A few weeks ago, I was asked by the lovely Charlotte from Travel Supermarket whether I wanted to attend a weekend away at No1 Bootcamp in Norfolk, along with 20 other bloggers. After reading a few reviews online which all stated ‘you’d be pushed out of your comfort zone’ but similarly – all had a great experience, I emailed straight back saying I’d be up for the challenge, and kind of (kind of) let it slip my mind until the weekend of the 20th April started drawing closer.
Pushing myself out of ‘my comfort zone’ is using a different moisturiser before bed, trying a new fake tanning product – or at worst, having to jog slightly to catch the train on the way home from work. So really, I thought, how much worse could it get.
In the run up to the boot camp, I was getting slightly nervous as to what I had actually got myself in for. The Sunday prior, I had attempted to go for a jog in my area, in a bid to prepare myself, but I practically collapsed after 2 whole minutes (yes, really) and walked the rest of the way home. In a different attempt to prepare, I took myself (and my bank card) off to Sports Direct and invested in some new sporting gear. Perhaps, I thought – some new clothes might spur me to practice before the big weekend. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I needed some real motivation. Some real pushing. Something, like bootcamp.
No1 Bootcamp, in case you haven’t heard of it before – is an intensive live-in bootcamp based in Norfolk, run by ex Marines/Royal Navy. In essence, it’s hard work – and although the accommodation is lovely (we had a beautiful airy bedroom upstairs), it’s a no frills, no nonsense type place where you are constantly motivated to work hard. Well known for its celebrity fan base, the bootcamp has hosted reality stars, magazine journalists and actors/actresses alike, so we were in safe hands.
Upon arrival to the bootcamp, along with Cameron, Remie, Katrina, Hannah, Sabrina, Lucia and Marin, I was quite taken aback at how friendly the place looked. There were no terrifying tractor tyres, weights or running tracks within sight and with the birds chirping away in the background, I almost felt I was on holiday. Almost.
The lovely Paula, who is camp manager, greeted us and I was shown to my room to meet my roommates, two of whom I’d met already – Lucia and Remie, and Annie. We were excited to see that Travel Supermarket had kindly laid out hoodies, t-shirts and vests on our beds, each emblazoned with our initials (which was a lovely touch) – and so after putting on our gym gear (of which mine still had the labels in tact – proving how much of a newbie I really was), we nervously headed down for a briefing before our first exercise.
After a delicious, but rather small (in my books anyway) quorn salad, we filed outside to begin learning the stretches that would become the bane of our lives (and the cause of all my aching) for the next few days. We played a rather energetic version of ‘I have never’, which involved running (what felt like) a mile should the statement in question be relevant to you, and then prepared for our gun run.
There was a little debate about what a ‘gun run’ actually consisted of and on the way down to Norfolk, the girls had conflicting views of what it might involve. Cameron thought it consisted of a trainer shooting a gun at your feet if you slowed down too much, I thought it might be that you run at the sound of a gun shot and another girl thought it might be a race to the finish. However, none of the above were correct. Luckily for us, it didn’t involve any guns, well not real ones anyway. Just a mile run carrying the parts of a pretend canon (so tractor tyres, logs, sandbags, balls and weights), having to quickly put it together each time we heard the magic word (for the life of me, and among all the aching, I cannot remember what this word was).
After a few hours hard work, our exercise for the day was over – and we had a nutrition briefing (which I will do a further post on, as what was said was really interesting!), before then nicely tucking ourselves into bed and drifting off to sleep.
At 5.45, the first alarm in our room went off and we all groaned in unison as it dawned on us that the day ahead would be pretty full on. At 6.20am (a time that I normally can’t even comprehend) we were dressed and ready for our first exercise session of the day, the Fat Blitzing Ton Up Session. As dazed and as tired as we all looked, the hours workout was actually really enjoyable (I never thought I’d say this) and with circuit training, press ups, rolling around in the (luckily) dry mud, we practically raced one another to the dining room for a well deserved breakfast.
A short break later, and we were back doing yet more circuit training, although this time – there were weights involved. Something my weak arms can barely comprehend. In groups of three, we alternated between shuttle runs (where we were par-taking in the infamous bleep test), dumbbell workouts and weight workouts. A lot of teamwork resulted in us all reaching level 20 and completing the circuit. It was hard, and I did think at times I might have to give up, but we all powered through and I felt really proud of myself for completing it.
But there’s no rest for the wicked (or tired, achy and hungry), as at 11am – we were marched down to the open area for our ‘Boxing Hurricane’ session (is it just me or do they purposely give the sessions scary names to frighten you?). Pairing up with the lovely Charlotte from Travel Supermarket, we alternated between being the boxer and the person with gloves (erm, technical term) and had to complete 15, 30, 45 and 60 second sprint boxing periods. I think this session was the one I found the hardest, as my arms felt like jelly and just weren’t responding at this point – but enjoyable nevertheless.
After a well deserved lunch, we had a short rest and then a little ‘team talk’ from Paula, the camp manager who is there to support bootcampers in moments of ‘aahh, I can’t do this anymore’. Although we were there for just one weekend, many of the other campers had been there for several weeks, as losing weight and getting fit was high on their agendas (and in some cases, doctors orders). Katie, one lovely lady we met there, had been at No1 Bootcamp for 10 weeks (with another few weeks to go) and had lost 4 and a half stone. She said she feels like a new person since arriving (even though I hadn’t seen her at the beginning, she did look glowing) and has changed her entire outlook on life. It’s stories like these that make working and being at bootcamp so motivational and inspirational.
The last activity of the day was the 7 mile walk, which surprisingly – I was actually really looking forward to. Trapsing through the Norfolk countryside isn’t normally my favourite choice of activity, but I really enjoyed it as it meant I had the chance to talk to some of the bloggers and compare blogging related experiences. Usually, I can’t go into depth so much about blogging (well, not at least in my everyday life), as no-one else around me can relate, so it was great to have so many wonderful bloggers to talk to!
After a delicious smoothie, it was soon time to head home (and luckily) my dad came to pick me up from Kings Lynn station so I didn’t have to face the long journey (involving two buses and three trains) home. Myself and Amelia both got a taxi to the station together, and in our mid-starvation state, I will admit we stopped at a Morrisons petrol station across the road to buy some treats. I do feel a little guilty, because I now know how hard it is to work off those calories – but oh, did the chocolate taste good.
I’m now back on track (I had porridge this morning, No1 Bootcamp – if you’re reading) and weighed myself this morning – I’ve lost 3lbs in just two short days, which is great. I’m determined to let this fitness kick be my motivation to keep going – and I will definitely be changing my bad habits. I had an absolutely fantastic time and I am so pleased I went along. I’m off to Spain at the end of the week, so hopefully – I will be well on my way to feeling bikini body ready!
So, in short – what did I think:
The food was delicious, in fact – it’s much much better than I could have ever imagined, but the portion sizes were the thing we all struggled with. The bowls and plates were much smaller than the ones I had at home, and the food filled these plates – but it was about half the size portion I normally eat. This gave me a realistic wake-up-call about how much 1200 calories actually looks like, and how many fruits, vegetables and different flavours can be used to create a delicious, but healthy dish. I did try and instagram some of my meals, but since I practically wolfed it down before it had even been put in front of me, I will admit – I didn’t photograph everything.
Although there were moments I did curse myself for agreeing to come along, as a whole I really enjoyed myself and I am so glad I went along. Not only was it great to meet the Travel Supermarket team, and the 20 other lovely bloggers – but it was amazing to have yourself pushed to an extreme (usually, I’m crying or I’ve already left by this point) and to work as hard as you possibly could. It’s made me realise that if I can work out all day long, I can probably spare an hour every few days to go to the gym and maintain (and increase) my levels of fitness.
I’m 19, so I don’t have the worst metabolism in the world (although in comparison to a lot of people my age, it’s not as great). I eat pretty healthily anyway, but it’s the constant chocolate and the lack of exercise that mean I weigh a little more than I should. I don’t want my blog to ever feel like I’m portraying a negative or false body image perception, as this is one of the factors that pressurizes young girls and women in general today, but I do think it’s important to be healthy.
I am really going to try over the next few months, not in a quick-fire fad diet way, to get fit for summer.Not so that I have that ‘perfect beach body’, because realistically, that’s not going to happen, but so that I can generally feel better in myself and wear a bikini confidently, without trying to cover up as soon as humanly possible. I’m never going to be ‘skinny’, I’m not going to weigh 8 stone and be able to flaunt myself in tiny crop tops and hotpants (not that there’s anything wrong with that! If you have it, flaunt it) but I’m okay with that. I think it’s about being healthy more than anything, and feeling better as a whole that makes the real difference.
PS: So, if you see me instagram-ing a picture of a large Galaxy bar, as I quite often do, please give me a little nudge in the right direction (something along the lines of ‘PUT THAT CHOCOLATE BAR DOWN, SCARLETT!’).
For more information on No1 Bootcamp, please visit their website here. I want to say a special thank you to Charlotte, Salome, Claire and Emma from Travel Supermarket who put on such a fantastic event for bloggers, and really made it an enjoyable and inspirational weekend. It was so lovely to get together with other like-minded bloggers and to meet so many new people, so I am so glad I went along. And, thanks of course – to Craig, Will, Ali and Paula at No1 Bootcamp, who despite our whinging, moaning and groaning, continued to inspire and motivate us to push on with the exercising! I hope to see everyone again soon!