Fitness: Fran gets her body blitzed (part 1)

Our fabulous fitness fanatic Fran is trying a new regime and this time its personal!

I first met Rich James at one of the Bear Fit versus Body Blitz classes up at The Bear Trail.


Rich is a Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach and runs Body Blitz boot camps. The sadist in me loves a bit of a boot camp, so I was well chuffed when Rich invited me along to experience a few sessions.


The problem is, it’s not quite as simple as just telling you about what we did. Yes, the first session I went to was an evening cardio session at Cowick Barton playing fields. And when one of the first questions Rich asked me was “what’s your number?” (a gauge of how close on a scale of 1-10 I was to vomiting from exertion), I did consider trying to sneak off into the dusk. And yes, there was (lots of) running and bear crawling. I did a squat (or 30). I reminded myself that I can’t do press ups very well, that burpees are killer, and that I’d avoided using a battle rope for good reason. Oh, and that playing tennis with a 9kg sand bag is just as hard as it sounds.

But Body Blitz isn’t really about what you do per se. It’s much more about Rich, his team and their ethos. With fun, positivity and enthusiasm at the centre of everything they do, each class is different, so you can never bored of doing the same thing over and over. The instructors are loud and confident and bring humour and knowledge to each session, never screaming at you but with you.

All they ever ask in return is that you try your best and never give up. And you can’t say fairer than that.

For me personally, it’s about getting out in the fresh air and using the environment around you in a fun and interesting way. I love that there are always new bits of kit to use in ways you’d never imagine. The Body Blitz van is a bit like a magician’s hat. It’s full of weird and wonderful surprises, you never know what they’re going to pull out, you will approach each item with trepidation, but by the end you’ll be thinking “I didn’t know that was possible!”

These sessions really are for everyone, from the absolute beginner to the super fit. Rich is excellent at quickly getting to grips with what you’re capable of. Even if you think you aren’t. At one stage -whilst running across a field with a battle rope around my neck- I actually felt like a cross between someone from Baywatch and a super-hero that had just pulled someone from a wreckage. And I can honestly say I’ve never felt like THAT before!

You know you’ve had a good work-out when you’ve just done a legs session but your arms feel too jelly-like to control the steering wheel on the journey home. And when your stomach muscles start hurting 24 hours later with not a sit up in sight?! My partner suggested it was because I’d been laughing so much, which is probably true. It’s like someone has put Marjorie Dawes from Little Britain, Richard O’Brien from the Crystal Maze and the most Plymothian of Plymouth people in a bag, shaken it up, and ta dah! Out popped Rich! Someone described him to me as being a bit like a Pringle – addictive. The fact I’m still going back pays testament to that.

Body Blitz Bootcamps run six days a week and are 45 minutes of high intensity cardio and weight training to improve fitness and strength. For the bright eyed and bushy tailed out there, you can don your lycra and meet by the Mill on the Ex on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings at 06:45. Evening sessions are held at 18:00 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at Cowick Barton playing fields. At £5 a session, or unlimited sessions for £35 a month, you are getting yourself a bargain, because Rich’s enthusiasm, dedication and comedy sense of humour are worth their weight in gold.

Look out for part 2, when lungs and limbs recovered I’ll be blogging about one of Body Blitz’s weights sessions. Wish me luck!

You can also check out One2One Fitness and Lifestyle where Rich is a Personal Trainer.

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