Now after eight months of sloth - I definitely know what unfit feels like - muscle cramps, tiredness etc and I definitely know what it looks like - fat and flabby! And if my life depended on it I couldn't sustain a decent run - so desperate measures are called for!
I thought about a Boot Camp (not enough time), running round the park on my own (boring and solitary) - then while walking through Hyde Park I saw some people having fun doing exercise with the "pros" from British Military Fitness. No demotivating shouting - great instructions and other folks in the same boat.
After researching them online at www.britmilfit.com I discovered there are sessions in parks all over the UK and you can go along and sample a lesson free. You do need to fill out a pre-session health questionnaire which you can download online to take with you.
I tried my session at Hampstead Heath. Hmmm I realised on arrival - I had picked probably the hilliest park in London! Too late to chicken out though - I could see the Military Fitness van in the car park.
The instructors for my session were Ian Finch( pictured below), an ex-navy marine and the lead instructor; Lalin Navaratne, a trainee doctor (centre) and Craig Johnson - "Johno" is another ex Royal Marine.
Participants in the training are divided into different groups, dependent on fitness - blue for beginners (unfit), red for fit and green for seasoned particpants and really fit people.
Needless to say I was given a blue vest for the team led by Lalil. Everyone is very friendly and I was told that there is a thriving social scene including an annual ball.
There is no hanging around - we get our orders to jog off and I follow the others up hill and down dale! An hour later - after doing what I can only describe as an aerobic circuit, including jumping jacks, on the spot running, stomach crunches, press ups, we finally run down hill back towards the car park for stretching exercises. And I was not the last person back!
Running through a park like Hampstead Heath in the summer is glorious - much better and more interesting (stimulating) than being in a smelly gym. And Ian Finch tells me that the Hampstead Heath mob are not just fairweather exercisers - they turn up in the depths of winter, come snow or rain! Last January when London ground to a halt in the snow there were 30+ of them on the heath...
Afterwards I feel good - my legs felt exercised but I was not exhausted - the longer it went on the easier it was. Twenty four later my muscles are pleasantly aching and I know it has put me on the road to being fitter and my next jog round the park will be a whole lot easier!
Needless to say exercise does really make you feel a whole lot better.....not just in body but also in mind too - I feel a whole lot more positive today about everything. I can't wait for my next session!