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A first timer’s guide to… serious army-style fun

There’s no candles, chanting or whale music here, just old-fashioned hard work, says Jamie Glassman
A first timer’s guide to… serious army-style fun
May 8, 2017   |    Jamie Glassman

BRITISH MILITARY FITNESS, FINSBURY PARK

You’ve probably walked past plenty of BMF classes if you’ve wandered through any one of 30 London parks on a Saturday morning or on various evenings throughout the week.

You may have seen groups of people in multi-coloured bibs doing sit-ups in the mud while a soldier barks orders at them. It looks terrible. More precisely, it looks like the worst PE class you ever had at school, multiplied by squaddie.

BACK TO BASICS

I really thought I was going to hate everything about this… but I didn’t. BMF is as straightforward and unpretentious as fitness gets. Think of a meditation and aqua barre Pilates class followed by a detoxing kale, yak butter, chia seed and local bee pollen smoothie. BMF is the opposite of that. There are no frills here, unless you count the ability to put on a pair of gloves when it’s snowing.

With no free weights or machines in sight, get used to the idea of classic exercises such as squat thrusts and star jumps rather than kettlebell swings or stability ball hip flexes. And if you do have a nice pair of Lululemon leggings or a sparkly Sweaty Betty top, it’s best to keep them at home. Dig out the old tired fitness gear you should have thrown out years ago, this is what you kept it for.

GRITTY GRAINS

What BMF lacks in cool, it makes up for in warmth. There’s a Dunkirk spirit that is tough not to get swept up in. Sure, you’ll get 20 press-ups for standing with your hands on your hips and, if you’re new, you might get some extra attention (I was asked to lead the running at the beginning!), but within minutes you’ll be paired up with a stranger and be running arm-in-arm ‘round that tree and back’.

I found it incredibly friendly. After the class, everyone went to the park’s café for a cup of tea and a butty. And no, none of the sarnies were on mixed olive and sun-dried tomato sourdough.

HAVE A GO AT BRITISH MILITARY FITNESS!

LEVEL
Suitable for everyone

COST
First class is free

TIME
60 minutes

Read more: A first timer’s guide to… Qi Chanting at the Qi Wellness Centre

LIFE COACH CORNER

POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
‘My thoughts used to be uncontrollable – I was going through chaos in my life and I hit rock bottom. I knew I had to think positive and these five steps altered my perspective:
1) Develop an awareness of your inner self-talk.
2) Be grateful for what you already have.
3) Visualise what you want to see happen. It’s often the thought of an event rather than the actual event that scares us.
4) Practise meditation to calm the mind.
5) Surround yourself with positive thinkers.’
COACH/AUTHOR KIM WYMER

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