Swap gym comforts for a workout in the open air

A Forces Fit class in action
A Forces Fit class in action
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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There’s no air-conditioning, pop music, or exercise bikes conveniently positioned in front of TV screens here.

The home comforts you might associate with your gym are nowhere to be seen.

Kevin Gormley

Kevin Gormley

Instead, this fitness studio is open to the elements – come rain or shine – and the workout involves making the most of the local park.

People run around in blue, green or red bibs to signify their fitness level, while muscly instructors wearing combat trousers shout words of encouragement.

Ex-army physical training instructor Kevin Gormley is used to working up a sweat outdoors.

During the 12 years he spent putting soldiers through their paces, he found that being outside in the fresh air was a great motivator.

And now Kevin’s hoping to encourage others to follow his lead with the weekly training sessions he helps to run in Fareham.

Forces Fit is one of a growing number of fitness schools to recruit ex-military personnel to run its sessions.

It’s already gaining momentum in Fareham, with up to 40 people taking part in the sessions run this summer.

Numbers understandably drop a little when it’s dark and cold outside.

But now the nights are getting lighter, Kevin expects more people to join him and the other instructors on Park Lane Recreation Ground, close to the town’s leisure centre.

‘It’s very much about an ethos,’ says Kevin.

‘It’s about exercising outdoors in a surrounding that in itself promotes motivation.

‘Also, everyone is in a group together but they are in different ability groups.

‘You can always expect to be training with someone on a similar level of fitness. The age-old problem of having Billy whizz-kid next to my nan isn’t really felt.’

Instructors concentrate on providing a varied workout with no two weeks the same.

New recruits are entitled to try a free taster class, with no obligation to pay anything in future, or book more sessions.

And Kevin says anyone expecting to be whipped into shape by a mean and belittling tyrant should think again.

‘We’re not about being bullying, screaming drill sergeant types,’ he explains.

There’s a certain ethos that you take on if you’ve been in the forces long enough and that’s, generally speaking, that people can do more than they think they can.

‘Our instructors are there to provide motivation and support.’

The hour-long sessions take place in Fareham on Monday and Wednesday evenings, starting at 7pm. There’s also a Saturday morning session, starting at 10am.

To book your free taster session go online to forcesfit.co.uk