Derby Mums met up with Sarah Whitehead, the founder and ‘Booti Mama’ of Booticamp Babes, a dynamic, friendly and hugely successful women-only bootcamp which runs in several locations around Derby.

Featured in both local and national press and highly acclaimed by health professionals and Booticamp members alike, Derby Mums wanted to find out more about their ‘real women, real results’ philosophy and just what makes them so successful at improving Derby women’s health, fitness and confidence.

Name: Sarah Whitehead

Business: Booticamp Babes

Top tip for something to do with your family for free or nearly nothing: Get active and go for a walk, Carsington Water and the Peak District are my paradise.sarah
Best way to relax once the kids are in bed: Watching a film /reading a magazine
Guilty pleasure: Champagne
Your mantra for life: Be positive, be patient and always be persistent!

Firstly, tell us about Booticamp Babes
What is your background and how, when and where did it all start?

Throughout my childhood I was overweight, I tried most diets with limited success and at senior school I was miserable and unhappy. I was always picked last for team sports, as I was totally unfit, however all this changed at 18, when I went to do my nurse training. The weight fell off as I was mainly living on a liquid diet and was always out working all sorts of crazy shifts.
I qualified as a nurse in 2000, and worked in various different departments, eventually settling at Burton hospital as a theatre/recovery nurse. After 5 years, despite loving my job and the people I worked with, I was fed up with the long shifts, rubbish pay and lack of job satisfaction, so I decided to train as an Aesthetic nurse.

The Aesthetic industry is very glamourous and after piling on 5 stone after the birth of my daughter I decided that to fit in, I would have to lose weight, I lost over 3 stone with Weight Watchers and took up running.
I lost the last 2 stone after I joined a bootcamp, which dramatically changed my shape and my whole way of life. When the opportunity became available to start my own bootcamp I jumped at the chance.

There are lots of bootcamps and fitness classes around Derby and the local area – what gave you the spark to create Booticamp Babes?

Having always struggled with my weight, I was amazed how quickly my fitness levels improved and how much better I felt about myself after being at bootiamp, however I felt that there was a gap in the market to combine the idea of looking and feeling good under one umbrella for an affordable price.
Most other fitness classes and bootcamps just focus on fitness, and you tend to get quite limited information about correct nutrition, with many of these business selling protein shakes and supplements, I wanted to be able to help women understand the importance of good health and fitness and looking and feeling great, and that its not a quick fix, its a lifestyle.

I also wanted to create a community of like-minded women who wanted to train with women – many ladies are intimidated and embarrassed training with men and most bootcamps that are run in Derby are mixed, and run by men.


click on the image to watch more about Booticamp Babes’ success stories

Did you have experience in running your own business? How did you get started?

I had no experience of running a business, everything that I have done to grow the business has been self taught. I spent hours learning how to be computer savvy and networking with other like-minded individuals, listening to advice and picking up tips of what to do and what not to do. I also spent hours upon hours, leafleting and spending lots of money advertising in the local papers, I also used to spend a lot of time promoting on social media.
Hard work pays off, as in 3 years we have grown from 20 members to over 170 monthly members!

What’s your advice for fellow ‘mumpreneurs’ who are starting, or thinking about starting their on business? Any mistakes you’ve made (that you’ll admit to!) or top tips?

* Never, ever give up, If you truly believe in your idea/product then go for it.
* Every opportunity is an opportunity for business, always talk about your business to everyone you meet, just know when to stop though, nobody likes to be preached too.
* Accept any offers of help, its no fun spending hours leafleting on your own.
* Never take your eye off your business, always remain focussed even when times are tough.
* Always aim to be professional and do not lower yourself by responding to any negative comments that you may get, this may not be easy at the time but its definitely worth it for the respect you gain.
* Always keep your customers happy, they will be more likely to recommend you to family and friends and are always your biggest advocate.
* Strive to always be the best at what you do, but never get complacent, there is always someone waiting in the wings to take your place.
* Be willing to support other local business, they will be a great ally, and by supporting each other you will have another person talking about your business for free.
* If you have staff, treat them well and reward them accordingly, it doesn’t always have to be financial, but maybe lunch out, tickets to a show etc.. if you look after your staff, you will get the very best out of them.

I’ve made many mistakes along the way, spent far too much money on advertising – its heartbreaking when you don’t not get anything back from something you’ve spent a lot of money on, so do not be lured into advertising on the back of pub toilet doors etc…

What makes a successful fitness coach and which aspects of your job bring you the most joy and satisfaction?

I think a successful coach is someone who has been in the same position as the women who comes through the door, I know what its like to be overweight, to feel unhappy and lack confidence, I can really empathise with most of the things women are thinking or feeling. Having 18 years nursing experience behind me is also an added benefit as I am able to advise and understand any health related issues and any pre existing injuries that our ladies may have.

I cannot tell you how much job satisfaction, that I get on a daily basis. Over the 3 years that we have run, we have helped 100’s of women lose between 7lbs to 10 stone in weight. Its truly amazing to see someone literally transform their whole life before your eyes, the delight on their faces when they drop a dress size or enter their first 5 k run or compete in a triathlon, or come off their anti depressant medication, because of the buzz they get from Booticamp, or the excitement on their face, when they tell you how many lovely comments they’ve received that day, It has also been amazing to see our ladies’ weight loss stories in the local and national papers and magazines. There is no better feeling in the world for me, knowing that I have made such a massive difference to someone’s life.

What have been the hardest aspects of starting your own business and how has working for yourself impacted on your life?

To get Booticamp Babes up and running I have literally had to live, sleep and breathe my business, and of course this comes at a price, The amount of hours and sleepless night I have had because of ideas going round my head is too many to count.
I’ve made many sacrifices for my business and my family have suffered because of this, I have missed family occasions, sporting events etc… however now that the business is running more fluidly, this is happening less often and I do make a point of spending all my free time with my family and close friends, as these are the most important people in my life, they have been there for me through my tears, tribulations and triumphs.

Working for myself has had both a positive and negative effect on my life, the positives are, I have amazed myself by developing skills that I never knew that I had, like marketing and PR, networking, confidence, the negatives are struggling to switch off and always having a an active mind, even when sleeping, but I wouldn’t change any of what my business has done for my credibility and reputation.

What’s it like to work at Booticamp Babes and how can Derby Mums get involved?

Working at Booticamp Babes is the best and most satisfying job that I could ever wish to have, Imagine going to work every day with your best friends, I have fun every day and get to put a smile on many peoples faces. I also get to work outside for most of the summer which is just fantastic, it is also a wonderful thing to be in charge of your own diary.

Derby Mums Members can get involved by attending a FREE week – which entitles them to 3 sessions at any camp for free. Just quote DerbyMums when booking!

Where, when and how much are your bootcamps, who are they aimed at? Is everyone stick thin and a fitness fanatic?!

All our days times and sessions are listed on our website We run 18 classes a week at Derby, Little Eaton, Belper, Ripley, Codnor and most recently Annesley Woodhouse.
If you sign up to be a Booticamp member, the cost is £37 per month and includes unlimited classes, weekly meal plans, recipes tips and motivation, access to a supportive and friendly online community on Facebook, and exclusive offers and discounts at local businesses in and around Derby.

We welcome women from the age of 16+ regardless of shape, size, fitness ability and ethnicity. The ladies that typically attend are from a size 8 – a size 20, everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace. There is no judgement and we work out in a fun and supportive environment. It really doesn’t matter if you have never done our classes before as you will be amazed at how quickly you’ll see visible differences such as your fitness and health improving, your skin becoming clearer, the extra spring in your step, you will very soon become hooked!

health beats skinny

What feedback do you get from your Babes once they have finished a bootcamp and what ongoing support can your Babes expect?

We receive incredible feedback from the women at Booticamp Babes, they absolutely love it – we have several success stories on our website and many of the ladies will always tell new members what Booticamp has done for them.
We pride ourselves on the support that we give our ladies at Booticamp Babes, we give out daily support via our secret Facebook group and email out tips, meals plans, recipes, motivation and advise every week. Our members are encouraged to contact us if they have any problems or issues that they want help or support with.

Do you run any special / social events and how can Derby Mums find out about them?

We run two special offers in July and December called the 12 Rays/Day of fitness, you pay £30 for any 12 sessions of Booticamp at any location.
We also run challenges Jan/Mar/May/Sept, they are 4-week challenges incorporating clean eating and exercise; our experts are on hand to help and encourage our ladies to drop a dress size, and most women lose between 7-18lbs on the 4 week challenge. This year we are also have a brand new 10 day plan to be launched just in time for the party season!

However even if you are not able to attend Booticamp Babes, we can still help, as we also run online plans, our July plan saw ladies take part from all over the country with losses from 7-17lbs!

We have an annual Christmas party which is open to everyone, This year’s party is at Blackbrook House in Belper, and for £45 you can enjoy cocktails and canapés on arrival, festive photo booth, winter warming food and entertainment from The Mac Bros, who made it to team Rita on this year’s The Voice on BBC 1.

xmas xmas 2

We are proud to announce that we have now also secured a venue for our first Booticamp Babes residential in June 2016.

What makes you different from other bootcamps and fitness classes?

If someone is considering coming to a bootcamp but is scared or finding it difficult to make the commitment, what would you say to them?

I think what sets us a part from other classes and bootcamps, is that Booticamp Babes is a class solely for women, ran by women. All of my trainers have been members at Booticamp Babes, and totally understand how it feels to be a newbie at the class. I think that my 18 years nursing experience is also an extra bonus, as I can advise and support women with various different, illnesses, ailments injuries etc that they may have and adapt the sessions accordingly.
I also think that all of our trainers have very normal and achievable body shapes, there is nothing worse than having a trainer with their crop top on and their six pack on show, real women want real results that are achievable. None of us have a six pack, most of us our mums and most of us know that we are never going to regain our pre pregnancy bodies, but we are healthy and happy and lead a healthy life and have a balance, which I find is what most women want out of their life.


Every session at Booticamp Babes is different and none are repeated, meaning you will never get bored and you see results in all areas of your body. We also focus on diet and nutrition and send out weekly meal plans with new and tasty recipes that are suitable for the whole family to enjoy, so you do not need to spend money attending a slimming club as we offer exercise, nutrition and advise all under one roof for one amazing price!

There are few women out there, that want to spend hours at the gym, or training several hours a week, not eating much and feeling miserable and not being able to enjoy a varied and active social life – life is too short to feel unhappy and at Booticamp Babes we want our ladies to feel happy, confident, healthy and that they have complete control of their life.
What I would say to every women who is nervous scared or worried is, come and have a go, try us out, come to the class, see what you think, you have got nothing to lose as the first week is FREE, the only thing you might lose is a few pounds and inches, as an extra bonus we also send out a typical 7 day meal plan, which if followed correctly could see you lose up to 7lbs.

Sum up your business / life in 5 words:

*Life changing

contact Booticamp Babes: