Carole had always had her reasons for not joining a fitness class. “I thought everyone would be fit and skinny, I didn’t want to go on my own and wasn’t sure if I was going to be ‘good enough’. It had a real impact on my mental health. I struggled with low mood and the uncertainty of what was happening.”

Taking the virtual leap:

When lockdown forced providers to go virtual, Carole saw an opportunity. “A local Bootcamp had moved their sessions online and for free! What was the harm in tuning in to listen and watch a session? It felt relaxed, the instructors were super encouraging and supportive. They told me to work at my own pace and that whatever I was able to achieve was enough! So, I committed to the next online session and the one after that!

I won’t lie, I found some of it challenging. But I could see the instructor working hard, sweating, also out of breath and they kept telling me that it was OK to feel like it is hard, and take it at a pace I was comfortable at.”

Building a routine:

“I loved having that structure in place and I was always invigorated by what I had achieved. My mood started to improve and I felt more confident in myself. The other members are just real people of different ages and sizes and fitness levels with their own goals to achieve.”

Taking the next leap:

“As lockdown was coming to an end, they advised people of a start date back at the parks. Despite initial nerves, I was already part of the team and went along. Somehow it works, all the mixed abilities and people. I have even found a few running partners!”

Reflecting on my journey:

“At the start of lockdown, if you had told me I would be running, I would have laughed! I have met some incredible people that make you realise you aren’t the only one struggling, mentally and physically. It’s not about work, or stresses, family or a to-do list; you are there to focus on yourself.

Now I love going and wish I’d started sooner!”

Bootcamps/group exercise in YOUR area:

Southampton West and Totton:

  • Atlas fitness – Southampton CommonFitnessinfoatlas@gmail.com (this is the group Carole attends)
  • Forrest Fitness – Totton & Eling Tennis Centre, SO40 8FT – 07724719734
  • David Lloyd Club – Off Brownhill Way, Frogmore Lane, Southampton, SO16 0XS – 0345 129 6707

Area 2 – Chandler’s Ford & Eastleigh:

  • Bootcamp UK Eastleigh – Itchen Valley Country Park, Allington Lane, West End SO30 3HQ – 07766647863
  • Places Leisure Eastleigh -Passfield Avenue, SO50 9NL – 02380 684800
  • 3d health and fitness Chandlers Ford – Trafalgar Close, Chandlers Ford, SO53 4BW – 02380 253536
  • Geefit – The University of Southampton, Wide Lane, Eastleigh SO50 5PE – 023 811 12884

Area 3 – Locks Heath Fareham

  • Bootcamp UK Fareham – Tichfield Recreational Ground, Fareham, PO14 4AX – 07769 153 619
  • Everyone Active Fareham – Park Lane, PO16 7JU – 0132 923 3652
  • Fusion Fitness – Salterns Rd, Fareham PO14 3LU – 07946 660 943

Area 4 – Meon Valley & surrounds

  • Bootcamp UK Petersfield – The Petersfield School, GU32 3LU – 07950 695 792
  • Everyone Active Whiteley – Whiteley Way, PO15 7LJ – 01489 577 464
  • On Form Fitness – Whiteley Local Centre, Gull Coppice, PO15 7LS – 07713 013 203

Area 5 – Itchen valley inc Winchester:

  • Dawn Breakers – The Westgate School, Winchester, SO22 5AZ – 07717 875710
  • Bootcamp UK Winchester – Gordon Rd, SO23 7DD – 07584 019 396
  • Buggy Fit UK – Eversley Park Recreation Ground, Kingsworthy, SO23 7TF – 07799 890 860 &  Itchen Abbas Village Hall, SO21 1BQ – 07799 890 860

Area 6 – New Forest & Waterside        

  • New Forest Gym – 5, Dene Close, Ringwood, BH24 1TB – 07731 781 095
  • Applemore Health and Leisure – Claypits Lane, Dibden, SO45 5TN – 023 8200 0299

Area 7 – Romsey and Test Valley:

  • Alchemy fitness – Unit 17, Basepoint Business Centre, Romsey, SO51 9AQ – 07926 983 718
  • SO51 Fitness – Unit 21 Basepoint, Abbey Park Industrial Estate, Romsey SO51 9AQ – 07815 687425
  • Reenergise Braishfield Village Hall, Braishfield Rd, SO51 0PN – 07808 173 378

Area 8 – Southampton East:

  • Geefit – Oasis Academy Mayfield, Southampton, SO19 9NA – 023 811 12884
  • Prossapien fitness – Veracity Recreation Ground, SO19 7QR – 07815 553199
  • Mindset Bootcamp – 57 Midanbury Lane, Southampton, SO18 4DJ – 07825 148 406

Energise Me is a charity that champions physical activity for all in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It tackles the things that prevent active lifestyles so local people can improve their health and happiness by moving more. Read more local stories at: