ClassPass has come to London and over the next month I will be trying and reviewing lots of new studios, as I work my way round a range of yoga, pilates, spinning, HIIT and strength workouts!
My first session saw a return to Cyclebeat, one of my favourite spinning studios in London, which I first discovered way back in 2013. This studio mostly offers straight-up cycling classes with no “moves” on the bike, and a strong focus on hill climbs, sprints and a high intensity workout! The novelty of this particular Spinning studio over any other in London is the “Beatboard” which displays the stats of each bike (RPM, energy, power, distance) throughout the class, and allows a bit of anonymous competition- only the bike number is displayed, not your name- and personal satisfaction if you beat your previous sessions results!
However, there are some negatives I discovered from booking through ClassPass…
- You don’t get to choose your bike when you book, and they can’t even tell when you arrive as it just shows up as “ClassPass” on the booking rather than your name- a problem if there are multiple people using ClassPass.
- This meant I didn’t get an email after the session telling me my stats as you would if you booked normally, which may put some people off if the Beatboard and knowing your performance is the main reason you would select Cyclebeat!
Flux Fluid Motion: Kettlebells
For my second session I headed to Flux Fluid Motion in Putney on Saturday morning for a Kettlebells class.
The setup was very Crossfit-esque, with rubber mats on the floor, a minimal studio layout, a timer on the wall, and a whiteboard with the day’s workout written on it. Similar terminology was used, and if you weren’t familiar with jerks, cleans, burpees, etc then it could all be a bit intimidating.
I will admit I was a little apprehensive when I turned up- I injured myself in a ridiculous WOD back when I was doing Crossfit which involved 100-plus kettlebell swings, and I’m well aware of how poor instruction and poor form can lead to significant problems. However, I wanted to give the studio the benefit of the doubt- I know how important strength training is for all-round fitness as well as avoiding running imbalances, and I could do with adding some more high intensity training to my schedule instead of slow steady-state cardio. Plus it is quite fun throwing weights around if you do it safely!
I introduced myself as a newbie, along with a couple of other girls, but to be honest we weren’t given any sort of introduction or tour of the facilities (not that there was much – cubbyholes for shoes/bags, and 2 toilets in the corner). In fact after the warm-up- which was good and comprehensive- and we were asked to grab a ‘warm-up’ kettlebell, I had to pointedly ask what the different colours corresponded to in weight, and which would be a recommended starting weight.
Fortunately after this, one of the girls (assistant coaches?) came over and stood by us newbies offering modifications and guidance for each move to make sure we knew what we were doing. And as I was only starting off with an 8kg the weight itself wasn’t really challenging, it was more about getting the moves down correctly. It was then mixing them up with skipping, burpees, squats, situps, planks and pressups that made for a sweaty workout!
The hour long session was varied and fast-paced, moving quickly through rounds (1minute strength, 2mins cardio/bodyweight exercises) and after the initial scepticism had faded I did really enjoy the class. We finished with a stretch and cool-down 5minutes, and I got chatting to a couple of people afterwards who raved about how much they enjoyed it and how it had dramatically improved their fitness.
I do think I will go back and give it another go, as I did love the kettlebells themselves, and it was a friendly community atmosphere (10 people in the class). Plus I’ve managed to convince a few other people to come and give it a try, so I will be interested to hear what they think! I had DOMS for 2 days so it obviously woke up some muscles I haven’t used for a while!
I think that one of the problems of studio-hopping with ClassPass will be always being a newbie, and that’s something studios will have to take on board if they sign up. They will obviously get an influx of new participants and will have to make more of an effort to make sure everyone is taken care of- from making sure you know how to set up your Spinning bike, to becoming familiar with a Pilates reformer, to knowing which colour of kettlebell is which weight! Make sure you make your presence known, and don’t be afraid to shout if you need help or don’t feel comfortable!
What are your experiences of being new to a class? Have you ever tried kettlebells?
If you’d like to sign up to ClassPass there are some great introductory offers including £10 for a weeks trial (EDIT- this is no longer available). Click here to find out more about membership!