British Military Fitness
, or BMF, is an organisation providing fitness classes in over fifty public parks across the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
. The classes are run by former or serving members of the British armed forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...
with recognised fitness training qualifications.
British Military Fitness (BMF) was founded in 1999 by retired Major Robin Cope as an alternative to gym
The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, that mean a locality for both physical and intellectual education of young men...
s for fitness training. He felt that an added emphasis should be made on providing motivation which was lacking in the majority of those who work out in gyms. The first-ever BMF class attracted just three clients – two nurses, and a wannabe commando who turned up in his own uniform. Today, the business boasts more than 25,000 members attending more than 120 parks covering the length and breadth of the country.
Each lesson lasts approximately sixty minutes, and, in order to cater for all abilities, classes are broken up into three ability groups indicated by the wearing of coloured bibs: blue for beginners, red for intermediates and green for advanced.
The first ten minutes of a class are spent warming up, before fifty minutes of intense fitness exercises, which can vary from circuit training
Circuit training is a form of conditioning combining resistance training and high-intensity aerobics. It is designed to be easy to follow and target strength building as well as muscular endurance. An exercise "circuit" is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program. When one circuit...
, relays, sprints, military activities and team games. The class is punctuated by a quick water break at the mid-point and ends with a five minute cool-down and stretching session.
Unlike the controlled environment of a gym, lessons vary from class to class with instructors making full use of the surrounding features of the park. Alongside the military fitness classes, BMF also offers running club
A running club is an eclectic institution specialising in running and oriented towards the sport and recreation of running or track and field...
s in certain locations.
Fitness Assessments, usually held at the end of each month, are a series of exercises against the clock based on the Army Fitness Test, which have been adapted to suit the format of the sessions. The assessments are voluntary, but are used as a way of monitoring progress over time. The test is based on five exercises as follows; A timed 1500 metre run, maximum repetitions over a 2 minute period for each of sit up
The sit-up is a strength training exercise commonly performed with the aim of strengthening the hip flexors and abdominal muscles. It begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the arms across the chest or hands behind the head and the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on...
s, press up
For the 2004 single by Freestylers, see Push UpA push-up, or in British English a press-up, is a common calisthenics exercise performed in a prone position by raising and lowering the body using the arms...
s and burpee
The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as aerobic exercise. It is performed in four steps, and was originally known as a "four-count Burpee":# Begin in a standing position....
s, and 15 x 20 metre shuttle sprints. Each of the five exercises generate a score out of 100, giving the overall result of the fitness test as a mark out of 500. As a rough guide, scores equate to classification of fitness groups as follows; blue group 0-159 points, red group 160-325 points, green group 326-500 points.
Each class is led by at least one instructor, who gives direction on the exercises to be carried out and motivation to the class throughout the lesson. Students are rarely addressed by name but by the number worn on their bib instead.
Recently BMF has engaged with Westminster Council to run special classes for drug addicts and the ex-homeless.