The stunning landscape near Singleton has found a special place in the heart of two trainers-to-the-stars.
Fitness gurus Jo and Paul Hoskings have brought their health and exercise knowledge from their busy Ascot centre to the countryside – and set up a base in Singleton.
Both have an impressive CV of fitness training, with several combined decades of pilates, marathons, triathlons and dance under their belts.
Since moving to the Chichester area, Jo has kicked off her Valley Bootcamp, which offers intense courses for those wanting to trim down or tone up, starting with twice-weekly morning runs.
She explains: “Although we have lived here for three years, we kept our work in Ascot – but now we have decided to spread our wings a little and Valley Bootcamp has been an enormous success.”
The first course finished recently and Jo was very pleased with the progress. “Despite all weather known to man being thrown at us, everybody attended the twice-weekly 6.15am sessions and have gained so much fitness it’s incredible.”
About 16 people turned up two days a week in the pitch black and snow. “We had to wear headlamps because it was so dark.”
“The next five-week course started on February 27, and it should be even busier as the lighter mornings and better weather bring out the masses.”
Jo’s Valley Bootcamp works over five weeks, as scientists have proven people commit more to short periods of exercise, which means a higher success rate.
The couple’s business, P2P Performance, which is based in Ascot, keeps the pair busy; offering a range of fitness products from health camps, tailored fitness regimes and specific sport training, they work with a range of people.
Both have full schedules commuting to Ascot and travelling with clients, including pro-golfers Anthony Wall and Graham McDowell, and Bond stuntman Andrew Lister in Skyfall, but Jo and Paul wanted to expand their popular fitness plans to local people as well as celebrities.
Jo is trained in pilates and teaches one-to-one or with small groups. “Again that has been a great success. I work alongside chiropractors and physios to help rehabilitate their patients as well as people who just want to improve their posture, core strength and, on a more basic level, tone up.”
Jo is originally from Berkshire and began life as a ballet dancer, dancing for the Royal Ballet School at 15 and performing with Scottish Ballet for six years as a soloist and corps de ballet dancer.
“I started dancing at the age of four and never stopped. It takes a lot of time, commitment and discipline to become an employed dancer – you train for eight hours a day six days a week. But the life of a ballet dancer is rather short and I stopped dancing at the age of 26.
“During my years of dance training we had to do pilates lessons to strengthen our core and legs, to prevent injuries and, when we were unlucky enough to be injured, then pilates rehabilitated us. Unlike lifting weights in the gym, pilates strengthens the muscles while keeping them long and lean, hence the fact dancers use it. Pilates has been an integral part of my life for many, many years.”
She returned to Berkshire to retrain as a personal trainer and pilates teacher and started working at the exclusive Ascot gym, where she fell in love with her boss, Paul – now her husband and a fellow fitness fanatic.
“Fitness and exercise is an integral part of our life,” adds Jo. “Not only do we train others, we set ourselves major targets too – Paul is an ultra-endurance runner (he takes part in 100-mile races) and Iron Man athlete. Together we run marathons, travel the world to take part in triathlons and basically set ourselves ridiculous fitness challenges. This year we are going to run the South Downs Way in three days.”
The duo have worked hard over the years creating their business in Ascot, but despite travelling the world, they are delighted to call Singleton home. Paul is originally from Lavant, and when they visited the area three years ago, Jo said: “We just fell in love with the area.”
Being fitness lovers, the pair are always doing some form of exercise and Jo said locals know them as ‘freaky people, always running or cycling through the village in black lycra’. She added: “We love living in West Sussex – the countryside is a fitness freak’s dream.”