THE BASICS: Shenda Falvey bootcamps run most days on the grassy bit outside The Pilot, a short walk from North Greenwich station. This was an after work class which started on Wednesday at 7.30pm. For all days and times, check out the website. First class free, block book sessions available after that- £100 for 12 classes taken over 6 weeks (working out at… um… not much a class!)
THE CLASS: Shenda is a tall, striking woman who looks incredibly fit. She said a friendly hello through the dusk light at me- standing on the grass, looking a bit lost and every so often letting out a scream as a lazy daddy longlegs flew up and buzzed around my head.
Shenda had sent us text the day previously, telling us to get ready for some team circuits- it was great to get a little pep-talk the day before the class, and also to know what to expect. Nice touch!
As people started to filter in, she had us split into two teams, and was dishing out lamenated cards with instructions, weights and mats (although best to bring your own of you can).
It was a pretty slick operation, and the aim of the game was to race the other team to finish our sets of circuits before the other team.
Essentially, we had to complete a task (squats, for example) while one of our team members dashed to the cones on the field in front of us, doing whatever the laminate instructed. So, one of us was busy flumping over to the cone in a gorilla style (graceful) while the rest of the group squatted.
Then- when our galloping gorilla team-mate appeared back, off we sprinted for a run round the little bit of grass next to us, before diving into the next task.
And repeat until you are panting, sweating, and well, begging for mercy, really!
There were 4 laminates, and it took us around 45 minutes to work through them- seriously hard work and it helped to be working against the other team- there was a friendly competitive spirit!
If the running after every task got too much, there was the option to skip with ropes too- I definitely took this up quite heavily towards the end of the circuits. My legs were like lead!
Shenda herself was hilarious- we were completing circuits in less than a minute- and she was there by the mats, having animated and frank chats with those of us doing our squats/burpees while our team mate sprinted out on her cone mission.
This meant that you’d be doing burpees and hear half a funny, tongue-in-cheek rant from Shenda about how she’s been up since 5am and still has to go and cook the kids dinner when she gets home but never really get to the end of the rant because your team mate was back, and there you were jogging off into the distance having some back and forth banter with her over your shoulder.
It was really quite hilarious and certainly kept the buzz going!
We finished the circuits (my team won- yay!) and just had time for a bit of weight work before a final jog round the field and time to head home and collapse into a hot bath.
THE VERDICT: Shenda was a breath of fresh air- talking at 100 mph in an open, friendly, funny way, keeping us going with anecdotes and little snippets of chat while we beasted out lungs and muscles, at the circuits in front of us. The laminated instructions and way she’d set up the circuits took a couple of minutes to get your head round but it was slick and encouraged team work. For my first dark bootcamp of the winter, this was a very welcome one!
THE EXTRAS: You got me. I did not take these photos… it as pitch black by the time we’d finished!! Thanks to Shenda for providing me with these somewhat sunnier snaps.