Outdoors fitness, military style
British Military Fitness or BMF has been running for 15 years and is now the UK’s biggest outdoor fitness provider running 400 classes per week. Unlike gyms, all standard members can attend BMF sessions at any of the 130 venues around the UK.
What sets BMF apart is its military theme. All 600 instructors have a military background with the each class or session delivered in a military style. This style includes the group often ordered to arrange itself into ranks (standing side by side) or files (one behind the other) and following instructions immediately. Instructors help to ensure that instructions are understood and that those taking part are performing exercises correctly, but the pace is for the most part a matter of receiving instructions and performing exercises immediately.
The benefit of this approach is that it takes the thinking out of fitness. For instance, there is no opportunity to get bored and demotivated as can happen when left to your own devices in a gym. Also the instructors always motivate members to work to their max. Many taking part agree that they never work out as hard on their own as they do in a BMF session.
The sessions are split into different fitness abilities with a group wearing blue bibs for beginners, red for intermediate and green for advanced. What this often equates to is more reps per exercise or additional challenges set for the higher groups.
A wide variety of exercises are employed at BMF but generally include a combination of cardio and body weight training. HIIT, burpees, press ups, squats and lunges are common in every session, which equipment such as body bars and tyres occasionally used in sessions. There is also an emphasis on partner and group exercises. Group games such as playground classics ‘british bulldog’, and ‘stuck in the mud’ can also be included. Whilst the military theme is maintained throughout BMF, the exercises can differ between parks and instructors helping to keep the experience varied and interesting.
Whilst British Military Fitness is military themed the sessions themselves are not at the same level one would expect from real army training. Also there is no focus upon any combat style training. Instructors are also not in any way abusive or intimidating as would be the expectation of the shouting drill sergeant.
The social aspect of BMF is a key point, giving members an opportunity to meet and interact closely with people from the local area that they might not otherwise know. The is further supported by regular social meet-ups, outings and teams formed to take on national obstacle race events.