Select Page
Mountain Madness with Shona and Katie!

Mountain Madness with Shona and Katie!

Thinking of running a marathon? Shona and Katie have just completed ANOTHER one and because marathons are a bit boring, they decided to run one in Chamonix. Chamonix is beautiful but – not flat. Not even slightly. And that makes Shona and Katie heroes in our view! You can read all about their epic challenge here:

Marathon du Mont Blanc

This year I wanted to take on a couple of challenges to raise money for a great charity called Jamie’s Farm. I love spending time in the mountains and trail running so I decided to sign up for a marathon in the French Alps. The Marathon du Mont Blanc is a big deal in the trail running calendar attracting some of the very best mountain runners from around the world (alongside decidedly more average runners like me). The race includes 3,000m (that’s 10,000 feet!) of height gain over 42km and is known for its steep, uneven, rocky descents, lung busting climbs, and narrow paths with vertigo inducing drops that would make a mountain goat tremble. Why I thought I could give it a go I have no idea! 


After a friend and I secured places in the ballot we threw ourselves into six months of training, which involved many long runs in the Surrey Hills, hill sprints and of course countless sessions of BootCamp with the gang at LemonBody. I worked up to about 3-4 sessions a week in the final weeks before the race and found all the exercises with weights particularly helpful to build up strength in my legs and core.  Ideally we would have done more training at altitude, great though Box Hill is, it doesn’t prepare you for the reduced oxygen levels of the Alps!

This was going to be hard enough in average weather conditions but thanks to a pretty obnoxious heatwave across France, race day temperatures were forecast to get up to the late thirties. Arriving in Chamonix a few days before the race, we wandered about town in the scorching heat and began to get very apprehensive about what was to come.

At the Start Line

On the day of the race, we gathered at the start line at 6am together with 2,344 other runners who were shouting along with the countdown clock excitedly in French. Before we knew it we were off, running past huge crowds of supporters in the centre of Chamonix and then making our way through woodland alongside a fast moving river at the base of the valley. It took a while for me to get into a rhythm and control my breathing properly but as soon as we hit the first incline, my legs told my lungs to quit whining as they had far worse to contend with!  We continued on undulating terrain for the next few kilometres, staying on forest paths or crossing wide meadows surrounded by looming mountain tops – all the time in the shade and enjoying the cool of the morning.  When we arrived at the first rest break at 17km, my legs were feeling good but the terrain was about to get much tougher.  We said goodbye to friends who had been supporting us as due to the inaccessibility of the rest of the route we wouldn’t see them until the end, and began the 4km climb to the top of a peak called Aiguillettes de Posettes, knowing we had to gain over 1,000 metres (3000 feet) in height to get there.  

At the base of the mountain there was a noisy group of drummers helping everyone to keep moving as runners snaked up the mountain. There were big crowds of supporters too, pushing everyone on with encouraging shouts of ‘allez, allez, allez’!  The pace was slow and the path narrow, and it was impossible to overtake so we gradually trudged up the wooded path with the drums and cheers getting more distant until there was no noise but the eerie sound of hundreds of people breathing heavily around us. We continued this winding path for some time and as we reached the edge of the woodland to continue up a rocky track to the summit we were hit by the full blaze of the sun, it was still early but already the temperatures were unbelievably hot. The blissful shade and cool air were over!  The remainder of the ascent in the sun was tough and we were very relieved to eventually get to the top. 

Nearing the top of Aiguillettes de Posettes

At the summit we quickly forced down as much food and drink as we could manage and began the long descent into the valley.  Naively, I was looking forward to this bit, a nice long cruise downhill I thought. I hadn’t anticipated on the sun beating down on our heads and the terrain being so dusty, hard and uneven underfoot which made a fast descent pretty hazardous.  Some of the rocky drop-offs in the path were so big I had to get onto my bum to jump down them, it was all a bit of an effort and we weren’t able to gain nearly as much ground as I thought we would at this stage.

After a lot of swearing and near ankle breaks we eventually got to the bottom and arrived at a little village where the locals were cheering and enthusiastically throwing water over our heads from nearby water tanks.  We only had another 10 kilometres to go and I was feeling tired but in fairly good shape.  Then followed undulating trails until we reached the beginning of the final steep ascent to a peak named La Flegere.  This was the hardest 8 kilometres I have ever experienced.  The heat was unbearable (temperatures had reached 37 degrees!) and there were long periods where we were completely exposed to the full intensity of the sun.  I was drinking so much water (by the end I drank nearly 8 litres) but was continually thirsty.  Every time we saw a stream or a waterfall we and other runners were throwing ourselves into the water, filling our caps up and putting them back over our heads.  Exhausted looking racegoers were dropping out all the way up, sitting down to put their heads in their hands and desperately find a corner of shade somewhere.  It was brutal!  Halfway up I completely ran out of water and I knew we had another 45 minutes or so until the final rest stop so I was just going to have to get by without.  After what felt like an eternity we eventually reached the aid station where kindly volunteers gave us cold sponges and poured water on our heads and I was finally able to quench my thirst.

The last 5 uphill kilometres were a daze, consisting of narrow paths winding round a wide valley with very steep drop-offs.  I had little control over my weary legs so it was a miracle I managed to stay on the path as I tripped and stumbled all over the place.  When we began to hear cheering from the finish line from the other side of the valley it was hard to keep emotions in control, we were desperate to finish, every time someone shouted my name or words of kindness I felt teary – which was not helping hydration levels!  Finally we reached the brow of the hill and saw the winding track up to the finish line.  It was great to see our friends and they ran a short way cheering us on until the final 20 metre steep ascent to the end.  I’ve never been more relieved to finish a race.  We wanted to do it in 6 or 7 hours but in the energy zapping conditions, 8.5 was the best we could manage – joint 1,474th out of 2,344 of the world’s best trail runners – we did ok.  It was the toughest race I’ve ever taken part in but the atmosphere was amazing and the scenery stunning.  I’m obviously never going to run again … but then again it would be great to try it when there wasn’t a heatwave so. So maybe next year!

Thank you to LemonBody for sponsoring me and to all those wonderful people who helped me exceed my target funds to give to my chosen charity; Jamie’s Farm.




Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.

What happens to Body Fat when you lose weight?

What happens to Body Fat when you lose weight?

Where does Body Fat go when we lose weight?

We’re surrounded by fad diets and weight loss adverts, yet few of us know how a kilogram of fat actually vanishes off the scales.

Even the 150 doctors, dietitians and personal trainers surveyed in a recent poll shared this gap in their health literacy. Some respondents thought fat turns directly into muscle, which is impossible, and others assumed it leaves the body via the colon.

At LemonBody we know exactly what happens to metabolised body fat – and more importantly, we know how to take advantage of this process to stay lean.

The enlightening facts about fat metabolism

The correct answer is that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. Energy is a by product of this process. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your blood circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat.

If you lose 10kg of fat, precisely 8.4kg comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6kg turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled. Which means the harder you breathe, the more fat you’ll burn!

This surprises just about everyone but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via our lungs. Every carbohydrate you digest and nearly all the fats are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol.

Protein shares the same fate, except for the small part that turns into urea and other solids, which you excrete as urine.

The only thing in food that makes it to your colon undigested and intact is dietary fibre. Everything else you swallow is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs and, after that, it’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it.

Kilograms in versus kilograms out

We all learn that “energy in equals energy out” in high school. But energy is a notoriously confusing concept, even among health professionals and scientists who study obesity.

The reason we gain or lose weight is much less mysterious if we keep track of all the kilograms, too, not just those enigmatic kilojoules or calories.

Averagely, we consume 3.5kg of food and drink each day. Of that, 415 grams is solid macronutrients, 23 grams is fibre and the remaining 3kg is water.

What’s not reported is that we inhale more than 600 grams worth of oxygen too and this figure is equally important for our waistline.

Walking increases your resting metabolic rate by 300%.

If you put 3.5kg of food and water into your body, plus 600 grams of oxygen, then 4.1kg of stuff needs to come back out, or you’ll gain weight. If you’re hoping to shed some weight, more than 4.1kg will have to go. So how do you make this happen?

The 415 grams of carbohydrates, fats, protein (and perhaps alcohol) most of us eat every day will produce exactly 740 grams of carbon dioxide plus 280 grams of water (about one cup) and about 35 grams of urea and other compounds excreted in urine.

An average 75kg person’s resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body uses energy when the person isn’t moving) produces about 590 grams of carbon dioxide per day. No pill or potion you can buy will increase that figure, despite all that sophisticated and clever marketing.

The good news is that you exhale 200 grams of carbon dioxide while you’re fast asleep every night, so you’ve already breathed out a quarter of your daily target before you even step out of bed.

So, if you want to lose Body Fat, eat less and exercise to breathe harder!

So if fat turns into carbon dioxide, could simply breathing more make you lose weight? Unfortunately not. Huffing and puffing more than you need to is called hyperventilation and will only make you dizzy. The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles.

But here’s some more good news. Simply standing up and getting on with most routine tasks more than doubles your metabolic rate. Going for a walk will triple the rate at which you burn fat. One of the major reasons for the nation getting fatter over the last 50 years is that so few of us have active jobs. Most of us sit at a desk all day, and that makes the rate at which you burn calories plummet.

So what’s the best way to increase your metabolism and the rate at which you burn calories?

To increase your metabolism, you need to increase the rate at which you burn calories – and the simplest way to do that is through exercise.

But you need to do the right type to get the best results. You could, for example, go jogging every day for 30 minutes or more. The problem with jogging on it’s own is that it will eat into your muscle mass as well as your Body Fat.

Muscles are important for all the obvious reasons but also because having a good level of muscle mass raises your metabolism all by itself. So losing muscle mass lowers metabolism, which is the opposite of what we want. The best way to raise metabolism permanently is to exercise (in a very specific way) more days than not, i.e. four times a week or more.

Your workouts should comprise both Cardiovascular Training and Resistance Training. Cardiovascular Training is simply exercise that raises your heart and breathing rate. Resistance Training is simply exercise that uses your muscles so that they remain strong, and so that you don’t lose muscle mass.

Lots of push ups to keep strong and toned!

If all this sounds complicated, don’t worry. Here at BootCamp we know all about staying toned and losing body fat. All of our BootCamp workouts comprise Cardiovascular Training and plenty of Resistance Training, so they’re just the job to help you raise your metabolism and lose Body Fat whilst keeping your Muscles strong and Toned.

And all you need to do is turn up and join in! See you at a BootCamp soon!

Hill Sprints and why YOU should do them!

Hill Sprints and why YOU should do them!

At LemonBody we LOVE Hill Sprints! Here’s why YOU should give them a go! 

Hill Sprints – The King of Workouts!

If ever there was a Workout designed to do just about everything, it’s Hill Sprints!

For most of us, a good Workout is one that Burns Fat, Tones Muscle and leaves us feeling great.. Hill Sprints target almost every muscle in the body and rev up your metabolism to Burn Fat – and get you super fit too. 

What are Hill Sprints?

I’ll be honest, I don’t really like running – at least not the soul destroying, plod around the block that you see some people doing as you make your way to work in the morning. But Hill Sprints are different. They’re tough and you work close or at your maximum effort but only for about 20 seconds or so before you take a well earned breather. Then you repeat as many times as you wish, adding variety to keep things interesting. And all you need is a hill!

What’s does a typical Hill Sprint Session involve?

First we start with a nice, easy warm up. Warm muscles work better and are less prone to injury so a gentle jog for ten minutes or so is ideal. Next we’ll run up an incline for 10 – 20 seconds and jog slowly back down again (we call this a shuttle) – taking it easy to begin with and progressively getting faster with each uphill run until we are going flat out but still keeping to just 10 – 20 seconds. We rest at the end of each shuttle for 20 – 30 seconds before going again. Then we’ll begin adding in some variety, such as longer sprints, relays with a partner or jogging backwards uphill (try it and you’ll see why we do it!). Finally, it’s a gentle jog to cool down followed by some stretching and we’re done!

Why are Hill Sprints such good exercise?

Working close to your maximum effort for short bursts is incredibly good for developing the capacity of your heart and lungs (your cardiovascular system) and your general fitness. In fact, it’s probably the best way to get fitter for most people. It’s also amazing at building power and strength in your legs and lower body, including your core. That means your legs, butt and core get toned really quickly if you do Hill Sprints regularly. Hill Sprints also burn loads of Calories in a short period of time, so they’re perfect if you want to drop a few pounds!

What does LemonBody do to make them more effective?

We add in some exercises specifically designed to generate (even more!) Lactic Acid in your Leg and Butt Muscles. Lactic acid is a sure sign your Muscles are getting stronger and more Toned. Lactic acid also promotes Growth Hormone production in the body, which helps to strengthen and Tone muscle – but also to BURN FAT! Which is nice, isn’t it? Seriously, if you want to really make a difference, get yourself to a Hill Sprints asap – check out the EVENTS Page to find the next one!

Can anyone do them? 

Yes, they’re great for pretty much everyone! If you’re new to exercise you might want to start by walking briskly uphill rather than trying to sprint until you get a bit fitter. Other than that, they’re ideal for almost everyone – and the best thing is that they’re actually a lot of fun. They’re hard work, but unlike plodding around the block, they’re not boring! So come along to our next Hill Sprints Session and see for yourself. Most are completely Free and open to everyone, including non-Members!

Ok, I’m interested!

Then take a look at our EVENTS Page to find out when the next Hill Sprints Session is taking place!

To see a recent (very tame!) Hill Sprints Video, click here! 




Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.

How to choose your Training Shoes

How to choose your Training Shoes

How to choose the right pair of Training Shoes


So many choices!

When it comes to your BootCamp and other training routines, you might not realise how important it is to make sure you choose the right Trainers. But it is VERY important to wear the right Trainers to get the best from your Workouts and to reduce the risk of injury and muscle strains. 

Whether you’re at BootCamp or hitting the trails with us on our Beat The Hill Challenge, the footwear you choose can make a huge difference. Let’s go over the basics of how to choose the right Trainers so you can make the most of your Workouts.

There are three main types of sports shoes you should know about. Cross Training shoes, Road Running shoes and Trail Running shoes. Of the three types, Cross Trainers are the most suitable for BootCamp and mixed types of training in the Summer and when the ground is reasonably firm and not too muddy. Cross Training Shoes can also be used in the Winter when some of our Workouts are indoors in school sports halls. When the ground is very wet and muddy, the extra grip of a Trail Running Shoe might be more suitable and will certainly come in handy if you intend to join us on some of our Running Club Events , which rarely involve road running (too much pollution!).

How to Choose Cross Training Shoes

Cross Training shoes work well for a variety of sporting activities and are ideally suited for BootCamp. They can also be worn for road running short distances a couple of times a week, but you should consider investing in a pair of Road Running shoes if you plan on road running more frequently.

What to look for in Cross Training Shoes: A good Cross Training shoe is lightweight with a wide outsole to allow for stability and lateral movement, which is generally not the case with Road Running shoes. To increase stability, Cross Training shoes have a very low heel to toe drop, or no drop at all. Cross Training shoes shoes are flexible yet durable, with a good amount of responsive cushion in the midsole. We like the ones here but you should visit a proper running store and try on a number of different brands to see which suits you best.


Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Cross Training Shoe is a lightweight and supportive shoe and it looks great too.



New Balance 1080 V7 Cross Training Shoe is a very competent all rounder with good cushioning, grip and stability.

How to Choose Road Running Shoes

Road Running Shoes are best used for running long distances on pavements and smooth, paved surfaces. They are lightweight, stable and designed to support your foot through its range of running motion on both shorter and longer distance runs.

What to look for in Road Running shoes: In general, look for a cushioning system that is supportive of the forefoot and midfoot, which is where most runners land on their initial foot strike. Your foot’s specific arch and pronation type will affect what features you look for in a Road Running shoe, so a trip to a specialist running shop is well worth the time.

When to use Road Running Shoes: Use running shoes for runs on pavement, hard level surfaces and running tracks. 

Adidas Ultra Boost Road Running Shoe is designed to increase the energy return if each footstrike so you go further for less energy.

New Balance 1080 v7 Road Running Shoe is a firm favourite and not too pricey for such a well made shoe.

How to Choose Trail-Running Shoes

Trail Running shoes are best for running on trails and rugged, non-paved ground. Trail Running shoes work well for running outside in wet, mucky conditions because many of them come with full waterproof membranes. Trail shoes are heavier than Road Running shoes and feature a lugged outsole to grip varied terrain, so they aren’t the best choice for running long distances on paved surfaces or treadmills. Some hikers choose Trail Running shoes over classic hiking boots for lighter, more-mobile footwear.

What to look for in Trail Running shoes: A lugged outsole (think chunky grip sole) is the most important feature to look for in Trail Running shoes. The outsole will be thick with deep indentations for improved traction and stability. The upper is designed with overlays to prevent rocks and other trail debris from entering the shoe. If you tend to run on rocky trails, look for a rubber toe guard for extra protection. Some Trail Running shoes include thin plates between the midsole and outsole to protect your foot from getting bruised by rocks and other trail hazards.

Why Trail Running shoes: People who want to get some nature into their fitness routine will love the Trail Running option. Wear trail-running shoes for all types of trails, dirt paths and backcountry running that require more grip. When shopping for training and running shoes, be sure to try them on wearing the socks you’ll use them with. Get help from a specialist running shop to make sure you get the right shoe and the right fit. See you at BootCamp soon!

Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX – The GTX version has a Goretex waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry on muddy trails. If your trail running involves running through water, opt for the non waterproof version or they’ll fill up and slow you down! These have superb grip but they are light on cushioning.


Hoka Challenger ATR 4 offer superb cushioning and still give a high level of grip.


In Summary:

We think the best training shoes for BootCamp and the other activities we do, like Hill Sprints, Trail Runs, Assault Courses etc. are a good pair of Cross Training Shoes and a pair of Trail Running Shoes for when the ground is wet and slippery. Get some advice from a Specialist Running Shop to make sure you get the right fit – and make sure they do a price match offer so you don’t kick yourself when you see a cheaper pair online! See you at BootCamp soon!




Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.

How much exercise should you do each week? A report by the Chief Medical Officer

How much exercise should you do each week? A report by the Chief Medical Officer

Start Active, Stay Active – A report on physical activity for health from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers

How much exercise should we be doing each week? This report uses new evidence to present guidelines for Adults aged 19 – 64. Note that the advice DOES NOT advise reducing activity as people age. Generally speaking, we are more active when we are younger and exercise less as we age. Many of us have sedentary jobs and few of us can rely on our occupation to keep us active and healthy.

All adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods. Many adults are largely sedentary, spending large proportions of the day sitting or lying, with very low energy expenditure. 

Sedentary behaviours occur in numerous settings, including at work, at home, during transport and in leisure time. Common sedentary behaviours include TV viewing, computer use, motorised transport and sitting to read, talk or listen to music. Many adults spend in excess of seven hours sedentary time per day, and this typically increases with age.

Evidence is emerging that various indicators of sedentary behaviour – for example, time spent watching TV, total sitting time and objectively measured accumulated sedentary time – are adversely and independently associated with becoming overweight and obese, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

While there is accumulating evidence suggesting that sedentary time predicts a number of adverse health outcomes in adults, the available data is not sufficient to suggest a specific quantitative recommendation on daily sedentary time for health, or for maintaining a healthy body weight and the prevention of obesity. It is likely that some reductions in sedentary behaviour may result in a direct transfer to moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, while some will result in a transfer to low intensity activity, such as standing or gentle walking. Based on the current evidence, reducing total sedentary time and breaking up extended periods of sitting is strongly recommended.

Understanding the guidelines for adults (19-64 years)

Why do we need new guidelines for adults?

These new guidelines for adults are consistent across the UK and update previous recommendations in the light of emerging scientific evidence. The recommendation about combining moderate and vigorous intensity activity provides people with flexibility to achieve the required amount of physical activity.

What are the needs of this age group?

This is a large and diverse age group. Many key life events that can impact on activity – such as getting a job or retiring, moving house, starting or ending a relationship, becoming a parent, gaining or losing weight or being diagnosed with illness – can happen in these years.

Longitudinal studies have shown that becoming a mother often leads to a decline in physical activity for women. Serious illness, impairment and disability in childhood and early adulthood impact upon physical activity participation; however, the onset of chronic disease in older family members can help to highlight to adults the health benefits of physical activity.

Younger adults can see physical activity as an opportunity to participate in team or individual sports for pleasure and social benefit, to create new social networks and to maintain a healthy body weight. For adults with families, physical activity offers the chance for relaxation, to re-energise and feel less tired, and to maintain a healthy weight. As people approach older adulthood, physical activity is seen as something that helps with weight maintenance and weight loss, and with other lifestyle changes (such as stopping smoking) and provides a chance to be active with friends and family.

How can individuals meet the guidelines for general health benefit?

Doing at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week has been a common recommendation, and has been included in national campaigns.

However, the overall volume of physical activity is more important than frequency or duration. These guidelines therefore offer choices for adults in how they make up their weekly volume of activity.

For most people, the easiest and most acceptable forms of physical activity are those that can be incorporated into everyday life. Examples include walking or cycling instead of travelling by car. However, for those people who want to be more active, a larger quantity of activity at higher intensity can bring further benefits. For adults, it is recommended to take 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of moderate intensity, aerobic physical activities.

It is important that these are spread across the week to optimise the short-term benefits of aerobic physical activity. Sport and recreational activity included alongside everyday physical activity can provide important social benefits that help to sustain participation.

Rohan’s Example:

Rohan works in HR at a large company. He would like to be more active, particularly as he’s noticed that he is getting less fit and is starting to put on weight. He often works long hours so finds it hard to commit to anything formal such as a local sports club. Instead he has bought a bike and enjoys getting out for bike rides at the weekend. He has also started taking the stairs at work instead of the lift and tries to get outside for a walk during his lunch break. Once a week, Rohan uses weights machines in the company gym. As his job is desk based, he tries to use his email less and deliver messages to colleagues in person where possible. He also walks 15 minutes from his flat to the train station in the morning and evening – Rohan has discovered that the evening walk also gives him time to unwind after a busy and stressful day.

What intensity of activity is required for health benefits?

Activity needs to be of at least moderate intensity to benefit health. A person who is doing moderate intensity activity will usually experience an increase in breathing rate and an increase in heart rate, will feel warmer and may sweat on hot or humid days. The amount of activity someone needs to do for their activity to qualify as moderate intensity varies from one individual to another. A person who is unfit or overweight may only have to walk up a slope, whereas a very fit athlete may be able to run quite fast before reaching this level.

In an activity like walking, people should focus on their perception of the effort they need to make, rather than their speed. Vigorous intensity activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate intensity activity.

Including vigorous intensity activity in the guidelines acknowledges that, for those adults who are capable of and enjoy vigorous intensity activity, this may be the most efficient way of meeting recommended activity levels.

Someone undertaking vigorous intensity physical activity will usually be breathing very hard, be short of breath, have a rapid heartbeat and be unable to carry on a conversation.

The recommended levels of activity can be achieved through a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activity. This allows individuals to meet the target in a way which suits their personal circumstances, including their current level of fitness and health, the time available to them and their activity preferences. For example, a daily walk to work may be combined with a swim, gym-based workout and a weekend cycle ride to add up to the target weekly amount of physical activity.

People who are currently inactive will often need to build up slowly, particularly if they aspire to vigorous intensity physical activity. Shorter sessions of physical activity offer an easier starting point for people who have been inactive for some time, or who have busy lifestyles and find it hard to make activity a priority.

What about muscle strengthening activity?

Muscle strengthening activities should be undertaken in addition to the 150 minutes of aerobic activity (moderate or vigorous intensity) on at least two days a week. They need to involve all the major muscle groups of the body: the legs, hips, chest, abdomen, shoulders, back and arms.

No specific amount of time is recommended for muscle strengthening, but exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition without help. Although more research is required to define the optimum dose of muscle strengthening activity, performing 8–12 repetitions of muscle strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups twice per week will provide substantial benefits.

Some vigorous intensity physical activities may provide 75 minutes of aerobic activity and sufficient muscle strengthening activity, for example BOOTCAMP! –  or participation in recreational sports such as basketball or volleyball.

What type of activity qualifies?

All activities qualify as long as they are of sufficient intensity and duration, including occupational activities and active travel (brisk walking or biking to work).

Moderate Intensity: includes brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, swimming, active travel to/from work etc.

Vigorous Intensity: includes running, playing sport, taking part in BootCamp Workouts, using cardiovascular gym equipment.

Muscle Strengthening includes weight training, working with resistance bands, carrying heavy loads, powerbags, push ups, sit ups, squats, rows – (all the things we do at BootCamp!).

What about sedentary behaviour?

The guidelines also contain a new recommendation encouraging adults to minimise the time they spend being sedentary (sitting) each day. This is included because there is now evidence that sedentary time is an independent risk factor for poor health. Any substitution of sedentary time for physical activity, even if it just results in low intensity activity, will increase energy expenditure. If sedentary time is swapped for moderate or vigorous intensity activity of 10 minutes or more, this will also contribute to achieving the weekly physical activity targets.

Sedentary behaviour can be reduced throughout the day, including at work, when travelling and at home. Examples include replacing motorised travel with active travel such as cycling and walking, taking regular breaks from extended periods of sedentary behaviour and reducing total sitting and screen time.

What is the role of these guidelines in weight management?

For adults who currently have low physical activity levels, doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week will substantially increase their energy expenditure and bring health benefits.

For those who are overweight or obese, achieving a healthy weight is likely to require a greater level of activity than the 150 minutes recommended here, and should be accompanied by dietary changes to reduce calorie intake.

People who are overweight or obese should first aim to gradually build up to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. This will provide substantial health benefits even in the absence of reductions in body weight.

A Summary by 1000 Calorie BootCamp Founder, Felix Deer:

What the study shows is what we have been advocating at LemonBody from the very start. We’re not being smug about this – much of the report is common sense but it does feel nice to be proved right!

Move More: Try to avoid long periods of sedentary time like sitting etc. This may be difficult to achieve at work but you can almost certainly do better!

Do 150 Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Exercise a week: 2 or 3 BootCamp Sessions will do that for you but you should aim to do something on the days you don’t do BootCamp. Anything that gets your heart rate up is good.

Lift Heavy Things: In ADDITION to the 150 minutes recommended above, the report recommends you do Strength Training at least twice per week. Thankfully, BootCamp ALWAYS includes Strength Training and this is especially important for women! You will not grow huge, ugly muscles and look like a man, you’ll just get all the health benefits and look more toned!

Not had your Free Trial yet? What are you waiting for? Just turn up and join in – no need to book. See you at a BootCamp Workout soon!




Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.

John Climbs Mont Blanc at 62 years young!

John Climbs Mont Blanc at 62 years young!


Climbing Mont Blanc, by BootCamp Member John Davidson


1. The Invitation


Early in May 2017, I got a phone call from my son Jon-Paul (JP): ‘Fancy a week doing some walking in the Alps next month Dad? Maybe we’ll even get to climb Mont Blanc.’


How could I refuse an opportunity like that?


‘Of course JP’, I said. ‘I’m sure I can get a week off work and with all the training I’m getting at BootCamp, I expect I’ll be fit enough to do a bit of Alpine walking – I’m not sure about climbing up Mont Blanc though – isn’t it rather high?’.


‘Yes’, replied JP. ‘About 4,800 metres, or nearly 16,000 feet.’ ‘Oh right – I better do a bit more training before we go then’, I said.


Thus, at the age of 62, I began my adventure to climb the highest mountain in Europe.


2. The Preparation


The training I do with Felix at Lemonbody comprises BootCamp activities that provide all-over body exercises and give you really good muscle work-outs. However, what I needed to get up (and down) the steep Alpine slopes was something to strengthen all my leg muscles and build stamina. Luckily Felix had regular sessions to Box Hill where the vertical ascent up the Jacob Ladder steps is about 110 meters. After doing a session of six ascents (and descents) I felt like my legs wouldn’t get me up anything any more; however, after a few days I found they had recovered and I’m sure this gave me a good feeling of what climbing the Alps would be like. Little did I know.


Next we needed kit. Proper kit. One evening after work I met up with JP at the mountain kit shop in Covent Garden. We spent a couple of hours (and a large amount on the credit cards) getting the appropriate clothing and equipment that we’d need.


‘What mountain are you climbing?’ asked the assistant. ‘Mont Blanc’, we said. ‘Right then, you’ll need all this stuff over here’, and he led us the 5,000 metre mountain section.


I hadn’t realised the full extent of what we’d need: Rucksack (40ltrs), waterproof liner, water bottle (1ltr wide neck, nalgene), waterproof mountain trousers, waterproof/wind-proof coat, hat, category 4 sunglasses with side-shields, factor 50 sunscreen, lip-screen protector, mountain socks, insulated Alpine mountain gloves, base layer thermal leggings (thin and thick), base layer thermal long sleeved merino vest (thin and thick), pair of gaiters, fleece top, shell jacket, head torch and a whistle.


Just as well we weren’t going up Everest…and this wasn’t all of what we’d need, as I found out when we arrived in the Alps.


3. The Alps



Climbing above Le Tour to 2700m


A few weeks later on a Saturday evening we were sitting at the bar of our hotel near Chamonix enjoying a beer before what we hoped would be an enjoyable week of climbing in the Alps. JP had hired Lolo, an experienced guide, for the week and we were discussing plans with her for the next few days. The topic of Mont Blanc had come up.


‘It all depends on the weather’, said Lolo. ‘The forecast is good, so we may be lucky to try it on Thursday before you have to return to London on Friday’. ‘But first we need a few days of acclimatisation’ she continued, rather ominously I thought.


The next morning we had another session of kitting up, this time at the local hire shop. Here we loaded up with all the heavy duty equipment we’d need (but didn’t want to buy) for the high altitude climbing we’d be doing. The list included: reinforced climbing helmet, adjustable climbing harness, B3 grade technical mountain boots, C3 grade crampons, telescopic ski pole and an ice axe. Phew…and we’ve either got to carry or wear all this stuff!


Lolo then drove up the road to the NE around 10kms to the small village of Le Tour from where we started our first climb. The plan was to climb up to the Refuge Albert 1er which was at 2,700m – about 1,200m of vertical climbing from our start point. Lolo advised that at these lower levels of the Alps we could wear our trail shoes – which meant carrying our heavy mountain boots. Lolo showed us how to strap them on and tuck them in to our rucksacks to stop them moving about too much as we climbed.


After about 6 hours of climbing we finally arrived at the refuge and I realised that I hadn’t done nearly enough training. I felt completely exhausted and went to have a lie down.


After a while however I felt better and got up to have something to eat and enjoy the views.



JP at the Refuge Albert 1er


The next morning we set off to climb the Aiguille du Tour. At 3,540m this would require us to climb up around 800m and this time wearing our boots and crampons to get through the snow and over the glacier. Lolo ensured we avoided any crevasses along the way.


After briefly crossing into Switzerland and back into France we climbed up the last few metres of rocks and got to the top. The views were stunning.



At the summit of the Aiguille du Tour


The  descent back down to Le Tour


As we all know, what goes up must come down; so after a short break, we started back down the 2,000m descent to Le Tour.

This took us most of the rest of the day and we arrived back at our hotel ready for a beer and a good meal before going to bed exhausted but feeling good about what we had accomplished so far.





Aiguille du Tour


On Tuesday morning we set off with Lolo on our next ascent, this time on the route up to Mont Blanc. The weather was fine and we were in high hopes we’d get a chance to climb it in the next day or two. We took the Bellevue cable car from Les Houches, about 8kms SW of Chamonix. This gets you up to about 1,800m and avoids the tedious climb through the woods surrounding Chamonix. Unfortunately the tram that runs from this point up to the Nid d’Aigle wasn’t running until Saturday, so we walked carefully along the tramline up to the Nid which is the tram terminus at 2,372m. From there we set off up the fairly steep slopes and rocky terrain and after about 4 hours of climbing above the Glacier La Griaz, arrived at the Refuge de Tête Rousse where we stayed the night. At this point we were at 3,167m – a climb of nearly 1,400m in one day.



Ascent to Refuge Tête Rousse


Unfortunately, as the evening came on it looked like the weather was getting worse. Lolo consulted the latest forecast and discussed it with the other guides and they all agreed that the worsening conditions would make the ascent to Mont Blanc too dangerous in the next couple of days. So, regretfully, we agreed to descend back down to Chamonix the next day and think of some other things to do instead.



Back to Chamonix


On Thursday we decided to take the train to the Mer de Glace and do a spot of ice climbing. JP had done this before in South America but it was a first for me.



The train takes you to a point above the glacier from where you have to climb down a series of vertical metal ladders down to the glacier. I counted around 600 rungs.


We had a lot of fun being let down on the rope into slopes and crevices and then climbing up again using the toe points of the crampons and a pair of special ice axes. The knack is to try to keep your body upright and then climb up like a spider although it is quite a strain on the legs and arms.





4. Mont Blanc


Later on Thursday afternoon, after we got back to Chamonix, Lolo looked up at the sky.


‘The weather looks like it’s clearing up a bit’ she said ‘how do fancy having another go at Mont Blanc?’ I looked at JP. ‘It’s a real shame, but I have to fly back tomorrow as planned because we’re off on our family holiday to Greece first thing Saturday morning. But, hey Dad, why don’t you have a go?’


I thought about it. If I changed my flight back to London from Friday to Saturday evening it wouldn’t need an extra night in the hotel in Chamonix. And I could still get back in time for work on Monday. ‘OK’ I said to Lolo, ‘let’s go for it!’


Lolo made the arrangements for our overnight stay in the mountain for the following evening. We’d be taking the same route up from Les Houches up to the Nid d’aigle, but this time we’d be climbing past the Refuge de Tête Rousse up to the Refuge de Goûter which is at 3,800m.






The route up to the Refuge de Goûter


Shortly after going past the Refuge Tête Rousse, climbers have to cross over the Grand Couloir. This is a dangerous gully which is a couple of hundred metres wide down which rocks and loose stones fall which climbers need to avoid.


‘Wait here’ Lolo said as I sheltered behind a large boulder at the edge of the Couloir ‘I’ll go and see if it looks safe to cross’.


After a few minutes she came back and said that, if we were quick, then it might be safe to cross. I held onto the steel cable that has been strung across the gully and, just as we got to the other side, a large group of rocks came tumbling down the mountain where we had just been.


After the Couloir, the climb gets really steep and the going was quite tough. A few hours later we traversed a long snowy ridge and finally arrived at the Goûter Refuge.



The Goûter Refuge


By the time we got to the Refuge, I was really exhausted. We had spent 6 hours climbing up around 2,000m (over 6,500 ft). Most of it was either over rocky terrain or on steep snow covered slopes using our crampons. I was glad to get out of the heavy boots and rest. Dinner at the Refuge was at 6pm and Lolo explained the routine to me for the next day. ‘You need to be up at 2am for a quick breakfast so we can leave at 2:30am’ she said. ‘The ice won’t have melted at that time, so we will get a better grip with our crampons before the sun comes up.’


So I went to bed around 8pm and tried to get as much sleep as I could before our early start the next day for our attempt on the summit.


 The next morning we set off as planned at 2:30am in the cold, equipped with head torches to see the way. We left most of our luggage in the Refuge so we could climb up carrying as little as possible. However, I still had on my thick leggings under my mountain trousers as well as three top layers and thick Alpine gloves, so I didn’t feel the cold so much. Once we had climbed up onto the ridge above the refuge, the first section across the Aguille du Goûter was fairly flat and easy going. After a couple of hours we passed the Dôme du Goûter and then rested in a small hut called the Vallot shelter. We noticed the wind was picking up a bit, so it was good to rest out of the wind. During the next hour we felt the wind pick up quite strongly; Lolo thought it was gusting up to 50 mph and the temperature was dropping with the wind chill factor.


We stopped for a while at the base of the Grand Bosses. ‘Dig your ice-axe into the snow next to you’ shouted Lolo,‘and hold onto it with both hands’ I did as she instructed as I felt myself being blown about by the strong wind. Presently, another group of three climbers came up behind us. Lolo and their guide talked for a while and then they decided not to proceed any further and turn back. I looked at Lolo. 


‘Shall we wait for another 5 minutes and see if the wind drops?’ She agreed and we held on to our ice-axes and waited to see if the conditions improved.


After a while, Lolo agreed to go on. Apparently it’s safer to go as a group of two than with three. I guess that if I fell over the edge then Lolo would have a reasonable chance of pulling me back. If two people fell over, then I suppose they would pull the third over with them.



Crossing the Bosses Ridge


Crossing the Bosses Ridge was spectacular with fine views and sheer drops on both sides of the perilous narrow ridge. However, most of the time I was just watching where I was putting my feet!



The final ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc


Around 6:30am we reached the final slope leading up to the summit and by 7am we reached the top. The views were spectacular and the feeling of achievement was overwhelming!





At the Summit of Mont Blanc and our amazing guide, Lolo!


After spending some time at the summit, Lolo said we should start heading down again. Being at 4,810m meant we would have to climb back down over 2,400m (8,000ft) to the Nid. We got back to the Goûter refuge around midday and stopped to have some lunch there before picking up the rest of our belongings and heading back down the mountain.


Going down was easier than going up but I found that the constant pressure of my toes against the heavy mountain boots started to be a bit painful. In the end I lost both of my big toenails which took about 4 months to grow back again. 


Some parts of the descent were quicker as we were able to slide down the slopes that were covered with snow. By about 2pm we reached the Nid and we were glad that the tram was running so we didn’t have to walk down the last section to get the cable car back to Les Houches. According to my fitness tracker I had expended just over 7,000 calories in about 12 hours! By 4pm I was having a nice cold beer after getting back to the hotel for a shower and change.


We took all the rented equipment back to the hire shop and I said good-bye to Lolo and got the transfer bus back to Geneva airport and the flight back to Heathrow.


I finally got home around 10pm after being up since 2am that morning. I couldn’t really believe that I had been standing on top of Month Blanc at 7am that morning!


5. What I learned



I would highly recommend climbing Mont Blanc to others. The experience for me was an incredible sense of achievement and it was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It proves that you don’t have to be young to achieve something like this – but you do have to relatively fit. It isn’t a very technical climb but it is arduous and will make high demands on your body – as well as your mental capability. Lolo said that it’s surprising how much the body can put up with, but half the battle is in your mind. Having physical and mental resilience are both equally important.


Given the chance, I would certainly do it again. I would probably do more preparation and stamina training. There are long days of climbing – both uphill and downhill. Taking time to do some lower climbs and returning back down to Chamonix before tackling Mont Blanc seemed to work well. I didn’t appear to suffer from any altitude issues. I would also recommend making sure you have all the appropriate clothing and equipment before setting off. Having a guide, like Lolo, is also essential. 


I certainly don’t think I could have achieved it without doing all the BootCamp training at LemonBody; so thanks Felix!



The Goûter route up Mont Blanc


Reproduced with the kind permission of John Davidson.


© John Davidson, June 2018,


Photo Credit:



Mountain Guide
Laurence (Lolo) Monnoyeur
Booked through MaximumAdventure
All inclusive tour
Maximum Adventure
Good book
‘Mont Blanc 4810m – 5 Routes to the Summit’, Francois Damilano
Chamonix Hotel
Hôtel Les Lanchers, Les Praz
Equipment Hire
Praz Sports
Insurance (covers Alpine climbing over 4,000m)
T&G Insurance





Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.

Pin It on Pinterest