Sidcup bootcamp puts Times reporter through his paces

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 January 2013

Reporter Robin Cottle with Strictly Bootcamp owner Andy Blackwell

Reporter Robin Cottle with Strictly Bootcamp owner Andy Blackwell


The first thing Strictly Bootcamp owner Andy Blackwell told me when I turned up for my first session was that I ate the wrong thing for breakfast. It was mostly downhill from there.

Bootcamp member Raj GuptaBootcamp member Raj Gupta

On a crisp January morning at Sidcup Rugby Club in Sydney Road, the 34-year-old fitness machine put me through my paces and made it apparent how out of shape I am.

But don’t let that put you off – because Andy was quick to shoot down the traditional image of a boot camp with clients crawling through the mud while being shouted at by an ex-Army major.

“I want to encourage people to come back so that would be counterproductive. Here, we offer the whole lifestyle package.

“Training is only about 30 per cent of the battle and the rest is nutrition and mindset.”

The Strictly Bootcamp training groupThe Strictly Bootcamp training group

It may have only been 45 minutes but it was one of the toughest three-quarters of an hour of my life.

A mixture of short bursts doing a variety of squats, weights and press-ups was interspersed with short runs to the next exercise station. Andy was encouraging rather than pushy.

But don’t just take my word for it. The class of a dozen that I joined was unanimous in their appreciation for helping them reach their fitness goals.

April Wallis, 48, said: “I had a baby when I was 42 and wanted to shed a couple of stone. Strictly has given me the structure I need.”

Julie Sharratt, 42, added: “Since I started two-and-a-half years ago, I’ve ran a half-marathon, which I never thought I would.

“Andy keeps it constantly fresh and changes the way he does things. Every session is different and it’s non-stop, keeping you on your toes.”

If you’re feeling the January blues then Strictly Bootcamp can help you try to achieve your fitness goals and the owner finds himself with more work on his hands every New Year.

“There is a spike in January compared with November and December. People become a little comfortable over Christmas, drink a bit too much and won’t have had much time on their hands.

“But we put on courses 363 days of the year (only closing for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) and there is a hardcore who will go all year round, rain or shine.”

Andy opened the business four years ago having studied sports science at university. He now has 100 clients along with four other personal trainers. The Orpington resident also has his own gym in the town, Limitless Fitness in Flamingo Park, and has lived in the area all his life.

I could definitely feel the burn by the end of the session, which I’m told is the point.

Andy told me: “You did okay for your first session though your technique needs to improve. But I went a bit easy on you because this was your first time – it gets harder.”

For more information on Strictly Bootcamp visit, email or call 07756 975062.

Until the end of February, you can get 30 days of unlimited fitness for £20.13. The normal price is £79.

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