I’d taken part in No1 Boot Camp in Norfolk last summer and I thought I knew what I was in for. I was wrong. The Ibiza summer popup of this camp, where military-style group training merges with the best modern fitness techniques, is ‘next level’.
It’s a camp for people who really want to get in shape quick and are passionate about fitness and self-improvement. Nothing is easy and you push yourself to the max. Leave your egos at the door and be prepared to get dirty, dusty and very sweaty.
Sixteen of us embarked on a transformational week of laughter, sweat and tears at the No 1 Bootcamp villa located around 40 minutes from the airport up lots and lots of windy Ibizan dirt roads.
The military-style workouts
The day is made up of six hours of exercise taken in one-hour sessions with breaks in between for healthy snacks, meals or rest. The workouts are high energy and high impact – think cardio, sprinting, boxing, squats, press-ups burpees and star jumps. This is interspersed with weight classes, yoga, HIIT training and four-hour hikes.
I was surprised to find the group fitness levels much higher than I’d experienced in the UK. Exercising in the Spanish heat was even harder but on the plus side, you do get a really great tan while you tone. Remember to take shorts for a full leg tan, as you spend all day outdoors.
You pour sweat from every pore, but what keeps you going is the camaraderie - there’s a lot of teamwork and encouragement from the group and the trainers.
One of the best features of No1 Boot Camp is how highly trained and expert the teachers are. Liam, our trainer, had more than 13 years’ experience in the PT world, was ex-RAF and had trained Princes William and Harry. You feel like you are in safe hands and he has a killer play list that helps motivate you - especially when you are on squat number 100.
Liam’s aim is to show you how to use the body as a tool – no gym or fancy equipment is necessary - so there’s no excuse not to work out. He uses basic movements, from a weighted squat to a squat jump burpee, to teach you about the five major muscle groups and show you how to work them effectively during weights classes. Thes are techniques you can take with you to make any workout more effective.
The fresh portion-controlled food
There are three meals and three snacks a day. Meals are high in protein and local vegetables. Everything is portion-controlled but delicious - from grilled salmon, to chicken cooked on the barbecue, meatballs and quinoa. There’s also lots of avocado and salads. You won’t find any refined sugars or salt. Men and women are put on different size portions and you can request extra protein (this costs extra).
The morning snack is always almonds. Other snacks are super healthy too - hummus and veggies, protein balls or occasionally fruit on the hikes.
We were allowed one cup of coffee in the morning and then only herbal tea and water the rest of the day.
As you’re challenging your body to the max, there are two masseuses on hand in the evening to help you unwind. Everyone is so exhausted that half the camp is in bed by 8pm.
The comfortable, no-frills acommodation
The villa is comfortable but basic. All the exercise, apart from the hikes, takes place outside there is always a shady area should you need it whether under a gazebo or trees. I always took a spot in the shade but many people chose to be in the sun. I went early in the season I’m not sure I could have done it in the August heat. All meals are eaten in the shade outside in a cushioned outdoor dining area.
There is air conditioning in most rooms, there’s a communal TV with Sky - and the all-important wifi throughout. Towels are provided but bring your own soap, shampoo and conditioner.
The emphasis is on the health and fitness aspect more than the luxury. If you are looking to be pampered and spoiled this isn’t for you. A cleaner comes in every other day. Some people choose to stay at a hotel nearby and drive to the villa daily to take part Ibiza is dusty and your covered in the stuff by the end of the day.
I went with a friend which really helped especially on the down days (which everyone has) when you feel exhausted, emotional and too tired to even talk. Most people come alone and make friends quickly as there is a really good atmosphere and support among the group.
The body sculpting results
After a week, not only does your fitness level improve, but your skin glows from the healthy diet. You lose weight on the scales and inches from waist, arms and thighs. I lost two inches from my waist and one inch from my arms and thighs.
I actually didn’t loose any weight as I toned up and gained muscle, but the jeans I travelled in felt loose and everything fitted better. My girlfriend who came with me lost just under a stone, which is what most people lose in the week.
I can see why people return yearly for a reboot before summer. At least half my camp were return customers. I saw people’s bodies transform in front of me. It’s tough and gruelling and no-frills.
If you are looking for a challenge and to push your self to the max and want quick results in a week then this is the place for you. It showed me that I was a lot stronger and more able than I thought.
At least four members of my group lost a stone each in a week. Their self-confidence soared and they left the camp feeling proud of what I had achieved and in a better headspace than when I had arrived. I was much calmer but ready to go home to some luxuries.
At the end, we had half a day of free time on the beach with the group for relaxing. Most of the team celebrated with an alcoholic drink as a treat – I had paella which was my indulgence.
How to book
No 1 Boot Camp Norfolk is open all year round. The Ibiza pop runs from March to October and costs around £2,500 for a week in a shared room with en suite bathroom and includes all meals. Prices vary depending room type and don’t include flights and transfers.
What to pack for a bootcamp
- More workout clothes than you think. You are working out all day, every day and need many changes. My favorite leggings are from Sweaty Betty as I think they are the most flattering. I also took these
Sweaty Betty Contour Workout Shorts, £35
- to help me achieve maximum tan!
- Shades to work out in as well as a cap. When you’re outside all day a good pair of sunnies are essential for eye health and comfort. I took
these by Hadid
- , the LA based brand started by Gigi Hadid’s father.
- Factor 50. You need strong SPF even in the shade – so pile on that high factor. Try B
ioderma Photoderm Mineral Spray SPF 50+ £16
- Home comforts. Recovery time is super important. I took one of my favorite candles the
Blink Indian Rose Candle, £32
- to burn in the evenings in my room. You really appreciate home comforts like this at the end of an exhausting day.
- A good cleanser. It’s dusty and dirty working out outdoors all day. Taking my own body and face products from Fresh – especially their
Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, £34
- instantly makes you feel human and hydrated again.
- A good book. Especially at night, a good book is key to distract you from the cravings. I took
‘Party girls die in Pearls' by Plum Sykes, £12.18
- ’ It’s very funny I can highly recommend.
- Your own pillow and pillow spray. Sleep is so important to give you energy for the following day. I take my own pillow wherever I go and douse it in
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, £18
- Clothes for chilling. After all day in tight workout wear, there’s nothing better than slipping into a loose airy kaftan.
All Things Mochi
- do great ones that are perfect for Ibiza evenings.
- Self tan. It’s amazing what a bit of bronze can do for your self-esteem. I picked up this tip from one of my fellow bootcampers, tanning maestro James Read. His
Coconut Melting Tanning Balm Face & Body, £30
- was our fave at camp.
- 111 Skin Cryo serum. Just like the
111 Skin’s Cryo Chamber at Harvey Nichols
- but less cold - the
Cryo Energising Body Serum, £90
- soothes tired limbs and tones at the same time.