Beyoncé doesn’t have much to worry about – I’m not scoring too highly in the old bootylicious stakes since Christmas, trust me. Call it old age, call it mince pie overload, but it’s getting harder to keep the jelly in the cage these days.
When I took the girls to my local freejumping park in December for a Christmas jumpathon party, I noticed some bronzed and honed young fillies doing a workout in one of the trampoline sections. I quite fancied a crack at it myself, and I was invited along to check out one of their new fitness classes.
Now, straight off the bat, I was a little disappointed to realise that the Bootcamp session I was attending wasn’t actually on the trampolines. Instead, it took place in a recessed area near the bouncy bits, albeit with a nice springy floor, air conditioning, and some foam obstacles to presumably jump around and over, if one is so inclined. I wasn’t, because I literally cannot jump to save my life, but more on that another time. Perhaps. Not the most enticing teaser for a future post, I admit.
Anyway, our class leader with basically a tiny ball of lean muscle called Hanh. You should check out her Instagram feed – the lady is insanely toned and fit. The class was made up of eight participants, spanning three generations (eeks) and fitness abilities. We had a token bloke who was of course barreled over with the combined nimbleness, hotness and flexibility of the womenfolk. Maybe.
I’ve never actually done a proper Bootcamp class before, because frankly the whole outdoors thing is a bit offputting. I don’t know why, as I’ll happily run 13 miles in the howling wind, but it’s something about sit ups in mud that doesn’t float my flabby boat. So I saw this as a sort of baby paddling pool at the shallow end of a realm I’ve not yet delved into. We warmed up by running laps of the room, with high knees, butt kicks and star jumps. I wore my special “sweat is fat crying” t-shirt so that people would laugh at it and like me, and they did: I made Bootcamp friends with a lovely lady who told me repeatedly (and without payment) how (physically) fit I am and how bloody admirable it is that I have two young children, the youngest of which isn’t even a year old. Yes. Yes it is admirable. I wish I could keep that lady as a pet.
We moved on to some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises, where you work at full pelt for a short period of time, then rest for thirty seconds, then go again. We used the floor and foam blocks of varying heights to do walking planks, glute bridges, tricep dips, push ups, jumping lunges, and mountain climbers. I personally love HIIT. It’s great for raising tolerance to exhaustion and it helps with athletic condition, but it’s not for everyone. It’s so rapid that it can be harder to control the movements, and ensure they’re being practised correctly, which can lead to injury. But if it works for you, amen. Feel the burn and try not to have a heart attack.
After the sweat (or crying fat – refer to earlier t-shirt visual please) had abated, we got back into our pairs and did a series of bodyweight exercises working against each other for resistance and control. The aim was to go at the pace of the “weaker” person and encourage each other to keep going, which is actually quite refreshing as so many classes are focused around a completely independent workout. Rather than dropping the intensity back, we all found that having a partner spurred us on to work a little bit harder…probably because of that typical British psyche of not wanting to piss anyone off.
The best move I did all day was the roll-to-stand crunch, which I’ve been failing at in my usual Legs, Bums and Tums class FOREVER. Sounds easy, actually isn’t when you’ve had a c-section. You lay on the floor, and without using your hands or arms, you elevate yourself to a standing position. Go on, try it.
Are you trying it yet?
Seriously, it’s hard.
And I did it.
Well, kinda. I rolled all the way back and used the momentum of my legs to plant my feet and stand up. The killer way is to get someone to hold down your feet (watch you don’t conk them on the head as you thrust forwards), bring your arms right back above your head, and launch that way. Oh, I bet you can do it, you bastard.
After two rounds of paired activities it was time to do some static moves, so we all dropped into a wall sit for a full minute before taking part a “little game” (oh Hanh, you tease) whereby everyone planks in a row, and the person at the end of the row commando crawls underneath. Today, I can proudly say that my saggy, I’ve-borne-two-children kangeroo pouch of excess stomach skin has caressed the necks of 7 strangers. Told you, Beyoncé’s rep is safe.
I would absolutely recommend a Bootcamp class to anyone – old, young, fit, unfit…everyone can take something away and get a good workout from it. I love the notion of fitness classes being social, too – there’s something rather lovely about looking like a sweaty sack of shite in front of someone you’ve never met, but still managing to have a gossip about EastEnders. I do still want to try a trampoline fitness class though, because at my age a girl really does need to learn how to jump.
-SJW January 2017
Disclaimer: I was asked to try out the Bootcamp class at my local Oxygen Freejumping Park in return for this impartial review. For further detail about my work with brands, please refer to my full Disclosure Statement.