Monthly Archives: May 2011

British Military Fitness

Last week I had my first training session with British Military Fitness. I’ve been kindly invited by adidas to come down and take part over six weeks to experience getting fit – military style. I have to admit, BMF (as it’s known among those that go) has never appealed. A group of strangers getting yelled at in the pouring rain all in the name of a six-pack? No ta. But summer is almost here, and my bikini body is nowhere to be seen, so on being invited, before I could come up with an excuse my lips parted and out slipped ‘I’d love to’.

'I'd love to'

BMF is essentially a one hour group training session, that takes part in parks around the country, lead by a serving or ex military member. There are three levels of training, blue being the easiest and green rating the hardest.

Anyone that follows this blog will know I love running, particularly running outdoors. But I’ve not done any field related, physical activity since school. PE does not hold hugely find memories for me – freezing cold fingers getting beaten up by hard-hitting hockey sticks, smelly changing rooms and grazed knees. So, how did BMF fare for a girl who hates being told what to do and whose shins haven’t been scraped by lumpy ground in well over 15 years?

grass stain

Climbing The Ranks:

Hyde Park at sunset is simply stunning. Any excuse to hang out there for an hour as the sun goes down is an excuse worth making.

Just like running on the treadmill is nothing compared to pounding the streets, sit ups in a mirrored gym has nothing on doing them under the branches of an old oak tree.

There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition between comrades to push you that little bit further. I will beat you Lucy Miller of Health and Fitness Magazine (even if you are an ex gymnast with awe-inspiring stamina!)

Drop And Give Me Ten

I’m not at school. I don’t like wearing a numbered bib. Especially when I’m wearing fancy new adidas training kit underneath.

I dislike organised fun: I love drinking, but I loathe drinking games. The same goes for bonding rituals – I’m a strong team player, but I hate team bonding games (just the thought of group squatting, or running with linked arms makes me feel queasy).

Doggy truffles pose a big risk – always give the grass a cursory scan before dropping to the floor for a round of 40 press-ups.

What You Should Know Before You Go:

There are three difficulty bands, blue, red and green (indicated by the bibs). After an initial session you’ll be grouped with people of a similar fitness level – green being most hardcore and blue for beginner.

Fitness tests are ongoing (how many sit ups can you do in 2 minutes / how fast can you run 1 k) with records kept at each stage – with the hope that you’ll look back after 6 weeks and admire your own improvement.

Cardio, weight-bearing (your own), and muscle strengthening and durability exercises are all covered in your hour session.

Water is available; so long as you have the skills to squirt it into your mouth from a communal bottle. I choked twice. And left thirsty.

Can the group game hating fitness lover be seduced by the power of British Military Fitness? Stay tuned in to find out.


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Cocktease at Bar Ninetyeight and Lounge

Something’s happening on Curtain Road. Or, to be more precise, under Curtain Road.

Head down the innocuous spiral stairway of Morrell House – the period building next to Hoxton Pony  – to Ninetyeight Bar and Lounge; a space that scores points for its cocktails and its penchant for all things crazy.

An intimate 100-person jamboree of Vintage French furniture, trays of sweets and a gilt-edged bar with toy trains carrying shot glasses and sugar cubes. Cakes by master baker Lili Vanilli pile high on the bar and behind it, owner Kath Morrell’s potent infusions will bring a tear to the eye of even the most ardent of liquor fans. Ask for a scotch bonnet chilli and whiskey infusion or sample the vintage Havana Club rum muddled with Che Guevara Cuban Cigars and prepare for a head rush. (We remind you to drink responsibly, natch).

Last week the bar reached the grand old age of one and to celebrate Morrell is inviting ladies to join in a new weekly yoga class with local teacher Christina Singleton, followed by some cockteas. (Heads out of the gutter please). A cocktea is essentially the lovechild of a cocktail and cuppa’ make-out session. Served in a floral tea cup, a slosh of Gran Marnier is mixed with flowering Jasmin Basket with Green Tea that opens up in the water to become a pretty lotus flower. Just the ticket after all that heavy breathing and downward dog action.


Ninetyeight Bar and Lounge, Morrell House, 98 Curtain Road, EC2A

Yoga and Cockteas, Wednesdays 6.30 – 9pm

020 7729 0087

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