Monday, December 22, 2008

Drop and Give Me 20!

I know that I should exercise more and change the way I eat. Working at Weight Loss Resources has meant I have the tools and resources staring me in the face and so here I am determined to change my lifestyle.
British Military Fitness Classes
Pat Wilson (WLR Director) asked me if I would be interested in researching a new fitness regime,
British Military Fitness classes, that may be of interest to WLR members and that could help me get fit and lose weight. Her request was met with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Wasn’t she throwing me in at the deep end??
Taking a Hit for the Team

However, it was Pat asking, a colleague of mine would be joining me and I know I should be doing more exercise so, I agreed to ‘take a hit for the team’.
The fateful day arrived and, even though I had prayed so hard for rain, the weather was clear but cold. Dressed in the recommended trainers, tracky bottoms, t-shirt and jumper, we jumped in the car and headed for our nearest meeting in Cambridge.
Apprehension Sets In

All day I had been worrying about what the class would have in store for me as, currently, I do no exercise at all. What would be expected of me? How would I cope? Will the instructors shout at me? Will I live to see the morning??
We arrived at the car park adjacent to the park where the class is held and met one of the instructors, Tim. A jockey in a previous life and now a Personal Trainer as well as a BMF instructor, Tim has also spent 7 years in the TA as a PTI.
He gave me a form to fill in that told him how much exercise I currently do, whether there are any health problems like heart disease in my family and whether I had any injuries that would impair my ability to take part in the classes. I did notice that there wasn’t a space for me to confess to being a couch potato though!
3 Fitness Levels

I knew from the British Military Fitness site that there would be 3 levels of members within the group depending on their individual fitness levels – blue, low level; red, medium level; green, high level. So, already had my blue bib on with my white number 2 on it. I was then referred to as Number Two throughout the session.
Being a Blue Bibber

Tim was very friendly, and assured me that the fact I was completely unfit wasn’t an issue. He carried on asking questions as the other members of the class arrived who were very welcoming to a new ‘blue bibber’.
Messing About on the Meadow

Once all the members had assembled we lined up in twos and were told to start jogging on the spot. Tim asked if anyone had any recent injuries that he should know about. Once that was all sorted, we jogged onto the field to start the class.
There was a good mix of men and women and of all ages. I’m not sure if it was because it was dark (lovely November nights!) that I didn’t feel really conspicuous as I panted my way onto the field.
Warming Up

Tim then instructed the Blues to run to the 2nd goal post and back, the Reds to the corner goal post and back and the Greens round all four goal posts and back to warm us all up.
I did find the running really difficult. I haven’t run since I was around 8 years old and had just missed the Ice Cream Van. But, I did manage to make it to the goal post and back so, felt quite good about myself.
We warmed up for a bit longer by running round Tim in a large circle while he called out direction changes to us. Some lunges were then incorporated into the warm up, followed by reverse lunges which took more co-ordination than I have! We continued jogging round in the circle for a while longer. At this point, I did have to stop and walk.

I was worried that the instructor wouldn’t be happy about this – after all, this was British Military Fitness classes! But, Tim was fine. After a few minutes of walking, he just gently encouraged me to begin jogging again.
And So It Begins

After the warm up we started to do exercises in pairs. These consisted of resistance, balance, sit ups, press ups etc., all with the encouragement of our partners.
Rolling Around in the Mud

One of my favourite exercises from the class was where you lay on the floor with your knees bent (yes, it was muddy!). Your partner kneels on the floor at your feet facing you and holding onto your ankles. You then do sit ups toward your partner. Tim then shouted out parts of the body that you had to touch on your partner such as the nose, left ear, back of the head etc. So, as you reached the sit up position you had to touch the right body part.
With each instruction, Tim got faster making it more difficult but, it did give the sit up a new spin and, although we were panting, we were laughing at the same time!
As the class progressed, I did find that I had to slow to a walk quite a bit or slow down on the exercises but, never once did Tim or the other members of the class make me feel uncomfortable doing so. Tim would let me get my breath back then gently encourage me to join back in.
Group Support

In fact, at one point, one of my fellow ‘Super Blues’ joined me to walk with me and encourage me along the way. Her name was Jane and she had been with the group for 2 years. She told me she enjoyed the classes immensely. She loved the fact that the classes were outside and that you got all muddy. She did recommend that gloves would be a good idea as the weather gets worse. She also told me that as well as meeting for the classes, the group had a social secretary, Jo – a green bib, who arranged social get togethers.
Team Work

We did team exercises, one of which we were in a line jogging and holding onto the person in front (conga-style). We were a ‘snake’ whose tail was trying to catch up with the head. We did individual exercises like push ups and sit ups but each fitness level had a different amount of reps to do. Blues did 3 reps, Reds did 6 and Greens did 9. Finally we jogged to the goal posts and back before we started our warm-down stretching.
Good, Clean Fun (Well kinda!)

The class was an hour long – it flew past in what seemed like half the time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely do it again. This from a couch potato!!! In fact, I would prefer to do the BMF class for an hour than the machines in a gym! The instructor made it fun even though it was really hard work and the members helped encourage a sense of camaraderie.
Afterwards I was absolutely shattered but, I felt good. The exercises weren’t too complicated and judging by the giggles, interspersed by grunts of effort, they were enjoyed by most of the members.
Sign Me Up For Another

As an overweight 38-year-old, a class like this could definitely encourage me to exercise and use my exercise diary – think of the calories burned even if my legs did feel they were going to drop off the next day!