I spent 7 days at GI Jane Bootcamp. Here's what happened...

5km run? Sure. Spinning? Easy. 7-day military bootcamp? Err...I'm not so sure...

Last month I was set the challenge of seven days at GI Jane Bootcamp in Sittingbourne, Kent. The camp is a no-nonsense residential course run by military trainers to help you on your way to achieving your diet and fitness goals. So as you can probably tell, it's not exactly a walk in the park. While the team claim they can help you to drop a dress size in a week, you have to work for it with long days of intense physical activity and a restricted diet. Let me tell you - if you’re used to scoffing every minute of the day like I am, it’s a tough slog getting used to eating Ryvita! I thought I'd share my experience of the camp with you - as much as it pains me to show you my gross make-up free face! But if you want to know even more, keep reading...

In the days before I went to GI Jane, I really was terrified. Don't get me wrong - I look after myself. I bore my friends and family to tears by banging on about the latest fitness class I've tried, or the weird green superfood powder I've been chucking in my breakfast smoothies before I spiralize my courgettes for dinner and go on my merry way. But six hours of exercise a day? I wasn't sure I could hack it. But hey - if Michelle Keegan, Kerry Katona and Jacqueline Jossa can do it, then so could I. Right?!

I arrived on Day One feeling what I can only describe as intense terror. As soon as I walked through the door, the camp manager Fi said, "Why do you look so scared?!" But luckily, that first day was a walk in the park compared to the rest of the week. I met the other women I'd be doing the camp with as well as the trainers Leon and Danny, before we went on a quick run and endured a round of circuits. The only shock I got that day was the moment my dinner arrived. I was used to stuffing myself silly every evening, so when I was given a sweet potato with a (very) modest portion of quorn chilli, I was somewhat horrified. I seem to have some sort of fear of the prospect of going hungry, so looking down at my teeny tiny 'meal' was a bit of a slap in the face. But at bootcamp, there's no sneaking out to Tesco for a cheeky snack...not unless you want to cheat yourself anyway. 

On day two, I was raring to go. We started off with a five-mile walk before breakfast, followed by a session of circuits, a snack, another session of circuits, and sweet relief – LUNCH! After that it was hill sprints and a 'Workout of the Day', which was basically just another set of circuits. Our days were of a similar structure throughout the week but a few of the circuits were swapped for other activities, including an assault course (my favourite!), games and kettlebell sessions. We even had a sit-down midway through the week to talk nutrition, which was useful and gave us a much-deserved rest. The guys at camp sent us recipes to keep us on the right track when we got back to reality too. Sadly I missed the final day in the Sittingbourne gym as I ended up getting ill, which was a real shame. I think my body was a little shocked by the sudden exertion and small portions! But despite this, it was an amazing experience that I'll never forget.

When I left GI Jane, I was 4.75lbs lighter, 8 inches slimmer and tonnes heavier with knowledge (you may have read my earlier post about the myths I believed before I went to bootcamp). Not only have my eating habits changed, but I now know what my body can achieve. The night before leaving the camp I had a one-on-one chat with Leon and told him I had always wanted to run a half-marathon. After he set me up with a training plan, I returned home and signed up for next year's Hackney Half (which I'm running for the charity Mind). When my muscles are sore from training now, I think back to bootcamp and how hard I pushed despite feeling exhausted. I know I can do it now and I want to keep going. I've lost another 3lbs since coming home and I feel more excited about fitness now than ever before. 

Aside from the knowledge I was sent away with, the staff at GI Jane are fantastic. Not only are they generous, kind and dedicated, but they're hilarious too. It probably goes without saying, but I wholeheartedly recommend this place for anyone with even a vague interest. I promise you - you won't regret it!

For more info on GI Jane or to sign up, go to gijanebootcamp.co.uk

Daisy xox

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