The Sun - Want a body like a celebrity?

16 December 2009

IT'S time to enter a world where chocolate is the Holy Grail and exhaustion is eternal.  Wave goodbye to your booze binges and 3am kebabs.  Welcome to bootcamp... or should that be hell?  Ditching my desk (and daily dose of calorific treats) for a week in the country is a concept as alien as Jordan wearing clothes on a night out.  Sacrificing Chinese takeways and mouth-watering croissants was a chore all of its own - let alone the 6am to 6pm workouts I was about to embark on.  But the lure of shedding those stubborn pounds was enough to catapult me into a gruelling week even Mr Motivator would find tedious.  The journey into the unknown was a precious adventure spent scoffing as many goodies as possible.  Danish pastries, crisps and Pret sandwiches were washed down with fizzy drinks to ease the terrifying prospect of detoxing.

Arriving at the stunning Exmoor location was a welcome change from the London grime, but I soon learned a pretty backdrop does not equate to a holiday.  But with adrenaline pumping faster than you can say 'chocolate cake', the first night from home wizzed by in a blur.  Gossiping to fellow commrades took the edge off the dreaded measurements, taken so they can be compared to the final results at the end of the week.  The friendly staff and comfy room gave the illusion of being in a cosy hotel... little did we know what was to come.  And let's just say the following morning sure was a shock to the system. Isn't working out before breakfast usually left to the Olympians?  The group soon became accustomed to huffing and puffing through early morning 'pulse raisers' so we could earn our miniscule portion of fuel.  Energy you never knew you had manifests itself in mysterious ways to leave you feeling like Supergirl after 20 cans of Red Bull.  But what goes up must come down and soon the peak of success is followed by the pain and despair of fatigue.  Muscles you can't pronounce throb with a pulse of their own and aching limbs feel heavier than five Mike Tysons.  The constant exercising feels like you have made a pact with the Devil and home seems like another galaxy away.  Miraculously though, by the second day everyone is institutionalised enough to actually start - dare I say it - enjoying the great outdoors.  The relay races, army games, abseiling and coasteering make you feel like a Girl Guide on a date with Bear Grylls.  And the frequent snacks, incredible camaraderie and variety of activities start making the week fly by.  Don't be fooled into thinking it is like summer camp though, there will be tears, tantrums and injuries and you will want to quit by the third day.  Thankfully the legendary Staff Reitze and Staff Watt - yep, you have to address the trainers by surname - keep spirits up with their winning smiles and personal encouragement.  Bootcamp is like sitting at home watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and knowing all the answers, but under the studio lights your brain has a life of its own.  Similarly, seven days of hard graft doesn't seem too bad when you're lying in bed thinking about it, but when your body exerts itself beyond its limits you feel like you can't go on.  And let's face it, there is nothing dignified about perspiring copious amounts of sweat and running around with a face redder than a tomato field.

The daily slog pauses only during the blessed hour of dinner.  Chef Darren delivered his daily treats and was the perfect aesthetic in a boy-deprived environment.  The exquisite cuisine offers something for everyone, which we soon ruined by drowning everything in chilli flakes and linseed - even porridge - as it is the only food we could control.  Unfortunately socialising in the evenings is fairly non-existent as everyone has passed out by 8pm, but one last mirror check before bed to see those love handles melting away makes it all worth it.  Whether you want to get fit, lose weight or boost your confidence, then Prestige is the perfect haven to do so.  You will never be pushed beyond your limits, but will always be challenged to never give up.  The relentless workouts are broken up with hypnosis sessions, nutritional talks and much-needed massages.  Not forgetting the music quiz, late night stroll complete with head torches and relaxation either.  And the final loss of eight pounds and ten inches made every glimmer of sweat worth it.  But it is the bond with your fellow cadettes that really get you through the week, so with special thanks to the ever-graceful Newby for proving exercise can be elegant, my partner in crime Clemmie, Oge for her positivity, Clare for making me laugh, Sian for being a confidante, birthday girl Isobel, the wonderful Kate, Solange, Elke - and Frankie for making it all happen.  Now the real challenge is keeping the weight off.

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