The BMF is outdoor fitness run by former and currently serving British army personnel. It was the first of its kind when Harry Sowerby founded it in 1999, and the format has since been copied widely (they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
|A selfie with Harry|
BMF’s reputation for toughness undoubtedly stems from its roots (think army training drills and boot camps). But it’s a perception BMF is keen to challenge, saying it’s open to all.
Classes are divided into different ability groups (hence the different coloured bibs below) and you don’t need to buy any special kit – BMF provides everything, even the water! Simply turn-up in suitable clothing (T-shirt and leggings will do) and trainers.
If Sunday’s blogger session is anything to go by, then I can vouch for its inclusivity. Yes these cardio and bodyweight exercise sessions will challenge you, but don’t fear them. If you’re the social type and like being out in the open, BMF could be the kick-start you need to get fitter.
What to expect:
First you fill-in a health questionnaire. The instructors won’t let you lose on the field until it’s completed and they are firm in telling you to stop if at any point you feel pain or get out of breath. It’s important to respect your body, so never feel embarrassed to duck out – everyone is so focused on what they’re doing that no one would notice!
Health questionnaires done and off we went, a slow jog to the start in the pouring rain (thank you English Summer). We jogged clockwise, anti-clockwise, we had to touch the ground with various bits of our anatomy. There were knee highs, jumping jacks, press-ups, group activities (including lifting a fellow member above everyone's shoulders), squats and mountain climbers – and this was just the warm-up!.
Later we ran to various tree markers, did a press-up or two (OK, more), and variously returned skipping, lunging or running backwards, then on to more press-ups, burpess and planks.
To finish we split in to two teams for a ‘friendly’ game based on netball (my team won, yay!). What there wasn’t: shouting and military drills. The emphasis was on fun and firm encouragement, with Harry’s reassuring words constantly ringing in my ears: ‘quality exercises’ and ‘just do YOUR best’.
Oppo Ice Cream, BrickwoodLDN, Moju Drinks and Moma Foods. We also took home a rather fancy water bottle and sun visor by Active In Style, who co-hosted the event.
You can join BMF from £27/month (1 session per week), from £32/month for unlimited membership or buy a block of ten sessions from £110. An initial taster session is free. Further details on the BMF website here.