The thing about going on a boot camp is that it usually involves effort. Not just the obvious, sweating kind, but the whole waking up at the crack of dawn to get on a train or plane, or driving up to some wet corner of the UK to spend a couple of days exercising like a lunatic before the whole exhausting rigmarole of getting home starts again.
Which is why the Reboot Camp was such a joy: not only for the fact that it’s held in London, where I live (the chief effort being getting on a tube), but that it fits into your life; no spending of precious annual leave, no major commitment, this is boot-camping on your own terms but with plenty of hand-holding guidance thrown in. Hosted by Frame – the youthful, nightclub-styled fitness centres with outposts in Shoreditch and Queen’s Park – the Reboot Camp is led by a yoga instructor, nutritionist and pretty blonde pixie called Libby Limon. Really. The programme’s aim is a holistic, sustainable stop-and-reset on your health and fitness. In other words this is not a boot camp that leaves you tired and hungry and ready for a burger with extra bacon. Even better, compared to other boot camps it’s a snip at £179 for a week.
The boot camp began with a talk on a wet Friday night in East London. Libby doled out delicious juices from Blend & Press and explained the timetable: a two day juice fast over the weekend - the Repair and Rejuvenate phase - followed by a week of pick 'n’ mix exercise classes at Frame and clean eating, constituting the Refuel and Revive phase. A Reboot Camp bible was distributed and Libby chatted through the benefits of fasting, including its proven effects to lower stress, inflammation and insulin resistance, and then set out the alkaline diet (AKA, healthy eating plan) we’d be following for the rest of the week. There was information on quick lunch options from Itsu etc. and suggestions of good snacks, like nut butter on oatcakes, and what to avoid – meat, coffee, alcohol, sugar, all the usual suspects. A seven day meal plan charted uncomplicated, delicious recipes for coconut quinoa porridge with mango and fresh mackerel with poached egg: the kind of food that you might actually want to eat.
The juice fast part was not as hideous as I had expected. I cheated a couple of times, but not really, only a bit of apple and a few nuts when I was missing the taste of actual food. But the Blend & Press juices were plentiful, filling and delicious and clearly labelled for times of day, and pre- and post-workouts. Meanwhile, the exercise component was spread across six days of classes at Frame. Since we were fasting, the weekend activities were restorative yoga sessions, conducted by Libby, and during which we held poses for several minutes at a time, producing a blissed-out feeling akin to a 90-minute massage. During the week – and left to our own devices, with Libby’s daily emails urging us on – I attended HIIT and resistance classes and ballet barre sessions, all of which fitted around my work. Much like a normal week’s workout schedule, in fact, but MORE, with classes every day, from high intensity to more Pilates-focused fitness.