It’s a funny word bootcamp. Voguish, these days, with Gwyneth Paltrow overtones, for me it also carries an inherent, pulsing kind of horror. I picture Sergeant Majorish bawling, dropping down for a hundred mandatory press ups, the humiliation of public failure.
Bairdy’s Bootcamp, conveniently located in Gillingham, a no excuses 10 minutes door to door, has been on my radar for some time. Let’s call it months. I’ve been able to find plenty of reasons for not going – not enough time during the day, too lazy to get off the sofa at night. January, I promised myself, I’ll go in January.
So here I am in the first week of 2016, along with all the other New Year reinventers, a 30 strong mixed gender crowd of all ages.
The studio, in the heart of a Gillingham industrial estate, is a low-fi, fundamental space, the exact opposite of The Harbour Club, I’d imagine. The workout is extraordinary.
David Baird a former military fitness instructor, has been teaching aerobics since he trained as pop mobility instructor at the age of 14. He promises that the class, though hard, will be fun with plenty of laughter to ease the pain.
Tonight’s class is a high intensity workout, just the warm up alone, a 10 minute sequence of jumps, lunges and burpees has me questioning whether I’ll make the full hour but somehow I get through it. The next half hour alternates outdoor work – running, lunging, skipping - with indoor floorwork – sit ups, press ups, those dreaded burpees.
There are regular water breaks in between and then a punishing routine set to Roxanne by The Police – burpees every time Sting sings Roxanne, star jumps every time he says ‘red light,’ we must be talking thirty mentions of each and by the end my heart feels like it’s going to explode.
Finally there’s upper body work using resistance bands, a boxing routine, punching out to music which feels like fun at the time (less so when I'm unable to raise my arms the following day).
Bairdy motivates and jokes throughout the hour which passes in record time. There’s no judgement here, which is such a relief, and although the regulars are encouraged to push themselves harder, newbies like me are gently corrected but largely left to get through as best we can.
What I realise at the end of the hour, is that I’ve been kidding myself about my fitness. I run regularly, often clocking up 10k at the weekends, but this bootcamp is a whole different ball game. The next day I can hardly get out of bed – arms, thighs, stomach, pretty much every muscle in my body is screaming with stiffness. Three days later the stiffness has gone and I'm gearing up for my second class tonight. Lovely, chi chi women's yoga this is not and what can I say? I'm hooked. Classes cost £5 more information on Bairdy's Training Camp here