Let’s face it: squats are nobody’s idea of fun. But squats on Kirstenbosch’s Boomslang (officially the most beautiful object in South Africa), watching the sun rise over the city – that’s a different story.
I don’t know how I first convinced myself that waking up at 5 am three days a week to work out with Adventure Boot Camp in Kirstenbosch was a good idea, but I’d like to go back to 2013 Jade and give her a high-five.
Boot camp isn’t a new fitness concept any more, but it’s one that devotees swear by for its consistent results – and Adventure Boot Camp takes it a step further. Started more than a decade ago in Cape Town by adventure sports enthusiast Huenu Solsona, ABC now has more than 100 camps countrywide and has put over 50 000 women through their paces. It operates on a philosophy of back-to-basics, open-air fitness, and the hour-long workouts are open to women of all ages and fitness levels.
All ABC locations offer something unique to campers, but I’m going to go ahead and throw down the gauntlet: none of them can top the 5:45 am camp at Kirstenbosch with the wonderfully motivating (and, let’s just say it, pretty dishy) Jason Barnard.
Picture the scene. There’s a glow off to the east. Somewhere a hadeda is saying good morning to the world. There’s a breeze rustling the greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see. Your arms should be killing you as you finish a set of tricep dips using a pond wall as your bench … but somehow the sight of sunlight spilling over the city in the distance takes your mind off it, and you feel more vital, alive and in control of your body than you’re likely to feel at any other point in your day.
Now that’s what I call a workout.
You’ll need a mat and weights for every day except Wednesdays (hello legs and cardio!), but other than that the idea of Adventure Boot Camp is to use natural obstacles such as stairs, hills, ledges and landmarks to aid the workouts, taking you away from the traditional, confined gym environment. It’s a great eye-opener into how fitness needn’t be restricted to expensive apparatus. I know I started to view my world differently after starting ABC – every window sill, jungle gym or set of steps suddenly became potential workout equipment.
Then there’s the fact that the workouts are never the same week to week or even day to day. I get bored incredibly easily if I’m forced to do the same set of exercises over and over again, so the constantly varied combination of short-distance running, skipping, abs and core training, Pilates, circuit training, teamwork, free weights, matwork, games and hiking kept my brain interested while tricking me into a complete body workout.
Am I waxing lyrical? Fine. I’ll be that girl. I don’t mind. That’s how awesome my mornings have been lately.
Here are the quick-fire facts:
• The next camp begins on 1 June. Click to register!
• Camps are four weeks long, and follow on from each other without a break in between.
• You can choose to attend camp one, three or five days a week.
• You need a mat and a set of dumb-bells (2 kg weights are usually the best option).
• The more camps you complete, the bigger discounts you get on your next ones.
• On wet days camp takes place under cover at the visitors’ centre, with the chance to get into the garden once the drizzle stops (though it can be quite refreshing).
Okay. See you in the garden.
Where Kirstenbosch, Rhodes Drive, Newlands
When Daily at 5:45 am (click here for information on other camps and times)
Cost From R370 per camp at Kirstenbosch (click here for full pricing)
Need to know You can claim Vitality points for your ABC workouts
Contact +27 21 447 2746, www.adventurebootcamp.co.za