No.1 Bootcamp Ibiza

Could an intense fitness course teach me to love exercise?

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My interest in fitness comes in sporadic bursts. For a few months, two years ago, I got myself a personal trainer. I enjoyed the workouts, but the minute work got too busy they fell by the wayside.Similarly when I started going to the gym a few months after that – it lasted for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn’t stick it out. Even getting married couldn’t spur me into becoming a fitness addict.My rationale was: I eat healthily, I’m a size 8/10. So I’ve still got a few wobbly bits around the edge… I’m happy. I simply studiously ignored the fact I got breathless running for the bus.Then, finally, after five years of being disturbed at 5.45am by my husband’s alarm (THREE TIMES A WEEK!) to get him up for his 8k run, I cracked. I didn’t want to head into middle age unfit.Signing up to a week-long bootcamp in Ibiza was a little extreme, but I figured that if I wanted to start incorporating exercise into my daily life there was no better way than this.

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My husband (who I dragged along for the moral support and endless enthusiasm) couldn’t wait – I, on the other hand… not so much.But I stand here four weeks later a convert – while I’m not running marathons every week, I am doing at least 15 minutes exercise a day: be it sit ups, squats or short runs (that are definitely getting longer and easier each time). It really is amazing what you can do, even if you aren’t a member of a gym.

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So what does a bootcamp – or No 1 Bootcamp in Ibiza – entail? Well, for one, while their UK HQ may be more of a military experience, the Ibiza residence is more luxury villa. Think infinity pool, stunning views into the valley of San Joan (where the two guest houses are based), en-suite bathrooms and posh bed linen.

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However tough the daily regime may be, you are meant to enjoy every moment of downtime you get.Upon arrival (on the Saturday) into Ibiza airport (book the earliest flight you can so you can enjoy a full day of relaxation – trust me, you’ll be thankful for it), we were met by the camp’s driver, who took us on the short 30 minute drive to the main house. We arrived late, just in time for dinner

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I’ll be honest, while absolutely delicious (a courgette spaghetti Bolognese), I was silently horrified by the tiny portion – boys get a bit more than girls, but hardly! That evening our trainer Ricky (a former Navy trainer – lovely, but tough) talked us through the week ahead – basically hours and hours of exercise – and the rules. No booze, no sugar, and only small amounts of the right kind of carbs: grains, broccoli, spinach).That night I went to bed starving, terrified of the 6am wake up call. Pre breakfast (porridge, heart sinks) we were sent on a run – as many times as we could around the block for 30 minutes, perfect for every person (i.e. the running obsessed husband) to set their own level

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Then the rest of the day consisted of a 10k hike through the Ibizan hills, a cool off in the sea, a break for lunch (soup, no bread) and to get out of the heat of the day (it was over 25 degrees, so tough going), before an afternoon of circuit training. Dinner, a genuinely delicious Thai chicken curry - that there just wasn’t enough of - and then bed.The thing about exercising for ten hours a day – you sleep like a baby.

By day two (sadly our last, as we were only able to escape for a weekend, but the camp does cater for that with a few people popping in from their holidays around the island for one class or the whole day), I’d started to feed off the endorphins. Forget the pain – and there was a lot, although nothing as bad as day three, wincing with every step as we lugged our suitcases through the airport – I just wanted to exercise.

For the first time I understood how people get addicted – and it was fascinating to watch the group evolve. Possibly unusually, our camp was really fit. Mainly filled with people who’d slightly fallen off the wagon and wanted that shove to get back on. But it meant that a real camaraderie evolved – people urging each other on when they saw another team member flagging (particularly during the steps task – one hour running up and down a truly endless mountain of steps built into a mountainside by Benniras beach).By the time day three came, and we had to head to the airport, I was genuinely sad to leave behind the group – a few of whom had met on a previous camp and decided to come back together.

And as for the weight loss? Well, for me, it wasn’t about that and in two days there wasn’t much of a difference. Plus, the trainer said that for people looking simply to improve their fitness, they usually up the portion sizes and add in protein shakes. However, the exercise – well, I’d never have believed it if you’d told me before, but every morning I’m still doing it. Not huge sessions, but tiny noticeable amounts which will hopefully have me sprinting to the bus stop well into old age.

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