17 September 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Natalie Tries: British Military Fitness

August 23, 2013
Military-fitness

Bringing the discipline of the military into my fitness regime has never been my top priority – I didn’t join the army for a reason! But after hearing such positive things about British Military Fitness classes I knew I had to give it a try. With more than 400 classes per week nationwide, it looks as though loads of us are gluttons for punishment.

I rocked up to Hampstead Heath with the drizzle coming down pretty hard, but when the BMF van turned up and three burly men in army gear hopped out, I quickly realised that a little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop us.

Military-fitness

What does it involve?

The class is an hour session combining cardio, circuits and strength and conditioning exercises, and you don’t really get to stop. You will be doing press-ups, jumping jacks, climbing over obstacles, sit-ups and of course… running.

First we’re split into three groups – beginners, intermediate and advanced. You put on a bib in the correct colour and from that moment on the instructor will only refer to you by the number on your bib in true military style. As a first-timer I grabbed a beginners bib, but believe me – it was far from easy.

In a group of about 15, we started with some running and warming up our muscles and thanks to the many hills of Hampstead Heath it didn’t take long to get warm! Then we were into the group exercises – running and diving underneath each other’s legs, squat thrusting and sprinting in pairs, the dreaded burpees, and anything else our instructor wanted to inflict upon us! After an intense cardio session, some focussed body work and a thorough warm down, it was over and we had a stretching session before team high-fives. I was dripping with sweat and absolutely exhausted, but felt completely elated. There was a great sense of satisfaction in having completed something entirely different and physically and mentally challenging. Being outside also feels great – so much nicer than a soulless, air-conditioned gym!

Who’s it for?

The benefit of these classes is the three separate levels. I felt confident that I could have held my own in the intermediate class, but I’m glad I started with the beginner’s class to get to grips with the exercises and the style of the class. If you’re super fit and really want to push yourself, the advanced level instructors will show no mercy with you – but the beginner and intermediate classes provide a great all-round body work out that’s suitable for people of all levels. In my class there were people over 50 and at a range of fitness levels, and everyone held their own.

Why is it great?

–       The instructors are fantastic. Providing just the right level of military meanness, the instructors are funny, approachable and    motivating. They crack the whip enough to let you know they mean business, but they’re not going to make you cry.
–       It’s sociable. You build a real rapport with your classmates (or comrades) – a lot of the exercises involve holding hands, clambering over each other and lots of physical contact – so you can’t be shy!
–       It works. In an hour, you can burn over 600 calories and get yourself really fit. Challenging your muscles in new and varied ways keeps it fresh and ensures you’re always working hard. Every session is different.
–       There’s a great team spirit. You’re encouraged to work together and help each other through. That with an added element of competition really inspires you to give it your all.
–       Your first session is FREE. It’s completely free of charge to try it out, so you can give it a go with no obligation to stay if it turns out it’s not for you.

Tips:

–       Don’t wear your flashy, high-tech, baby pink runners – they will get trashed. You’ll be running on mud, throwing yourself on the ground and scrambling around like a marine – wear something that can take a beating!
–       Don’t bring water – the instructors provide water, and you don’t want to be lugging a bottle round when you’re sprinting up and down hills.
–       Don’t panic! It may have military in the title, but these classes aren’t as scary as they sound. Overall the aim is to have fun, and if you give it your all you’ll definitely enjoy yourself.

Classes are nationwide with over 130 venues and 800 instructors, so you should be able to fins a venue convenient for you. There’s a £25 joining fee for all members and then you have the choice to pay monthly or pay as you go.

Go to http://www.britmilfit.com/ to book your free trial lesson.

Natalie Morris, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine

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