Ladies stick the boot in to get fit

Organiser Liam Walsh at the  boot camp he holds in the sports hall opposite Bay House School in Gosport (160036-2)
Organiser Liam Walsh at the boot camp he holds in the sports hall opposite Bay House School in Gosport (160036-2)
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Shedding a few pounds and getting fit can be difficult in the winter as it can often be hard to find the motivation to train.

However, a group of ladies in Gosport and Fareham are tackling the challenge head-on and they’re even getting paid for each pound they shed.

At the front, from left, organisers Steph Farmer, Liam Walsh and Kelle Hopkins '(160036-7)

At the front, from left, organisers Steph Farmer, Liam Walsh and Kelle Hopkins '(160036-7)

They have signed up to a ladies-only bootcamp, run by fitness instructor Liam Walsh.

The 34-year-old runs fitness sessions twice a week in Gosport and six times a week in Fareham.

Liam, from Fareham, explains: ‘At the moment I have about 70 ladies who come along regularly.

‘I really want to help as many women as possible.

News reporter Kimberley Barber works up a sweat '(160036-3)

News reporter Kimberley Barber works up a sweat '(160036-3)

‘We have one instructor for up to 20 women so that way, everyone gets results and gets the attention they need.’

Before he set up Ladies’ Bootcamp last May, Liam’s company Inspirational Fitness Management worked with health clubs throughout the UK, providing training and mentoring support to personal trainers.

He was working for a hotel chain, and when it sold off its gyms, he lost his contracts overnight.

‘Over the course of six months, it completely fizzled out,’ he said.

‘I knew I had to do something else, so I went back to my roots.

‘My passion was helping people to get results. You have to do it because you love it as you don’t get paid much working in a gym.

‘I didn’t expect it to do as well as it has. It has taken off and now I’m looking to put on more dates, and a calendar of events so we can do things like Tough Mudders and maybe even bootcamp weekends abroad.’

Liam has 15 years’ experience in the fitness industry and says he knows what works best for ladies looking to get fit and lean in 2016.

He says: ‘The ladies giggle along and enjoy it. You find in terms of motivation that it is easier to do something you enjoy and to stick it to it. Sitting in the gym or running on a treadmill can be a bit of slog.

‘Here the ladies keep coming back because they enjoy it.’

His team of motivational instructors provide a great deal of support, ensuring everyone attending has an effective workout.

He says he’s seen some fantastic results from those attending his sessions.

One woman, who joined last year, had already lost weight with Slimming World before coming to the sessions, but since joining she’s toned up and lost a further two stone.

‘She felt everything lift,’ he says.

‘It helped change the shape of her whole body.’

Liam is currently running an extra motivation for ladies looking to lose weight and he is giving £1 back for every pound lost in 2016.

Verity Naylor, from Lee-on-the-Solent, has signed up to the scheme.

The 35-year-old broke her knee last year playing netball and she wanted a way to get back into fitness gradually.

She said: ‘I had never done this kind of thing before so I didn’t know what to expect but everybody was really friendly and it’s just down the road from me.

‘I had my cast taken off on Boxing Day and I’m now undergoing physiotherapy.

‘This is really good, because Liam knows my limitations.

‘It is very energetic but you feel so much better for it.’

Cheryl Teasdale, from Gomer, also started coming along to the group nine weeks ago.

The 42-year-old said: ‘I am overweight and I don’t need to be.

‘I did a running club and I hated it. The only thing I enjoyed about it was when I stopped.

‘Me and a friend said we would try the bootcamp and we loved it.

‘I still have a way to go but I think Liam is really motivational and attentive.’

Nichola keeps exercise in the family

FOR Nichola Whittington, the Ladies’ Bootcamp sessions are a family affair.

The 40-year-old, from Fareham, started to coming to the group last year as she was looking for a way to keep fit and work out at her own pace as she has a condition called costochondritis.

Her condition causes inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone, and can cause her a lot of pain.

However since she’s been coming to the group, she says she’s seen an improvement.

She said: ‘I have to have physiotherapy because of it. Before I couldn’t lift anything but this has definitely helped to stabilise me and to get a stronger core.’

She’s even been joined at the work out sessions by her friend Sally Winkworth, 42, her sister Jenna Maslin, 37, her daughter Mia Rosen, 16, and even her mum Judy Andrews, 64.

Jenna said: ‘It’s good because it is mixed abilities. ‘Everybody feels comfortable doing all the exercises and you work at the level you want to, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the group.

‘I don’t go to the gym because I wouldn’t have the motivation. Because this is a class, you have to be there at certain times and you feel guilty if you miss it, plus the gym is really dull.’

Grandmother Judy said: ‘I came along because they were coming. I was quite unfit and I thought I’d come and get fitter.

‘I keep coming because it’s not just one thing all the time it is different exercises and it is social and nice, especially to come here with my daughters, friends and grandaughter.’

News reporter Kimberley Barber gives the clsas a go....

On the coldest night of the year so far, I’m questioning why I ever promised to come along to one of Liam’s Ladies’ Bootcamp sessions.

It must have been his infectious enthusiasm for fitness, or a secret desire to lose the weight that’s crept on over Christmas, but either way, I’m in the sports hall at Bay House surrounded by about 50 women of all ages about to embark on 45 minutes of exercise. The temperature is below freezing outside, but it doesn’t take long before we’re warm as we are put through our paces.

There’s a warm-up session, before we take on some team game exercises involving space hoppers, ropes, assault courses... the works.

After that we are given stations, with set routines like sit-ups and planks, which we have to do while other members of the team skip to 100.

The exercise feels like fun and I’m spurred on by other members, who show me what to do and help me along the circuit.

It’s a fun atmosphere, with laughing and music, and the time whizzes by.

There’s a last-minute burst of activity before we are into the cool-down. It must be the fact that so many people are taking part, and that it’s actually quite fun that makes the experience quite a pleasurable one.

Some women stay to be measured, others to get advice on nutrition, and others stay simply to chat to one another.

It’s definitely got more of a buzz about it than simply going to a standard gym class, or working out by yourself.

The next day Liam calls to ask how I found it, and he asks how my thighs are. ‘Fine,’ I lie, as I realise that perhaps I should endeavour to find my motivation a little more often that I like to make out.

Ladies’ Bootcamp sessions take place at;

* Fareham – 9.30am,6.30pm,7pm on Monday and Wednesdays

* Eastleigh – 6.45pm Monday and Wednesdays, 5.15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays

* Gosport – 6.30pm on Tuesday and Thursdays

* Beach blast at Lee-on-the-Solent - Saturday 7.30am

All the sessions are hosted within private areas, in indoor and outdoor venues depending on the weather.

The groups are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and include home work-outs and nutrition plans as well as measurements and body fat tracking.

For more details search ‘Ladies Only Bootcamp’ on Facebook or text ‘WOW’ to 82228