When you think of Champneys Spa you think of tranquillity, calm and being all zen with the world – right? Basically, all the associated feelings you get on a spa experience, but what about bootcamp? That is totally different, you get something tough, sweaty and downright hard work! But, what happens when you combine the two? Surely these polar opposite things cannot mesh together? I wanted to find out! So I was off on my first Champneys Spas bootcamp at Champneys Springs, and let me tell you, the outcome was surprising…
Champney Springs Location
You’ll find Champney Springs nuzzled in Leicestershire’s countryside in Ashby, a plot boasting 31 acres of open rural land. It was clear as we drove up its long driveway to the entrance that I was in for quite a treat! Regardless of being here for a bootcamp, I knew that any spare time I might find myself with, I’d be quite content just having such relaxing scenes around me.
Champneys offer a number of options with their bootcamps, including different lengths of stay, so from 1-6 nights and from their various Champney Spa locations. They don’t just do bootcamps, there are other retreat options within the Champneys brand.
- Health Management
- Yoga & Pilates
- Weight Loss & Detox
- Life Coaching
- Mindfulness & Meditation
- Recreational Activities
I was going to be taking part in the 2-day bootcamp over the course of a weekend. There would be around 4-6 exercise sessions per day with a calorie controlled diet of 1,500 calories per day.
Champney Springs Facilities
Before I go into the details of my actual bootcamp experience, let me quickly tell you about the place I was staying. I’ve explained about the amazing grounds, but in the main building is just as fantastic, you are greeted by the elegant and warming decor, smiling faces and plenty of cozy spots to curl up and relax. The room we stayed in was very spacious, with a big bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, (although need to add bootcampers don’t get tea and coffee in their room) with a balcony looking over those beautiful green open spaces.
Besides the bedroom, there were lots of facilities including a gym equipped with weights and machines, two good-sized fitness studios, conference facilities, a large swimming pool, thalassotherapy pool and of course, spa treatment rooms.
Let’s talk about the actual bootcamp and my take on it. Back in 2013, I went to No1 Bootcamp in Norfolk with a bundle of other bloggers for a weekend bootcamp.It was brutal. If you could stereotype a bootcamp and what you assume it would be, this is it. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this sort of bootcamp, sometimes it can be quite daunting and off-putting.
With extreme bootcamps you might initially feel amazing due to a quick result, but you can walk away feeling exhausted and actually quite unsure of how to put what you’ve learned into practice. This especially can be the case when you’ve completely cut certain food out and upped your exercise well beyond what you were used to.
The weekend kicked off with an introduction by our bootcamp leader, Susie Woffenden. Now Susie was amazing throughout the entire weekend, she was kind, approachable, knowledgeable and really inspiring. She really helped me understand about mobility and strength in my training, which are two huge areas I just don’t do anything with. Long story short I can run and swim for days, but I keep getting injured and I now believe my lack of mobility and strength is causing that. Susie taught me that by adding these both into my routine I can really support myself far more and be able to train efficiently. Essentially, it is what my physio has been trying to tell me, but Susie not only told me this, she helped show me how. Mind-blown. I’m so excited about my fitness future now.
As it went on we heard about her fitness story and how far she has come herself. You’d never have known by looking at Susie, but apparently, she was a lot bigger and has since trained to become a Personal Trainer and a WBFF Pro Diva Fitness Model. You need to check out Susie’s Instagram – but honestly, she taught us all a lot.
I was joined on the bootcamp by 5 other ladies, all with different backgrounds and goals. One had been on numerous Champney bootcamps, so I spent quite a bit of time quizzing her on her experiences. It was clear she loved them, because why else would she return year after year?
I asked the ladies why they were joining the bootcamp this time, and with a combination of setbacks such as injury and weight gain, it was clear everyone was here for inspiration for a sustainable change. At the end of camp, we even created a WhatsApp group to keep in touch.
After Susie had sat down and done an introduction we were handed our timetable.
11.00am – Arrival
11.15am – Welcome talk/Tour
11.45am – Heath Check
12.15pm – Walk
1.00pm – Lunch
2.00pm – Check into Rooms
2.30pm – Mobility
3.00pm – Fitness Testing
4.00pm – Aqua Fit
4.30pm – Snack
5.00pm – Treatments
7.00pm – Dinner
The mobility test was fantastic, it gave Susie a chance to see how mobile we were before we got stuck into the rest of the weekend. This was really interesting for me because I had never done full squats before, and I actually struggle in keeping my feet fully on the floor.
Over the course of the weekend, Susie really helped me work on this and my mobility has really excelled because of it. The fitness test was the legendary Cooper test, which consisted of running as far as you could on a treadmill for 12 minute and cycling 5.0km, turns out I’m pretty average on the scale!
7.30am – Hiit Cycle
8.00an – Breakfast
9.00am – Fitness and Nutrition Talk
10.00am – Walk
10.45am – Snack
11.00am – Dance Fusion
12.00pm – Gym/Training
1.00pm – Lunch
2.00pm – Pilates
3.00pm – Circuits
4.00pm – Snack
4.30pm – Aqua Mitt
5.00pm – Treatments
7.00pm – Dinner
The Saturday was jam-packed! However, it was excitingly diverse, meaning it didn’t feel tedious and subsequently went really fast. Some of the activities on our bootcamp timetable were part of the general spa fitness timetable, which was fun because it meant we got to train with other people as well.
8.00am – Hiit Conditioning
8.30am – Breakfast
9.30am – Team Games
10.00am – Yoga
11.00am – Walk
12.00pm – Lifestyle Training
1.00pm – Lunch
2.00pm – Farewell/Check out
As you can see from the different days we got a great mixture of activities, and not just physical, some great chats about our lifestyles, our goals and what we have been consuming.
The good stuff – the food! Many bootcamps tend to have a significant food shortage or the extreme cutting-out of food items, these often include salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. I was laughing about the other bootcamp I’d been to, where my fellow bootcampers had plotted to escape to go get a McDonalds due to hunger! That was quite extreme, both plotting an escape but also the brutal chopping of certain foods.
I must admit this part I was the most concerned about because I spent a lot of the last camp feeling constantly hungry. This bootcamp I felt satisfied and so impressed by the range of dishes we had!
In the Champney Springs dining room we had our very own bootcamp table for each meal. Our snacks were all served in our own bootcamp room, a place where there would always be water and herbal teas. Food was quite incredible, and to be honest one of the top things about the bootcamp.
Here are some of the food options examples
- Roasted vegetable and feta tortilla pizza
- Tandoori prawns served with mixed leaves, tomato salad, cucumber raita & mini poppadums
- Chickpea, butternut squash and spinach curry with rice
- Boiled egg, smoked salmon & asparagus
- Granola Parfait
- Champneys soaked muesli
- Chicken & prawn pad thai with low carb, high protein ‘Bare Naked’ noodles
- Grilled bream fillet with pomegranate, cucumber ribbons & carrot coulis with baked sweet potato wedges, broccoli & baby corn
With the bootcamp you get two treatments included, these are over the course of the bootcamp and include the Thalassotherapy and an Elemis 25 minute back massage. You can upgrade your spa treatments should you wish. This is another big bonus to a Champney Spa bootcamp, you literally get the best of both worlds.
Would I come back to Champneys bootcamp? YES. A big yes actually. I can completely see why my fellow bootcamper was on her 6th visit to a retreat. One of the most important things to a Champneys bootcamp is the balance between fitness and well-being. I finished bootcamp feeling inspired, I feel like I have the tools to help build me to where I want to go in relation to my fitness.
*I stayed here complimentary but all views are that of my own*