Bootcamp battle

Keeping fit goes against the odds in South Auckland, but a group of 50 local women aren’t about to let a few negative statistics stand in their way.

For the next 12 weeks, they will be running, cycling and weight training their way to better health as part of an intensely physical bootcamp. 

Fairfax Media will follow a few of these women on their journey, checking in on their progress along the way.

South Auckland is fighting a well-publicised battle with obesity. Research shows those from working-class suburbs are most likely to be overweight as they find it hard to afford a gym or to access a safe outdoor place to work out.

Trainer Essendon Tuitupou said he found it disheartening to see South Auckland children walking to school with fizzy drinks and pies and to see the wider community battling to access the right type of fitness and nutrition. 

‘‘It allows them to put their hard work into something positive. What we are aiming for is they develop a lifestyle where they’re going to train and actually be healthy.’’

Tuitupou, through Manukau’s Faith City Church has initiated these bootcamps as a chance for locals to take control against the odds. Regular bootcamps for both men and women are run through the church and are always well attended.

Trainers are wary of pricing out locals who might need the most help so costs are minimal.

Early morning cycling, circuits, kettle bell swings and weights await the group as they train two mornings a week, and an intense Saturday session focussed on leg work and cycling.

Their 12-week programme will culminate in a gruelling 24-hour cycle marathon to raise money for cancer awareness, an event endorsed by the Cancer Society.

We will be speaking to four of the women as they train towards their fitness goals. They are:

- Manurewa woman Angela Tapili, 47: This working mum is determined to meet the challenge of the intense bootcamp and get her fitness up to complete a quarter triathlon at the end of the three months.

- Talitha Horn of Papakura, 24: She wants to boost her self-image as well as her energy levels. At the moment she feels tired all the time and low about her looks but is hopeful things can change.

- Papatoetoe woman Sheryl Thomson, 58: She says working out with a group will be a more motivating environment than working out alone. She used to be a big woman and wants to keep that weight off.

- Virtue Maea from Mangere East, 20: She wants to improve her eating habits, boost her fitness and feel healthier in general. She says her biggest issue is diet.