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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.

Heavy Metal, Osteoporosis and why everyone should read this Blog Article

Heavy Metal, Osteoporosis and why everyone should read this Blog Article

Heavy Metal, Osteoporosis and why you need to read this.

What is Osteoporosis?

As we age, our bones thin and weaken, losing mass and density. This makes fractures and associated complications more likely and more serious. Males and females are at risk, with post menopausal women particularly so for a few years after menopause.

Your age and your genes are responsible for determining the strength of your skeleton, but lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise influence how healthy your bones are too.


Regular exercise is essential. Adults aged 19 to 64 should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity Cardiovascular Exercise, such as circuits, running or BootCamp every week. As your fitness improves, you can up the intensity accordingly.

As well as aerobic exercise, adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week by working all the major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, arms and shoulders – all of which we do at every BootCamp. Muscle Strengthening is also known as Resistance Exercise or Resistance Training.

Weight-Bearing Exercises and Resistance Exercises are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent Osteoporosis. 

Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-Bearing Exercises are those where your feet and legs support your weight. High impact Weight-Bearing Exercises, such as Running Skipping, Dancing, BootCamp, and Plyometric Training (more info below), are all useful ways to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. They also strengthen bones too, which is vitally important for both men and women, particularly as we age.

Resistance Exercises

Resistance Exercises use muscle strength when working against a resistance, such as lifting a weight in a bicep curl, for example. Muscles that work hard against a resistance grow stronger and are able to work harder for longer. At the ends of each muscle are tendons that attach the muscle to your bones. Tendons are tough, fibrous tissue and you can think of them as ropes that tie your muscles and bones together.

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Heavy Metal

When you lift something heavy (when doing a bicep curl, for example) your bicep muscles contract and pull on the tendons attached to the bones in your lower arm. The action of tendons pulling on bones acts as a signal to your body to strengthen those bones, which can help to prevent loss of bone mass as we age. BootCamp is full of such exercises and you can be sure that your muscles and bones will be much stronger if you come to BootCamp regularly.

Our new Heavy Metal Workout is perfect for strengthening and Toning Muscles, and just the job for strengthening Bones too. We’ll be doing at least one a week from now on so come along and try it soon.

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Healthy eating and vitamin D supplements.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is recommended for everyone. It can help prevent many serious health conditions, including Heart Disease, Diabetes and many forms of Cancer, as well as Osteoporosis.

Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones. Adults need 700mg a day, which you should be able to get from your daily diet.

Calcium-rich foods include:

Leafy Green Vegetables

Dried Fruit



Vitamin D is also important for healthy bones and teeth because it helps your body absorb calcium. All adults should consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day.

Good Dietary Sources of Vitamin D are:

Oily Fish – such as Salmon, Sardines, Herring and Mackerel

Red Meat


Egg yolks

Fortified Foods such as most Fat Spreads and some Breakfast Cereals

Dietary supplements


However, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from foods alone. So, all adults should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.


Other lifestyle factors that can help prevent Osteoporosis include:

Stopping Smoking – Smoking is associated with an increased risk of Osteoporosis

Limiting Alcohol Intake – the NHS recommends not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week; it’s also important to avoid binge drinking.


Try our New HeavyMetal Workout and strengthen your Bones, Muscles and Mind!

Not been to BootCamp yet? Come along for your Free Trial today!


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.

A pioneer in mixed ability group fitness workouts, he freely admits to having “mostly hated” P.E at school and is of the firm belief that making workouts fun and catering for all abilities is vital in helping people get fit and stay happy and healthy.

His hobbies include Flying, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Weight Lifting, Trail Running and Conkers. Felix is 53 and lives in Surbiton with his dog, Ning Nong.

Floss or Damage your Health

Floss or Damage your Health

The state of your teeth affects your overall health!

Gum disease is linked to lots of health problems in other parts of the body. Therefore, brushing your teeth can prevent gum disease and improve your overall health.

Did you know that gum disease isn’t just bad news for your teeth, it’s also linked to serious health problems in other parts of your body?

Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Gum disease has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realises that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link.”

Gum disease dangers

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It’s mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up. In some people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation. In others, the inflammation doesn’t clear up properly. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time.

What’s the damage?

Gum disease has been linked to a variety of other health problems, including:

  • heart disease and heart attacks
  • diabetes and its control
  • stroke
  • rheumatoid arthritis

Preventing problems

The good news is that brushing your teeth properly and looking after your gums can prevent and treat gum disease, improve your overall health and help to reduce your risk of health problems, such as heart disease.

Follow a routine of brushing your teeth for a full 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, plus cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes.

Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for cleaning and check-ups. It’s especially important to look after your teeth and gums if you’re pregnant. NHS dental care is free for pregnant women and during the 12 months after you’ve given birth.




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.

Stress and what you can do about it..

Stress and what you can do about it..

Stress and what you can do about it:

These days, we’re all busy. The pressures of working, raising a family, keeping up with the neighbours and dealing with an increasingly complex environment all contribute to stress levels.

Over tens of thousands of years, humans evolved a fight or flight response to threats for survival. Nowadays, we’re less likely to face a predator wanting to eat us than our ancestors, but we still retain the fight or flight response.

The fight or flight response evolved to deal with short term threats, such as coming face to face with a hungry bear. You either get eaten or get away and the threat is over. But in today’s world, stressful situations are often not so short lived. We worry about exams for months beforehand. We stress about projects at work and we live in a world increasingly driven by targets and deadlines. 

Add in the 100s of emails most of us get in a typical week and you can see how the stresses that humans face now is very different from the ones we evolved to cope with. Long term stress is bad for your health because it can affect you physically and mentally.

So what can be done about it? Well, the first thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms, then do what you can to reduce or remove the stress. The NHS have an excellent article on this subject and you can take a stress test to see how affected by stress you may be. You can find the NHS Article here.

Don’t let stress spoil your life or damage your health. Read the NHS Article and take action to de-stress your life!




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.

The reason why you feel so tired all the time.

The reason why you feel so tired all the time.

Why am I tired all the time?

Feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “Tired All The Time”.

We all feel tired from time to time:

  • Too many late nights
  • Long hours spent at work
  • A baby keeping you up at night

A lot of the time, we know why we’re occasionally tired. But tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal. It can affect your ability to get on and enjoy your life and unexplained tiredness is one of the most common reasons for people to see their GP.

Reasons why you may be feeling tired a lot of the time:

Before you see your GP, you may want to work out how you became tired in the first place.

It can be helpful to think about:

  • The parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring.
  • Events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up.
  • How your lifestyle may be making you tired.

A GP will look at the following causes of tiredness:

  • Psychological causes
  • Physical causes
  • Lifestyle causes

Psychological causes of tiredness:

Psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes. Most psychological causes lead to poor sleep or insomnia, both of which cause daytime tiredness.

Psychological causes include:


The strains of daily life can worry most of us at some point. It’s also worth remembering that even positive events, such as moving house or getting married, can cause stress. 

Emotional shock:

A bereavement, redundancy or a relationship break-up can make you feel tired and exhausted.


If you feel sad, low and lacking in energy, and you also wake up tired, you may have Depression. See your GP if you think you may be suffering from Depression


If you have constant uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, you may have what doctors call Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). As well as feeling worried and irritable, people with GAD often feel tired. See your GP, as medication and other treatments can help.

Physical causes of tiredness:

There are several health conditions that can make you feel tired or exhausted, including:

  • Anaemia 
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Sleep apnoea

Tiredness can also be the result of:

  • Pregnancy, particularly in the first 12 weeks.
  • Being overweight or obese  – your body has to work harder to do everyday activities.
  • Being underweight – poor muscle strength can make you tire more easily.
  • Cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning – especially if your gas boiler has not been serviced regularly.
  • Side effects of medicines and some herbal remedies.

If you have been feeling constantly tired for more than 4 weeks, it’s a good idea to see your GP so they can confirm or rule out a medical condition that could be causing your tiredness.

Lifestyle causes of tiredness:

In today’s non stop, 24/7 world, we often try to cram too much into our daily lives.

And to try to stay on top of things, we sometimes consume too much alcohol or caffeine, or eat sugary and high-fat snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a proper meal.

The main lifestyle causes of tiredness include:


Drinking too much interferes with the quality of your sleep. Stick to the guidelines of no more than 14 units a week for both men and women.


Too much or too little exercise can affect how tired you feel.


Too much of this stimulant, found in tea, coffee, colas and energy drinks, can upset sleep and make you feel wound-up as well as tired. Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, or gradually cut out caffeine altogether.

Night shifts:

Night workers often find they get tired more easily. This is more likely if the timing of the shifts keeps changing.

Daytime naps:

If you’re tired, you may nap during the day, which can make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

Some good advice if you think you may not be sleeping enough:

Buy a sleep monitor. Many FitBit type activity watches can monitor your sleep and give you valuable insights as to how much or little you are getting. This can be very useful because you will find yourself actively trying to improve your sleep.

Leave the phone off. Tricky, because it can be very tempting to answer a few emails when in bed – but just don’t do it!

Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Even small amounts of light can upset sleep, so invest in some total blackout blinds and see the difference it makes!

Don’t drink any significant liquids within 2-3 hours of bedtime. If you do, you may have to get up to pee and may not be able to get back to sleep quickly.

Don’t have any stimulants. Caffeine, or watching a tense and powerful thriller on TV, can leave your body and mind on high alert which is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is when your body and mind repair and restore, so make sure you look after your sleep!




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.

All you need to know about your Metabolism!

All you need to know about your Metabolism!

We hear the word a lot, but what does Metabolism actually mean and is it important? 

Metabolism – all you need to know!

We hear a lot about metabolism:

“A fast metabolism is vital for a lean body” “Coffee speeds it up!” “It slows down after the age of 40.” “Lifting weights raises your metabolism” “I struggle with my weight because I have a slow metabolism” “Green Tea will boost metabolism” “This diet plan will speed up your metabolism” etc. 

But what does the word METABOLISM even mean? And how much of what we hear is actually true? Why does metabolism differ between people and is there really anything we can do to change ours?

It’s all very confusing, but here at LemonBody, we do know a thing or two about metabolism and we’ve written it all down for you here:

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. Your body takes calories from what you eat and drink and uses oxygen to release the energy we need to function.

The faster your Metabolism, the faster the rate at which you burn calories – which is useful if you are trying to lose weight. You will also burn more calories even at rest, i.e. when you’re not being active. So if you’re trying to lose fat, increasing your metabolism is a huge help. Generally speaking, a faster Metabolism will improve your energy levels and a lot of people report a very positive effect on their mood too.

Can you speed up your metabolism? 

Yes, everyone can. And the best way to do this is through the right type of exercise.  To really rev up your metabolism as much as possible, you should combine High Intensity Workouts (to burn Body Fat) alongside Resistance Training (lifting heavy things) to build and strengthen Muscle. Muscle is key to raising your Metabolism because it needs more energy than Body Fat just to exist, so you burn more calories the more Muscle mass you have.

Contrary to popular belief, Cardiovascular Training (and particularly jogging) is NOT the most effective way of cranking up your metabolism to keep you lean. Certainly, jogging burns calories, but only while you’re doing it. Unfortunately, jogging also burns Muscle – just take a look at any runner that competes at 5000m or more and they are all stick thin. That’s because you do not need much Muscle to jog, so your body uses Muscle as fuel – the last thing we want!

So if you want to raise your Metabolism (which will help you burn Body Fat), you should do three things:

1.   HIIT Training

2.   Resistance Training (lifting heavy things)

3.   Eat the right foods, little and often

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT Workouts consist of a series of short (just 20-30 seconds) of very high effort Cardio, such as sprinting. They raise Metabolism, burn Fat but help preserve Muscle if done correctly. The type of training we do at BootCamp is ideal in this regard. You can read more about HIIT Workouts here.

Another example of a really effective HIIT Workout is our Hill Sprints in Richmond Park. Take a look at our EVENTS SECTION to see when the next Hill Sprints Workout is scheduled.

Resistance Training (lifting heavy things)

Resistance Training stimulates Muscle growth and greater Muscle mass means a higher  metabolism – which means you’re burning more calories even when you’re not training i.e. sitting on the sofa!

At BootCamp, we always include some Muscular Effort activity in our Workouts to make sure your Muscles stay strong and toned. The next time you come along, pick a resistance band or power bag that really taxes your Muscles – that’s where the benefit lies!

Eat the right Food, little and often.

Eating plenty of protein at every meal is important if you workout regularly. Protein does not turn to fat easily and takes a while to digest, which burns calories in itself. Protein is vital for building and maintaining Muscle.  You should also drink more water. You’ll be properly hydrated and your Metabolism will rise if you drink more water

Despite what you might have been told about how to lose weight, eating little and often is key. You should ideally eat within 30 minutes of waking up. If you leave the house without eating, your body will believe that food is getting scarce and will then try to do all it can to store fat, which is the opposite of what you want. 

Studies show that eating roughly every three hours, whether a meal or a snack, keeps your metabolism up over the course of the day. If you wish to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn, but you still must eat, so do so little and often so you will not feel hungry all the time.  

You should also eat healthy foods – no matter whether you wish to lose weight, gain weight or just stay healthy. You can find out more about Healthy Eating in our BLOG Articles here.

Why does Metabolism vary from person to person? 

Your Metabolism is personal to you and many factors, both genetic and lifestyle related, will affect it. 

A professional athlete would have a much higher Metabolism than that of a sedentary office worker. The more sedentary you are, the slower your Metabolism, so you must stay active, particularly as you age. 

BootCamp raises your Metabolism far more than jogging alone. So what are you waiting for? Come along and join in and bring your friends too! 

Not had your Free Trial yet? 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.

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