Get Active: Mud, sweat and pain for Post reporter taking on boot camp

PUBLISHED: 16:30 24 February 2015

Action from the BlitzBootcamp in Central Park, Dagenham.

Action from the BlitzBootcamp in Central Park, Dagenham.


What were you doing at 9am on Saturday?

Tyre action at BlitzBootcamp.Tyre action at BlitzBootcamp.

Were you lifting tyres and barrels, charging through a muddy park and sweating out your guts?

Given the choice, I wouldn’t have been, either, but the chance to appear macho in front of a camera (while burning 1,000 calories) was too good to miss.

Tucked away in Dagenham’s Central Park, Blitz Bootcamp runs weekly high-intensity workout sessions combining cardiovascular and body-toning exercise with the great outdoors.

It kicked off with what I hoped would be a gentle warm-up – but turned out to be 10 minutes of skipping rope, squats, press ups and stretches that had me panting like a dog with whooping cough. Time for the session to begin, then.

Reporter Mark Shales.Reporter Mark Shales.

An all-out boxing assault with gloves and pads got blood pumping before I moved onto the tyres – sprinting with rubber held aloft.

The demanding sandbag crawls came next, before the punishing “barrel crunches” – sit-ups holding, well, a barrel – and the effects of the night before meant evasive action was hastily taken under a nearby bush.

A commando-style stretcher run rounded off the morning – a challenge not made any easier by two dogs blocking the path.

But beneath all the sweat, mud and pain I was left with a far greater sense of achievement than on any Saturday morning I can remember for a long, long time.

Reporter Mark Shales tries his hand at boxing.Reporter Mark Shales tries his hand at boxing.

Personal trainer and rugby coach West Calverley, 30, who runs the session alongside weekly mud run training, boxercise and Mummy mornings bootcamp classes, told me afterwards: “It’s more of a friendship group than a fitness class. But it is a great form of exercise.

“You can be a member of a gym, but if you’re working out by yourself it’s easy to slack off.

“Out here there’s no hiding.”

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