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Why I went to No1 Bootcamp in Ibiza – and why I’d never go back…

May 24, 2016
no1 bootcamp Ibiza

This time last month, I was in Ibiza with No1 Bootcamp, running up and down dusty hills like a rabid dog and surviving on 1,200 calories per day. It was a week of extreme exercise and even more extreme dieting, all in the name of… what, exactly?

I documented my time in camp on Snapchat (@rosemarymaccabe) and Instagram, and the #1 question people asked was: why? After all, I’d been working out and eating clean at Lift Training Studios since September, and seeing great results so, why bother?

no1 bootcamp Ibiza

It was for an Irish Country Magazine feature

The #1 reason I was in Ibiza, being tortured by a former army soldier, was because I’d agreed to do a feature on it for Irish Country Magazine‘s June issue, on shelves today. And, honestly? I think that made it harder. Every time Wez, our trainer, would shout, “what’re you here for? You’re here to burn fat” (at least three times a day), I’d feel like responding with, “no, Wez, I’m here for a feature – so I’ll just be sitting down on this wall for five minutes.” I never did respond with that, because I felt like Wez would most definitely have punished me with extra running. He was sound like that.

I only paid for my flights

Honesty, right? I’m all about it. So I don’t mind telling you: the PR company for No1 Bootcamp reached out to me and asked if I’d like to come on one of the camps and write a feature about it. And, y’know, I never look a gift horse in the mouth. (Well, that’s not true; I’ve probably been offered several free trips, by people hoping for coverage, and said no – because it didn’t suit what I was working on, or I couldn’t get it placed. But in this case, I could – see above.) Flights set me back about €150, so the only financial justification I had to make to myself was the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do any other work for the week. And, as a self-employed person, that’s a pretty big deal – did I want to take a whole week off, to do one feature? In the end, I decided that it would be an interesting challenge, not to mention the fact that: Ibiza? Fun.

no1 bootcamp Ibiza

I felt like I’d be well able for it

For the first time in my life, I would consider myself to be fairly fit. In fact, I’d go further than that: I am a fit person. I have a good level of fitness. Honestly, I have never been able to say that before. So, if I’d been asked to go to No1 Bootcamp a year ago, I would’ve said a big, huge, resounding NO. I would’ve been too terrified – of failure and of humiliation – to risk it. So when it came around this year, and me at my fittest ever… It seemed like perfect timing.

I’d heard good things about No1 Bootcamp

It’s in the news a good bit – Made in Chelsea‘s Spencer Matthews, Towie‘s Arg and, er, Stevi Ritchie have all gone to No1 Bootcamp and reported huge losses (and a lorra, lorra laughs), but it wasn’t just the Daily Mail headlines that had me sold. My friend Elaine (Crowley, of Midday fame) went to the Norfolk camp last year, and lost loads of weight – plus, she loved it. So, going in, I felt fairly comfortable about the week ahead.

no1 bootcamp Ibiza

I wasn’t going it alone

This was probably one of the top considerations – I seem very confident (I think!) and self-assured, but really I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to certain things, and going away to Ibiza to take part in a fitness bootcamp would have been way up there on the scary scale! So it definitely helped that my friend Aoibhinn Mc Bride, style and beauty editor at Evoke, was coming along too, to cover it for the site and for the Irish Daily Mail. We got to share a room, and watch chick flicks together at night, and give out about the insane things we’d been made do and our tiny portions (to be fair, Aoibhinn didn’t mind them – her issue was the workout, while mine was the grub).

no1 bootcamp Ibiza

It was a holiday… (Or so I thought)

C’mon: who’s going to turn down the opportunity to spend a week in Ibiza?

And as for why I’d never go back… 

You’ll have to grab your issue of Irish Country Magazine to read the full story, but believe me when I tell you that my week at No1 Bootcamp was incredibly difficult. It was a full-on, high-intensity weightloss bootcamp, with five hours’ exercise every day, and very little food. And those of you who follow me on Snapchat will know that I’ve found the rehabilitation into normal life incredibly difficult!

I came back feeling as if I’d been starved for weeks, and I ate everything around me, despite telling myself, over and over, not to ruin all of the hard work I’d put in. Four weeks later, I’m still overeating – I think I’d managed to get myself out of a really bad cycle of bingeing and emotional eating, and having a week where I felt so hungry, so deprived, and with such a focus on the scales was not good for my psyche.

So no, I wouldn’t go back – but that’s a very personal thing, and it’s tied up with years of emotional eating and problems with food, weight and those dreaded scales. It’s not a place I want to get back to, and I’m really struggling with shaking off the after-effects of a week spent starving in the sun! (#FirstWorldProblems, anyone?)

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  • Reply Tracey Quinn May 24, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I just love your honesty Rosemary. It’s the reason why your readers (me included) trust what you say. You are a breath of fresh air in a very saturated market! Well done.

    • Reply Rosemary May 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Oh thanks so much Tracey! That really means a lot!

  • Reply Deirdre May 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Love how honest you are, it really make me trust you when it comes to reviews and recommendations because you know you aren’t just being paid to say great things you are paid for an opinion. I believe a lot of your fellow bloggers could take a leaf out of your book! Great article too!

  • Reply Gemma May 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Another deadly read as always 🙂

  • Reply Nicola Conroy May 24, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Your honestly is amazing! x

  • Reply Alicia May 24, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Rosemary, I felt so awful for you watching your journey on snapchat! I wanted to feed you! Thanks for your candor & I’m hoping you feel strong enough to get back in the zone soon. It’s the mental preparedness that I would imagine is lagging for you after a week like that! From all your other posts it sounds like Niamh from Lift is an epic trainer & I’m sure she’s helping you too.

  • Reply May 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Great read. 1200 calories a day is not enough for most people who just sit on their arse all day, never mind someone who is in good shape legging it around Ibiza. It’s shocking that they encouraged you to eat so little. Just goes to show it’s unsustainable to live like that.

  • Reply themotherhubblog May 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

    How you managed to do that amount of exercise, in the heat, on the size of those teeny tiny portions I don’t know. The weight loss you achieved was impressive but (genuine question here and no intention of snark) is it possible to maintain that weight loss with your normal lifestyle ? (even though your normal lifestyle is already very healthy1)

    • Reply Rosemary May 25, 2016 at 10:58 am

      @themotherhubblog, no – I really don’t think it’s possible to maintain it. Or, at least, not for me! A few of the guys we were at Bootcamp with did say that they’ve managed to maintain theirs, but I would find it SO difficult. My trainer suggested that I try really carefully to stick to 1,400 calories a day and do a lot of weight training, but to be honest I just came back feeling so hungry and like I’d been so deprived that it would have been such a mental stretch!

  • Reply Louise June 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I love your honesty, I definitely want to pick up the mag to read more. I can totally get how you feel now though. 15+ yrs of similar struggles anything like that would leave me ready for Pats in a straight jacket. 1200cals is in no way sustainable, or healthy. 1400 isn’t much better day to day. It’s definitely made me think about the downside of those programs which you never hear about. Great job Rosemary! Hopefully you will find your balance soon. One bite at a time.

  • Reply Lise May 19, 2017 at 12:10 am

    What a load of rubbish!
    Lucky you having free wk away, a bootcamp is about pushing yourself… why go otherwise?
    Been there, food and company fantastic..
    Highly recommended in my opinion.

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