How would you like to be the new face of British Military Fitness? That was the subject line of the email that dropped into my inbox last month. Well I didn’t have to think twice. Of course I did! BMF is chest-to-ground the most fun, addictive and effective fitness training I have come across, and this seemed like a fantastic way to spread the enthusiasm.
Over two days in September I joined a gaggle of BMFers, kitted out in snazzy new Lululemon activewear, for four photoshoots on Wandsworth Common and Hampstead Heath. On the morning of the first shoot we met before dawn, and as the sun came up, the drizzle came down. But we were undeterred. As soon as we donned our BMF bibs, we knew we were going to have some Serious Fun.
This wasn’t going to be some stylised, sanitised version of BMF just for the cameras. Oh no. They wanted to see real mud, sweat and tears (occasionally tears of pain, but mostly tears of laughter). The instructors would lead us through a regular BMF class, it’s just that this one would be two and a half hours long and shot by two cameramen – and there was no time to stop and fix your hair!
BMF is about using the great outdoors as your playground and other members as your playmates. It always amazes me how much you can achieve – and how much fun you can have – with just a park, a hill, a few trees or a bench and either your own bodyweight or a partner’s. On Wandsworth Common we made use of the wide expanses by mixing sprint intervals with press ups, sit ups and squats. Then Mike and Taylor split us into two teams for a tug-of-war. It wouldn’t be BMF without a bit of friendly competition now, would it?! We also partnered up around the lake with one person doing tricep dips on the fence while the other held their legs and did squats. And worked our legs with walking lunges in pairs, with one person walking forwards and the other walking backwards for an extra challenge.
As with every BMF class there was no time for standing around, and plenty of time for high-ten sit-ups, partner plank holds and piggy-back squats. And don’t let Jel catch you with your hands on your hips – that will be five burpees, please. One of the best things about BMF is that people of any age or level of fitness can join in, and the camaraderie seems to come as naturally as the banter.
On Hampstead Heath we took on the terrain with hill sprints combined with planks and squat holds. Once we were at the top we made the most of the beautiful view by whipping out some boxing gloves and pads and doing some drills. Then Damien pumped up our energy levels, and wound up our competitive streaks, with some team races of partner drags and leopard crawls. Every shoot was BMF at its best – full of infectious energy and the feeling that you never know what’s coming next!
By the end of the last shoot we were wet and muddy, tired and sore, but our smiles said it all. And then, as we threw our bibs in the bucket and gave each other a high five, our fellow BMFer Annie whipped out a Tupperware full of chocolate protein brownies. Yes! We’d earned it.
British Military Fitness Sign up for a free trial class at www.britmilfit.com