Bootcamp Ireland

I’ve never been an exercise person, so the initial thought of joining in on a fitness style Bootcamp fills me with dread. Images of a strict army sergeant type trainer putting my fitness to shame over an assorted mix of walls and fences springs to mind.

But with gain has to come a little pain – and if I’m going to get in bikini shape for the summer, it’s essential I do some exercise.

While most of my friends are out getting drunk on the Friday night, I am in with a DVD as the thought of having to endure Bootcamp hungover is just too much.

On Saturday morning I am out of bed early, bright and cheerful with the lark, while it seems, the rest of the world is dying from alcohol overload.

When I arrive I can see the group standing in the distance surrounded by cones. The park is leafy and encircled by trees – the ground is muddy and has that ‘back to nature’ feel about it. Luckily the late March blazing sun means there is an optimistic feeling in the air. As we get closer I am horrified to realise that instead of lots of ‘jelly bellies’ there seems to be just proper gym gear clad ‘buff and muscly’ types, that look like they have done a fair bit of exercise in their time. Nervously I approach the group, in my old gym gear, and meet Owen Murray my Military fitness instructor for the day.

I can immediately sense he has no nonsense about him. “Right join in there,” he says “Start running!” I look at the group warily and join in at the end with two girls who look to be in similar shape to me. We are doing laps around the cones. Before long I feel like I am about to die, but we haven’t even started. First he barks orders at us to jog with our knees up, sprint for bouts of 20 seconds, stop and do star jumps. I physically feel my legs weakening. “Don’t slow down,” I can hear him shouting somewhere in the distance, as my muscles complain. After a gruelling start we get a minute break for some water, and then it’s to the circuits. This is where it starts to get a bit mucky.

In groups of two and three we have to do a minute on each circuit. The circuits include jumping with two feet over a yellow bar, starjumps, push ups (in the mud), tuck jumps, sprinting and something called a ‘burpee’ which I learned, was basically a nightmare in an exercise move. If you don’t jog in between stations and Owen sees, you have to do 20 burpees on the spot. I became adept at keeping one eye on Owen and as soon as his back was turned I gave myself little breaks. But if I thought I was cleverer then the military instructor I was severely mistaken. As he approached me doing a particular circuit, “Stop slacking! If you weren’t just here for the day I wouldn’t be so nice to you,” he said. “I said two feet together for that jump!” Aghh. As the exercise intensifies a group camaraderie begins to set in. I am in a group with a man who is covered from head to toe in sweat so much so that he looks like he has just stepped out of the shower, and a woman who looks like she is enduring torture. “Right,” the man says through what looks like a coronary heart attack just starting. “We do five tuck jumps then we stop, five and then stop,” We all nod solemnly as the whistle goes again. As soon as Owens back is turned my large bunny tuck leaps turn into tiny almost imperceptible bunny hops as I attempt self preservation.

But he hasn’t finished. After the circuits come more sprints, and then squats, lunges and worst of all push ups.

I am doing the push ups all wrong because my arms are weaker then an 8 year olds, when he comes over to show me how to do them right, I fall smack onto my face, unable to hold the weight of my body fat. 

Finally the agony of ‘the plank’ (holding your body stiff above the ground for a whole minute) ‘the sideways plank’ and other weapons of torture. The best part of the session is the stretching in the end. Lying in the sun, full of endorphins and thinking of my friends who will be dying of a hangover I feel happy. “I bet you’re all going to go back now and have a greasy fry,” says Owen. “Think of your friends just getting out of bed and feel good!”

And he’s right. The benefits of bootcamp can really outnumber the bad points – it gets you fit, keeps you fit and increases your stamina and best of all helps you get that bikini body back. Bootcamp Ireland classes are for men and women of all ages and of all fitness levels. It’s excellent as an alternative to the gym, to complement your sports training or simply to get out there and improve your lifestyle with the motivation that you need to keep going!

Bootcamp Ireland trains in locations all over Dublin and in Limerick and Ennis. Sessions run for Eight Weeks with up to three classes per week. For more information call (01) 234 3797 or email: or go to