Boot Camp Fitness in Reading – Nicola and Debbie’s journey

Nicola and Debbie have been regular Boot Campers for some time now.  They achieved great results initially but have somewhat plateaued of late.  So I set them a challenge to follow what I say for the next 6 weeks and I guaranteed them the results they wanted.  I wasn’t doing anything outrageous or cutting food groups just getting them to follow my way of eating and changing they way they train outside of Boot Camp. They took my challenge and agreed to blog their progress.  So this is their journey with progressive fitness from the last 6 weeks.

Below are before and after Picture of Nicola and her mum Debbie.  These are taken 5 weeks apart as for the first week they didn’t change their diets, they just logged them so i could make relevant changes to them.
Before Pics :                                    After Pics:

Nicola2       Nicola after 2

nicola3Nicola after 3

NicolaNicola after1jpeg

Stats Before/after 6 weeks
Body fat: 27.7%/22.5%
Muscle mass: 37.8kgs/39.3kgs


Before pics:                         After Pics:

Deb Before 123-4-13Deb Aftter 1 24-5-13Deb latest 2

Deb before (2) 23-4-13  Deb after (2) 24-5-13Deb latest

Stats Before/after 6 weeks
Body fat: 43.8%/39.5%
Muscle mass: 40.7kgs/41.1

The First Blogs!

Ok, so I have never blogged before so this could be interesting.  For those that are reading this, please bare with me!

I guess I should start with a little bit of info about me.  My name is Nicola and I am 30 years old.  I have 2 children, a little girl who is 3 and a boy who is 19 months.  I am engaged to their dad (only took him 14 years to propose, but that’s a different story!!!) and we all live together in Reading.  I work full time as a Financial Investigator.

I first heard about the Reading Fitness Boot Camp in about June 2010.  My friend had been told about it by her sister in law who was going at the time and she convinced me to go along with her.  Well, I didn’t really take much convincing as at this point my little girl was 6 months old and I was desperate to get rid of the baby weight.  I was one of those people that took full advantage of using my pregnancy as an excuse to eat as much as I wanted.  And I ate a lot!!  Hence the reason I had a lot of baby weight to lose!

So we arrived for our first session and what can I say?  It was a shock to the system!  I couldn’t even do 1 full sit up.  However, it didn’t take long to settle in, build up my fitness and lose the weight.  I did boot camp for about 6 months and at the end of this period I was the smallest and lightest I had been for as long as I can remember.  Then I fell pregnant with my son.

I was over the moon about being pregnant and had decided not to continue boot camp while the bun was in the oven.  That was a personal choice as I know some people have continued right through to the later stages of pregnancy.

Again I piled on the pounds and was left with a lot to lose after my beautiful boy was born.  Of course, I knew what to do.  I joined back up to boot camp when he was 4 months old!

It was tough getting back into it again but really nice to see some of the familiar and friendly faces of the regulars that were still there from when I had left.  It is actually really addictive and that is shown by the amount of people that have been coming week after week for years.

It is the only form of exercise that I can truly say has worked for me.  And I have tried all sorts!  I get bored in the gym so don’t end up going, I never seem to have enough motivation to get me out the door for a run and I get fed up of being inside to exercise when I have tried classes.  So boot camp is perfect.  It is enjoyable to exercise in a group, you get to be out in the fresh air (which at times feels like a massive mistake when you find yourself doing sit ups in the snow!) and you have James and Jamie (the instructors) to give you just the right amount of motivation to get you moving and to help with technique.  I would recommend it to anyone, and in actual fact I have done.  My mum is now a regular boot camper too.  More about her later.

So, I joined back up in January 2012 and to give you an idea of the results I got in 15 months I will let you in on my before and after stats.

Before After
Weight 10st 8lb 8st 11lb
Waist 34 inches 29.5 inches
Bust 37 inches 33.25 inches
Hips 42.5 inches 39.25 inches
Thigh 23.5 inches 22.25 inches
Arm 12 inches 11.5 inches

And this is without doing any extra exercise!  And not following a diet!  I just try and eat healthily but allow myself treats every now and then. You can now probably understand why I love boot camp so much!
That brings us up to today and the challenge I have accepted in the last week.

I am a 52 year old Mum of 5 children from the ages of 32 down to 18, and have 4 grandchildren.  I work full time as a registered childminder as I have done for 27 years.

I originally started boot camp in September 2010, persuaded by my daughter Nicola who wanted to get back in shape after having her daughter, and for me to regain my fitness after some major surgery a few months beforehand and having got bored of the gym before that. I did have a short break in 2011 but have been going continuously since Jan 12.

It certainly did the trick and made me feel so much better and stronger which is certainly what I need in my active job, triple buggy pushing with 3 toddlers uphill is a new workout all of its own!

Boot camp is no picnic though and hard work is required if you want to get the best from it but the feeling at the ‘end’ of the session is worth all the pain and is a whole lot better than vegging on the sofa in front of the telly!  I really love the diversity of sessions and am amazed at how many different things James can come up with to put us through our paces even when it includes hills!  I am also really impressed with how well it all works together in the group despite a massive difference in ages and abilities of those that attend.  The recorded fitness tests at beginning and end of each 6 week boot camp are a perfect way to show achievements and to encourage you to stretch yourself.  I can honestly say I have never been to a session and thought afterwards I wish I hadn’t been,  even after doing an end of 6 week fitness test with thick snow on the ground and we had to do sit ups, press ups the works!  My nose and fingers were so frozen they were stinging in pain!

I have always had battles with my weight since early adulthood and have ranged between 9-16 stone! Fortunately it is quite a few years now since I have been at the upper end but it has slowly started to creep its way up again recently (all my own fault – lazy eating) and I want to get a grip on it before it gets totally out of control again!  So I decided to take up James challenge to attend boot camp, follow diet advice and do extra workouts to give me an extra boost and incentive and write a blog on how it’s going.  Nothing like being in the public eye for keeping on track – nowhere to hide!

So watch this space??!!

Week 1 of Progressive Fitness’ Boot Camp fitness in Reading
April 13 At the beginning of this Fitness Boot Camp James asked for 2 volunteers to take part in a bit of an experiment.  The main requirement was to write a blog for him about the bootcamp sessions.  In addition the volunteers  would have to be willing to share a before and after picture of themselves as well as having their before and after measurements published.  They would also need to do some extra sessions and follow healthy eating plan.

So having received this request I thought long and hard about it and decided that as a gesture I’d offer myself as a volunteer in the event that he didn’t have anyone else.  So I wrote him an email, hit send and sat back safe in the knowledge that would be the last I heard of it.  Of course he’d have loads of volunteers.  Ok, so I was wrong!

I received an email back from James asking if I could meet him before the next boot camp session so he could talk me through it and take my measurements.  My immediate reaction was ‘Oh ****, that wasn’t supposed to happen!’  After a little panic about what I’d just signed myself up for I realised that it was a good thing.

I am at that stage where I don’t have a whole lot more weight to lose and am becoming more accepting of my body shape (not sure I’ll ever be in love with it!) but I’d really love to tone up what I have and lose the wobbly bits!  And my fitness needs work!!  So this is a great opportunity to give myself a boost and with the added benefit that I have the guidance of James and the knowledge that I can’t hide away from it if I have to report on it and my results will be published at the end of the 6 weeks!!

So I met James, had my measurements taken and accepted the challenge!  And at the same time talked my mum (Debbie Vicary) into doing it too!  We have decided to do a joint effort and will both be writing blogs.  So for some sessions you may only hear from one of us and others from us both.

James asked me to think about what I wanted to get out of this.  I have done and my 2 main goals are 1. To improve my fitness and 2. To feel comfortable and confident enough to wear shorts in the summer.  I know that sounds a bit mad but I’ve always hated my legs so it would be a huge achievement for me to feel happy to get them out!

We are 2 weeks into this boot camp now so we have already done 4 sessions so I am going to attempt to remember and comment on what we did in the first week.  My mum will be writing about the second week and that will bring us up to date.

Week 1 of Reading’s Best Fitness Boot Camp!

Monday 15 April 2013 We arrived at boot camp and it struck me what a big group were there.  I can imagine this had a lot to do with the lighter evenings and better weather.  It was a beautiful evening however I think the sun had gone to James head as boy did he work us hard!  I stupidly thought that as it was the first session he would ease us in.  No such luck.  The warm up consisted of 2 laps of the ‘dreaded hills’!

To follow James split us in to 4 groups.  He had set up 4 stations each with different exercises.  Two of the stations involved doing exercises such as press ups, burpees, sit ups, jumping jacks and more starting with reps of 10 for each and working down to 2 reps of each. Another station was shuttle runs between 2 points with a set of 10 sit ups at each end which we had to do 10 times!  And then it was the dreaded hill run circuit.  We had to start at the bottom of the hills, do 10 squats, run to the top, do 10 tricep dips and run back down and repeat this 8 times!

In my opinion the first 2 stations were easy in comparison to the second 2.  The sit up shuttles were knackering and the hill runs were something else!  At one point I think nearly everyone was on the hill runs where it had backed up!

As usual I felt great afterwards and although I moaned ‘a lot’ during, it was a great workout.  I could go home and safely say I had worked hard!

Wednesday  17 April This was fitness test night.  It was a new test so something different for us all.  We could do the half test or the full test.  The full test was 24 x Press ups, 24 x burpees, 24 x sit ups, 24 x jumping jacks, 24 x alternate squat thrusts and then a run around a circuit that had been marked out with cones and then repeat the whole thing again!!!  The half test was half the reps and a shorter run.  And this was timed.  The aim is to beat this time at the end of the 6 weeks when we repeat the fitness test.

I was very tempted to take the half test but I knew I needed to push myself so I opted for the full test.  It was hard!!!!!!  When I work hard my face gets hotter and hotter and redder and redder and there was definitely a point when I felt my face would explode at any minute!  Of course, this was me over reacting and there was no face explosion and I finished with a time of 14.02 minutes.

My aim now is to beat this in the final fitness test!  Watch this space for the results!

Oh and I failed to mention that when the fitness test was complete there was no rest or going home early, it was straight into some body weight exercises and sprints!  You certainly get your moneys worth at boot camp!!  Thanks James! 😉

Week 2 of Boot Camp:

Tuesday 23 April I have been trying to be sensible with what I am eating and I think I have been successful at this.  I am sending James a food diary at the end of the week so we’ll see what he thinks!

Enjoyed boot camp last night.  A lot of team work which is always fun.  My mum is writing a blog about this session so read that for more info.

Decided to do 50 sit ups and 50 squats this evening.  I must be feeling motivated!  Hope it lasts!

Thursday 25 April Another great session last night.  Loads of equipment used.  Love the way James and Jamie come up with such a variety of sessions.  Never feels like you are doing the same.  Mum is writing about this session too so read her blog for more.

I did one of James’ boot camp workouts at home this evening.  This involved a 5 minute warm up followed by completing as many circuits of the following as possible in 20 minutes.  15 reps of each – Squats, Press ups, sit ups, squat thrusts, lunges, tricep dips, twist sit ups, alternate squat thrusts, burpees and plank.   I managed 3 circuits in the 20 minutes.

Was hard work doing it at home.  Probably as I don’t have a lot of room or anybody else helping to motivate me like I would have at boot camp.  Still, glad I done it.  That is one of my extra sessions done!!

Saturday 27th April Decided I must attend Saturday ‘8am’ PAYG Boot Camp as I promised to increase my exercise sessions as part of this challenge – boy did I not know what I was letting myself in for! Think Jamie was cross with someone somewhere?!   We had a gruelling session of guess what – mansion house ‘hills’ (as I have ‘fondly’ got to recall them as). After a warm up including the hill we then had a flat coned loop at the bottom at which we had to do various sets of exercises at each cone followed by a loop of the hill and this ran continuously for 35mins with NO break!  Wow it was tough!  Credit to Jamie though he knows how to encourage everybody within their own capabilities and it really helps.  Lastly I felt damn good when it was all over!

Week 2 of Boot Camp:

27th April 13 I decided that as I needed to fit in another training session that I would go to the Saturday morning PAYG boot camp session in Prospect Park at 8am!!!!

8am is not early for me as I have 2 young children who think it is a good idea to get up 6 in the morning but doing exercise at 8am is a whole different matter!

My mum had decided to do it too so we arrived at the park and waited for others to arrive.  The sun was shining but it was pretty fresh.  There were about 10 of us there and Jamie took us over to the dreaded hills!

After a bit of a warm up which included a couple of laps of the hills Jamie put out some cones in a semi circle at the bottom of the hills and then announced to us that we would be running up one hill, down the other and around the cones he’d laid out, stopping at each cone to do some reps of various exercises that he’d let us know as we go.  Then he added this little nugget ‘and we will be doing this continuously for 35 minutes, no rest!!!’

(Wow!  Who’s bright idea was it to come to boot camp again!?)

So this is what we did:

It is safe to say that it was really hard and I was absolutely knackered!  I was really proud of myself for keeping it up and only stopped a couple of times for a short walk.

It was really encouraging to hear the Saturday regulars say that this was the toughest session they had ever done.  This didn’t make me feel so bad that I struggled!

Was glad I went and will try and fit some more Saturday sessions in when I can.  It set me up for the day, although I was shattered by the evening.  And I don’t know if it was related but I was also starving for the rest of the weekend!

29th April 13 Tonight’s boot camp was another toughie (have a feeling I might be saying this a lot!). I could feel a lack of energy even doing the warm up.

We were split in to 4 teams and each team was given a map of the park with 10 points marked out on it and a list of exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, sit ups, press ups, tricep dips etc) numbered 1 to 10.  As a team we had to run to each point and then do 600 reps of the stated exercise so that at the end we had totalled 6000 reps!  This equated to 42 reps each in our team.

We were not allowed to move on until the whole 600 reps had been completed.  But we were allowed to share our reps out.  So the fitter people in the group could do extra so that the less fit could do less.
Was really good fun working in a team and was quite motivating knowing we were racing the other teams!!
I found this session really hard actually and seemed to be seriously lacking energy.  However, I think I know the reason for this.  I gave blood earlier today.  They do say that you shouldn’t exercise after but I was feeling fine and I really didn’t want to miss a session as I am feeling motivated at the moment.  Probably not my most sensible move and something to consider not doing again as I really didn’t feel myself!  Still, glad I did as it was a good work out!

Sunday 28th April Did a 30 minute workout at home that James had previously sent out in one of his many emails with extra advice/tips which when taken time to read through properly are really helpful!  Started with a 5 minute warm up (as at boot camp sessions) and then did a set of 10 different exercises x 15 each repeatedly for 20mins.  Then cool down jog/stepping on the spot and stretch for last 5 mins.  I really knew I had worked hard but with some music on it was soon over and seriously made me feel better to get on with my day!

Debbie Blog:

Boot camp session – Monday 29th April You may have already seen Nicola’s blog about Monday’s session so you will see what we had to do. I really enjoyed working with a team but does make me feel the pressure as my running is not what I would like it to be so feel I let the team down when it comes to doing my share of the exercises but they were all great about it and encouraged me loads which I really appreciated.  Makes me more determined to push myself harder!  Thanks guys

Tuesday 30th April Another home session – this one a ‘Tabata’ set by James.  Hopefully most of you will know what I am talking about as we have done them in boot camp sessions, but basically is short hard bursts of exercise for 20 seconds then 10 seconds rest done in repeated cycles for 16 minutes total on this occasion with 3 sets with 2 different exercises per set and with a minute break between the sets.  Obviously warm up and cool down/stretches essential so a 30 minute session in total.  Down loaded Tabata Pro on my iPhone (£1.99) and you can just put in all the times, sets etc and press start and it shouts at you when to start/stop/rest/work etc it makes it really easy.  Luckily it doesn’t shout work harder! For my own benefit I also jotted down the exercises James suggested in big print to have next to me so I didn’t have to think too much what was up next!  That’s just my brain getting old!

Hard work (if you put your all into it) but well worth doing and doesn’t take too much time out of your evening.

Week 3 of Progressive fitness’s Fitness Boot Camp in Reading:

Nicola 01st May 13

I must say “what another good fitness training session tonight! “ And again something we’ve not done before at Reading Boot Camps.

We were split in to 3 groups, each with a different station to work on.  I started with the power bag bleep test, which involved running from one point to another carrying the Power bag.  We then dropped it off, ran back to the first point, back to the bag, picking it up and running back with it!!  (Not sure I’ve given the best description of that, but hopefully you get the gist!)  We were meant to be running in time with a bleep but the machine wouldn’t work properly.  This meant the beginning of the session was a little bit of a muddle but it didn’t take long for Craig (the instructor) to improvise and get us working!

The next station was boxing with Jamie.  We were in pairs, one with gloves and one with pads.  The person with the gloves had to do 20 seconds of fast and hard jabs, break for 20 while the people with pads done jumping jacks then back to jabs and repeat this 8 times.  Then swap.  We finished slightly earlier than the other groups so Jamie made us run to the tree line in the distance and back.  No such thing as resting at boot camp!

The last station was with James Parker.  We had to do various different exercises each for a minute and then repeat for 30 seconds.  The exercises were slightly different to what we are used to so that made it interesting.  The exercises were Reverse Burpees: starting on your back, throwing yourself up on to your feet and back down again. Spiderman press-ups: While doing a press up bringing one knee up to your elbow.  Some kind of lunge that I cannot remember the name of!  Something like skater lunge: do a lunge, hop to the side, do a lunge, hop back to the other side, do a lunge etc.  Twist burpee: A burpee with a 180 degree turn added when you jump up..

These are possibly the worst descriptions of exercises ever but to be honest they are very hard to describe in words and I can’t do a physical demonstration on here so it will have to do.  Anyway, the upshot is that they were hard and I could feel them working.  As I am sure others could judging by the grunts and groans from the group!

I forgot to mention that before we kicked off with the stations James Parker gave us a quick workshop on getting the correct technique when doing burpees, squat thrusts and alternate squat thrusts.  I think that shows that he really wants us to get the most out of boot camp and the get the best results we can.

Debbie Vicary: Wednesday 1st May
Nicola has done Wednesday boot camp fitness blog which I concur was pretty tough!  I keep having this idea it should get easier but of course it never will, because as you improve fitness levels then you just have to work harder!

Thought I would just now mention about the eating advice from James which we agreed to have a good bash at whilst increasing the number of training sessions.  It is a high protein diet, which to begin which excludes bread, pasta, potato, most dairy and of course all the nice obvious things like sweets, crisps, cakes and alcohol!

Basically we begin with lean meats, chicken, fish, salad, veg, nuts, fruit (limited) as well as protein shakes (surprisingly tasty and to which you can add fruit and nuts too if desired) and fish oil!  Doesn’t sound exactly exciting hey,  but it hasn’t been as bad as I expected and any changes take adjusting to and I trust James knowledge as he has certainly given us a ton of evidence as to why we should do this along with a calculation guide to personalise it for our different weights/goals.  Watch this space as James develops it further with us and we get to understand it better!

Extra training session – Wed 1st May
Nicola and I went off to the local park together to do some interval training, a warm up and stretch then jogging 40 seconds and sprinting 20 seconds for 10 cycles.  Doesn’t seem long but certainly got the heart rate up high!   The Tabata Pro app was great for timing it and can easily be heard from a waistband bum bag.  Also did a gentle jog most of the way home and a good stretch.  Definitely enjoying how good I feel afterwards even though it was only a short session like the Tabata.

Week 4 of Boot Camp:

Monday 6th May
After a lovely day enjoying the sun I have to admit it was pretty tough dragging I off to boot camp – but I did!

Jamie decided which of us would be green and which yellow in terms of the exercises that we done (green doing more).  He kindly labelled me a green!  Arch!

Quite a lot of running tonight which I feel is not my strong point but I did run it all so I am pleased with that.

The set of triceps dips that Jamie had us do was horrid!!!  It hurt, a lot!!  But I have to accept that if I want to shift these bingo wings it has to be done!

Tonight was another good session in the sun with friendly faces.  Glad I didn’t cheat myself and skip it.

07 May 2013
I think I am starting to get the hang of the diet that James has set us.  Mind you he hasn’t seen my food diary yet so he could well have a different opinion!

It is basically a high protein diet.  We have cut out all processed foods and the majority of carbs.  I actually thought it would be harder than it has been.

It is taking a little imagination when I haven’t been organised enough to plan ahead but I have been sticking to it as best as possible.

Except for my blip on Saturday that is!  So, I had a dilemma.  It was one of my best friends 30th birthdays and we were going out for dinner and drinks.  But part of the food plan is to not consume alcohol!  What to do!?

I considered being really strong and driving so that I didn’t drink but then the little devil in me kept prodding me saying ‘you don’t get to go out drinking much now you have 2 young children’, ‘she’ll only turn 30 once, go for it!’ and other similar comments!

The upshot is that the devil won!  I did try and be sensible and had vodka, soda and lime in an attempt to not consume too many calories.  (Oh and 1 cocktail and a jager bomb!)

However I did choose well for the meal and had sea bass with salad.  And I even turned down birthday cake!

I am sure that this will have put my progress back but to be honest I don’t regret it.  I am really up for getting fitter and losing some body fat but not at the cost of having a life!  I guess I need to find a balance, which I think I will.  I want to be able to allow myself to a treat when I decide it is warranted!  I know what I am like and if I am too strict on myself and I feel like I am missing out I will end up falling off the wagon completely!

I just have to accept that if I am going to allow myself these things every now and then that I will be making it harder for myself.  For now I accept this.

08th May
I really enjoyed tonight’s session!

James and Jamie had set up 5 lines of cones all an equal distance apart.  We had to start on the first line and do the exercise, run to the next, do that exercise, run to the next, etc.  You get the picture.  Once we had done the 5th exercise we had to run a distance around the bottom part of the park and back to the beginning and start over again.  However, the reps changed each round!  And you guessed it, it got harder!

This is what the exercises and reps were: Squat press with power bag, Clap burpees, alternate squat thrusts, jumping jacks and press-ups.

Round 1 – 8 reps
Round 2 – 16 reps
Round 3 – 24 reps
Round 4 – 16 reps
Round 5 – 8 reps
I’d say tonight took some serious stamina!

It was nice doing it in a big group and worked well as the fitter people could whiz off ahead (and over take in some cases!) and the slower people didn’t need to worry about keeping up.  You could work at your pace and make sure you were getting in all the reps.  And on the other hand if you really want to push yourself having the fitter people around helps as it gives you a target to try and keep up with.

As always James and Jamie were really good at motivating us to keep going.  I think they have a psychic ability to know when I am thinking about giving up!!  Also watching and giving advice on technique to make sure we get the best out of it (if you are reading this boys, don’t let it get to your head will you! ;-)).

We had a little rain shower in the middle of the session tonight which was actually very much appreciated as I needed cooling down!

After we had finished the circuits we were split into teams of 4 for some relay races!  It was great fun.  Brings out the competitive side in everyone!  I imagine that most people work harder doing it like this than if they were to do it on their own as there is a sense of not wanting to let your team down and also you know people are watching!


Tuesday  7th May
Badminton (1hour) – not part of James fitness plan but something I do every Tuesday night at 9pm with my husband and another couple.  We may not be the greatest players in the world and we are all getting on a bit but we have fun and have a reasonable bit of a workout in the process.

Wednesday 8th May
As Nicola has already talked about tonight’s boot camp I would just like to add that it certainly was tough but I kept moving non-stop and wasn’t as far behind as I have been usually which felt good!  The team sprint runs were especially hard for me as I was a pretty good distance runner back in my day (way, way back!) and ran for Reading Athletic club as a youth, but sprinting never was my forte!  The great thing about doing the team running is that it tends to make you push yourself that little bit harder because you don’t want to let the team down especially when they were all so encouraging.

And biggest bonus this week belt hole has had to go in one tighter! Yippee! 🙂


11th May
So I made it to Saturday boot camp again!  And I am pleased to say it was not as hard as the Saturday I attended!  Hard, but not as hard!

It was an all girl turn out so I don’t know what happened to the boys this week!  Jamie did try to tell us that he was used to being surrounded by groups of girls but I imagine that is in his dreams! 😉

Lots of running today.  We started with a short warm up and then a run from the top of the path by the car park down to the bottom lamp post by the Bath Road and back. (Those that do boot camp will know where I mean.  I think it is commonly known as ‘the lamp posts’!)

What Jamie didn’t tell us was that he was timing us!  Once we were all back, out came the clip board! (I think it made Jamie feel important!)  He wrote down all our times and then asked us from 1 to 10 how hard we felt the run was.

Then we worked between the first 6 lamp posts running between them, stopping at each one to perform a set of exercises decided by Jamie, and then running back to the start.  I think we done this about 3 or 4 times and the exercises included sit-ups, press ups, jumping jacks, burpees, alternate squat thrusts and a few more.

Then it was time to repeat the first run again.  Jamie wanted us to push ourselves harder and break down barriers!  He said we should be dipping in and out of a ‘10’ on the scale of how hard it is.

I managed to beat my time by 25 seconds!  It is funny how much harder you can push yourself when you have a goal.  We didn’t know we were being timed the first time so I guess we didn’t push as hard. When we knew we had a time to beat we all managed to push harder and beat it, even after doing 30-40 minutes of hard work in between!

It is obviously a lot to do with your mental attitude to training as well as your physical capabilities.  If you can push yourself harder in your head you can push yourself harder in the body! (I think that sounds really cheesy but the best way I could think of to describe it!) J

I also did some more Tabata training at home yesterday.  It is only half an hour and that includes warm up and cool down but I was knackered after!!  I put on my favourite music and it was over as quick as it began!  Definitely worth doing if you want to increase your training but without having to leave the house.

Week 5 of Boot Camp:

13th May
I enjoyed tonight’s session.  It was something I have not done at boot camp before.  One of the reasons I love boot camp.  Great variety.

We got into pairs with someone with similar or equal ability and played Hares and Hounds in the woods!  Basically one of us had to run off while the other had to wait 10 seconds and then try and catch them.  Was quite funny!

Then we worked in pairs with a power bag.  One of us ran a circuit down the hill, round and back up a steep hill while the other exercised with the bag.  And then we swapped.  We did this a few times with different variations of exercises.

Then it was time for more Hare and Hounds, swapping roles and with only a 5 second head start!

Next was a run around the trees carrying the power bag!!  That was hard.  I find it hard enough running with just my weight, let alone with an extra 7.5kg on top!

I can safely say I was suitably knackered by the end of the session!

I imagine the alcohol consumed at the weekend didn’t help!  I am really struggling to cut that out.  I have been really good with the rest of the diet but for some reason the alcohol is my sticking point.  I’m not really sure why as I have done 2 spells of 9 months where I didn’t touch a drop when I was pregnant and I didn’t even crave it.  And I don’t drink a lot anyway but just seem to not be able to say no at the moment!

On Saturday I went to a wedding reception in the afternoon (with a free bar!) and then out with my friends in the evening and I drank 4 vodka, soda and limes and 1 cocktail.  That was over a period from 2pm until 12am, so 10 hours, which I don’t think is too bad really!  Is it?!

Maybe I need to be stricter on myself or maybe I just need to accept that this is going to be my little treat to myself at the weekends and stop fighting it?!  This is still to be decided! 😉 x

Wednesday 15th May
The hills were involved which always makes it a hard session.  And my abs had a good workout tonight too with all the sit ups, planks and v-sits!

I also learnt that it is near impossible to do alternate squat thrusts on wet grass!  My feet just kept slipping out from under me!  Other people seemed to manage it but for some reason I couldn’t!  Not sure if it was more tiring doing the alternate squat thrusts or trying but failing!

I am starting to feel as if I can keep up a little better than before.  I can also notice the difference in by body.  I can actually now see that I have some stomach muscles!  And I have lost a lot of the cellulite that liked to hang around!  (My fiancé is very impressed with the results!)

One of my goals was to be happy to wear shorts.  I think that I am nearing that goal.



Debbie Vicary

Saturday 11thth May
I think it should be renamed ‘Killer camp’!  It was another brutal session which stretched my running ability to the limit!  After a good warm up we had to run the length of the path from car park to Bath Road and back in one hit and Jamie was waiting with a clipboard to record our times!   We then proceeded to do repeated sets of runs between the first 6 lamp posts with different sets of exercises at each post – lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, sit ups, alternate squats, squats to name but a few and then a straight run back with a short rest before next set for the remainder of the session just allowing enough time to repeat the whole run again with the intention of beating the originally time – that is when I realised I shouldn’t have tried so hard the first time!!  Didn’t quite manage that but was pleased to only add 7 seconds after such a hard work out and ran all the way!

Got to say despite the temptation to stay snuggled in my bed at 7.30am rather than dragging myself to the park to allow Jamie to torture me, I do feel amazingly good afterwards and had loads of energy for the rest of the day!

Following the diet has been way better than I expected, and I have been pretty good at sticking to it.  Slightly more difficult when going out but just asked them to leave off the potato and asked for a bit extra veg instead which was happily obliged.  I haven’t had the same battle with alcohol as Nicola as my body doesn’t seem to tolerate it very well anymore so feel so grotty afterwards it is a natural deterrent!

Week 6 of Boot Camp (final week!!)

Monday 20th May
Unfortunately although the sore throat has now gone it has been replaced with a head cold and cough!  Could happily have curled up on the sofa and given in to it but I am determined to miss no boot camp sessions and so ploughed on regardless!  So glad I did I felt a million times better afterwards.  Brain was a bit fuzzy and trying to remember all we did escapes me somewhat but I did it all and really enjoyed the pairs shuttle runs/exercises as I actually feel like I have a bit of chance not to always be last back now.  Basically another great varied session testing us all well but still with a nice touch of humour thrown in too, always feels comfortable and relaxed but hard work – I know sounds a jumble but if you go hopefully you know what I mean??!!

Still sticking to the high protein diet which is definitely getting results weight wise, losing an average 2lbs a week (according to my scales) will see what it has done in terms of the fitness come Wednesdays repeat of the fitness test?!  Also have found my skin has been clearer and dry patches on my scalp almost totally gone – coincidence maybe but has been a problem for a long time so I doubt it?  And the diet has been relatively easy to stick to and don’t feel hungry, obviously get an occasional fancy for something naughty but I have not succumbed, although not saying I won’t ever  at some point but wanted to give this whole 6 week session a proper serious bash at it.

Wednesday 22nd May
Fitness test night!  I was actually feeling a little apprehensive about the test as I did feel there was a certain amount of pressure to do much better after taking on James challenge and with still having a cold and cough to contend with, how much would that hinder me?   Well I am absolutely thrilled to say it didn’t one bit as I totally smashed my time by 3mins 2 secs!  I was elated and in shock, it was a real high! Certainly put a real spring in my step and whilst we were doing the evil 2 ½ mins of 10 boxing jabs/10 high knees continuously afterwards, Nicola said “enjoying your birthday Mum”!  Had totally forgotten it by then – what a way to celebrate being 53!  There was a really good vibe at the end of the session, not that there isn’t other times, but from what I could see there was huge efforts from everyone going into the test and some brilliant improvements for everyone so a good feeling all-round and proof that all the hard work really paid off!  Roll on next boot camp!!

Wednesday 22nd May
So it was fitness test night again!  The pressure was on!
I was determined to beat my time from the first week but to be honest was a bit scared.  I’d worked full out in the first test so wasn’t sure how I was going to manage to beat it!  I was quickly thinking I shouldn’t have worked so hard first time round and made it easier for myself!

Anyway, what was done was done so I just had to put everything into it and hope for the best.

And I am totally made up to say that I beat my time by nearly 2 minutes.  First time round took me 14.02 minutes.  This time it took 12.07!

I am so pleased with the progress.  And amazed that I can have improved that much without really noticing that I am getting fitter!  Each boot camp is hard and I don’t seem to find it easier.  I can only put this down to the fact that it continues to feel hard as each time I continue to work harder. Whatever it is I’m chuffed!

One of my goals when taking on this experiment was to get fitter.  And I have just proved to myself that I have done this.

The atmosphere at boot camp tonight was great.  Everyone seemed to be buzzing and everyone was so pleased for each other.

Great group of people to hang out with twice a week!!

Bring on the next boot camp! X


Debbie Vicary

Friday 24th May  –  D-day – the results!  (sorry this is a little late coming but went on holiday for a week the next day but not before doing Saturday morning boot camp first!)

Having completed every boot camp session for the last 6 weeks along with half the Saturday mornings and extra at home sessions of either cardio or high intensity (tabata) as well as very strictly following the high protein diet it was time for the weigh in and measuring to take place!  Now James scales tell all sorts of info lots of which I do not fully understand but as you will have seen from the blog entry results it was pretty successful, with more muscle mass and less body fat!  Most importantly I lost 4.6kgs – almost 11lbs in old money!  Considering we didn’t start the diet advice until the 2nd week that was only just over 5 weeks!  I lost 2 inches each from, bust, waist and hips and have had to ditch some clothes as tightening my belt 3 notches by the end was not really a good look anymore!  Can now get back into lots of clothes hanging in my wardrobe again – great feeling that is!
I also feel so much better in myself generally and was chuffed to bits with the time I knocked off my fitness test and am feeling much better about the running and not so far behind everyone now!

If any of you fancy giving it a go I know James has sent out all the info you need to get going and I am happy to talk to anyone who would like to ask questions about how we did it, fitted it in etc.

I still have a way to go but intend to carry on with James advice and support and we will see what results we get from the next 6 weeks?!!

5 thoughts on “Boot Camp Fitness in Reading – Nicola and Debbie’s journey

  1. Nicola Eaton

    Debbie blog – 24-6-13
    Well we are now into the begining of week 3 of the next boot camp and I am still going strong, keeping up with the high protein diet and being pretty good majority of the time with the odd treat here and there. The weight is definitely still dropping at approx 2lbs a week, so very pleased with that, although a little way to go yet but certainly on the homeward stretch – the end feels more in sight now!
    I am also keeping up the extra exercise and try to do saturday morning boot camps providing I am not away and have been loving the new ‘Metafit’ PAYG session on thursday night in the park 7pm. Very intense and hard but feel great afterwards! Also doing odd extra bits at home too and even went out for a run on my own and ran solid for over 20 mins. Really can tell how much better I can run now – not trailing so far behind the pack anymore!
    Really fancy having a go at ‘Endure 24’ next year, sounds like it was such fun and certainly a good goal for me to aim at and massive incentive to keep looking after myself!

  2. Nicola Eaton

    Debbie Blog- 4-7-13
    You may have spotted my deliberate mistake on the last blog – week 4 not 3 – doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?!!
    Now at the end of week 5 we have the fitness test repeated next week, and hopefully some improved results to show for it?! If the itensity of this weeks boot camps are anything to go by we should all be improving as being strecthed to the max. Swear Jamie was trying to kill us off with the run around the park with weight bags to carry in pairs all the way (with of course stops along the way for even more punishment – sorry exercises!) – very challenging and even felt a bit sick at one point but really showed me I could push myself a bit harder than I thought possible! Felt really chuffed afterwards!
    Metafit has now become part of my weekly routine and loving it – when its over!
    Feeling stronger in body and mind!

  3. Nicola Eaton

    Debbie Vicary – (sorry bit late being entered time escaped me before my hols! I would also have added a couple more up to date pics but can’t make it work!)

    Tuesday 23rd July – Well another set of boot camps is over and we have just begun the next round so the big question is how is it going now 3 months from embarking on the high protein diet and the extended exercise regime?
    Well pretty damn good all in all, been mostly disciplined about sticking to it with the odd treats from time to time. Prefer to have my treats in food rather than alcohol so not had a drop in all that time and just don’t really miss it anymore (haven’t been a big drinker for a few years anyway so not as hard as it might be for others). Have been surprised how well I have continued to cope with the lack of carbs as I really thought I would struggle with no potato in particular but it is true that you just have to be disciplined for
    a couple of weeks and it soon just becomes the norm for you. I have had the odd time where at functions it has been a bit tricky from what is on offer to choose well, but actually don’t like the way I feel afterwards as I feel so healthy at the moment with plenty of energy.
    Also been doing all the new Thursday night metafit classes (well worth a bash if you haven’t tried it yet- hard work but great), as well as most Saturday morning boot camps, only missing them when I’ve been away. Set myself some targets to keep me focussed, 10k run for next May and a team place booked for Endure 24 for next June so more running will be coming into play along with boot camps. I can feel how my running is constantly improving and even the dreaded hills don’t bring out the fear of god like they used too! Actually feel like I am running up instead of dragging myself up!
    So the nitty gritty – lost weight – oh yes- just over another stone gone! I am very pleased with that and finally feel like I am approaching the sprint finish to my goal. I have lost another 2 inches from my bust and 3 inches each from my waist and hips!
    Feeling amazing now, and when I think back to where Nicola persuaded me to take on this challenge I was so close not to even signing back up for boot camp at all as I had felt so low and fed up and life was feeling a bit of struggle all round (not helped by a lingering virus). Just goes to show how you can change things if you really put your mind to it, along with some good support, advice and encouragement – big thank you Nicola and James!
    I am soon about to go off on holiday for 2 weeks but feel strong and determined to not let all this hard work slide backwards – too much anyway after all we are all entitled to a break and a few treats once in a while! See you all back at bootcamp as soon as I get back.

    Well back from hols now – and although I did have a few treats I tried to be fairly careful and came back having only gained 1lb! That is a major achievement for me I would normally do way more than that! I did also do some tabata outside my caravan on the grass – anywhere will do! Straight back into the regime of diet and exercise and in a week have lost that and another pound! the weight goal is so near now and then I can concentrate on the fitness goals- entered a 5K for October – keep making targets helps keep me motivated. And frankly feeling damned good is the best motive of all for sticking with it!

  4. Nicola Eaton

    Debbie Vicary 12-10-13
    Thought I’d just do a quick up date as not been on for a while, and the last week of another set of boot camps is about to start! Time flies when you are having fun! And seriously I really am having fun, even when we were back on the Mansion path hill sprints Wednesday night now that the darker nights are drawing in! Wow – I could really feel the difference in those from the last time I did them back a few months, so much more power, speed and stamina! Great feeling! Can even do a few ‘man’ press ups now too!
    I am continuing to follow the high protein diet with the odd treats from time to time and have continued to lose a little weight (pretty much at goal now as far as weight goes), so watch this space for more measurements and pics soon.
    As well as regular boot camp I have been doing metafit pretty much every week and as many saturday mornings as possible when I am not away. Also been out doing some running and have worked up to 5 miles at a time now so definitely heading towards the fitness required for Endure next June as well as a new challenge called ‘Judgement Day’ – a 10 mile obstacle course on an army base next April.
    Truthfully I doubted I could really get to where I am now when I started back in April, but it just goes to show that if you want something bad enough and are prepared to put in the work and effort required you can! James has given me constant advice and support & Jamie and fellow bootcampers have commented and encouraged me along the way too, especially Ali Knights she is an amazing motivator!
    Long may it continue!

    1. Nicola Eaton

      Debbie Vicary – 18-2-14
      Time is flying by and I am still sticking with the nutrition plan the majority of the time – not pretending its always easy but worth the effort as I feel so much better! When I have had a few off days my body isn’t happy with it at all! I have been maintaining my weight loss within a few pounds up & down which hasn’t always been the easiest thing for me in the past.

      Been keeping up with 4 fitness sessions a week mostly along with some running/walking too. Mon & Weds boot camp, metafit thursday (loving it and making me feel much stronger) and saturday 8am – great feel good start to the weekend even when its raining, and there has been plenty of that lately!

      All the events I have previously mentioned are starting to get a lot closer and although I know they will be serious challenges I do think I am preparing myself as best I can?! Run distance has been steadily increasing and did 8.5 miles at the weekend (and could still move the next day) so not too far away from the 10 miles required for Judgment Day! Also adding in a run to metafit most weeks now (approx 3-4 k depending on my route choice).

      I guess you could say I am well and truly hooked – but then why not, my kids are all grown up I have much more free evening/weekend time now and its a whole lot better than being on the sofa wondering what to eat next, and I have the energy to keep up with the grandchildren!! Great result I say?!

Leave a Reply