In recent years, more and more fitness classes have popped up on the scene. Gone are the days of being limited to spin, Zumba and Pilates. We’ve entered a new era of cosmopolitan, hybrid workouts that push our bodies to different limits, all with the label of fun strapped on them.
Always wanting to try something new, when I was invited to attend one of Gymbox’s new classes I was intrigued. Gymbox, a London-based gym with no rules and a DJ booth, is paving the way for a new way of working out. Gyms can be intimidating, surgical and less than inspiring but when you walk into any of their eight locations, you’re met with what resembles an underground rave, but with more treadmills and less glow sticks.
With a choice of over 30 fitness classes, all unique and interesting, I was a bit overwhelmed. I stuck to the two that stood out to me most: Barebells and four to the floor. I had no idea what they were either, but I was eager to try them out.
First up was Barrebells, a mix of ballet fitness and a kettlebell workout. The brain child of Tash Volley, who came up with the idea when she found herself injured and unable to dance but wanted to keep her fitness up. Nervous, as I always am going solo to classes, I grabbed a 4kg kettlebell and found a place next to the ballet barre.
We were introduced to a few of the basic principles such as pliés (squats with feet turned in first position), relevés (rising up on the balls of your feet) and the most difficult: battement tendus (Google it). Then came an intense warm up which already had me sweating.
Onto the main event and I’m sure I engaged every muscle in my butt with a variety of squats and kettlebell movements. Squat down, push up, pliés here, kettlebell there – it was all a bit bewildering. But Tash, our very talented and ripped teacher, spent the time shouting at everyone to “Engage your core” and “Push through the floor” while also motivating us to keep going until the bitter end.
After being confused one too many times about leg position and what my arms needed to do, it was time to walk away from the barre. My lower body was relieved to be free of any more lunges. I was wrong though as we quickly moved onto a kettlebell focused cardio session. If my legs hadn’t been punished enough, this was going to finish them off.
Overall, I think the combination worked really well. A ballet workout with the resistance of the kettlebell made the whole class more dynamic and it targeted more areas, oh and I could definitely feel it the next day.
Described as a ‘choreographed floor based dance class, incorporating lower body conditioning and core work,’ four to the floor was my next workout and probably the one I was the most excited about. Imagine the backing dancers in Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda mixed with early 2000s R’n’B vibes and that’s probably the best way to describe what I was getting into.
Knee pads at the ready, we started our warm up to the sound of Rhianna and got ourselves stretched and ready to release our inner Destiny Child. After a thorough warm up, our instructor began showing us our routine which involved a lot of booty shaking and hip thrusting. Both things I’m only used to do after a few vodkas and having gained entry into my local night club.
As the routine went on we were all encouraged to act sexy and have fun, but not in a cringe-worthy way. The main point of the class was to get fit and enjoy your body, not try to get a spot at Julliard. Two body rolls and several foot cramps later and it was time for the cool down.
Again, I walked away with sweat dripping down my head and feeling like I just made the most of the past 45 minutes.
Having fun in fitness is really important to me, so seeing gyms push the boundaries of how we exercise is awesome and is definitely an easy and efficient way of encouraging more people to get involved with fitness.
For new workout ideas and more, straight to your inbox, sign up to the the TRAIN for HER newsletter.