Tuesday 22 March 2011

Bootcamp - in which I discover I love hardcore exercise

It was one of those weird coincidences – you know, the ones I love so much.

An editor I used to work for had sent a round robin email to announce she was going freelance. Soon after I got a call from someone else on the list - an ex-editor now turned PR.

‘Long time no speak,' she said.  'I saw you on the email list and wondered if you might fancy going on a bootcamp in Buckinghamshire?’ she asked. ‘It’s run by this amazing woman called Julie Brealy.’

‘Hang on a flipping minute,’ said I. ‘I know Julie Brealy.’ When I’d damaged a tendon, she’d given me sports massage on it for weeks – down here on Exmoor. She was fab. She was also pretty hardcore. My Achilles got better out of sheer fear. But, hey, small world. It was obviously A Sign so I signed up. And promptly forgot all about it.

Then realised, in a mild state of panic, that March was whizzing along and I had a hot and fast approaching date with eight hours’ exercise a day. Stumbled onto the train with a case full of trainers and my bodyweight in painkillers. Arrived at Latimer Place and was hurled straight into a circuit class followed by – oh yes – Zumba.

I don’t think I’ve talked about Zumba on the blog. About my mad love affair with the wildest, sweatiest, dirtiest dance going. But you can read about it on my Lady blog here. There was lots of Zumba on this weekend – four hours of it. Oh yes.

Anyhow. The weekend was a total blast. Just wonderful. There were twelve of us – all women but all ages, sizes and shapes. Some revoltingly fit, some not so. You work at your own pace, encouraged rather than pushed. No noses in the mud; no screaming and yelling. Best thing was trying out new classes and workouts. So it was thumbs up to kettlebells – yeah the Russian dead weight thingy you swing between your legs (very fetching). Thumbs down to bellydancing (I tried but I just can’t shimmy my boobs in the opposite direction to my hips). Actually, nor could anyone else – we all looked desperately stiff and Anglo-Saxon (even the French and Swedes in the group). Thumbs up to gym sticks (a deep and brilliant stretch) and, surprisingly, thumbs up to Jazzercise (bit of a blast). You know, I can’t remember everything we did but there was a lot of it. There was also tons of food. You think you have to live on a couple of carrot sticks and the odd oatcake? Wrong. I seriously couldn’t keep up.

At the end of the day we piled into the pool and swam and then jostled for room in the jacuzzi. Then crammed into the steam room and sauna. And laughed and laughed.

But, best of all – bliss upon bliss – I was working so hard that there was no room At All for the usual nonsense that flies through my head. I was in ‘no thought’ for such vast periods of time that the world transformed into a very pleasant place. So coming back home felt weird. What is this thing called ‘sitting on a chair at a PC?’ My muscles twitched; wanted to move. And my mind winced as the old crap came rushing back in as I unravelled over 100 emails and a slew of voicemails.

So I went to the gym. And talked to Trish who introduced me to Julie in the first place. ‘Did you like it?’ she asked, as I beat hell out of the exercise bike.
‘I loved it!’ I said.  'Just the dog's bollocks.'
‘Hmm,’ she replied. ‘Better do a week the next time.’

You know what?  I'm severely tempted. 

Brealy Bootcamps - give 'em a go! 


Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed it.
Funny but I think, despite my avid aversion to all forms of dance and physical self expression, I think I probably can belly dance. But that's because my boobs have a life entirely of their own anyway.
So when do you go for the week??

trisha said...

Funny you being at Latimer House - my memories of Latimer House was from when I worked at Amersham and had to sit in on supply chain meetings and project meetings for SAP and where am I now running a rural gym on Exmoor and working at Fit Farms!! Much prefer to spend my mornings talking about Zumba and kettlebells! See you in the gym soon - need to keep the training up for when you go for the week !!

Expat mum said...

I can sort of get it. I have never been one to push myself but can work hard anyway. Sounds like sort-of good fun nonetheless, and well done you!

Posie said...

Laughed at your fab description of the belly dancing Jane...

Exmoorjane said...

Viv: belly dancing LOOKS gorgeous - wish I could be that sinuous... Hmm, dunno about the week...will have to see.

Trish: *waves* - even though only saw you a short while ago... Can't wait for you to get the kettlebells classes going.

EM: I need someone to push me that bit further. I'm quite self-motivated but something about a group makes you go that extra inch.

Posie: it is SO not me...much more into the salsa, regathon and tribal oomph. :)

Anonymous said...

@Jane. As I say to the artists who sometimes draw and paint me in the raw - Don't make me laugh or you'll all get sea sick.
Judging from the fact that without doing anything out of the ordinary, I've managed to partially dislocate my own neck, shoulders and one collarbone(well it feels like it) and cause myself a lot of pain because of these stupid hypermobile joints, I think any sort of dance or exercise is out of the question right now. Six feet one ligaments and tendons on a five feet seven body equals unforseen pain at inopportune moments. Snakes don't have this issue.
Ouch. Rubbed my relevant sore bits with white tiger balm and waiting till it all settles back down.xxx

Naomi Devlin said...

Excellent stuff! I teach nutrition and write the menus for our very own Dorset bootcamp experience 'REBOOT Dorset!'.

No belly dancing, but lots of fartlekking and fantastic food...

Exercise is a great way of stilling the mind and oiling the body - keep up the good work.

x x x

mum in meltdown said...

My My I'm exhausted just reading the post nevermind partaking in the exercises!! I have ME which restricts mobility like you wouldn't believe so I think I would be bedridden for a week just after the dance class!! If my boobs were bigger I would give shaking them in a different direction to my hips a go though!! LOL

Lorraine said...

Thanks for the workout Jane. I must have lost a stone reading that as it wore me out imagining it all. I get puffed out playing draughts!