Intimidated By Gyms But Want To Get Fit?

One Putney resident finds Bootcamp on Putney Common the answer!



Bodies In Action


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Many people are intimidated by the prospect of going to the gym. Supercilious instructors, expensive membership fees and the chance to publicly humiliate yourself on a cross-trainer, can mean that even those with the best intentions of getting fit this year are put off.

What are the alternatives though? Zumba? Yoga? Or pounding the pavements with an evening jog? Maybe even a session of virtual boxing on Wii Sports? There are many, and each with their own benefits, (Indian yogis claim to live to an inspirational age of 150!), but what happens when you want to find an exercise option that gives you a full-body workout? This, ladies and gentlemen of Putney, can be a problem.

Like many, I regularly enjoy a pint in The Half Moon, and when I enter his shop the chap in the chicken shop across the street asks me if I want “the usual”. So it was ironic, that on my birthday last year, typically a day of sloth, that I discovered “Bodies in Action”.

Amongst the bottles of booze, novelty jumpers and dodgy aftershaves that made up my birthday haul, shone a coupon for 10 sessions of exercise classes on our very own Putney Common. I was a little apprehensive, to say the least...

Up to this point, a slow-paced game of football with slow-paced colleagues on a Wednesday night, and an occasional jog round the block, was as far as my physical fabric had been stretched. But when I woke, all bleary eyed, for my first 6.45am session, this was about to change.

Approaching the cricket pitch on Putney Common, I spy an eclectic gathering of locals preparing for 45 minutes of fitness fun. Lead by Jasyn Savage, South Africa’s answer to Mr. Motivator (but minus the spandex leotard), who has been training and coaching people of all abilities “from world class athletes to absolute beginners for over 15 years”.

The session begins with a light warm-up run and plenty of stretching before we get down to the serious matter of sweating buckets. Made up of jogging, stretching and various exercise drills, the sessions last 45 minutes. With gentle encouragement from Jasyn and his cheerful group of Putney-ites, I was surprised by how energetic you can be at such a time in the morning. Our Bodies really are in Action. Instead of repeating the same exercises each week, sessions are varied, so your body is kept guessing…However you can be guaranteed that most, if not all, of your muscles will be telling you roughly what you have been up to afterwards.

Initial fears of being “left behind” by the stronger members of the group or even slowed down by others, are alleviated by Jasyn. Each exercise is intended to be done at your own pace. Unlike many gyms, there are no judging eyes here as everyone is trying to achieve the same purpose; getting fit and healthy. And as long as you remember why you are running around a field at 6.45 in the morning (to get fit!), then you will have fun. You can find the times Jasyn runs his activities at the end of the article!

From the sofa-slouch to the fitness fanatic, I would recommend “Bodies in Action” to anyone. Information about session timings and prices can be found on the website ( One younger attendee has made such strides he’s now a stalwart of his school’s first 15 and has a bona fide 6 pack to boot. One has won Miss World (in her dreams).

To make things convenient, sessions fit nicely with work hours, and Jasyn also runs weekend sessions for those willing to sacrifice their Saturday morning lie-in.

It’s a year since my first session, and I feel fitter, slimmer and more active. Colleagues have noticed a (metaphorical) skip in my step when I walk into the office later that morning (actual skipping into the office is not recommended). I don’t recognise myself, and neither does the chicken shop man, although he still asks if I want the usual....

Thomas Jackson




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March 22, 2012