FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: October 2013


Sunday, 27 October 2013

A sightseeing jog around beautiful Bath

I've just got back from an amazing hen weekend in Bath and my resolve to keep a lid on the drinking and maintain my clean eating plan went swiftly out of the window as soon as I arrived.

I did kind of plan to step off of the wagon momentarily though, so it's not the end of the world. I squeezed in an easy three mile jog on Saturday around the city to take in the sights and make room for the buckets of gin that would be consumed that evening. 

Obviously a quick jog isn't gonna work off the weekend's excesses, but if we don't tell Tess then everything will be OK, right? 

I spent quite a bit of time stopping to take photos and getting lost at dead ends, so the run looked a bit like this:

The sights...

The front of Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

River avon weir Bath
River Avon weir 

Pulteney Bridge Bath
Rooftops of the shops on the Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge roadside, Bath
Pulteney Bridge roadside

The grand Great Pulteney Street - Bath's widest and grandest street. The building at the end is now a museum but used to be the Sydney Hotel which housed card rooms, concert room and ballroom for the city's visitors.

  St Michael's Church, Bath
St Michael's Church

The Circus, designed by architect John Wood, the Elder, completed by his son. 

Horse and cart, Bath
Horse and carriage! 

The architecture is just beautiful in Bath. All of the buildings are made with the iconic golden coloured Bath Stone, the streets lined with perfectly-uniformed town houses and grand crescents and avenues. The city itself has long been a centre of wealth and aestheticism; a place of leisure, luxury, health and healing centred around its natural hot springs

We went on a walking tour of the city in the morning and it was fascinating to learn about the history behind Bath's beautiful facade. The tour was free and lasted two hours, and I'd highly recommend it if you're visiting. I've decided now that whenever I visit a new city I'll try to get onto one of these tours as it's a much more engaging way of learning about a place. And then, once I've done the walking tour, I'll follow it up with a running tour of my own :) 

Do you take your running kit to hen/stag dos and other events? Do you run when on holiday or away for the weekend? 

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Eating clean, training mean - trying to stay ON the wagon

After getting back from Hillmotts residential bootcamp all re-invigorated a few weeks ago, I've really tried to sort my nutrition out and have embarked on a new clean eating plan. I learnt a lot at bootcamp about my own eating habits, and took away with me a renewed sense of drive and determination to carry on eating well and fuel my body correctly to cope with the stresses of training that I put it through.

eat clean - eat all the food

Good nutrition isn't an alien concept to me; I first saw a brilliant Brighton nutritionist back in January this year and completely transformed what I was eating to a much healthier, wholesome and balanced diet. What I thought was a 'healthy' diet (I was obsessed with counting Weight Watchers points at the time) was actually laden with tons of sugar, simple carbohydrates and next to no protein, so it was a massive change for me and a bit of a wake up call.

Clean eating shopping list - protein

The thing is I have a tendency to lose my way with things after a while. I'll start something up, get all into it and be really focused, see results and then reward myself by taking a break and slacking off for a bit (hello takeaways, Friday treats, pub lunch). Sometimes I slack off too much and then can't get back into it, which is why I went to Hillmotts in the first place - to reignite my mojo and get back on the wagon.

Structured plan

Anyway, the point is, I'm now on Week 3 of my clean eating plan, and I'm loving it. I'm eating more often than I ever have done, have a structured and balanced meal plan to follow that's flexible and easy to adapt to suit my lifestyle. My portions are smaller and I'm thinking strategically about what I put in my body and what I want to get out of it.

Eat clean meal plan - clean eating
Clockwise: Salmon salad, prawn salad on toast with English mustard,
homemade turkey burgers & sweet potato chips, bolognese wrap with salad

The plan I'm following is the brainchild of Chris Manning, one of the trainers at Hillmotts who did the nutrition talk. His e-book 70% Kitchen, 30% Gym has got a six-week plan with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks as well as some key bodyweight training ideas to boost results.

A typical day looks a bit like this:

Breakfast:          Homemade protein smoothie.
10-11am snack:  Grilled chicken with cayenne pepper, yellow peppers and spinach.
Lunch:               Tuna with spring onions and peppers on Vogel bread with English mustard. 
4pm snack:        Ryvita with peanut butter.
After training:   Another protein smoothie.
Dinner:              Steak with spinach, mushrooms & tomato. 

Eat clean typical day meal plan

It took a bit of getting used to making smoothies in the morning for breakfast and eating chicken or turkey as my 10-11am snack (I had to swap the lunch and snack around as it wasn't practical for me), but at least I don't stink of eggs anymore at work.

The weekdays are structured and feature set meals and snacks for each day, and weekends are classed as 'mind time' where you can eat what you want but just have to be mindful of what you're putting in your mouth. I fancied a curry on Saturday, so I made one instead of getting a takeaway.

eat clean - homemade chicken masala
Homemade chicken masala 

I went out for a few drinks on Friday, but had vodka lime and soda, and not gin & tonic or wine. (Note: I also made it to Parkrun the following morning and ran my second fastest time, so I'm classing vodka as good running fuel now). 

I'm not going to lie, I have given in to the occasional treat, but the way I see it, if I don't allow myself the odd treat I'll get pissed off with it all and just binge.

I'll write a progress report at the end of the six weeks (maybe with before and after pics if I'm feeling brave) so watch this space!

What efforts do you make with your nutrition? Do you try to eat clean/healthy most of the time or not bother? Any clean meal ideas btw, chuck 'em this way!

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Race report - Warrior Run (Take Two)

Warrior Run Brighton
A couple of weeks ago me and the bfit crew flung ourselves around the 6km course of swamps, rope ladders, tunnels, cargo nets, climbing frames, monkey bars, hills and myriad of other obstacles that is the Warrior Run. Situated just outside of Brighton at Q Leisure, the Warrior Run hails itself as the 'toughest obstacle run in the South' and offers competitors a 6 or 12km slog.

*I apologise now for the use of watermarked professional photos in this post - I have no dollar until payday to purchase any!

Warrior Run Brighton

It's the second time I've run this race, the first being in April, again with the bfit crew, and it was tough! I found the actual running bits much easier than last time, which I guess is down to me running more over the past few months, and seeing improvements in pace and strength.

The obstacles however, were just as tough, if not tougher, than in April. The problem for me is that I'm shorter than most 10 year olds (4ft10, thank you very much), and this makes 6-7ft vertical walls and 5ft deep swamps pretty difficult to navigate, even with a helpful leg up from fellow runners!

Warrior Run Brighton

Smells like team spirit 

Despite this though, it really was so much fun, and I stuck with a couple of friends so we could help each other out round the course. The atmosphere at the race village was great as ever - with music pumping from the warmup area as warriors prepped for their heats (warmups led by bfit).

We had to queue to get our race packs like last year (not sure why they don't just post them out like other races, it'd be much less hassle on the day for both the team and competitors). Once we'd picked up our t shirts, timing chips, race numbers and wristbands we headed over for the warm up which went a bit like this:

And this: (Warming up's a serious business, don't you know!)

We had about 75 bfitters running in the 12pm start - so after the warm up we all made our way to the starting area to get in warrior mode and begin the run. To get everyone in warrior mode, organiser Lloyd got everyone revved up to get our game faces on and give our best warrior roars.

Then we were off. Straight into the first swamp and then out onto the main course - over dirt mounds, carrying logs and tyres, through 'spiders webs' and monkey bars, under cargo nets, through tunnels and ditches and streams. We returned battered, broken and bruised but beaming from ear to ear. It was really hard, but so much fun, and great to run as a team, as everyone helps each other out and no one gets left behind.

Where else can you throw yourself down a homemade water slide and call yourself a warrior?!
Warrior Run Brighton

The swamps were definitely deeper than in April. I have a thing about not being able to touch the floor when in water, it sends me into a bit of a blind panic, and so when we launched ourselves into one of the last swamps of the course I was pretty horrified at how deep it was. From the looks of the professional photos though it seems like I soon got over it...

Brighton Warrior Run

I didn't even make it anywhere near the monkey bars as they were so high but some bfitters figured out clever workarounds and went up and over instead of across them:

Brighton Warrior Run

Along with the monkey bars, other parts I struggled with were the different climbing frames - my short and stumpy legs aren't best suited to propel me over these things with any sort of dignity or grace, and they're pretty high too so do put the fear in me a little. Comparing my performance to others kind of illustrates this pretty well I feel...

Brighton Warrior Run
Monica owning the tyre climbing frame and me having a breakdown...

There were some new additions to the course this time round - we had to lift these mahoosive tyres that weighed more than 20 elephants (you weren't there, man) and jump over a fire pit and complete a rope hang or climb on the other side. The fire was especially cool - I'd like to see more of that next year. 

Brighton Warrior Run Tess Langley
Me lifting elephants and hanging around...
I have to say I enjoyed it more this time round than last, probably because I knew what to expect and also because I found the running easier. Also, it was great to have everyone in the 12pm heat a bfitter, it made it a real team effort. (We won't talk about the fact that speedy people from the next heat started to overtake some of us towards the end!)

Brighton Warrior Run Tess Langley
Warrior pose...
Not everyone was slow though - a massive well done to my boy who came second in the bfit heat - smashing it in 46 minutes (with zero training!) - I guess climbing trees for a living helps with all this obstacle race stuff! 

There's another one on 30th March so no doubt we'll be back again for more. It's always a great event, with a fantastic atmosphere and goodie bag (this time we got a yummy smoothie, medal AND a t shirt!) Visit the Warrior Run website for more info on the race and entry. 

Brighton bfit bootcamp - Warrior Run
bfit Warriors smash it again
More photos from the day on the bfit Facebook page

Have you done an obstacle race before? I *might* be considering Tough Mudder next year, although aware it's a massive step up - any tips/horror stories to share?

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Friday, 11 October 2013

Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp review: Day Three (the day of the 7:34 plank!)

<--- Day Two recap  

So I've finally got round to writing my recap of the third and final day at the Dorset Hillmotts bootcamp. Even though it was only the weekend before last, it seems like ages ago we were there - I've been really busy and have actually got a backlog of three other posts that need writing so best get on with it!

Day Three: Sunday

Day 3 schedule Hillmotts Dorset

Day three started in great Hillmotts fashion - with an 8am Insanity session (after our half-bananas, of course!) Me and my bfit fitties were secretly excited about this as this style of HIIT training is what our Thursday evening HIIT sessions are like at bfit - rather than the combination of strength exercises and running we did on the Saturday morning HIIT session.

Don't get tired get angry

There were seven exercises, and four rounds to get through. The exercises were a mixture of explosive plyometric exercises (jumps), compound strength and cardio exercises such as press ups, mountain climbers and static sprints.

When trainer Chris said the exercises were to be done for 30 seconds each with 30 seconds rest in between we grinned to each other knowingly - our bfit HIIT sessions are for 50 seconds each exercise with only 10 second break in between - this would be a walk in the park by comparison, surely.

Insanity workout Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp


That was only the first round. The second round went up to 45 seconds with a 30 second break - painful, but doable. The third round... each exercise for one minute each, with NO BREAK. That's unchartered territory for us bfitters. We cherish our measly 10 seconds break, so to have 30 is a bonus but to have it then snatched away so cruelly was a shock to the system.

Bloody hell that round was hard. 

There's a two minute break between rounds three and four, and then round four goes back down to 30 second intervals, but still with no break in between exercises. This is the round you throw everything you have left in you at. Or as trainer Chris put it:

One last push. Don't get tired, get angry. 

In total the Insanity session only took about 45 minutes including breaks, but it pretty much finished us off in time for breakfast.

Pool PT

After breakfast (porridge again, but this time I went all out and put peanut butter, blueberries AND cinnamon in!!) it was Pool PT with Chris again. The group was split into three and some people did Core with Zak, or Kettlebells with the other Chris. I chose Pool PT as I was aching and broken from kettlebells the previous day.

Hillmotts swimming pool Dorset

The camera didn't make it into the Pool PT session for obvious reasons - there's nothing glamorous about the knackered, panda-eyed-sodden-face that ensues after a hard session in the pool. I didn't really know what to expect as had never done it before, but it was really good (i.e. hard work!)

We did things like standing in the pool by the side and jumping out and back in multiple times, half jumping out and standing up on our arms on the side for a few seconds each time, running and swimming from one end to the other, holding the edges and kicking like crazy for 45 seconds - one minute intervals.

The circuits that finished everyone off... 

After a snack (peanut butter on ryvita or hummous on rice crackers) the whole group headed outside for an hour of circuit training. This was probably the hardest session of them all as by this time everyone was just knackered. There was a strength area and cardio area, the strength featuring exercises like kettlebells, squat holds, press ups and crunches, and the cardio section had ladders, burpees, bear crawls, star jumps etc. to get through.

I think Zak had originally planned for us to do three rounds of each but by the second everyone was dead so he let us go in for a much-needed lunch!

Lunch and fitness chat 

Sunday lunch was not quite the full blown roast with all the trimmings that we'd been hoping for - but a bowl of tomato and lentil soup with half a wholemeal pitta bread. Some strange people who don't like tomatoes (mentioning no names Carla!) were lucky and got chicken salad - much to the dismay of us on her table! 

The soup was lovely though, and was more than enough to fill us up and refuel after the morning's hard work. 
Hillmotts residential bootcamp Dorset review - Day 3 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

After lunch we had the second of our talks with Chris - this time on fitness and how to make the most out of our training to reach our goals. As with the nutrition chat that he gave the previous day there was lots to learn and take in (probably a whole other blog post in its own right), but here are the basic points covered:

  • If you want to change your body shape you need to first address nutrition (see Saturday's nutrition chat), and incorporate compound strength training into your schedule (exercises that work multiple muscle groups).
  • Top compound strength exercises: 
    • Press ups (do some with elbows tucked in to work triceps)
    • Squats
    • Lunges
    • Military press up
    • Pull ups
    • Tricep dips
    • Deadlifts
  • Train twice a week for maintenance, three times a week for slow and steady progress, but four times a week for good results and adequate rest time. 
  • Rest and recovery equally as important as training - during training your muscle fibres tear - it's only when they rebind that they become stronger, and they can't do that if you don't rest and allow them to do so. 
  • There's no such thing as 'toning up'. You don't 'tone' a muscle - you build and grow it. 
Hillmotts residential bootcamp Dorset review - Day 3 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Fitness chat

Hillmotts Olympics - my 7:34 plank!

The penultimate session of the day was a fun one - the Hillmotts Olympics. The group was split into two teams and we went head to head for the glory and title of Hillmotts Champions. Exercises ranged from running with weights in our teams to bear crawl races, medicine ball throwing and backwards running: 

My team (Team Hardcore) trailed behind in all of the exercises until the final - the plank-off. Each team lined up against each other and got down into the plank position. The stakes were set - the Hillmotts record was 7mins30secs, held by an ex-Navy girl. 

Now I've got a thing about planks - ask me to do crunches or sit ups and I soon buckle but planks... I can hold a plank pretty well for a considerable time. So I was secretly excited when Chris said that whichever team won the plank-off would be crowned Olympic Champions for the weekend. One by one people dropped off, until it was just me and one of my bfit fitties that I came with battling it out (Monica).

She was holding it strong and I knew she wouldn't give up without a fight, so with each team rallying for either me or Monica, things were getting interesting. Finally, Monica bailed out (at an incredible 4mins30secs!!) and I breathed a sigh of relief - we'd won. But I kind of had it in me to keep going, just a little bit. Everyone went mental and started shouting and cheering for me to keep it strong - 5 minutes on the clock and only 2mins30 to go to match the current record...

plank meme

Another minute and a bit passed and by this time I was struggling, in pain and was desperate to stop but everyone was going mental:

"You've got this Tess, you've got this. Keep going! 75seconds!" 

I would've definitely stopped if it wasn't for everyone shouting at me! I don't know who said 75 seconds but whoever it was - thank you! It seemed much more doable if put into seconds, so I held it up, amidst unflattering yelps of pain and moaning. 

I made it to 7mins 30 and then kept it up for 4 more seconds just so the record was mine. I cannot describe the feeling of having 25 people rallying around me, yelling support, keeping me going. It was amazing, and I'll never forget it. Nor will I ever be able to do that again, probably (recent planks at bfit bootcamp have been much more painful and short-lived). 

So I'll bask in the glory of my 7:34 plank forever more. 

Aaaaaannnnnnddddd relax... 

The final session was pilates and relaxation, with the same Chris who pushed us to our limits in the Insanity session that very morning. 45 minutes of deep stretching and meditative relaxation - it was a lovely and blissful way to wind down from the weekend's hard work. 

We were so sad to leave it was ridiculous. I had the BEST weekend at Hillmotts, and left feeling revitalised, re-energised and absolutely on top of the world - we're already planning our next trip in the Spring. 

A bonus too, but not what we came for, is that we all lost weight - I lost 4lb, and my two fitties lost 2lb each. That's 8lb lost between us in just 3 DAYS!! Mental. 

We love you Hillmotts!! 

Sunday stats:
Exercise sessions completed: 5
Records broken: 1
Pounds lost: 4
Collective pounds lost between me and my girlies: 8
Amazing times had: infinite

Have you been to a residential bootcamp before? 
If you're considering it but aren't sure... DO IT!! It's amazing!

Visit the Hillmotts website for more info on bootcamps and fitness retreats. 


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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp review - Day Two

<--- Day One recap  

This time last week I was relaxing in a hot tub with my girlies, feeling absolutely shattered but drowning in endorphins from making it through a full day of relentlessly hard sessions.

Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
A well earnt soak...

The day started with a hardcore 8am HIIT session - of course, in the pouring rain.

Because at Hillmotts, boys and girls, we laugh in the face of rain... 

Day Two: Saturday

Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Doing a high intensity session on half a banana and a cup of green tea, however, was educating. A weekend at Hillmotts taught me a lot about food - the first lesson being that I don't need to eat a full breakfast before exercising in the morning. Less is more and all that.

You're probably thinking "Why not a full banana?", and trust me, we all thought that too - apparently it's just enough to get the metabolism working, and along with a mug of hot green tea, is all we needed to get us through the impending hour of doom that awaited us.

Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Banana + HIIT = porridge reward! 

The HIIT session was a strength and cardio pyramid session, that went like this:
  • 20 squats (or squat jumps if we wanted to work harder)
  • 20 lunges 
  • 20 press ups
  • run around the lake
  • repeat - decreasing and then increasing repetitions in pyramid format - 18, 16, 14, 12 and back up to 20, with a run between each set. 
This hurt. A lot. But was a really good workout, combining compound strength training with cardio intervals, so left us knackered, rain-soaked and well and truly ready for our porridge breakfast. 

Kettlebells of doom

Next up was a choice between Pool PT or Kettlebells, and I chose Kettlebells as I wanted to work extra hard today (not that the Pool PT session was easy, as I found out on the Sunday!) The session was taken by one of the Chris' in the adjoining lounge to our breakfast room. On the agenda was another pyramid session - but timed rather than increasing and decreasing reps. It went a bit like this:
  • Double-handed swings
  • Shoulder presses 
  • Single-handed swings
  • Single arm rows
  • Chest presses 
  • Full body loop
  • Full circuit with 30 seconds each exercise, then 45 seconds and one minute, before moving back down. 
Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

This hurt more than you'll ever know, but was a brilliant full body workout that left us feeling pretty epic/broken to say the least (delete as appropriate).


Can you believe that we were starting our third session of the day at 11am?! It's probably a good idea to point out here that littered between the sessions were various snack breaks to fuel us up for the tasks ahead - peanut butter on rice cakes and hummous on Ryvita - so we weren't expected to just carry on without sufficient energy boosts. 

Boxercise was outside with Zak. We got into pairs and did a variety of exercises, featuring combination punches, running and other strength exercises. I felt quite at home during this session as we do a lot of boxing at bootcamp normally - it was still really hard, especially as we'd already done two mega sessions prior to this one, but I definitely felt more comfortable throwing punches than lifting kettlebells. 

Boxercise Hillmotts Dorset


After this we were so ready for lunch it was ridiculous. One of the great things about Hillmotts is the food, and the fact that the trainers do all the cooking too! I don't know what I expected really, I may have had visions in my head of sweet little dinner ladies painstakingly slaving away in the kitchen while we were working hard outside. 

Day Two lunch was quinoa and feta salad with wholemeal pitta, and was wolfed down by all in record time. After lunch we had an hour-long nutrition chat with Chris where he explained about clean eating and how if you want to change your body shape it starts with nutrition, not training. There's a whole dissertation-sized blog post in what he told us, but the basic principles covered were as follows:
  • You cannot out train a bad diet. To see results you must:
    • Prioritise protein
    • Reduce salt
    • Reduce sugar
    • Drink green tea (natural metabolism booster)
    • Minimise caffeine 
    • Avoid processed foods - lots of hidden salts and sugars (especially cereal!)
Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

He talked about structured food plans, carb cycling and recovery, and gave examples of the ideal breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a great clean protein smoothie. His ebook, titled 70% Kitchen, 30% Gym goes into much more detail and features a six-week eat-clean plan, which I'm starting soon so watch this space! 

Walkies and wind down

After the nutrition chat it was time for a walk, or 'active recovery', as it was described on the day. This was an 8k walk around the surrounding villages, (featuring a stonker of a hill). It was a really nice opportunity to chat and get to know everyone as we'd not had much of a chance to talk properly throughout the two days (it's a bit hard to get to know someone when you're doing burpees, for instance).

Hillmotts bootcamp review day 2 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Walkies :)

We had a good couple of hours to kill after the walk before dinner, so went for a swim and sauna. Dinner was tuna with peppers, couscous and broccolli, and much like all the food we were given, not a morsel on anyone's plate remained.

Me and the girlies went for a post-dinner hot tub session to ease our aching muscles and wind down, and then crawled into bed and died.

The end. (Of day two - click here to read Day 3!) 

Exercise sessions completed:
Pain-induced groans let out: Several
Fun had and endorphin-level: Through the roof!


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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp review: Part Two - Day One

<--- Hillmotts Dorset review Part One

With the previous post gushing from the eyeballs about how amazing it is at Hillmotts Dorset, let's get down to the nitty gritty and go through the daily sessions recap. Day One has a distinct lack of photos as I was too busy coming to terms with the constant flow of exercise to ask the trainers to take photos of us!

Day One: Friday

Hillmotts bootcamp day 1

After we arrived and registered, Chris sat us down outside, weighed us (if we wanted to), and asked us about our current levels of fitness, before the group were led round to the green for a warm up and strength assessment.

Different tiers of exercises were given so we could choose the level of difficulty we wanted to complete throughout the weekend, such as press ups with knees down/full press ups/military press ups, or half squats/full squats/squat jumps etc. There were different variations of burpees too, which no one in the history of the world is a fan of...

No one likes burpees

This was really helpful as there were lots of different fitness levels in the group and it was good to know there were easier options to suit everyone.

The run that made EVERYONE cough!

Then it was the running part of the fitness assessment, so we got into pairs. In our pairs we took turns to run about 100 metres down the path and back continuously, for six minutes each. We were told to run as hard as we could for this six minutes, to give it our best and see how many laps we could do. Each time we got back to the start we high-fived our partners and enjoyed the cheering and encouragement from the group. 

That first run must've been a massive shock to the system for the group because once we'd finished, EVERYONE was coughing for the rest of the afternoon! It was quite a nice ice breaker in a way, and got everyone laughing. I managed 6.5 laps in the end (the .5 being very important, obviously), but ran so hard my chest was really tight afterwards, so I joined the coughing crew too. It was like a scene from the London Gentlemen's Club in Family Guy:

Bootcamp Blast & Core

After the fitness assessment it was Bootcamp Blast and Core with the two Chris' (nicknamed Dark and Silver). In the bootcamp class we were put through our paces with a range of bodyweight and cardio exercises, and whenever Chris shouted 'rope' we had to run and pick up the rope above our heads and run with it in a line. (By the way, if you ever do this, don't underestimate how hard it is to keep your arms above your head for that long!) It was like this but without the nice sandy beach:

bootcamp rope exercise

The Core class was all about compound core exercises, so using multiple muscle groups to work the core. I'm not very good at traditional core exercises such as crunches and sit ups as I always pull my neck, so enjoyed the different variations we were shown (anyone remember the name of that turny-over one that took ages to learn? Was it a *something* burpee?)

After Core it was time to eat and chill - with sweet and sour turkey and rice on the menu and a nice warm bed calling me, I didn't hang around and went to bed early ready for the big day tomorrow.

Sessions completed: 3
No. of throats cleared: 25 throats, 250 times
No. of rice grains left on dinner plate after eating: ZERO!


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Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp review : Part One

"Why are you here at Hillmotts?" 
"Er... we just thought it'd be an amazing weekend away, really"

That's what we were asked by one of the trainers, Chris, when we arrived. Me and my two favourite fitties sat opposite him and explained that we just thought it'd be a fun weekend away together, three solid days of non-stop exercise and healthy eating.

You know what I mean, right? We'd come back feeling EPIC!

Hillmotts bootcamp Dorset
The beautiful Dorset venue

For me it was a reset button too - I've been a bit slack with my eating recently and needed to find my morning mojo again to get up for early sessions. Everyone had different reasons for coming to bootcamp - to lose weight, kickstart a healthier lifestyle, revamp their training regime, or to learn about good nutrition and new ways to train. Or maybe just to have some fun!

Some people had never been to bootcamp before, some people were keen runners and regular spin-class addicts, and some came from doing very little exercise at all, so there was a real mix of people there, all in it together for the weekend (some even stayed for six days!)

Hillmotts Dorset bootcamp crew
Hillmotts Dorset weekend crew 27-29/9/13

Now that we've returned to reality, though, I'm currently aching in places I never knew possible. 

Stairs are a no-no and minding the gap coming off the train when dealing with immense DOMS is not something I'd like to do in public again. Despite the stiffness and severe bootcamp withdrawal symptoms, however, (the latter being harder to deal with), I'm on top of the bloody world! 

Hillmotts typical menu food bootcamp
Behold: the fuel you need for 3 days of continuous exercise!

In the three days that we were there we:

  • Did a grand total of 12 hours of exercise, split into 12 sessions. 
  • Met some fantastic people
  • Were pushed to our limits/supported/cheered on by the amazing trainers. 
  • Drank copious amounts of green and red berry tea.
  • Ate balanced, nutritious meals and snacks to fuel us for the exercise we were doing. 
  • Learned about balanced nutrition and how to make the most out of our training schedules to suit our goals. (EAT CLEAN! EAT CLEAN!)
  • Ignored *most* of our snacks that we brought with us (I brought a whole bloody rucksack of rice cakes, oat cakes, almond butter, Dr Karg crackers, energy bars, nuts and bananas - but only had some nuts and a Dr Karg!) 
  • Laughed. A lot. 
  • Cheered. A lot. 
  • Had so much fun! 
  • Coughed - EVERYONE COUGHED. (See the first day recap as to why). 
  • Slept - not much, but I reckon I was just over tired/pumped. 
  • Swam and melted in the sauna.
  • Enjoyed the hot tub. Yes, I said HOT TUB
  • Lost weight (I lost 4lb, and my two fitties I came with also lost 4lb between them!)

Hillmotts residential bootcamp review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Top to bottom: 8am Insanity session, 8am HIIT session & boxercise

Smashing expectations

We'd been looking forward to it for months and I was especially excited and bouncing off the walls about the whole thing, so it had a lot to live up to in the Head of Tess

I'm glad to say it most definitely smashed my expectations and then some - the trainers were great, the other bootcampers were brilliant, the venue and location was amazing, the weather was perfect (even the pounding rain during our first 8am HIIT session on Saturday morning). 

If anything the rain just made me run harder to get my porridge quicker!

I don't want this to be one mahoosive long post, so gonna split it up into recaps of each day, and then it's not like reading a dissertation. You're welcome.  

Day One recap link below so click through to find out why coming to Hillmotts 
made us feel like this: 

Hillmotts residential bootcamp review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
So sad to leave but feeling EPIC!!!


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