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Shooka Boot Camp – Day 1

Friday 11th January; Shooka Boot Camp, near Exeter, opens its doors for the first time, with a motley selection of movers and shakers in the health and beauty industry, fitness fanatics, a model, an actress, celebrities …. and three journalists. Welcomed by co-owners John and Stuart, who have visions of affordable boot camps in the UK and a uber-luxury option in Klosters, we settle in for the evening. The Wedding Ideas Awards ceremony was on live stream and I enviously peered at the screen for clues of the sumptuous meal the Guides for Brides team had enjoyed while I had tucked into a tiny, but delicious, piece of nut crusted cod.

Today’s schedule

7am on a Saturday is not a time I often witness. Today it is followed by a 7.30am fitness test and my first experience of going for a run since my son banned me from running in public several years ago. The juice-only breakfast followed by a second far more punishing workout proved too much for my level of (un)fitness and I was removed from the gym while it spun around me. “Do I need a doctor?” No, but a stretcher would be handy. Banished for a rest I contemplated my frustration at failing on the first morning. Just not an option. A strong mug of coffee was smuggled to the room by Bear – an RAF parachute instructor who’s mission is to cajole and cuddle us through the week, and I was instantly revived. Sometimes these things are best taken slowly.

After a lunch of spicy roast sweet potatoes, rocket and cream cheese we are off for a walk.


Looking like community service workers in our florescent jackets on our 9 mile walk.

9 miles of lanes and tracks in this beautiful, but incredibly hilly, part of Exeter,  arriving back in the dark.

The view from the top is worth it.
Instructors Will, Stuart and Bear with Calum Best

Throughout the day our instructor, Stuart Saxby – personal trainer to the stars – had been very honest with all he had planned for us, so when he told us that we would all be suffering the next day, but 40% less if we had a ice plunge, we didn’t hesitate in grabbing swimwear and heading to the unheated outdoor pool. Immersing yourself in icy water for 2 minutes before leaping into a jacuzzi would be easier without a film crew trying to capture the experience – complete with a sound track of screaming.


Britain’s “Biggest Loser” Will Graham trying out the dreaded Ice Plunge

Supper followed – a delicious concoction of chicken, beansprouts, mange tout and peppers in an Asian style dressing, then at last a couple of hours to relax, chat and contemplate the day.


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