Image courtesy of British Military Fitness.
Wanna boost your workout to more than occasionally walking up the tube escalator, but hate treadmills? Here's an alternative fitness option that will get you outdoors and sweating off that extra muffin you grabbed during your coffee break.
What: British Military Fitness
British Military Fitness (BMF) started in 1999 and offers exactly what its name suggests: an intensive workout taught by members of British armed forces.
Where: BMF operates across 19 parks in London, and throughout England, Scotland and South Africa. Members can take classes at any location, which means that you can start your week at Hyde Park watching the horse guards gallop past for training and end it at Hampstead Heath with some hill sprints.
When: Times vary depending on location but are usually offered early in the morning, mid morning, and evening most days of the week.
The Rundown: Classes last for an hour and are split into three different levels: Beginner (blue), Intermediate (red), and Advanced (green). Members line up in their respective groups wearing numbered bibs and follow instructors through the park, all the while receiving befuddled looks from tourists and other park goers. Exercises include sprints, sit ups, press ups, burpees, and a whole load of other fun exercises (might possibly be the first time 'burpee' and 'fun' have ever appeared in the same sentence). Instructors rotate times and locations, which means that exercise routines differ from class to class. Some classes will focus on cardio, others on team exercises, and others on resistance training. Once a month several locations hold an optional assessment so that members can properly determine their progress. Some locations also offer running clubs.
Is it the right fit for you?: The first 30 minutes of class can be fairly rough but it is well worth sticking it through to the end. Instructors take classes seriously but also do their best to make sure that participants have a good time. As long as you don't mind getting a bit dirty and pushing yourself to your limits then this is an excellent option for staying in shape. The different ability groups mean that anyone at any fitness level can give it a go.
Events: BMF hosts different challenges to members throughout the year, including a 3 Peaks Challenge in July and an expedition to Borneo in November. More information can be found here.
By Caroline Dickie