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My weekend bootcamp at Champneys

I did say to myself, ‘never again!’after a gruelling week long bootcamp at Champneys two years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it hit the right spots, though the highlight of my day was my long awaited beauty therapy, and I came away with some life changing dietary habits.

But those dozens of exhausting burpees, star jumps and early morning jogs – every day – are best suited to those who are truly dedicated to the “no pain, no gain” school of thought. However, I was proud I stuck it out and didn’t wimp out of any of the classes, and have since gone on to improve some areas of fitness, ie spinning, which I had never done before, finding it almost impossible to pedal furiously while standing up. Two years on, I now go to a weekly spinning class and can proudly hold my own there.

With my book launch for The Shop Girls, getting closer, I decided it was time to trim up again, but with less pain. As a result, I booked in last weekend for a two night bootcamp at Champneys in Tring. I knew I had made the right decision the very first day when I read that the the first class was yoga. On the second day it was pilates, and I found this a much more gentle start to the day, instead of breathlessly jogging or power walking for almost an hour, which was the first activity every day during the week long boot camp. That, of course, was understandable as we needed to give our sluggish metabolism a bit of a wake-up call, but there is no doubt I prefer giving it a less forceful nudge.

Luke, our leader, extolled the virtues of a daily hike which he said was often underestimated. I need no persuading here as I am a dedicated rambler and can happily walk for miles throughout the glorious English countryside. The grounds around Tring are stunning and the forest walks were fabulous. Our pace quickened and soon reached 4mph, ensuring our heart beat was racing at full pelt.

My fellow boot campers, eight women and one man in all, were all busy people like myself, people who care about their health and well being and need a fitness boost – with some pampering thrown in – from time to time. The fitness classes were fun, and you were encouraged to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Some of the boot campers had ailments which made it difficult for them to participate in all the activities; in fact, one of our campers had become pregnant since booking up for the bootcamp weekend, but still came along and found plenty of other activities to fill in her time.

The food was divine – it’s amazing how creative their chefs were with limited calories per day – and we never felt hungry. I felt fit and energised when it was time to leave, my fitness regime had the kickstart it needed. My big personal achievement was rediscovering a love for tennis, one of the games we played during the weekend. I was hesitant at first, but after being told I had a powerful serve, my confidence was soon restored.

I have now bought a new tennis racket and look forward to many more games, something which would not have happened if I had not joined this boot camp. Thank you Champneys and my fellow boot campers for a memorable and fun weekend.

*I was a guest of Champneys.
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