Bear Grylls has just opened up a new base-camp at the NEC in Birmingham. Full of fantastic challenges and adventures designed to be tough and push you to your limit. I was lucky enough to gain early access before it was open to the public to give it a test run and iron out the creases. I went with some other awesome friends of mine who are also personal trainers, so as you can imagine everything we did that day was a competition between us.

You’ll start your day off at base-camp doing various activities. One of which is an escape room. I’d like to give you all a clue to beat the room quicker, however that would be cheating and we couldn’t figure it out either. Next up is the archery. Pretty standard, try to shoot the centre of the target with the arrows and at the end you all get a go at hitting a cut out of a cute bear, which I missed on purpose because who would kill something so adorable? Then finally is the assault course. Again, being with a group of PTs we made it a competition to see who could finish it the quickest. It’s safe to say that at the end we were very tired and needed some time to cool off and stretch off and food to recover from our minute of explosive exercise.

Second adventure we did was the indoor skydive. This is one of the weirdest yet awesome activities we did. The machine itself is a tube about 5 stories high and a huge fan at the bottom. You’re about halfway up above a metal netting. The key when entering is to keep your hands above your head, look up, push your hips forward and bend your spine backwards and then just fall forward as if you’re about to do a belly flop. Then as if by magic you’re floating. You need to hold a position as though you’re doing a superman lift whilst also relaxing your body. The feeling is strange, you’re not floating, but you’re not falling either. You’re just kind of hovering uncontrollably about waist height whilst getting a constant battering of wind against your stomach. An instructor is in there with you to make sure you don’t hit off the walls and your technique is on point. Getting out is odd as well as they don’t just stop the fan. You get pushed towards the entrance door, grab a hold of the sides and kick your legs back into a standing position. This machine is loud! So, I would highly advice you wear the ear plugs they provide. I’d say this is definitely worth giving a go.

The last activity we did was the indoor rock climbing. This is a workout! You start off doing some bouldering, which is just rock climbing a small wall about 10 foot without a harness, just to get your forearms and fingers warmed up and familiar with the walls and grip. You then move onto the proper walls. These walls are very high so if you’re afraid of heights I wouldn’t recommend this for obvious reasons. You’re attached to a harness; however, you’re not attached to an instructor at the bottom, but instead a machine at the top of the wall which catches you when you jump. So, when you first jump off or fall off, you are falling for about a second or two before the machine kicks in and slowly lowers you down. This second of falling caught me off guard every time, but it was so much fun! You then move onto the real challenge (as if it wasn’t difficult already). The next set of walls do not have grips on them, so it’s as if you’re climbing up a real rock face. As someone who has very weak and flexible fingers I really struggled with these. One of the walls you needed to go up it backwards, so you were facing away from the wall. This made it both easier and terrifying. Even though I wasn’t the best at rock climbing I really enjoyed it and felt the benefits in my fingers and forearms for about a week afterwards.

I don’t know how long this adventure is staying at the NEC but I’d highly recommend it for a fun day out with friends and a good workout, so get in quick before it goes away!

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