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Five bootcamps to try

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Looking to shake up your fitness and give something new a try? Maybe you’re more of a “bootcamp-er” than a gym junkie? Time to head outdoors and see what you’re made of… Here are five bootcamps for you try.

Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge Canberra

You may well have heard of the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge – and for good reason. This 12-week program has reached the heights of fitness fame through regularly posting photos of amazing “before and afters”. It’s based on encouraging and empowering women to reach their goals and gain self-confidence through an active lifestyle I can see why the program is so successful – I attended a 6am Tabata Toning class and was really impressed. We used a combination of body weight and dumbbell exercises to tone our legs, butts, arms and abs – a full body workout! The exercises were completed in circuits with small rests in between so you get your heart raised and lowered repeatedly – this is the essence of ‘tabata’ training and it’s really effective in torching calories fast.

One of the unique elements about this class is that you bring your own yoga mat, dumbbells and a skipping rope so you can pick you own weights for the class. The circuits are also completed in your own time so it’s perfect no matter what your level of fitness is. The participants were all dedicated and friendly, and although there were participants of varying fitness levels, the women all looked fit and healthy – a sign that the program works for real women!

The classes are ladies only, so if you’d prefer to work out in an all female environment then this is a really good option. There are a mixture of sessions run throughout the week that include boxing, intervals, stretching, yoga, pilates, high intensity training, circuits, weight training, crossfit style training, RPM/spin and hiking. There’s plenty of variety so you won’t get bored, and most of the sessions are held by Lake Burley Griffin – a location that’s not only beautiful but conveniently central.

Programs run for 12 weeks at a time, with new sign ups opening in 2-3 weeks. For details email

Revival of the Fittest

I was lucky enough to sample Harriet Walker’s Revival of the Fittest Bootcamps at Project Fitness in Mitchell last year and I loved it.

revival of the fittest

Every single session was different and challenging and made me feel stronger. Harriet tests different elements of your fitness including how many push ups/sit ups you can do in a minute, how long it takes you to row 500m and my personal favourite—the beep test. This is awesome because in just four weeks you can see what a difference you’ve made and how much you’ve improved, which in turns encourages you and keeps you on the right track!

The classes themselves are a real mix but it’s often high intensity interval training (HITT); a technique known for its effectiveness in shifting fat and building muscle. It’s a mix of cardio (think hill sprints, spin bikes, and a lot of rowing) and resistance – everything from deadlifts with sand bags, jump squats, rope slams, push ups, kettle bell swings, crazy ab workouts… you name it, Harriet’s covered it. She tells me that she’s found it’s a great way to train for the female physique specifically, and I can see why. Of course everyone experiences training differently but I found that I lost fat from my stomach and thighs, and gained a lot of strength in my upper body, which in the past I’ve struggled to do.


Boot camp is twice a week and Harriet gives you a program for the other days too consisting of mostly cardio and one other strength workout that you can easily do at home. What I enjoyed about it is that I could incorporate other training and activities that I did as well. I didn’t feel like I was too tired to play touch footy or drop down my running or swimming; it was very easy to incorporate into my lifestyle. I’m sure it would be the same even if you’re other activities include maintaining a household or taking care of the kids. This isn’t a program that will run you into the ground or present any impossible challenges. It’s simple, achievable and effective.

I loved Harriet’s bootcamps and can’t recommend them highly enough!

Define Fitness

Define Fitness have a range of options that includes partner training, bootcamp, yoga inspired Flex Express, Tough Enough strength and conditioning, and tailored corporate and private groups.


Owner Nathan Hitchcock recommended the Finally Fit and Fabulous Forever personal training for me. Anything fit and fabulous sounds just fine to me!

In order to get a holistic taste of what Define Fitness has to offer, I was treated to a 45-minute session—15 minutes each with three different personal trainers—Maddi, Sab and Nathan.

First up was Maddi aka Define Fitness’ Smiling Assassin. Maddi comes across as lovely and gentle, but don’t be fooled—she’ll put you through your paces! I’m also told that she’s recovered from multiple surgeries herself, so she’s a great choice if you’re after some rehabilitation.

After a brief warm up we launch into intervals with sprints, push ups and burpees. Next I put on some gloves and launched straight into boxing…with more burpees! It was only a 15-minute session but I was wrecked, and still with two more 15-minutes sessions to go.

Seb has a very unique style of training based around animal movements linked to martial arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He ran me though four different exercises that involved crawling and hopping like a leopard, a bunny, a frog and a bear. It’s a really challenging and fun workout.

My last session was with Nathan. While Nathan is a big believer in body weight exercises.

“If you can’t support your own weight, why would you lift anything else”—for our session he brought out a range of equipment, some of which I’d never seen before.

We ran through a circuit that included kettle bell swings, rows, ball slams, goblet squats and core exercises. Nathan has a really good way of explaining exercises and is there to watch carefully and support you the whole way through. I also like that he explains why you’re doing each exercise or stretch and where you should be feeling it.

At the end of the session we go through a cool down and Nathan encourages me to take care of myself afterwards by having a hot and cold shower, and eating some protein for muscle development plus getting enough rest. This genuine concern for your wellbeing is what sets Define Fitness apart. It’s a very holistic, personal method. 


You know that one person in the class that’s a little difficult, needing a bit of extra attention? This week, I was that person but Jacqui and the team at PT2U Personal Training handled it with kindness and grace.


Suffering from an annoying injury, I was a bit nervous going into this road test.

Turns out I was fretting over nothing, as trainer Jesse welcomed me, injury and all, with open arms into the spacious studio on Dacre Street in Mitchell for my first bootcamp.

If you’re imagining military style shouting, then stop right there. While the instructors will definitely tell you what to do, they’re more about encouraging and supporting you then intimidating you with their yelling. Although you may spend a little time running outside, the class is mostly held inside the studio, which is perfect for a frosty Canberra mornings.

The workout was varied, with a lot of ab work. But I was able to phone Jacqui the day before to tell her that I’d been advised against training lower body or running. I knew that working around those parameters would be difficult, but Jesse handled it exceptionally well, even carrying in a rower from the Crossfit studio next door so that I could row instead of run.

There was a massive range of fitness levels in all of the classes that I tried and, as I hope I’ve already shown, the team at PT2U really look after you and your injuries. There’s a group of regulars who are always encouraging, friendly and up for a chat too. They were all talking about how much they’d improved over the course of their fitness journeys at PT2U, which to me demonstrated that they were all getting results, and all coming back again and again – always a great telltale sign of a fantastic fitness facility.

I’d really encourage you to give PT2U Personal Training a go. If you’re after results, and a supportive and caring community environment, then this is the place for you.

Bodyrite Personal Training

I am not a morning person. So the thought of waking up at 6am to make it to Bodyrite’s Small Group Personal Training at 6.15am had me seriously second guessing my dedication to fitness (and let’s be honest, life in general).


As I groggily got into the car and drove myself over to Downer Oval and Community Centre, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to locate personal trainer Patti and the other participants. I needn’t have worried however, as I nearly took out a row of kettle bells when I turned in to park. I also saw cones lined up next to skipping ropes, Frisbees, and yoga mats.

We were paired up and told to run back and forward across the car park while throwing and catching a large Frisbee – a fun exercise and something other than your stock standard high-knees or jogging on the spot warm-up.

Next Patti split the group in half and sent us to opposite sides of the car park. One half of us did enough squats to make the biggest, fattest sumo cry while the other group jump roped. Then one half of us did kettle bell swings while the others did side lunges reaching to opposite foot.

Next we held hands and ran around in a circle while one person had the task of fetching the scarf tucked into Patti’s belt. Honestly, you hardly notice how much running you’re doing when having that much fun.

A long stretch finished off the class, which gave me an opportunity to speak to some of the other participants. Most of them came to 3 or more sessions a week, and said it was something that they looked forward to and had become part of their daily routine. Nobody had a bad word to say, and were nothing but friendly and happy. It’s hard to be a grumpy morning person when you’re surrounded by smiles and laughter.

Did the classes convert me to a morning person? Well, I certainly won’t be waking up at 5am, chugging down kale smoothies and go for marathon runs. But knowing that a fun, energetic workout in the company of a wonderful group of people lies at the other side of my alarm clock certainly makes it a lot easier.

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