A YOUNG Royal Marine attempting to create the biggest boot camp in the UK has picked Stratford-upon-Avon for his first set of sessions, which start on Monday.
James Evans, aged 22 from Throckmorton near Evesham, invited me down to the recreation ground last Friday to sample his gruelling fitness classes designed to military standards.
A recruit for the Royal Marines Reserves in London, James runs the Xtreme Bootcamps sessions with Karl Fraser, a 23-year-old ex-paratrooper from Rugby who has been on two tours of Afghanistan.
Committed to giving members a legitimate military experience, he is only employing servicemen and women who have trained at the highest standards.
“I saw other boot camps and I knew I could do better,” said James. “The goal is in two years to be the biggest boot camp in the country.”
However, the sessions are open to all levels of fitness and on Friday, there were men and women of all ages at the taster class near the bandstand.
The only thing James demands is that everyone pushes themselves to their own limit.
A fitness fanatic since the age of 14, he decided to join the forces when he was studying Business Enterprise at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.
“When I was there I saw this show on Ross Kemp in Afghanistan,” he said.
“I started going to open days and things like that and then I realised I wanted to join the forces. It was always the Marines I wanted to join because they’re the best.”
James runs Xtreme Bootcamps with his 43-year-old mother, Zoe Evans.
A corporate lawyer for 20 years, she knew she wanted to start a business with her son, and boot camps were the obvious choice given James’ skills.
“He’s always been into fitness, that’s why he wanted to be in the marines, because he wanted to prove he was the ultimate fit person,” she said.
James added: “I wanted to test myself because they’ve got the hardest physical challenge in the world. Since I joined in April, I have just absolutely loved it.”
So how hard are his classes? Mixing short bursts of sprinting with prolonged work on core muscles, the drills are not a quick and easy route to looking like a bodybuilder, they’re designed to make you both fitter and stronger all over.
The ‘burpee’ exercise—which involves quickly moving from a press up position to a jump and back down again— is a favourite, and members can expect to be ‘planking’— holding a press-up position on their elbows— for agonisingly long periods.
Always encouraging, James and Karl never shout, but insist that you keep going until there’s nothing left. It’s worth enduring the pain during the hour, for the rewarding feeling afterward.
Starting on Monday, one-hour Xtreme Bootcamps sessions are going to be held on the recreation ground by the bandstand every day of the week.
Sessions are between 6pm-7pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 7am-8am Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everyone’s first session is free, and after that it’s £8 per class or £39 per month.
To find out more, visit www.xtremebootcamps.com
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