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"I Started Booty Camp after Changing my Life."

Leigh Shaw, Booty Camp's Most Passionate Camper

Training In: Manly (and anywhere else I can get to)
Training For: 6 years with Booty Camp

I started Booty Camp 6 years ago after understanding what something like Booty Camp, if it existed, could do. It all started in my late 20′s when the company I worked for kindly gave us all an in depth health and physical assessment. Suddenly I had to replace the words I had been using – “curvy”, “sugar-addict” and “taking a short break from physical activity but still reasonably fit” with “medically obese”, “borderline diabetic” and “average fitness of a 55 year old”.

It was devastating, but also a wake-up call. I had been in great shape right up til my mid-20′s. I still have the size 6 dress I wore to my graduation, but life, office, relationship and the ability to afford good food and wine had caught up with me. And I know a lot of girls out there recognize this story.

I was lucky, I had the diagnosis, a really supportive network of friends and the ability to get in touch with experts. I blitzed my diet and I learned how to eat with the help of a nutritionist.  I also relocated to Australia around the same time, and seeing all those fabulous healthy girls around me really gave me a dose of inspiration.

I joined a gym, but I didn’t like machines and if I’m honest I wasn’t a great self motivator and my gym membership started costing me $100 a visit I went so infrequently.

I then tried 4 different personal trainers, none of whom “got me” or got results. I really resented paying good money to someone who gave me a “personalized” work-out he also gave to 5 other clients (by the way, there are a lot of really good PTs out there too, we are lucky to have a lot of them train for Booty Camp – but getting great results from a personal trainer requires getting the right trainer and knowing what to ask for.)

I joined a regular Boot Camp, and I could see why it worked, but frankly I wasn’t anywhere near fit enough to keep up and I found the men with necks bigger than tree trunks a little intimidating.

Then I got really lucky. One lunchtime with some colleagues I was complaining about yet another wasted $300 on an exercise class I couldn’t stick, and I complained about the lack of groups designed for women.  “If only there was a class about us and our bodies and only for us, that would get results and be fun”.  Then the magic happened, one of the group said “I’d do that if you set it up”, then another and another, and before I knew it there was 6 of us – ranging from myself and another lady struggling with her weight through to a high level competitive athlete.  2 weeks later I had briefed a trainer on exactly what WE wanted, we were meeting at 6pm after work twice a week and we called ourselves – you guessed it – Booty Camp.

Booty Camp was fabulous, it was everything I had “if only’d” about.  We had fun, we got to try (and love) boxing and circuits, we encouraged each other, if one of us decided too pass (too much work or too cold) someone else would be in the mood and drag her out (over 12 weeks only 2 of us ever missed a session), we competed one minute and then worked as a team another, and most importantly we got results.  The very big added bonus for me, a new girl in the country, was I also made real friends – in fact 2 of the first Booty Campers are my best friends in Sydney.  I don’t know if I am more grateful for them or for getting my health back – either way Booty Camp changed my life.

Over the weeks more and more girls joined our Booty Camp and we thought it was getting too big, so I offered to set up another one in the morning so we could keep our class small.  Then friends of those girls asked if I could help them find a trainer in their area and do the same kind of thing.

Fast forward 2 years and I am tipping the scales 18kg lighter (another 2 years later I finally lost the last 3kg) and everything in my wardrobe was falling off me (actually once literally and embarrassingly at a work-do).

Unsurprisingly friends at work wanted in on the act, and we set up a small class after work just for us gals. Then their friends asked to join and we didn’t want to make the class too big, so I set up another one. And from this Booty Camp was born – girls only, small groups, catering to all fitness levels, with 3 clear goals – get fitter, feel healthier, look hot. We started just with a class in Manly, we now have over 100 classes across Australia and over 15,000 gals have got fitter at a Booty Camp course (and we get over 150 new referrals from Campers telling their friends every month)

My old goal was to get fit and healthy (tick, done, feel great, love training), my secret little daydream now is that Booty Camp will make every woman who wants to be, not only fitter, but healthier, more confident and having kick ass energy. ‘Cause if we do that, we gals really can rule the world.