Fitness, military style
Saturday morning. 6.45am alarm. And it's not to catch a flight for a holiday. This is not normal.
Saturday morning. 7.30am out the door. This is definitely not normal.
Saturday morning. 8am on the Common, running around and turning very red in the face. This is British Military Fitness.
I signed up with my friend Emma for a taster session with BMF this past weekend, as I've heard about it from all sorts of friends over the years and they've been doing a big push on facebook for free, local taster sessions.
It makes a lot of sense for them to offer a free session in before signing up as there's a lot about BMF that sounds intimidating -- I'll admit I was a little nervous going along -- but the truth is, there's absolutely nothing to be intimidated by.
Ash and the BMF van.
Ash, our trainer for the day, was really friendly and welcoming when we got there and explained to us and the three other newbies how things would work and what we could expect.
We started off separating into three groups: blue for beginners, red for intermediate and green for super fit (you choose your own group, they don't assign you!). Then we were off with a light jogging warm up and from there went straight into lots of HIIT body weight exercises mixed with running. A lot of the workout was based on partnering with other BMF'ers to take turns running or doing strength exercises, or using their weight/force to make the moves harder.
No word of a lie, this is a HARD workout, probably on a par with Barry's Bootcamp and, like Barry's, I spent a lot of time going 'why am I doing this?!', a lot of time enjoying a great workout and then, at the end, I felt that amazing endorphin high and loved it! They're fantastic with encouragement, which will help get you through, and you definitely won't be shouted at -- there's a lot of humour, they'll push you but also make sure you go at a level that's right for you, and are very welcoming to everyone. Our group was made up of people of all ages and fitness levels.
It also has the added benefit of being outdoors and getting fresh air, which is a big plus from my perspective. We obviously got really lucky with the weather this weekend -- it would probably be a little less fun if it was wet and cold -- but they run sessions, rain or shine, all year.
The atmosphere was super friendly and everyone mixes up partners during the session, with everyone helping to coach and cheer each other on and lots of the group go for coffee at the park cafe at the end. It was especially great to be on the taster session so there were other new joiners -- huge thanks to Mel, Sami and Anna for being newbies along with me and bringing the enthusiasm!
BMF newbies. Grr.
Final verdict? It's hard, you'll sweat, your muscles and lungs will burn, but you'll also laugh, get a good workout and I can pretty much guarantee you'll be happy you did it.
If you're interested in checking it out, there are sessions all over the country and they're offering tasters on a pretty regular basis so have a look at their facebook page for the 'free class' finder.
Have you tried BMF? What did you think? What other group workouts would you recommend or want to try?