Week 4 - In which I hopped barefoot through the forest in mid winter

Too busy to read the blog - watch the video:

a morning with the 'body engineer' 

Me, doing the frog                     Picture: Alexandra Merisoiu

Me, doing the frog                     Picture: Alexandra Merisoiu

Nature and I get along just fine. Especially when it comes in form of Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon, a glorious day in Easter on the slopes of Kitzbuehl or a sunset in Phuket. Being barefoot on a drizzly, muddy day in the woodlands of Oxted, Surrey is a slightly different proposition.

I had signed up for a taster session with the fabulous Alexandra Merisoiu - tagline: ‘The Body Engineer’, who has been ranked 2nd and 3rd place at the World Karate Championships. Born and raised in Transylvania and recognised by the Guardian as a Leader of the Year for 2014, - Alex promises to give you ‘training (that) builds resilience, giving you the guts to take risks and to get what you want from life.’ Sounds perfect, right?!?

Warming-up Merisoiu Style

After gathering the troops (there is three of us and Alex), we run zigzag, up-and-down hills and around trees to a somewhat less muddy open clearance. My first mistake, - bringing a pretty, light-blue Longchamps bag, instead of a rugged backpack. Turns out, I haven’t owned a backpack since the mid-90s. Undeterred, I join the warm-up, which is a mix of free-style ‘Tai-Chi/Chi-Gong-style movements’ that look a little like swimming in mid-air. 

a frog, a frog - my kingdom for a frog 

After the warm-up, the shoes come off and the real fun starts! Slow conscious squats (with twigs behind our heels for better balance), the panther (crawling on all fours amongst prickly holly leaves), the frog (the hint is in the name) followed by the side-twist frog (obliques are screaming by now). This is Tough Mudder for the posture-conscious!

The three of us practising the sloth                       P  icture: Alexandra Merisoiu

The three of us practising the sloth                      Picture: Alexandra Merisoiu

Richard, who has been training with Alex for over two years, is finding the session rather too boring for his taste. Johnnie and I are not! Johnnie’s genius kicks in, when his initial tree-hugging turns into an animal-exercise of its own: ‘The Sloth’. An instant crowd-pleaser, as the picture shows.

The moment of truth

Overall a rather different type of workout, that was much more enjoyable then I originally anticipated. The mix of fresh air, Alex’s no-nonsense attitude and getting really close to the forest ground made for a fun Saturday afternoon. And the bath afterwards was divine . . . 

Thanks Alex for this challenge.

And please don't forget to leave me a comment about what you would like me to do next!