He explains the basics such as the ice baths which we have to use each day for a minimum of 2 minutes. This is very important for muscle repair and to reduce inflammation. This is the one thing I am terrified of as I despise the cold and have never taken an "ice bath" in my life!
We then have a weigh in and all our measurements are recorded. I couldn't wait to see how much I could improve my measurements by the end of the week! Next, we went outside for a fitness test and to learn all the basic moves. We begin by playing "never have I ever" so that the group could socialise and get to know each other a bit. We then learnt how to do the squats - very deep and with our legs far apart - and also the leg lunges. We had to sprint round the track whilst our partner repeatedly did squats/ star jumps/ lunges.
After this we went to do some upper body exercises which included press ups and the dreaded burpees which I was happy to learn didn't include a jump at the end! We then did our first circuit.
On one side of the field we did 10 press ups, then ran to the other side and did 10 burpees. We then continued to do this by subtracting one each time so we did 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 of the exercise on each side. This was to test our endurance and fitness.
When I finish I am fairly tired but so proud of myself for persevering. We then went on a 4 mile walk to the beach as we are told that the following morning we would be running this as fast as we can to test our fitness level- we wouldn't be doing this run again until the end of the week to see how much our fitness has improved. It is a nice run with practically no hills and I even got to wear my iPod so I was very happy about that. This was quite a short run compared to what I am used to as in general I run anywhere between 6-10km.
We then head back to our rooms and get changed into some chill out clothes for supper. There is such a variety of people here from people who want to tone up or lose weight - we are told of some amazing success stories such as a man who came to the camp for 4 months and lost 10 stone! He could barely walk when he arrived and recently ran the Paris marathon- pretty impressive. Anyway, supper was larger than I expected. We are restricted to a 1,200 cal a day diet and 1,400cal for men. The eating programme is devised by an expert nutritionist so that we get all the energy and nutrients we need to complete our daily activities. They stress the importance of eating all the food and not sharing it with anyone else. We had a homemade burger, with beetroot, a white sauce and rocket leaves. I pile way too many spices onto mine but apparently this helps with digestion and to speed up your metabolism. (From now on I won't mention the food unless relevant - see my post on nutrition at no. 1 bootcamp for a detailed look at the food and pictures I took whilst at the camp!)
After dinner we have a talk with Paula who prepares us for the emotional side of bootcamp and gives us lots of advice as she has already been through the whole experience and lost 4 stone! She warns us about DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness. We then watch tv - the voice- whilst having green tea. There is an unlimited amount of herbal teas in the kitchen and we are encouraged to drink them throughout the day. Fennel we are told is mistaken by the body for food so is good to drink when you get hungry, which we will. I have a fast metabolism anyway, so this is already a bit of a worry for me. But if we get really hungry Paula says we can come to her and she'll give us a protein shake. (Ever so generous)
I am now in my bedroom with my mum listening to some meditation music and relaxing. I am so nervous about the next week - I know it's going to be extraordinarily hard but I am willing to endure it and I just have to keep telling myself how worth it it will be in the end!
Begins with an hour session before breakfast in order to burn maximum fat. We had a fitness test in which we did as many burpees, sit ups and press ups as we could in 2 minutes at a time. We then did a 4 mile run which I completed in 17minutes which I was proud of.
Up next was boot camp circuits. The trainer advises us not to make the number of reps our aim as this is very limiting. You should set a time and do as many reps as possible in that set time. So in the centre of the circuit was a sledge which you had to push up and down and in the time it took you to do it every one else - about 20 of us - each had a set exercise to do. Then they made this harder by adding in a dice - the number on the dice was the amount of times we had to push the sledge up and down and it was the hardest thing I have ever done!
The exercises included squats, skipping, press ups, lunges and side lunges, star jumps and squat thrusts. We had to do this twice through and whenever anyone did anything wrong or stopped moving we had to go right back to the beginning. When I finished I was absolutely exhausted - but I felt pretty accomplished. We then had a snack - 1/2 an apple (if that) and some seeds and a couple of nuts.
Our third session of the day was boxing which firstly included lots of different exercises to get us warmed up. Then with our partner we would punch 10 times then run somewhere else - then repeat. And then 20 times. Then we did sit ups and punches at the top. In between each set we ran all the way round the field as this keeps the blood moving round the entire body as so much boxing means the blood is just in your arms, and you must prevent lactic acid build up.
We also had regular punishments of burpees whenever anyone stopped moving or did something wrong. After 3 sessions everyone is exhausted and excited for lunch. When lunch arrives I am slightly shocked by the tiny portion. This week is definitely making me reassess portion sizes and how much the body really needs. I did all of that morning exercise on just half an apple some seeds and a bowl of porridge after all!
In the afternoon we went on a 7 mile hike which burns off all of the fat as your body is effectively exercising on nothing. By the end of the walk my legs are aching like an absolute f*cker.
The last task of the day is the 'last blast' which was similar exercises to what we had done during the day but at a lesser intensity. My mum checked her fit bit which records steps after we had finished everything and we had done 35,000 steps in the day! They really were right when they said it's like running two marathons a day. We then had an ice bath which I was dreading but it actually wasn't too bad once you were in! I finish the day feeling very proud of myself and determined to do myself justice throughout the course of the week.
3,017 cal burnt in the whole day
The first session before breakfast was boxing which included upper cuts, hooks and jabs. We did a series of sets of abdominal exercises afterwards which were good fun. Breakfast was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast which I really appreciated.
Next up - body weight lottery! One person had to run around the track twice carrying a tyre whilst everyone else did a certain exercise - 5 times on either side of the field, with running in between. It was an absolute killer. But after I carried the tyre round myself I felt way more motivated as it felt like such an accomplishment.
Our next session was 'the accumulator' which included 10 different exercises you had to do - push ups, sit ups, dorsal raises, squats, backward leg lunges, monkey press ups, flutter kicks, superman, star jumps and burpees. You were with a partner and they had to run whilst you did 10 of each, you added on each exercise as you went so in the end we had done 100 press ups, 90 sit ups, etc. we then did more AB exercises such as "around the world" which included a 1 min plank, side plank, leg raise, side plank on other side, then another plank. Then we stretched out.
Now we are off for another 7 mile hike which I am looking forward to after today.
Already today even before the walk we have burnt 1,862 cal. I'm learning that this whole experience is mind over matter - it really does depend on how much effort you are willing to put in and how motivated you are. Some people just don't put the effort in and therefore won't get the results they want. One woman has even given up already and stayed in bed during the last session. They don't realise that it's them who has to do the hard work - no one else!
After the walk we had a snack which was half a banana with pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds. Food like that has never tasted SO amazing after such hard work. Our last blast was 30 minutes of yoga which was lovely and relaxing and felt like a treat. We then had to have the ice baths which were even colder than yesterday if that's possible!
I'm feeling so much stronger both mentally and physically today and so proud of myself for all I have achieved so far. I feel extremely motivated and health conscious and just wish I had done something like this years ago or just always exercised on a regular basis. Apart from the pain in my lower back I feel incredible. I'm also noticing changes in my body already. My arms and tummy especially, are much more toned and lean looking. And it's only day 2! I can't wait to watch everything continue to change as I keep challenging myself. I'm also so incredibly proud of my mum who is trying so hard and doing amazingly. I regularly say motivating things to her throughout the work outs when she's finding it tough and she says it helps so much. She feels like she's crossed a fitness barrier and can finally get back to the body she's only ever dreamed of. It's been a real eye opener for her already and she is so motivated. We've also both noticed that strangely, we are thinking about food much less. Living on such a clean diet and having to concentrate on your exercise so much really helps. At home I definitely think about food 10x more often! I really will reassess my diet when I get home and not eat such ridiculously large portions.
Some facts I learnt today:
- We are told that stretching is important for stretching out your muscles like an elastic band so they can then build up. Whilst exercising you tear and aggravate the muscles so it's important to stretch after you have finished the workout as this relaxes the muscles again. When I go for runs I usually stretch half way through so I now realise how silly that is - so easy to make fitness faux pas!
- The ice bath gets the blood and lactic acid away from the muscles and into the heart and core.
- We are also encouraged to sip water throughout the day which also aids in muscle recovery.
Cals - 3,025
Our 1 hour workout before breakfast today was 20 mins of circuits. Roll the dice at one end then do either lunges, squat jumps, monkey crawls, push 10kg weight etc to the other side then choice of either a run around the track or 25 push ups, squat press ups side extensions, or Turkish get ups, then repeat. Then for the next 20 mins we swapped round with the other half of the group and did spinning and had to gradually turn up the tension.
The next session was boxing . We worked in 15 second then 30 , 45, 1 minute sets and then went backwards. Interval training in this way is the most effective way of burning fat.
Our next session was circuits which was insanely hard. The warm up was dancing moves which was fun. Once again there were the sledges, skipping, tyre squats, tyre press ups, tyre burpees, kettle bell swings, medicine ball throws, medicine ball sit ups, Swiss ball push ups, holding 4kg weights doing monkey walk, ladder.
- Little tip- 40% of all sugar you intake turns into fat. That includes fruit even. That's why 'no fat' products are so bad as they contain so much sugar which turns to fat anyway, quicker than fat itself does!
Afternoon walk of 7 miles and we did our last blast in the woods which was 5 hill runs up a really steep hill. I push myself really hard and it pays off as I finish first! When we got back we had our snack which was a protein shake and then did some stretching and then our ice bath which I managed to stay in for 4 minutes!
In the evening I watched Made in Chelsea in bed and then our evening meal was salmon and vegetables. We even had a treat afterwards of a strawberry covered in dark chocolate and ground nuts! I then had a sports massage which was amazing and relieved all of the tension in my body - specifically my lower back which I'd been feeling a great deal of pain in.
Our 1 hour workout before breakfast was a circuit of abs - spinning - swing.
For our abs we did 1/2 crunches, 1 minute plank, leg raises and flutter kicks. We had to do all the exercises for 15 seconds then rest then 30, 45, 1 min, then work backwards. Same on the spinning and kettle bell swings!
2nd session- circuits with tyre push, sit ups on Swiss ball, plank on Swiss ball, swing or lunges, kettle bell figure of 8, medicine ball throws, monkey walk with dumbbell rows, Lunges with lateral raises, cardio running from cone to cone and ladder, press up bar, hand shake press ups, lifting up log, triceps dips, toe taps. Twice through. Intense.
3rd session- hell on earth/torture/give up on life. Basically went to the beach and got in partners, one had to run continuously up and down the promenade steps for 45 seconds, the other had to do a set exercise. We repeated this 7 times then had a break then did the whole thing again - twice through. I've been really demotivated today and have found it so hard as I put everything into The first two days and feel like I have no energy left but hopefully I will be better tomorrow.
We then went for a 3 mile walk then had a 'treat' which was any drink we went- I had apple juice. Technically we were allowed to order anything we wanted, but the trainers said that if we ordered something which was 237 calories, for example, we would have to do that many burpees. I wasn't sure if they were joking or not but I certainly didn't want to risk finding out! This is also to make us put the calories we consume into perspective.
In the afternoon we had a nutrition talk which was SO informative and I have written all that I learnt from it in my 'No. 1 Bootcamp nutrition review.'
Feeling better and more motivated today as I'm noticing changes in my body. There are no full length mirrors so it's hard to recognise that you're changing.
1 hour before breakfast was firstly a boxing circuit eg hooks. Lying on your back and punching up etc. then we swapped round with the other group and did spinning.
- Quick fact: Interval training before breakfast increases your metabolism throughout the day as you're working on an empty stomach, and are therefore using your fat stores for energy. The harder you train during this hour, the faster your metabolism will be for the day. If you train long and steady, after breakfast , your insulin level will be up and will store all the sugars you had at breakfast into fat. So you're getting fitter but not fat burning.
2nd session- as a collective we had to run 250 times round the track and do 250 bear crawls. I push myself to my absolute limit and really go for it. We then got timed and had to do 100 squats 75 squat thrusts, 50 press ups, 25 G S burpees. This was slightly irritating as basically all the people who didn't work hard enough during the previous exercise, and left it to people like me to do it all, had way more energy left!
3rd session:- circuits with runs in between, In groups of 3, beep test. 10 exercises to do on each side.
We ended with boxing again. Hook, jab, upper cuts.
Afternoon walk was 10 miles. We lastly did some stretching and had an ice bath.
Steps - 32,766
Calories - 2,872
We had a fitness test again like we did last Saturday. It's almost impossible to improve as you're so fatigued and exhausted from the week. For example at the beginning when I was fresh I did the run in 17mins but this time I did it in 18. But I tried my hardest and didn't stop running so I was still happy. I found the 2 mins of burpees, press ups and sit ups hard as I felt so weak, and I realised I had burnt out.
The second session was team games but I decided to do spinning instead, which they let me do, surprisingly. Lastly, to finish the week off we did the '1000 rep challenge', which was hell on earth even to someone who hadn't exercised in days. So when you had been exercising every single day for 5 days at that intensity, it's pretty damn difficult.
Fitness Q & A
I really should have taken notes during this session like I did in the nutrition talk as it was equally as useful, but unfortunately I didn't. I bullet pointed everything I could remember afterwards, however, so here it is!
A persons fitness depends upon these 7 aspects:-
Flexibility, strength, cardio, endurance, balance, perception, speed. It is important to try and improve in all 7, as opposed to just one, in order to reach optimum fitness. So people who just do running for cardio? They may be working on their endurance, cardio, and perhaps speed, but they will be really unfiit with regards to the other factors. Equally, if someone is only lifting weights, their cardio and flexibility will suck.
With your work outs you should focus on the following:-
F - frequency
I - intensity
T - time
T - type
A - adherence
Work out for a shorter time at a higher intensity rather than longer and steady as this burns less fat. HIIT (High intensity interval training) is the way to go!
Work more than one muscle group at a time - combine cardio and weights together rather than separately. Work the whole body with weights.
Example workout the trainer suggested:-
21, 15, 9 burpees and thrusters.
Core - kettle bell swings, burpees, tabata rowing 20 seconds as fast as you can and 10 seconds rest.
Fat, glycogen and anaerobic - need to be burning all 3 - can only do this with HIIT.
On the treadmill if you want same effect as on the road put it at a 1.5 incline.
If a flat stomach is your goal remember that abs are mainly down to a clean and lean diet but make sure you work every muscle when you do ab exercises as crunches only work one.
After 6 weeks your body plateaus as it gets used to a workout and it stops being effective so it's important to switch it up.
The more muscle you have the more calories you need to maintain it - and the more fat you burn. So build muscle and you'll burn fat like never before!