British Military Fitness (BMF) Class Review
By wlr staff Trudi Purdy
We all know that regular exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle and that getting fit is one of the best ways to improve our body shape and lose weight.
To establish a regular exercise routine, you need to find something you enjoy. Forget your school days of being forced to do PE and sports you hated, times have changed and you now make the choices.
In our quest to bring Weight Loss Resources members the best ideas on how to get fitter, slimmer and healthier, we came across British Military Fitness (BMF) classes.
Boot Camp Style Fitness Classes
British Military Fitness (BMF) hold fitness classes that are held outdoors, all year round in parks across the UK. The qualified instructors who take the classes have military backgrounds and the idea is that, with their encouragement and know-how coupled with the sense of camaraderie that comes from the group mentality, the classes are a great way of getting fit, burning an extra 600 calories per session, losing weight and having fun in the sun (or mud!).
This sounded like a great idea for our members so, we decided to send two of the WLR team to a class to see what was involved, how suitable it would be and what benefits these classes would have over other fitness regimes.
Sarah – 23, an ice skater, regular gym member and slim.
Trudi – 38, couch potato, smoking chimney and overweight.
We also discovered that one of the WLR members, RobNaylor, regularly attends classes so, here’s three perspectives on British Military Fitness (BMF) and its benefits.
Sarah’s Experience of British Military Fitness Classes
I felt slightly nervous as I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect from British Military Fitness (BMF) and even though I am relatively fit, I didn’t know if I would be able to keep up.
The warm up consisted of the three groups of people running in a large rectangle to raise our heart rates and warm up our muscles. Tim, the instructor, followed on by introducing lunges, direction changes and punches. My initial thoughts were that if the entire session simply consisted of running and punching the air then I was either going to pass out or get bored!
Varied and Challenging Workout
The rest of the class was varied and challenging. Working in pairs or with the whole group we performed drills, sprints, sit-ups and push-ups. The range of exercises made the hour fly by and even though it was hard work, you couldn’t help but laugh and giggle throughout. It didn’t feel like exercise and being part of a group made it great fun and very motivating.
There was no pressure from anyone but I felt as if I didn’t want to be last or give up and let the group down so I kept going. At the gym if I feel tired I just stop because there is nothing to keep me going.
Improve Fitness Levels
The British Military Fitness (BMF) instructors were firm and authoritative but still friendly, supportive and encouraging; they wanted everyone to have fun and enjoy the class. The first session is hard but I think you would see a definite improvement in fitness levels quite quickly if you went on a regular basis.
The hour went quicker than I expected and it was much more fun that running on the treadmill for an hour. I also really enjoyed getting down on the ground and getting muddy and dirty. It made me feel like I had worked really hard. As well as improving your fitness levels, this class would definitely help you lose weight and tone up as you are working your whole body throughout the session.
We warmed down with a slow jog and stretch and a pat on the back from the other class members.
Help to Lose Weight and Get Fit
I would highly recommend looking out for a British Military Fitness (BMF) Class near you. It will help anyone who is trying to get fit and lose weight and have fun. A class can burn between 400 and 800 calories. An added bonus is that the instructor will also talk to the group about their eating habits and healthy eating. If you are prepared for a ‘real workout’ and want to try something different this may be the class for you.
ROBNAYLOR's Experience of British Military Fitness (BMF) Classes
When I first heard about British Military Fitness (BMF) , I was not impressed. I went to indoor Circuit Training sessions a couple of times a week in a heated hall with lots of equipment to use. How could paying a similar price to work out on the local common in all weathers possibly be good value?
I posted some negative comments on WLR but then thought that, in order to be fair, I should at least try what I was criticising so went along to a free trial session. I was not totally unfit, given the Circuits and rock climbing that I do, but I had certainly plateaued. The weight was coming off thanks to WLR but my fitness was not improving.
Hard Training Session
The trial session was hard but I enjoyed it. Everyone was friendly and although the instructors were all ex-military they were relatively restrained, pushing you to your limit but easing off when they could see that you had truly given your best. It had a military "feel" to it but was certainly not regimented or intimidating.
British Military Fitness (BMF) Training Classes vs. Circuit Training
I was hooked and signed up properly, doing first 2 and eventually up to 5 sessions a week. The big difference between British Military Fitness (BMF) and Circuits is the continual movement. Because you are not moving between exercise stations or equipment, exercise sets run straight into each other. If you do move locations, you do it at a run.
There is no real let-up except for a drink stop at half-time. At a Circuits class you probably spend around 10 seconds moving between stations every minute which adds up to at least 15% "dead" time in a 1 hour session. At a British Military Fitness (BMF) session, the "dead" time probably runs closer to 5%.
All Levels of Fitness Catered For
All fitness levels are represented at my local class. Those joining with lower fitness start off in blue bibs and are worked less hard than the fitter red or elite green bib wearers. The camaraderie is superb and makes the idea of doing press-ups in freezing rain seem quite acceptable! When the weather is bad the instructors ensure that you get "down and dirty" during the warm up.
Every session is different. Sometimes we run a lot, other times we mix cardiovascular work with core strength or upper body work. Often the session is broken up with games or team events. You might find yourself "leopard crawling" holding the ankles of the person in front with 4 teams competing not to finish last and incur the penalty of press-ups.
My local British Military Fitness (BMF) group also has a very active social life, with monthly pub meets, running sessions and occasional camping, barbecue or "adventure event" trips. My group is about 50/50 men and women and despite me being one of the oldest there, and relatively unfit when I started, I never felt patronised or that people might have been laughing at my initial efforts.
Huge Improvement in Fitness
In the 7 months since I started British Military Fitness (BMF) my fitness levels have improved tremendously. My 3 stone weightloss has been driven by use of the WLR facilities, but my fitness improvement is definitely down mainly to the British Military Fitness (BMF) classes (and the weight loss has been helped by the extra calories earned). I now run for pleasure and completed the 10 mile Great South Run in September in under 87 minutes. That astounded me since in April I could not run 1500 metres without walking for some of it.
My blood pressure has dropped significantly, as has my cholesterol and my resting heart rate. I feel fitter than at any time since my early 30s (I'm now 53). I would whole-heartedly recommend British Military Fitness (BMF) as a fun, friendly and effective way of getting fit for people at almost all levels of existing fitness.
Use the WLR Exercise Diary to log any exercise that you do and how vigorously you do it. Try the Exercise Diary free for 24 hours.