(Note 1: The First National Boot Camp Survey is covering , with one exception, one-week residential boot camps only. The term ‘Boot Camp’ is also used to describe people meeting to train during the week in a municipal park. Run by British Military Fitness instructors though they may be, and good development though they are – they are nothing like real, residential boot camps, and little more than PT in the open-air).
(Note 2: There is a serial fraudster in our midst. Her real name is Catherine Jane Pennington(of what was ‘Total Boot Camp’), but she is now using aliases such as Jayne Shaw of Spa Boot Camp & Jane Walker of Bootcamp Inc. She is to be avoided at all costs. Read the Comments section at the end of this article for any updates on her antics.)
If your weight has become a major concern to you and you want far more than just weight loss in the short term – which any boot camp is going to give you anyway – then this is the type of camp for you- because they do aim to fix you for good. And the way they do that is to dissect and explain your emotions about food and exercise to you, design a practical plan for you to you re-structure your bad habits – and follow up to make sure you’re sticking to it. Not invariably, but holistic camps do tend to attract the heavier, less fit type of camper. Phoenix Boot Camp is the best holistic camp in the country. Nubeginnings is the other one, if you have cash as well as weight to burn.
The most holistic of the standard weight-loss boot camps is- by a very long way –Joe Ayo’s Back2Basics Boot Camp. Whether staged in the Yorkshire wilds or the Lake District, Joe Ayo’s camp has one great financial advantage for you, too. In 2011, Back2Basics won the national title for ‘ Best Budget Boot Camp (North)’.
Eight out of our fifteen camps are always open to men. The first two on the list are both national award-winners : Apples & Pears (Awarded ‘Best Mixed Boot Camp’, 2009/10/11) and Bootcamp Beach (Awarded ‘ Best Budget Boot Camp South’ 2009/10/11). The remaining six are Tesco, Bootylicious, Nubeginnings, No.1 Boot Camp, Reboot & Base Camp.
Nowadays, there is a growing trend among camps that started out as women-only to be offering dates for mixed and men-only camps too: Prestige springs to mind here. Although my personal preference is for camps with both men and women, it’s your call alone on this one. If it helps, I’ve always found that the genders mix together extremely well at camp. There’s less likelihood of closed-shop cliques developing and whilst the guys and gals do tend to hang around with their own, it’s refreshing to be able to talk to someone of the opposite sex when you’re in the mood to. Obviously, a women-only camp is going to take away that option. And rule out your chances, completely, of accidentally bumping into a guy you may actually like.
Which brings me to a final rallying cry : Men of England, Wake up to Boot Camps! The women have got the point; and you, too, should be making up far more than just 15% of the market. In fact you would, guys – if you only but tried it once. My mind never thinks clearer, or for longer, than when I am away from the world at boot camp. And, as the body doesn’t know what’s hit it either – with every muscle and joint historically hard at work yet fuelled by only a comparatively empty, alcohol-free stomach – the combined physical and psychological benefits to be derived in such a short time, are quite mind-blowing. I hope that doesn’t sound too much like a young vicar in his first parish. In case it does, boot camps are part of my life now – and I fall into the arms of The Good Parent, whenever I need a kick up the arse and wire-wool between my ears.
Unsurprisingly, as women make up 85% of the market, seven out of our fifteeen boot camps are for women only. It’s common to see women who’ve roped in a friend for mutual support, sometimes so in a gang of four. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie at women-only boot camps, plenty of emotions on display and significant new friendships are often forged in the heat of it all. Female trainers are a rarity, so you will generally be put through your stuff by men from the military. Read on, to find out their different styles.
Military-style means that formal, services conduct is expected of you:lining up on parade, addressing combat-geared trainers as “Staff” at all times, doing whatever you’re told to do whenever and however you’re told to do it, individual and group forfeits for infringing any rules – of which they’re plenty – with no sin more dire than pitching up late (1 minute will qualify here). You’ll be worked pretty hard, have your self-confidence boosted by your fear-conquering exploits on adventure training outings and – truth be told – you will be shouted at on occasion. New You Boot Camp has the worst record in this last respect, with a reputation for ‘beasting’ its clients you ought to be aware of. See just what I’m talking about at 7B. below, under the section ‘ BOOT CAMPS NOT RECOMMENDED ‘.
It’s also true to say that, for some women, there is a certain appeal in doing things military-style, being dominated by very fit young men, in skin-tight fatigues, their bodies apparently stuffed with walnuts. And, hey you know, they’ve had years of experience at what they’re doing to you, and you’re going to get down and dirty together. Yet, be simperingly nice or crack a joke, and he’s also your toy soldier to flirt with too. He will, anyway. I don’t think it’s pure paranoia on my part in thinking that cries of ” Suck it in, girls” and “See it all the way home, girls”, might just conceivably be pandering to another agenda. However, you might well not grow to share Staff’s enthusiasm for teaching you services slang, and the continous deal-striking of “Is that fair?” and “Is everybody happy with that?” does begin to grate.
For other women, who take the more uncharitable view of ‘Sod that for a game of soldiers’, opting instead for civilian life and being on christian name terms with everyone, there are Non-Military Style Camps.
Military Style: Prestige, No1 Boot Camp, GI Jane, New You.
5. Non-Military Style Boot Camps: Apples&Pears, Bootcamp Beach, Phoenix Boot Camp, Nubeginnings, FitFarms/Tesco, Reboot, Trimmeryou & Base Camp
6. 2012 PRICE COMPARISON TABLE
( FOR WELL-ESTABLISHED ENGLISH BOOT CAMPS OF SIMILAR CATEGORY – AS SEEN ACROSS THE BOARD).
WARNING: DO NOT DECIDE FROM THIS LIST ON PRICE ALONE – AS SOME CAMPS DO DISCOUNTS, OTHERS DON’T AND DEFINITELY NOT UNTIL YOU’VE READ THE REVIEWS OF CAMPS YOU’RE INTERESTED IN. ONLY THEN, WILL YOU KNOW BY HOW MUCH QUALITY CAN VARY & WHAT EACH BOOTCAMP IS REALLY LIKE.
ALL CAMPS ARE LISTED, FOR EASE OF REFERENCE, IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER.
THE FIRST NATIONAL BOOT CAMP SURVEY AWARD WINNERS IN 2011 ARE:
APPLES & PEARS – ‘ BEST MIXED BOOT CAMP ‘ PRESTIGE – ‘ BEST WOMEN ONLY BOOT CAMP ‘ PHOENIX BOOT CAMP – ‘ BEST HOLISTIC BOOT CAMP ‘ BACK 2BASICS – ‘ BEST BUDGET BOOT CAMP (NORTH)’ & BOOTCAMP BEACH – ‘ BEST BUDGET BOOT CAMP (SOUTH)’.
MIXED CAMPS E/S SGLE E/S TWIN
*1. APPLES & PEARS, Devon £ 1595 £ 1195
2. BASECAMP, Exmoor £ 1495 £ 995
*3. BOOTCAMP BEACH, B‘mth £ 575 £ 495
4. BOOTYLICIOUS, Cornwall £ 1650 £ 1450
5. No.1 BOOT CAMP, Norfolk £ 1395 £ 1045(no e/s)
6. NU-BEGINNINGS, Devon £ 2754 £ 2514
7. REBOOT, Dorset (4 days) £ 795 £695
8. TESCO’S B/C, Somerset £1249? £874? (e/s at manager’s discretion!)
CAMPS FOR WOMEN ONLY
*9. BACK2BASICS BOOT CAMP £699 £599
10. FITFARMS, Somerset £ 1495 £ 1095
11. GI JANE, Kent £ 1650(only 1)£ 1150
12. NEW YOU BOOT CAMP, Devon £ 1475 £ 1225
*13.PHOENIX BOOT CAMP, Herefordshire £ 1450 £ 900
*14. PRESTIGE BOOT CAMP, Devon £ 1550 £ 1250
15. TRIMMERYOU BOOT CAMP, Notts £1250 £825
7. BOOT CAMPS NOT RECOMMENDED
Strangely enough, the two boot camps in the country which open their mouths widest about how great they are – see sections (i) & (iv), of ‘Inflated Publicity’ in The First National Boot Camp Survey – and reel in wonder at what New You & FitFarms have to say about themselves – were the same two boot camps who chickened out of this whole project. No courtesy visit was allowed, no review required; they wanted to play no part at all in The First National Boot Camp Survey. An objective and comparative look across the board, at all of England’s boot camps together, from the pen of an experienced, independent male editor/reviewer, in hock to no-one except the customer, somehow just didn’t appeal to them. See the section ‘ Why this site exists’ in The First National Boot Camp Survey). Unfortunately, as A&B below now portray, the alarms bells were not wrong to go off.
(N.B. ” Weight Loss Holiday Boot Camp”, ” Fat Farm ” & ” Fitness Holidays UK ” are some of the other guises that FitFarms uses for itself these days)
The big problem with camps at FitFarms(women only) and Tesco(mixed) is that they are both run by FitFarms Managing Director, Mr. Stephen Cole, a man from Planet Strange if ever there was one. His stated main reason for not taking part in our survey was that Fitfarms is not a boot camp – and perish the thought that he should be associated at all with any of that crowd. Of course Fitfarms is a boot camp. You can google it as such; and once on site, you’ll find FitFarms calling itself a ‘ Fitness Boot Camp’ on almost every single page. And, boy, is he ever insulting about all the other boot camps in England! Mr. Cole rubbishes every single one of them for “unqualified staff and unhealthy training programmes”, before climaxing his disapproval with the truly unhinged : “There are some good boot camps but you have to be willing to travel overseas”. So there we have it, then. Go abroad for a good boot camp because there are none in England, except of course for Mr.Cole’s – once he’s worked out whether he’s running one or not! This is the most surreal drivel I’ve ever read about boot camps. The man clearly has no idea what goes on at, say, Nubeginnings. (Since reading the above, Mr.Cole has removed his words and taken out references to his camp being a ‘boot camp’, even though it is one).
Unable to decide whether FitFarms/Tesco is a holiday retreat, a holistic mission or a boot camp after all, Mr. Cole manages to end up spreadeagled across all three. Notwithstanding pretty countryside outings and an assortment of non-taxing activities strung together in an easy-paced way, this is definitely not a holiday. What holiday blasts you out of bed at dawn every day, starves you of food and keeps you on the go all day long? A boot camp actually – but one with such dainty disdain for the ethic of hard, physical work that it doesn’t succeed, like other camps do, on that level either. FitFarms is a doddle; the Ultimate Burn Work-out is, for example, merely optional. Do not come here if you want to be propelled, in a short time into losing as much weight as possible. It’s far too leisurely for that. Finally, FitFarms, closest in theory at least to an holistic camp, just doesn’t cut it as one of those either. Two Nutrition Workshops and one Life Coaching Session is, did he but know it, standard holistic fare at just about every boot camp in the country! But I doubt that Mr.Cole is going to improve his holism by learning from Nubeginnings, the top holistic camp in the country, because I think he has an altogether different agenda in mind for FitFarms. And it is not one that puts you, the client, first.
Our first look at the FitFarms product was in 2008, when our man reported back that although the female trainers were excellent, and the French chef also providing commendable variety, the greatest disappointment was the over-crowding of clients into 2-star barn accommodation, where he was charged £1200 for a basic and tiny single room, having to queue twice a day with eight other people to use the bathroom and squeeze up for dinner every night. There were moans, too, about Mr. Cole’s pre-camp admin being chaotic. A researcher recently enquired about booking a single room and was told that ” Single rooms are at the discretion of the manager”. Make sense of that if you can! People were similarly cross about the 50% mark-up on any toiletries they needed. Whilst not exactly at Tesco’s prices, then, Mr. Cole has clearly understood the meaning of’ Every Little Helps’. FitFarms 2009 has moved to Knowle Riding Centre in Somerset, a manor house actually abandonned by No1.Boot Camp because training is done in a neon-lit sand-pit full of horse-hair; the ‘pool’ is no more than a small pond in a shed; the red clay outside will stain your clothes for ever and, worst of all, the water supply to the house is so chronically inadequate it’s impossible to have a proper shower. But it is big; and Mr.Cole has seen that it will hold an awful lot of an people at one time. Bad value prices have been hiked yet again, so that a single is now an uncompetitive £1495 for the week. And notice that no capacity figure is given, as all other camps do, because now we are getting to the whole crux of the matter. When our man finally discovered Mr.Cole in a back office, and challenged him on the fairness, let alone the safety, of providing only two trainers for 38 people, he got the aloof and arrogant reply: ” This is a numbers game, you know”. Numbers which probably add up to Tesco realising that Mr. Cole has built up a brand – through FitFarms to FitParks, FitJuniors, and FitPooch too – with sufficient volume and profit for the supermarket to buy him out. So, if you want to be part of a numbers game you know where to go.
B. NEW YOU BOOT CAMP
Since first opening New You Boot Camp way back in 2007, founding director, Sunny Moran, has always had a greedy eye for how losing lbs. off you can be turned into making lots of £s for her. The fact that she stole the idea from The Camp in Scotland whilst at the same time apparently being employed to do their PR work for them, suggests that her business morality might not be out of the top drawer either. Examples of that run, like a tapeworm, throughout this piece. Let’s deal, for the moment, with the money.
New You runs three ‘Boutique’ Camps a year. Priced right at the top end, they do not tell you what number the course is limited to, which is the whole point of a boutique camp. As there are 12 e/s bedrooms, I suppose there could well be as many as 24 people, and definitely c.20. What on earth is ’boutique’ about that? Nubeginnings is the only camp that can genuinely lay claim to that title: maximum of 10! There are six ‘Coastal’ Camps a year, which are reasonably priced and held at their only property to have a pool, but then there’s the unacceptable problem of the trainers(see below).
But, New You also runs eighteen ‘Back to Basics’ Camps a year, which form the core of their business, and these boot camps are a total rip-off. This is why.
At ‘Back to Basics’ you will be herded into a barn, which doubles as a youth hostel, and required to sleep in bunk beds, in a dormitory with at least five other people, all of you sharing one communal shower. Outrageously, this ‘accommodation’ is referred to as ‘five star’ – when, in fact, no other boot camp in England treats its customers in such a degrading and disgraceful way. Worse then the army or boarding school, we’re looking at prison camp conditions here. How would you rate your chances of a good night’s sleep when people packed in around you are gossiping, snoring and getting up to go to the loo throughout the night? And you can forget all about a swimming pool, sauna, hot tub, jacuzzi or TV in the bedroom. Your bill, however, is six star: £985 +credit card fee+holiday insurance(which means they will never refund you if you drop out early, through injury or disgust)+ encouragement to buy their recommended kit-list from their over-priced on-line shop, where a badged-up T shirt comes in at £14.99 ( they advise 10 of them! ) and a Hi-Vis Vest at £6.99 ( when every other boot camp in England provides them free of charge! ) taking the total to well north of £1000. To be treated like that?!
The best tip I can give you on this whole website is: on no account waste your money here.
Just look around you at the far cheaper prices available at much better boot camps, all of which are reviewed on this site:
1. Bootcamp Beach (Bournemouth) has swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, all bedrooms en-suit, with TV, rooms serviced daily, and a superb menu of organic food. Price: £575/sgle en-suite, £495/twin en-suite.
2. Back2Basics Boot Camp (Lake District) has pool, sauna, hot tub and very spacious Scandinavian pine lodges, all with TV, DVD, Sound System. Price: £699/sgle en-suite, £599/twin en-suite.
3. Trimmeryou Boot Camp (Nottinghamshire) is a luxury boot camp with swimming pool, LED TVs everywhere and a fantastic chef from London’s Dorchester Hotel, whose dishes for the week rate the full 5 Stars. ‘ Value for Money ‘ here gets 5 Stars, too. Price: £825 /twin en-suite.
4.Phoenix Boot Camp (Herefordshire) is another luxury boot camp with pool, sauna, TVs in all bedrooms etc. and winner of the national award for ‘ Best Holistic Boot Camp in England ‘. Price: £900 twin/en-suite.
I rest my case. There’s absolutely no defence to this.
But, you may say, aren’t you ‘guaranteed to lose more weight here than at any other boot camp’, because the trainers are ‘ world class’? No, I would not endorse either of those inflated, website boasts. With regard to the question of losing more weight, I would make four counter-points.
1. If you survive the course – and it’s a big if, because I am convinced from all the testimonies I hold from ex-staff, ex-clients and all the press articles I’ve read that more people drop out of this camp, from injury or disgust, than any other boot camp in England – you might well appear to lose more weight than anywhere else.
2. But not as much weight as you think you’ve lost – because, with high cunning, weigh-ins are after lunch ; and weighing-out is before breakfast, yet after a work-out, where you’re even warned about your water-intake. As one far more professional boot camp writes on its website, obviously with New You in mind: ” Our weight-loss figures are genuine. We weigh you first thing in the morning following your arrival and first thing in the morning on the day of your departure. Any diversion from this procedure is a little trick that would give an additional over-reading of false weight-loss between 2 & 10lbs “.
3. You might end up losing no weight at all – because so extreme is the differential between the low amount of calories you’re fed and the high number of calories you expend, that some women’s bodies actually close down in shock – and start storing fat instead.
4. You’ll be very lucky if you keep that weight off – because any psychological work, worthy of the name, simply does not exist here. Ms. Moran also knows that successful and sustainable weight-loss battles are always won and lost in the mind, but apart from exercise recommendations and dietary tips, nothing at all is done about that side of things at this boot camp. But, hey, that way there’s a better chance she’ll see you again in six months time.
So, why on earth should you put yourself through a week of miserable, high-risk hell – just so that New You Boot Camp can parade your remains on the dodgy high-altar of their weight-loss stats? And, believe me, Sunny Moran is obsessive about maximising those weight-loss stats, however obtained, and airing them in the public domain. She is only too keenly aware of that female foible to fall for every single lb.off – and she plays on it remorselessly.
Incidentally, there are people out there who do keep going back and back to boot camps, in a sort of yo-yo-boot-camp habit. Should you happen to be one of those – and still serious about losing weight – let me suggest, for a moment, one way in which you can break the mould for good and save yourself a lot of money in the future too. Take yourself off to Susie Sore & Rob Kelly’s Phoenix Boot Camp or Joe Ayo’s Back2Basics Boot Camp – two elite, national award-winning boot camps – dedicated to fixing your mind over your body, once and for all.
Do they have ‘ world class’ trainers? Well, they used to have one – and so popular was he with their clients that people would come back just to see him. But Iain Reitze, although they begged him to stay, left New You Boot Camp over three years ago, to found his award-winning Prestige Boot Camp in Devon. Yet, deceitfully, his image is still used by Ms. Moran all over her website, as if to suggest to former clients that he is still there. He’s even featured, peering out from under a net,on their ‘ Courses & Dates’ page! In case you didn’t know, you now know that he left New You Boot Camp a long time ago. And one of the main reasons he gave up with Ms.Moran, and her co-director Ms.Cleaver, was, as he wrote to me: ” The directors did not appear to understand the full implicationsof physical training, nutrition, rest and safety”. But then, as both Sunny and Jacqui were bright, young sparks in the world of PR before setting up New You Boot Camp, why should they know any better? And who are they to disagree with Mr. Iain Reitze’s highly professional judgement, a man to whom they still pay dishonest homage all over their website today? Iain Reitze’s point, though, is one which it is very important for you to understand – even if they don’t.
What Iain is saying is that the whole concept of the New You Boot Camp regime is so over-the-top (for the sake of obtaining weight-loss statistics the directors can then boast about) as to be worryingly over-brutal. For this reason, New You Boot Camp has the worst reputation in the country for what is known in the military as ‘beasting’ people. And it does not help at all to learn that the trainers are positively encouraged by the directors to do just that: they are paid less than the industry’s going rate for a trainer, but they can make up the difference by the commission paid to them for every 1lb, over 8 lbs, they manage to get off you in a week. No wonder New You’s trainers are at Force Ten on The Richter Scale of Menace! I’m relieved, and glad to say, that no other boot camp in England operates in this appalling way. Neither will any other boot camp wake you up with such unnecessarily nasty methods each morning: foghorn or fire alarm. None of our country’s top boot camps will start you working before 7am, or expect anything strenuous of you after dinner. Here it’s off at 6am, with plenty of work after dinner – so you go to bed every day utterly exhausted, with insufficient time given over for safe recovery. Hunger, too, is a frequent sensation here – because, considering the amount of work you’re forced into, they don’t feed you enough calories. However, if you’re a valued journalist and feeling painfully peckish, just ask Sunny – and she’ll slip you an oat-cake!
And, here, at this point, I’m just going to let people who’ve undergone the regime at New You Boot Camp tell you – in their own words – what it’s really like:
1. Check out Jana Sanchez’s harrowing experiences at http://janaadventure.blogspot.com, where she refers to ‘ New You Death Camp’ and includes the telling sentence: ” I spent the worst week of my life at what was supposed to be a weight-loss boot camp, but what in reality, was a badly-run and completely amateur week of physical, emotional and verbal abuse”.
2. Check out Daily Mail journalist, Lorraine Fisher’s article, entitled ‘ My Boot Camp Hell’ – found at http://news1.ghananation.com – from which I now quote. She went there in August 2010 and wrote the article in January 2011, where it appeared in The Daily Mail’s ‘ Life & Style’ section:
” I have never been shouted at so brutally. Tears of rage and distress poured down my cheeks”.
( I expected to be shouted at, but…) ” I discovered that I was really paying to be insulted and degraded – even outside of exercise periods”.
” Say something they didn’t like and they’d threaten to send you home. After a few days of this, I was living in fear”.
(Following yet another episode of physical and psychological bullying…) ” I was so shocked and confused, I had only the second panic attack of my life”.
” A major problem is that the trainers were all ex-Army. They seemed not to realise that helping paying women to lose weight and getting fitter is different from training men to fight for their country. Soldiers are ‘broken down’ and always do what they’re told because if they don’t, someone could die. You can’t really apply that logic to a load of women exercising in Wales. Yet they did “.
” After the first full day, three of the bigger boot campers had dropped out”.
” I decided to quit just 36 hours before the end. I wasn’t the only one – at least five of us had developed injuries”.
3. Check out what Marie Claire’s Nicola Larder has to say:
” I’m exhausted and broken, and it’s only day two. After dinner there’s a two-hour hike in the dark”.
” I can’t believe how tough it is. Some recruits actually vomit due to the intensity”. ( Iain Reitze has verified to me that vomiting was a common occurrence, with sometimes as many as eight women doing so in any one day).
( By the end…) ” I feel wrung-out, ego-bashed and really, really low”.
” I don’t feel I’ve learned anything about how to keep the weight off or change my eating patterns, though, and I can already see myself starting to slip back into old, bad habits”.
4. Check out any one of the following journalists – or, with a drink within easy reach, all of them:
” Bad behaviour, which includes not doing all the exercises, will be punished by more exercise”.
” One of the miltary instructors told us that even the SAS don’t do as much during their training”.
” A brutal boot camp…by the fourth day I have pulled a muscle in my left thigh. By the fifth day, I have done the same on the right”.
” The group is already falling apart – some have been vomiting, several have cried and one refuses to get out of bed”. (Avril Mair)
” I’m ushered to the bunk-bed in the dorm I’m sharing with 17 other overweight women. A plastic container on the floor is my wardrobe!”.
” A third of us have injuries, nearly all of us are nauseous. One girl has left early”. (Sharon Marshall)
” The camp is divided: some feel revitalised; others broken. I’m in the latter group”. ( Anna-Lou Weatherley )
” As soon as we arrived at the camp the trainer told me: ‘ From now on, don’t use my name and don’t speak to me”. ( Abi Titmuss)
” Day 4. The instructors are still yet to crack a smile.” ( Charmaine Yabsley)
5. Check out these extracts – from just some of the many distressing statements about New You Boot Camp, held by me on file:
” I left with a fractured elbow after two nights at camp. No follow up from any of the team to see how I was or if my injury had healed ok. I was left feeling that once they’d had my money, they just didn’t want to know me any more”.
” I was suffering from a knee injury so was limited in the amount of running I could do. I was told on the first morning by one of the trainers that I should just go home as there was no point in being there if I couldn’t run properly”.
” There was no holiday environment, wasn’t an option to miss a session. If you were absent, boot camp manager came to find you. Trainers told us they received a bonus for the weight we lost and it seemed the boot camp manager had targets she had to keep. Got the distinct impression this is why guests were ‘bullied’ into taking part in each session and encouraged to leave if they were injured or weren’t putting their ‘all’ into the work”.
” Trainers were regularly rude/swore/demotivated/belittled us”.
” Trainers made it very clear they disliked certain guests and were vocal about that”.
” I was not known by my name but by my number: 25″.
” You just can’t take people who haven’t worked out for ages and then suddenly start to train them like Olympic athletes”.
” Trainers ate in the same room but at a separate table and chef cooked them alternate meals – burgers, steaks etc.”.
” Food was very poor, on average between approx. 800-1200 calories a day. Typical meal was small portion of protein and two small pieces of vegetables”.
” Trainers read our feedback forms(which were mandatory, Boot Camp Manager came to find us and stand over us until we completed them) ans ‘sounded off’ if anyone had not rated them as excellent”.
” No level of service. No-one seemed interested in our experiences or if we were enjoying ourselves. If anyone said anything negative/ complained it was ignored. The general consensus was it was akin to a prison camp”.
Two final comments about the regime at New You Boot Camp – which is unlike any other boot camp nor how boot camps were ever intended to be – and which you might find rather shocking to learn. Let me quote to you from their website.
Firstly, and absolutely the last thing anyone wants to hear: ” The intensity of training is the same at all our boot camps “. Oh dear. This one sentence, I would say, fatally condemns all their other boot camps. And secondly, it might utterly amaze you to know – especially after reading all of the above – that New You (courtesy of a chum in the media) badges itself up as – wait for it – ” The Best Boot Camp in The World “!!! Now that the scales have been removed from your eyes, you can see how misleading, offensive, hollow and ridiculous are the fantasies of world domination peddled by New You Boot Camp.
For a long time now, someone has needed to flag up the short-comings of New You Boot Camp to the general public – because Ms.Moran is a professional in the PR industry and, as such, a consummate mistress of spin. Fronting up with a name that is both slick and catchy, she has gone on to create a website that, on first view, is very impressive. Take the voluminous 116 Press Reviews for example. Being three times more than second-placed Nu-Beginnings, with a mere 40 Press Articles, the undoubted intention of this barrage is to wow you into more or less immediately writing out a cheque. But just dig a little deeper and – as not infrequently with Ms.Moran – all is not what it seems to be. She’s put everything but the kitchen sink in there: alongside the usual and perfectly valid if naive diary pieces, are articles repeated two or three times over, articles where New You isn’t even mentioned, articles where dietary and exercise tips earn the company a name-check and a shedload of competitons, giveaways and PR adverts. On the other hand – and even more interestingly– is what Ms.Moran chooses to omit.
Take, for example, an article by Sharon Marshall which gets spiked just at this point:” My doctor from Celebrity Fit Club, Dr. Adam Carey, has a few concerns….”. Well, I tracked down the article – and this is what you missed: ” There is significant risk on a low-calorie diet and heavy exercise regime like this that, as well as burning off fat, you lose muscle mass. As you go back to a normal calorie consumption the weight will go back on and more quickly than before because your body’s engine is now smaller”. Nor does Ms.Moran want you to read the best press article I’ ve ever read on the subject of boot camps, published in ‘ Marie Claire’ Magazine and called ‘ The Battle of the Boot Camps’. In it, twin sisters attend two very different boot camps ( holistic Nubeginnings vs. extreme cardiovascular New You) and have their results assessed by an expert – whose verdict Ms.Moran would rather you did not see: ” The extreme bootcamp succeeded in burning five pounds off Nicola’s body, but such plans are less successful long term. If either sister is more likely to keep going with an exercise regime, I predict it will be Victoria, because her experience, where she also lost five pounds, has been challenging yet pleasurable”.
The list of Client Testimonials is positively huge – partly because New You has been going longer than anyone else, partly because people going to boot camp for the first time tend to gush on ( I did!) and partly because Ms.Moran is not above faking them. I caught her red-handed lifting ‘ Samantha Williams’ word-for-word from the female section over into the male section as ‘ Sam Williams ‘. Similarly, ‘ Katie Leadbetter ‘ ( a boot camp manageress at New You, anyway!) conveniently morphs into a ‘ Mr. Leadbetter of Devon ‘ and, telepathically, uses exactly the same words. If only they could meet, they’d get along so well together! Makes you wonder, though, just how many more ‘ Testimonials’ are false, in-house fabrications too? I mean, theoretically, trainers’ wives, friends, family and God knows who else could be in there – a suspicion hardly allayed by Ms.Moran’s immediate removal of the evidence, when rumbled by me, and adamant denial, to this day, that such a thing ever happened at all. Amazing brass neck, eh? I have, of course, got copies of the original offence safely filed away in my dossier, as indeed I have firm evidence for everything else I say on this website. At this address, at least, integrity is all.
Finally, let me share with you a small sample of the large number of distressing statements via email which I hold on file about this boot camp. Hand on heart, I have heard and read – during my three-year stint going round the boot-camp circuit – more complaints and horror stories about New You Boot Camp than all the other boot camps in England put together. There are things which defy belief: clients filling out their medical history forms, only after they’ve arrived at camp; being reported, by a client, to the Trading Standards Authority for telling lies about their product; the group that split acrimoniously in two, because the journalists were being treated so much better than the clients who’d paid; the poor lady who only found out on arrival that the single room she’d booked long ago had been given away, at the last minute, to some celeb – and that she’d now have to share instead. Eventually, after a fuss, she got a substandard single in the staff’s quarters, complete with all their cooking smells and noise wafting up night after night. When afterwards, and quite rightly, she broached the subject of some sort of refund, she never even had the courtesy of any reply. And so it goes on. You get the picture. What’s more, by constantly advertising work vacancies – and by failing to name one single member of staff on their website where other boot camps are only too happy to post up ‘ Our Team ‘ – you’d be right to suspect that staff-turnover at New You Boot Camp is high. And that is never a good sign, for any business.
The Nutritionist’s Tale, for example, will give you some further insights into the barely-credible behaviour of the directors. They loftily informed one Nutritionist that her wages were being cut, her hours increased and that she could not work for anyone else! She left. They’re on at least their fourth Nutritionist, by now. Yet Ms.Moran – unbelievably, and in a legal document too – tells the outrageous lie that New You Boot Camp has had, from its inception until today, the same Nutritionist all along!
What do you do with people like that?
Other than to expose them as the dodgy duo of directors they really are – and for running, at their ‘ Back to Basics’ camp, the worst boot camp in the country. Ooops, of course, I mean ” the best boot camp in the world “.
If, after reading down to this point, you still choose to believe all their glittering, shop-window PR fiction rather than the careful truth I have been at great pains to lay out before you, then be it on your own head entirely. Reader, there could not be a louder Non-Recommend. And remember that wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. They don’t just, bilthely and blindly, go straight out and repeat them.