TV’s Sharon Marshall’s journey to body confidence has had more ups and downs than the average soap opera plotline. And this month she reports for Bodyfit from the trenches of a military-style fitness boot camp…
All I can say is these camps are the holidays from hell! If you sign up- do not expect a luxury trip. I shared a tiny dorm with eight other women. We slept in bunk beds and were made to get up at 5:45am each day and all stuck on a diet and deprived of cigs, chocolate and booze (they frisk you on the way in). Expect fights. Two women on my course got into a ruck on day three over who had the bigger portion of birdseed in their lunchbox.
Second- expect pain. These things are run by ex-army blokes who are used to whipping recruits into shape for war and don’t take 10 hours a day and that brings open blisters, ripped muscles and aching limbs. After 5 hours of weights and boxing training on day one, I was so stiff that I had to call for help to get into my sportsbra the next morning.
Don’t expect much food either. You’re on a diet and you’ll know it. One day I hiked 3,400ft- the equivalent of Snowden. My food ration for the hike? A small cupful of soup, three hummus-smeared oatcakes and this revolting hippy began snack bar thing that tasted like sawdust. I dreamt of croisants every night and went to sleep whimpering in my pillow with hunger.
Of course, by the end of the week- when we were all a dress size smaller- we boot camp prisoners all instantly forgot the pain, celebrated our smaller bottoms and hugges the army types who’d tortured us all week. These camps do get results and most women drop a dress size during there stay. But, my weight did creep back on as I couldn’t sustain the regime- in fact I was stuffing down a croissant brefore the train had even left the station on the way home.
Some benefits are permanent though. The thing I did love was the real sense of camaraderie and ‘Girl Power’ that emerged. Banished to our bunks each night by 8pm we’d spend the night talking. In the darkness of the dorm each night voice would pipe up with life stories and dilemmas- one woman was going through cancer treatment, another was recently bereaved, another had just been dumped. Wise advise and firm instructions were dished out each night as the group of strangers gave the benefit of their collective wisdom. I was dating a cheating swine at the time- and got a very stern instruction to dump him from the 51-year old in the bunk bed to my right.
A week away from your normal life gives you the headspace to think- and the achievement of making it through the course gave us all a massive confidence boost and sense of self worth. As for me? I lost 13lbs in seven days, but it was the toughest week of my life. And when I got home, I told the cheating bloke to take a hike. Maybe it is no coincidence that after my taste of army life, I ‘m now engaged to a soldier.*