with chamomile tea.
Thankfully in the afternoon we were allowed a break, we went on a lovely scenic stroll (or hike as they called it) to Blenheim Palace. Very pretty and relaxing.
Afterwards we sat down to a long talk about nutrition. I made a few notes. Surprisingly, Greggs is the best place to buy a sandwich on the high street (if there isn’t a Wholefoods) as they bake their breads freshly onsite and don’t use as many preservatives.
I would love to tell you about the final day, but I jumped ship and left after supps on Saturday evening. I felt like I had gained everything I wanted to from the bootcamp, I ached like anything and could hardly walk, but I felt energised to look after my body better and eat well. Plus I wanted a lie in on Sunday.
So, to bootcamp or not to bootcamp?
The camp was organised so that all abilities would get a satisfying workout, there wasn’t too much team-sport so people weren’t waiting around. No one felt out of place or uncomfortable, it good for weight loss and improving general fitness/toning up.
It was pretty tough, especially mentally without a friend doing it with me, but a great experience I’d recommend to anyone who hasn’t done a bootcamp before.