Gyms aren’t all treadmills and aerobic exercises. When I first started going to the gym I felt confused by all the machinery and was scared of doing something wrong and embarrassing myself, so for a while I stuck to the treadmill and cross trainer doing the same cardio workouts. One foot in front of the other, you can’t go wrong, right? Maybe not, but you can definitely get bored of the doing the same workout routines over and over! If you’re feeling bored, scared or like your gym membership is going to waste (I’ve been there, many times), why not try out exercise classes?
Fitness classes have come a long way since the days of Jane Fonda and Mr Motivator, new classes are constantly being thought up and developed. I was invited by Virgin Active gym to try out some of their newest classes; Nova, a mix of yoga and pilates and Zuu, a class focusing on primal movements. First up was Nova. I’d only gone to a few yoga and pilates classes beforehand, but I’d never been to a combination of both before. I was in for a treat.
My instructor for the class was Adrianna Sladeck and we started with some gentle stretching, perfect after the long day at work I’d had. Then we moved into a flow which became progressively harder (for me anyway, everyone else seemed OK!). My hamstrings were not forgiving in the downward dog and most definitely not in the one-legged, one-armed downward dog. I was actually sweating by the end of the class, something I’ve never done in a yoga or pilates class before, but I felt relaxed and a lot more flexible by the end of the class. I don’t know my Crow from my Pigeon move, so I wasn’t exactly sure of the technical benefits or reasoning behind Nova so I had to find out more. Gillian Reeves, National Exercise Manager at Virgin Active says that Nova challenges the muscles in your body in different ways, meaning your body works harder to keep up the pace. By getting your body to move in different directions, it maximises mobility which ultimately encourages agility making you less injury prone.
The next class I tried was ZUU, the new fitness class based on ‘primal’ movements. It’s all about getting in touch with your inner animal. Forget walking, think hopping, donkey kicking and more, in fact there are over 100 unique moves. The class only lasted 15 minutes and it was in the middle of the gym floor. Whilst we were channeling our inner gorillas, big burly men over in the weights area were looking over at us to see what we were doing. It felt pretty badass. Let me tell you, I’ve never sweat so much in 15 minutes without touching a piece of gym equipment. (This blog post is making me sound like a very sweaty girl). The whole class we just used our body weight and mixed strength moves (squats) with cardio (donkey kicks), repeating each move as many times as we could for 30 seconds with 20 seconds rest. I’ve never enjoyed a class more, it’s impossible not to smile whilst you’re trying to act like an iguana! ZUU is a great way to do a HIIT workout and the best bit is that you can do it anywhere. I practised what I learned in my garden and living room.
I really enjoyed trying out Nova and ZUU and it showed me that not all exercises classes are the same and work out routines definitely do not have to be boring! What classes or workouts have you tried lately? Let me know!
ZUU and Nova are available at Virgin Active Gyms | memberships vary
*Photos from Virgin Active