Health: Bootcamp Fitness with James Kennedy at Meon Valley Marriott

Do I want to review a bootcamp fitness session? That was the question posed to me. I sort of did and I sort of didn’t. But when it evolved into an overnight stay, bootcamp fitness and a full body massage, I was swayed. I had been solo parenting for almost a month and quite frankly I could do with some R&R. Once upon time a night in a hotel would include hot sex and gallons of tequila; but now fat and forty, I was thinking hot bath, room service and a night of tv, uninterrupted, in bed.

The Meon Valley Marriot Golf and Country Club is not far from my old haunts of Botley and Bishop’s Waltham in Hampshire but despite, once upon time, having lived around these parts for a number of years, I had never been to the hotel before. I have to say the hotel is nay beauty, but it sits in impressive grounds surrounded by a golf course. Golf dominates the venue and it echoes of American Golf and Country Club culture. I have spent a lot of time as a guest in USA Marriots and so I am familiar with the hospitality style and to be honest I am a sucker for a club sandwich.

The staff were brimming with enthusiasm and friendly. As a hotel it is dominated by regulars and familiar faces, or at least guests who might have more of a clue than me. The bar was comfortable and welcoming and I was pleased to be able to enjoy two lovely Hendricks gin & tonic. My favourite gin at the moment.

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Followed by a slow, relaxing bubble bath. Now as a mother of two children, aged 7 and 12 years old, I can tell you that I am unable to take any time out of their presence in the form of relaxation without them hunting me down and asking me some inane question. Whilst I may try and engage with them when they are relaxing and am wholly ignored, the minute I seize a moment to indulge in any form of chilled out time, or in fact, human bodily function, they immediately need to find me and interrupt me, generally for no good reason other than to ask me if they can have something that I would generally say no to when not otherwise engaged. Therefore, the bath may have been the highlight of my night had not, by some divine intervention, the film ‘Practical Magic’ been showing on the telly box. I may have died and gone to fat and over forty, middle aged mother heaven.

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Then to sleep perchance to dream. I had set breakfast up to arrive at 7.45am so that I could digest before my bootcamp at 9am. Breakfast in bed, delivered to my room. Honestly, there are times when I seriously think I could actually live in a hotel.

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I was a bit nervous about the bootcamp. I mean it’s called bootcamp! It’s not called cake camp. Although cake camp sounds nice. Anyway I duly arrived. Now in my head, I am not as fat as I look in the photos which has been a bit of an eye opener for me. Since the summer of indulgence has come to end I have been focusing on clean eating-ish, drinking more water and gentle exercise. The bootcamp, run by a mini orange man, called James Kennedy, is based on HIIT (high intensity interval training). This is the best fat burn exercise of the moment and something I have heard about but never been brave enough to do because it sounds really tough. One of the girls in the session had been working with James since November and had lost four stone. Blimey, I dream of losing four stone.

Fate had been kind. It was a lovely ambient autumnal day and I love exercising outdoors. It was a bit wet underfoot but it was ok. The 50 minutes involved series of weights, which we rotated around, then a bit of jogging, a bit of squatting, some more weight work, a rotational plank with a bit of jumping over plankers, a bit more jogging, a bit of running on the spot, some press ups and then some more rotational stuff. There were six of us in total and between us we weaved through the exercises. Despite not having exercised in this way for a few years I found that it was fun, interesting and I whilst I could feel my body working, I could also manage it. And surprisingly, I wanted to keep on doing it.

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James Kennedy, the mini orange man, is actually a personal trainer, nutritionist and body building model extraordinaire. After the session we had a little chat about nutrition. Talking about food is my obsession and it was interesting to hear his thoughts. I feel that these last 24 hours have been a trigger for change and that I should seize the day and move from fat&forty to fit&forty and James said that he would give me some pointers – so watch this space.

You can follow him on twitter: @JamesKennedygf

He’ll be running a nutrition seminar at the Meon Valley Country Club on the 11th November at 7.30pm if you want to hear his thoughts on nutrition.

I said to him, ‘Can I have a selfie with you? and he replied, ‘sure, would you like me to get my kit of so you can see how ripped I am?’

Well, it would be rude not to really. So obviously, I said, ‘Oh go on then.’

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Then to finish my fabulous 24 hours I headed off to the spa for a fantastic Decleor full body massage, which is just what I needed after my 50 minute HIIT session at bootcamp.

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It was truly heavenly.

This blog is managed by Clare Macnaughton; a modern military mother; a feminist, British military spouse, and lifestyle journalist, writing about real life adventures.


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