Most fitness bootcamps have always sounded, to me, a bit like the ultimate public school experience. You pay a lot to get bullied, have teeth-chatering cold showers and at the end of the day get to sleep in a freezing dormitory.
But the Ultimate Fitness Bootcamp, the concept of a team of elite professional trainers, is attempting to break the mould and prove that a drastic fitness regime can be fun …er well almost!
The Ultimate Boot Camp is truly luxurious.
It all happens at Lock House, is a Grade ll listed property with 10 bedrooms, inglenook fireplaces, a central oak staircase and a swimming pool, set in acres of countryside at Partridge Green in West Sussex. We are told it was not long ago home to the singer Adele.
When we arrive there are roaring log fires and the enticing smells of haute cuisine – the inhouse chef is Sean Paul Redding who numbers the likes of Kate Moss and Sadie Frost as clients.
Our bedroom and bathroom are kitted out hotel style with quality bedlinen, fluffy towels and dressing gowns – and an array of toiletries.
But it’s a mistake to be lulled into a false sense of security. You do get what you pay for here in terms of fast-track fitness training. And there is no hiding place for slackers! As I later found out.
After checking for our two-day “taster” session with a weigh-in and vital statistics measured, we get a briefing from the head coach, Andy Morton who has fearsome …I mean awesome qualifications!
Andy served 7.5 years in Her Majesty’s Forces, primarily with 9 Para Squadron Royal Engineers. And he is now a fully qualified personal trainer.
It’s 5pm. And we are all gathered round to hear what the next couple of days has in store.
“I like to push you to the limits but I like you to have fun,” promises the former para trainer.
“I’m not going to tell you what is coming next, its easier not to know what is coming next – focus on now.” Hmm I can see the sense in that – probably better not to know.
“Life is a race but this only about yourself.” is one of his matras. I assume that is when other people are doing better this inspires the faint-hearted not to throw in the towel.
We are told that in general anyone who is late will be ‘fined’ with extra circuits, press-ups or whatever. Exercise begins at 7am and is a warm-up before breakfast at 8.
On the first day this consisted of stretching and aerobics and the second day hard-core running up and down a hill to the end of the drive outside.
“Come on chickens”, shouts Andy when some begin to flag…not me of course!
After breakfast its outside in the garden – pictured below. No fitness manoeuvre is left out – jumping jacks, squats, planks, press ups, crawling, running. I am glad I bought a pair of gloves – the local wild-life leaves a nice selection of freshly deposited fertiliser on the lawn.
Next it’s time to hit the hangar – an outside fitness complex that can be used for one type of exercise or as a circuit. No question – we have to do both.
The hangar – pictured below – is superbly equipped for circuit training
The nutritional philosophy at the UFB is that its essential to eat – but eat properly. The five meals per day including two snacks are designed to give you enough fuel so that you have the energy to take part in the exercise regime. Chef Sean Paul Redding is adept at making great tasting food that is full of protein using extra virgin coconut oil and an array of spices and herbs.
Here are just a few of the delicious meals we sampled during our visit:
Weight and inch-loss is different for everyone. But at the end of the two-days I had lost 3lbs in weight so was very pleased with the kick-start to my fitness regime. Would I go again? Yes I answer. But in all seriousness I would have done some preparatory training so I could have had less pain and more gain.
Ultimate Fitness Bootcamp Factbox
Cost: from £405 for a 3-day package; from £680 for a 5-days and from £950 for 7-days.
Nearest railway station: Horsham, Sussex.