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Fitness Roadtest: Up, down and dirty with Battle Camp Fitness

Ashleigh Went

Scaling 3 metre high walls. Crawling through mud under barbed wire. Running through a field of live wires. Squeezing through pipes only to emerge into a pile of brown sludge. For many, this sounds like sheer torture. But for an insane brave few, it’s their idea of the ultimate fitness challenge.

Welcome to the world of obstacle training.

I’d always considered myself a member of the former group. Not necessarily because it didn’t look like fun, but because it seemed so out of reach. What kind of training would you have to do to be able to run a 20km course littered with what essentially looks like glorified booby traps?!

What changed my mind? Why, I’m so glad you asked.

I signed up to a Super Session Boot Camp with Battle Camp Fitness. These sessions run in the lead up to some of the season’s biggest obstacle events like Tough Mudder (taking place this weekend!), Miss Muddy, Mud Muster, Call of the Beast, etc., and they’re designed to safely prepare you for the kinds of activities you’ll be tackling come event day.

When I turned up on Saturday morning at Nara Peace Park, I was introduced to the instructors, including Battle Camp owners Dan and James, both of whom are former military physical instructors.


It's time to get down and dirty as we prep for Battle Camp bootcamp!

What is fantastic about these Super Sessions is the focus on safety. Before we even began training, every participant was shown how to correctly strap their ankles with sports tape, as we were told that ankle sprains are a common injury in this kind of training, mainly due to the uneven terrain.

After a brisk warm up spent running around the park and doing some resistance work, we were told to grab a partner and a metal pipe. We ran a few kilometres, sharing the weight of the pipe with our partners, before reaching the rock walls near the National Library.

I’ll admit that I was most nervous about this part. Upper body strength is not really my forte, and I definitely had a little self doubt floating around in my head. Before we took on the wall, Dan and James showed us how to dismount and land the right way to prevent injury, and to fall the right way.

“There’s a right way to fall?” you ask. Yes there is, especially if you’re looking to avoid injury.


Luckily, it’s fun and easy to get the hang of, and knowing how to stop from face planting gives you a little more confidence prior to the climb.

Wall scaling is a group activity, and it’s surprisingly easy. Not only did I successfully make it up (and down) the wall, but I also helped my team mates –  including the 90-odd kilogram men in our team.

And I had so much fun.

Next we carried our pipes back to the park and were taught how to leopard crawl. I’m told this is an essential skill in mud-based events. It is essentially a way of crawling low on the ground, using your body to move in the most efficient and safe way. It’s also a great work out.

After a run through the sprinklers we arrived at Yarralumla Bay where we divided into two teams for a game of Murder Ball in the water. Yes, in the waters of Lake Burley Griffin. Fully clothed.


Anyone for a game of Murder Ball in Lake Burley Griffin? Fully clothed?

Not only is this really, really fun, but I found it to be a great way to become accustomed to the extra weight of being dressed in the water, and running and swimming – two essential skills for this kind of training.

It also teaches you one of the most important aspects of obstacle courses, and that’s teamwork.

It helps that the folk at Battle Camp are super friendly and easy to get along with. I get the impression that all know each other quite well, but I didn’t feel at all like an outsider for a second. There’s lots of chatting and laughing which makes you feel comfortable very quickly – kind of important when you’re climbing on each other’s shoulders.

These Super Sessions are run once a month or more, depending on demand. If you think it sounds awesome (which I hope you do, because it was) make sure to email or call Battle Camp and register your interest.

I for one have not signed up for any obstacle course events this season, but that won’t stop me from attending any more Super Sessions.

In fact, I loved it so much that I’ll be signing up to start the next term of Battle Camp’s regular Boot Camps. With 18 sessions a week in locations across Canberra, it’s really convenient and you’d be hard pressed to not be able to squeeze in a few sessions a week. Plus, with the beautiful weather we’ve had lately it’s the perfect time to venture out of the gym (or off the couch!) and enjoy some outdoor training. Reasonably priced, Battle Camp also offer a free week to new members.

Need an extra push? The team at Battle Camp have a special offer just for HerCanberra readers. Bring along a friend to the next Super Session and pay the discounted rate of just $15 each – usually $20.

Ok, so now there’s definitely no excuses not to try it!

The essentials

What: Super Session Boot Camp

Where: Battle Camp Fitness has locations across Canberra. Check here to find one closest to you.

When: Choose from 18 sessions per week dependent on location.

How much: $20 per session (or check out the HerCanberra offer above)



Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author