I like exercise but as a rule, to be honest, I am not a fan of bootcamps. The whole concept conjures memories of school games lessons, which is a situation I am not in a hurry to emulate.
To me the term ‘bootcamp’ inspires images of ‘good natured’ bullying, obstacle courses I am too short to overcome, running routes I can’t navigate, gym kits that are totally inadequate against the British winter, and utterly unsympathetic PE teachers (do they still call it PE? I’m out of the loop, someone Google it please). Nonetheless, when the very beautiful Stoke Park mentioned that they were hosting a ‘Vitality Convention with Daley Fitness’ (that’s posh for ‘bootcamp’ as far as I am concerned), including a warm up, wind down, and general cosying-up-to, former decathlete and double Olympic gold medallist, Daley Thompson, my interest was piqued. If it turned out to be a re-enactment of adolescent trauma then I could always go and console myself in the spa with a massage until it was over.
The two day event, designed as a bond-building fitness extravaganza for corporate entertainment, features two sessions with Daley himself (who is every inch the smiley, jovial character from your TV screen), as well as a series of other classes including spinning, TRX circuits, kickboxing, yoga, and a group assault course – all delivered by Daley’s equally effervescent team.
Very much an introduction to a variety of different disciplines with the aim of giving you an insight into fitness options that you might not have considered before whilst also being a full body workout that (I assure you) will leave you aching, the emphasis is very much on having fun. No, I don’t mean the kind of jolly hockey sticks fun that only those who have always been good at sport think is entertaining, I mean the kind of fun where everyone is giggling through their sweat drenched lycra, that makes you forget mid spin session that you are actually pretty knackered out. The day also ends with amazing food thanks to Stoke Park’s five star service, a natter at dinner time with the Daley team, and a bit of a party.
At the start of the bootcamp, we were all assured that this is something that’s suitable for all abilities – an assertion that I approached with some dubiousness. As it transpired, the team were actually very accommodating when it came to individual ability, offering alternatives and variations on exercises for anyone who was struggling, and by the end of the session there was indeed a mutual sense of camaraderie.
All in all, when it comes to working out you could do considerably worse than Stoke Park, and it turns out that if there is one person who knows how to exercise and have fun, it’s Daley Thompson, who also happens to have a very pragmatic approach to fitness even with all his success, which is rather nice to know. As he will tell you of his new venture: “I’m having so much fun, I should have done this years ago!” We look forward to the next one then!
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