Harry Sowerby

British Military Fitness was founded in April 1999 by Major Robin Cope, Corporal Will Skinner and Serjeant Harry Sowerby as an alternative form of group fitness training to gyms.


The idea was, and still is, to get people of all fitness abilities outdoors training in parks, with motivation provided by military trained instructors. While many people refer to BMF as a boot camp, it was never the intention to make BMF an intimidating, hard out boot camp. Instead the aim was always to give everyone a fun and effective form of training using the highly professional skills learnt in the military.

In April 1999, British Military Fitness had its first class in Hyde Park, London. The first session saw just three people turn up. However, week by week, the numbers grew as the people being trained told their friends and work colleagues about how great and fun BMF was, while others simply walked up in the park and asked to join in.


By the time we had reached our first winter, BMF had 200 members but was contemplating closing for the winter months. The members’ pure passion indicated that they wanted to continue training through the dark, cold months and that has been the case ever since!

BMF pretty quickly spread across London as people asked for classes to be set up in parks near them. Now we have over 400 classes in more than 140 locations all across the UK, and turned 18 years old this year.


We have developed a ‘civilian friendly’ version of physical exercise (‘phys’) used to improve and maintain the fitness levels of the British Army, Navy and RAF - some of the fittest individuals on the planet.

As the military need to conduct ‘phys’ wherever they may find themselves, it has evolved highly effective group fitness training programmes. Very little equipment is required other than body weight (either your own or that of a partner) to perform a wide range of speed, strength, agility and stamina exercises – all tried and tested by the military.

We often get asked - am I fit enough to do a BMF class? The answer is YES.

We understand that our classes are only effective and fun if you’re exercising at the right ability level for you. This is why we divide all class participants into three main ability groups:

  • BLUE for beginners
  • RED for intermediates
  • GREEN for advanced participants

At our larger venues we sub-divide the groups further still, so that everyone gets the most appropriate workout for their fitness level. The numbers on your bibs also help the instructor to personally encourage and congratulate you on your effort, and ensure that you’re doing every exercise correctly.

Whichever group you join at a British Military Fitness class – you’ll be guaranteed an effective workout with people of a similar level of fitness. Every week, you’ll work hard, have fun and make tangible progress that you’ll be able to see and feel.

If you've still got some questions for us you can have a look at our FAQs, or alternatively give our membership team a call on 020 8996 2220.


We encourage everyone, from exercise rookies to fitness veterans, to give BMF a go. This is why your first class is free. Sign up here.