Boot camps sound scary. But forget visions of sergeants shouting ‘DROP AND GIVE ME 20’ while pushing your face into mud, these days they’re much more civilised. With summer not far off, they’re also a great way to get whipped into shape. Here are some of London’s finest hardcore workouts, without any camouflage in sight. Jude Brosnan
Barry’s Bootcamp claims they help ‘shock’ the body into improving fitness and building muscle which sounds vaguely terrifying, but you can burn 1,000 calories in just one hour. The workouts are a split of interval cardio routines on treadmills and strength training using equipment including free weights, resistance bands and medicine balls. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are full body workouts but if you want to focus on specific muscle groups Mondays are arms and abs, Tuesdays are butt and legs, Wednesdays are chest, back and abs and Thursday is hardcore abs. Barry’s Bootcamp, 163 Euston Road , NW1 2BH. City branch opening soon. £20 for one class or purchase multiples for a reduced price.
If you thought pilates was for old ladies stretching on mats in church halls, these guys will soon prove you wrong. Instructors include former rugby players, ex-army personal trainers and competitive gymnasts, so this isn’t for the faint hearted. With exercises both on and off the reformer (a bed with a moving platform with springs that vary in tension), they use light free weights and other equipment, add cardio elements and finish you off with a killer stretch.
Bootcamp Pilates has branches in the City, Notting Hill, Fulham and Richmond. A number of different classes are available. See bootcamppilates.com for timetable. Classes from £14.
These guys are the kings of calisthenics with some serious skills on those bars. Block Workout is founded by an ex-con who turned his life around through fitness and opened the first street gym in Brixton. They now have branches all over the country and host bootcamps in Brockwell Park, Streatham Common and Clapham Common. Check out their impressive Instagram account to see the making of some serious muscles.
Block Workout Street Gym, 6 Somerleyton Road, Brixton, SW9 8ND. See blockworkout.co.uk for bootcamp details. Many sessions are free with a recommended donation of £1.
Who doesn’t love a legitimate reason to punch the crap out of something? Release your inner Rocky Balboa by punching it out on the pads in this one-hour sweat-fest. Classes also include sprints, bodyweight exercises like squats and press ups, sprints and stretches. Boxit Boot Camp have regular sessions in both Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common that happen whatever the weather. You can also hire them to come to workplace for a group session so you can punch your boss in the pads.
Early morning and evening sessions at Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common. See boxitbootcamp.com for timetable. Drop in £10, see website to book a free trial session.