NEW REGIME IS TAKING ITS TOLL
Many of my colleges know, I’m forever trying the latest fad diet or hip fitness regime.
And while I have the best of intentions at the start my dreams of becoming a perfect size 10 are usually dashed as soon as I smell chips or enjoy a night out on the town.
So when the Star offered me the chance to attend a week –long experience at New You Boot Camp in Spain, I stopped dipping my chocolate digestive into my tea and jumped at the opportunity/
With four weeks to go before Christmas, I was eager to see whether it’s possible to lose weight under New You Boot Camp’s strict regime ‒ and at ¬750, whether it’s value for money.
All 30 of us ‒ a good mixtures of man and women ‒ arrive at Monasterio Hotel San Martin, located high in the Cadiz mountains in Andalucia.
First, the New You induction team take us into a hall to conduct a bleep test, which determines how fit a person is. I managed to scrape into the intermediate section with a purple face and a bruised ego.
After that, we tucked into our first food of the day, which a snack consisting of thinly was cut apple and nuts.
Later, we were introduced to the New You Boot Camp Staff, led by Staff Evans , who served as a driver turned physical training instructor for the Royal Air Force for 23 years.
Then with rumbling bellies, we retire to our rooms for the night and await our fate.
Morning comes early at Boot Camp and we slowly walk in the col to the cardio lawn to undergo a gruelling full hour of tough exercises.
Throughout the day, we completed a range of High Intensity Training drills and everyone including myself is feeling the muscle soreness.
I’m knackered after day one ‒ but as they say no pain, no gain!
Like many women, star reporter Catriona Loughran dreams of being size 10, especially with Christmas just four weeks away, so when the opportunity to attend one of the toughest weight loss boot camps in Europe presented itself, she couldn’t say no.
Every day this week Catriona will reveal details of her New You boot Camp quest in Spain and by Saturday, she hopes to have reached her goal.
I WOKE up at 6.15am, feeling stiff and sore especially in the calf muscles but excited for the morning ahead as I’d begun to make friends with some members of the group and was looking forwards to spending the day with them.
Our cardio class at 7am was really a good fun, but tough. We did grass running combined with interval training including burpees , press ups, and star jumps for one full hour.
Staff Evans and his team deliberately pushed us hard in the morning to set up our metabolic rate for the rest of the day to burn calories quicker.
Morning exercise is more effective and must be done on an empty stomach. Since you have fasted overnight the glycogen levels in your muscles and liver are low so your body burns up the fat cells instead of the glycogen first. And when you eat, the fat from the food will fill up the low glycogen stores instead of always latching on to fat cells in the body he said.
Breakfast was fistful porridge with some apple chutney and nuts and seeds. It was hard to fill up with such limited portions. There’s quite a large group of people staying at bootcamp. Some are returners and others, like me, are first-timers. Friendships build fast and it’s nice to chat to men and women from all walks of life experiencing the same weight loss and fitness problems as I am.
After breakfast, we go for a 12km hike up the mountains. I enjoyed this part of the boot camp as I love walking and it’s a great opportunity to marvel at the Spanish countryside.
Although some of the heavier people found this a struggle and they made it only half way up. But they still gave it a go and it was great to see the determination on their faces. The support the group gave each other was overwhelming and there was real we’re all in it together type camaraderie.
When walking up, I got to chat to people along the way and it was lovely to hear so many people share their stories and why they decided to go to bootcamp.
Anne O’Riordan (43) from Rathfarnham, in Dublin found out about New You Boot Camp from the internet after reading about success stories.
I went to a personal trainer and have tried every trick in the book to get the weight off and while I have been successful, it eventually creeps back on, she said.
I have read a lot about bootcamp and always wanted to give it a go as I think it’s the kickstart you need to begin a fasting weight loss programme. Losing nearly a stone in a week would be a great incentive and I really hope I see results. I’m just going to work as hard as I can.
After our walk, we returned absolutely famished and had a small lunch of cold chicken pieces, goats cheese and salad with no dressing. It was bland but it filled a very hungry belly.
Boxing was next and this proved popular with the men. The personal trainers pulled no punches when it came to making you sweat for your supper.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of boxing but according to the Staff Evans it is one of the best forms of exercise as it works the entire body.
After boxing, Tom who has been to several bootcamps and lost a stone in each encouraged us all to go into the swimming pool to help combat the inflammation of out muscles.
The swimming pool was freezing. After 10 minutes I was done and shivered my way back to the room before dinner. Day two done and I felt very sore but determined to work as hard as I could.
The alarm goes off at 6.15am and my body feels like lead. My legs feel a bit sorer but my mind is racing and raring to go after a long night’s sleep.
The beauty of this New You Boot Camp is that bootcampers are the only guests staying at the secluded Monasterio hotel outside the town of San Martin so everyone goes to bed early and there are no disturbances during the night.
The adrenalin overload from all the exercises does make it hard to drift off and when you do sleep can get broken and you will experience bizarre dreams from time to time.
Despite this, you always feel rested and ready to go by 7am. My muscles are still sore but probably not as bad as they would have been if I didn’t dip in the pool the night before.
Cardio again and I don’t know what happened me, but I could barely jog. I was pooped after a couple of laps around the small field.
We did three shuttle runs to a station in the corner, where you had to do a HIT such as star jumps, spotty dogs, burpees and mountain climbers ‒ it was extremely difficult.
I could barely bend down I was that stiff and with Staff Evans, Staff Cronin and Staff Waldie breathing down my neck I wasn’t happy.
I felt like an old rusty car that couldn’t start properly and couldn’t understand why, despite feeling energised before the class started.
After I felt faint and short of breath and was angry at myself for being so poor in class.
But Staff Evans measured me that it was normal and a good sign for anyone entering into the third day as detox and muscle depletion occurring.
Depletion is happening in your muscles and the stiffness is known as DOMS ‒ you have it the first time you complete new exercise, he said.
Having no energy means your glycogen levels are low. As soon as you eat breakfast and have some water you will feel fine again.
And after wolfing down my granola and soya milk, he was right.
We had one hour circuits before much – anticipated Battle PT commenced.
It is a similar training to what they do in the military and it was serious fun.
We had to lift heavy sacks and pretend we were stretchering a wounded soldier to safety by running as fast as we could do to the next station.
We had to kick tyres and run and stack dumbbells before doing a rolling mechanism with a weight pole pretending it was a gun while ACDC played in the background.
I really felt this was a proper bootcamp exercise and thought the stations were very well executed and thought out by the expert PTIs.
And while I’m not particularly land of staff Waldie and Cronin’s shouts of encouragement and ability to wind me up, they do have good taste of music.
After lunch it was more boxing I teamed up with 51 year old Debbie from Chelmsford in Essex. I loved working with Debbie as she is one of the many returning bootcampers who is expecting her fitfth bootcamp after falling off the train tracks after she moved house and job.
I can’t recommend bootcamps enough. I always walk away with at least a stone off and it really helps me to get back on track with healthy eating and exercise. Plus, it’s nice to enjoy a bit of me lime and meet new people, says Debbie.
We had to do 200 punches each and after 10 you had to sprint to a cone and back. It was tough but worth it. Then we had to return to the 6 °C pool and this time we had to fully immerse and swim laps.
I whinged and moaned the whole time while the PTIs kept laughing and mocking me from above pathetically splashed my legs on the side while the swimmer braved it for a couple of laps of the pool.
This wasn’t my fines hour of the bootcamp so far I was cranky and grumpy, but at least my muscles won’t be sore tomorrow.
BOOTCAMP WORKS PAY OFF
Changes are beginning to happen and I feel great.
I feel my waist and d colletage look slimmer and my thighs and bum is more toned ‒ and it’s not just me.
I’m a beginning to see changes in the group’s appearances and everyone looks great. It’s like the slimming fairy sprinkled her magic dust over us while we slept hooray!
The soreness in my upper thighs and arms is beginning to subside and all I want to do is run and break sweat, the pheromones are up and I’m cheery and ready to go for cardio at 7am on Day Four.
Our session was mainly running. We partnered up and ran a letter M around the field and I teamed up with Debbie again, who I have now dubbed my English mammy .
Everything was going well, I was running at a great pace and was getting loads of encouragement from the trainers until I ran around one of the bends and felt something twinge in the back of my heel. I ran on but as I continued with the session it progressively got worse and I started to fear the day ahead.
We were warned to be careful as Day four and Five are the days when it’s commons to suffer an injury due to the intense strain on the body, but I hoped the half-day hike would make it better.
After breakfast, out came the hiking boots again and we set out for a three – hour 16km’s walk up the mountains.
The sun was out and we saw panoramic views of Andalucia right over to the Port of Sotogrande and the rock of Gibraltar.
There were three intense hills, which a lot of people found hard.
We came back for lunch and I was very bold and didn’t do the boxing. Staff Evans said I may have twisted my Achilles heel so rather than be a martyr I sat the boxing class out and rested up for an hour.
This is also the beauty about this New You Boot Camp. All exercise classes are optional and not compulsory like other bootcamps so people don’t feel as pressurised into doing the training, which can be viewed as bad thing or good thing.
I felt very ready for games in the evening time and we played netball. I hadn’t played this game since schools and really enjoyed it.
Men and women both played and it was clear to see who the champion netball players were in their day.
Dinner was nutritious and delicious. It was roast chicken leg with lentil/pea and chickpea mash and like every other night I could have eaten more, but judging by the slimmer appearances on everyone’s faces, results were happening and we are determined to make the remaining days count.
WE STARTED OFF with cardio as usual in the morning ‒ and it had got easier.
I’d bonded with a number of men and women in the group and they made my experience more enjoyable as we shared jokes and banter.
Debbie and I partnered off again in circuit training with weights and cardio.
The dreaded planks and press-ups were getting easier for everyone as our bodies got stronger.
By lunchtime, talks was centred on the big weigh-in and measurements and whether people would reach their desired result.
I traditionally don’t lose weight fast so I was not preparing for a big shocker.
Staff Evans and his team prepared another round of Battle PT for us in the afternoon, and if I ever saw dynamics in the team change during one fitness session, it was this one.
They set up a makeshift station comprising tyres, mats, blocks of wood, a seat and dumbbells and we had to dismantle it and set it up in the exact same way 200 metres down the field. There were three teams but our team had a man down and it was quickly evident we were never going to win.
So, just like in war, we sabotaged our opponents and the big live-in soon turned into World War three ‒ much to the amusement of the trainers who belly-laughed while we bickered. Everyone kissed and made up before dinner and we all discussed our hopes for the weigh-in.
Before we knew it. New You Boot Camp manager Natalie Miles had the scales and the measuring tape out.
There were tears of joys when some of the heavier members of the group proudly declared their new weight.
Seasoned bootcamper Tom lost 1stone 2lbs while Scottish Lynn lost 17lbs and 13 inches from her body.
My buddy Debbie also lost a whopping 12lbs and my pal Caroline lost 13lbs.
Businessman Paul (50) lost 17lbs while Hael, a pilot from Saudi Arabia, managed to shift 9lbs after hardly taking part in classes.
It was a time for me to embrace the seales. I lost 4lbs and six inches off my body, so I was extremely chuffed.
Jake, the bootcamp chef, cooked us a healthy three-course meal and we all celebrated with a well-earned glass of Cava before Staff Evans gave us our certificates of achievement.
New You Boot Camp has been life-changing for me as I have learned lots about nutrition and fitness.
But I’m also taking the friendship I made with me.
I will meet up with some of my bootcampers again and we have set up our own Facebook page to monitor our progress over Christmas and New Year.
I would urge men and women to take the plunge and give it a go as there are guaranteed results if you put the work in.
Many campers shared a room to split the cost but for an average ¬750, where you get luxury accommodation in sunny Spain, healthy, low-carb meals, nutrition advice, expert fitness training and guaranteed weight loss, there really is no better way to go about finding a NEW YOU!*