Racing to be fit for the wedding:
For the second spring in a row I have just finished a six week bootcamp at Glasgow Fitness Gym in Thornliebank. For those unfamiliar with the bootcamp philosophy it is essentially a short, intense series of classes to improve fitness. A lot of people use these sessions to get in better shape, detox and to vary their training regime. For me I was definitely aiming to build my core fitness, compliment the start of the racing season and lose some of the winter weight gain. The wedding is now just over a week away and in my head I had the added motivation of getting in good shape for the big day.
Many bootcamps have popped up all over the city and The Boy even dipped his toe in the waters with a short stint running a camp out of Victoria and Kelvingrove Park when he first moved to the city. I have been to the Bulletproof Bootcamp twice before as I know Dip Sekhon (instructor) very well. The gym has the added bonus of being located 5 minutes drive from work. I would recommend the camp to anyone who is looking to be pushed hard and up for introducing new activities to their training regime. In additional I wanted to see whether an element of cross training would benefit or hinder my running?
The camp comprises four morning (or evenings – or both if you are proper hardcore) sessions a week. I opt for morning classes which are 6-30am to 7-30am. My colleagues think this is crazy but I am the type of person that hates getting up whatever time and I would rather get the class out of the way.
All of the classes comprise of a gradual warm up which increases in intensity over the first 15-20 minutes of the session to loosen the joints and pick up the heart rate. Calling it a warm up by the end often seems like madness as challenging as many of the exercises that come later in the hour. Sessions vary providing a good mix for those who like to try different things and the result is a weekly regime that gives a good all round balance of strength, speed, conditioning and endurance. Typically sessions include:
1. Tabata Circuits – short intense bursts of exercise including burpees, push ups, kettle bell swings, shuttle runs etc.
2. Boxing / Muay Thai – the gym specialises in boxing and TKD and Muay Thai amongst other martial arts. These classes are in a padded cage which is pretty cool
3. A Barbell class
4. Running – the only thing I actually perform competently at
Each session is tough and you won’t leave feeling anything other than you have had a brutal work out, in a good way. The weights session in particular is a good addition to my regular training where my upper body is totally neglected. I am shamefully weak as seen by embarrassingly poor performance anytime push ups are on the menu.
My favourite session this time around (aside from the sprint session on the track) has been the circuits. I like the variation in exercise and we usually complete four x seven minute rounds in pairs. For those who are competitive there is an element of challenge vs your partner but the fundamental thing about bootcamp is personal improvement.
I enjoy all of the workouts but in terms of the exercises within them there are some I would rather avoid. Aside from the push ups the others that are horrible are the cards game where we have to do a set number of exercise depending on which card comes out the pack (screw you Aces and Joker), bear crawl and anything that involves twisting of the core. The good thing about Dip is he senses your achilles heel and gives you more punishment so that you get the maximum individual gain from the experience. No pain no gain certainly runs through your mind a lot during these classes as you are working at your limit. Dip and Harry make sure they motivate you to give you best during the sessions.
Weekly fitness tests at the end of the class are used to chart progress and Body-Fat is calculated pre and post bootcamp. Alongside the classes Dip also moderates a Facebook nutrition page for people attending the camp giving lots of good ideas about eating more healthily and in moderation.
The group that attend are extremely mixed with people looking to get back into a fitness routine through to high level amateur and professional athletes keeping fit on their off season giving an indication of how highly thought of the training is and how well Dip caters to different fitness needs. Participants come from all different backgrounds and the number of people returning to the bootcamp and making it the main part of their fitness programme is testament to the quality of training and facility at Glasgow Fitness. The classes are tough but fun and are accompanied by motivational music. A nutrition Facebook page is also offered to give ideas and share recipes about healthier eating – I promise I didn’t eat any junk during bootcamp 🙂
So has attending Bulletproof Bootcamp helped or hindered my running?
Once again the combination of racing and bootcamp has worked well for me delivering me into good race shape during the Polaroid Series after a relatively quiet winter. I have achieved my 3rd and 4th fastest ever 10k times in the last month. This is despite the fact that the class on a Thursday morning has meant I have doubled up on the days of my 10ks. Last year I ran my fastest ever 10k and 5k while I was completing bootcamp showing that it has most definitely improved my core fitness and as a result my speed and medium distance endurance.
Overall the camp has shown me that a greater variety is required in my training to improve my base fitness. Classes focus a lot on core strength and key exercises have developed this for the benefit of my running. When I am not at bootcamp I use a lot of these exercises on my rest days at home. There is no hiding at Bootcamp and Dip and Harry work well to ensure everyone is giving their all meaning you are going to see some real benefits and changes to your body definition over the 6 weeks.
The next bootcamp at Glasgow Fitness is a shorter 4 week block which would be an ideal opportunity for anyone looking to vary their training and try something different over the summer. For me I will definitely be completing a block of training with Dip two or three times a year to give me a different focus from running sessions comprising 100% of my training whilst providing a platform that compliments and enhances what I am doing with my running.
If anyone is interested in finding out more the best way would be to look up the camp on Facebook and contact Dip that way.