From running and powerplates to the latest crazes kettlebells and zumba - read on to find out how our first classes went
"I have smugly dismissed Power Plate in the past as the lazy girls exercise of choice. To believe that lazy exercising is a bad thing is an odd concept, but I put quite a lot of onus on how hard I work in the gym. Proforma Pilates, hour-long runs hitting it hard is the only way to see results. Surely? Sitting on the equivalent of a washing machine on spin cycle is a fad. And besides, its not going to work your heart, is it?
My Power Plate classes are taking place in Harrods. The ridiculousness of an editor exercising in a luxury department store is not lost on me or my friends who shake their heads in disbelief. Fighting my way through the perfume-sprayers and dawdling shoppers, up five flights of stairs to the studio is a frustrating start and I suddenly panic that I would be exercising on a demo machine on the shop floor. Thankfully for all concerned, I was not.
Tania gave me a one-to-one introduction class. Each session will last 30 minutes and equates to 1.5 hours in the gym. I hopped on, did some squats, raised a leg here and there, didnt break a sweat. This is easy. You even have an undeserved cool-down five minutes in which the machine massages you. The Harrods Power Plate programme is in association with Thalgo they of the slimming body products fame and I was introduced to my twice daily cellulite-busting moisturiser routine. The idea being that it is a dual-action approach to getting toned. I scoffed all the way to the bus.
But the next day, my body ached from the - I wont say work - experience. If this works, Im telling everyone!"
Yesterday I headed to Virgin Active for my first ever attempt at kettlebells. The prospect of having a one-to-one session with a personal trainer, in a packed gym, swinging what looks like a cannonball with a handle was daunting. But knowing Jennifer Aniston credits her toned arms to them instantly sold me.
After having my ability assessed by the trainer, I started with the various types of squats, lunges, lifts and sit ups - all while swinging and lifting the 4kg and 8kg kettlebells. Although these are available in most gyms, the personal tuition was essential. He constantly asked my opinion, how I felt and what muscles I could feel being used for each exercise. From the feedback I gave, the trainer could adjust the routines and exercises to suit my needs and abilities.
Towards the end of the hour session and while stretching out, the personal trainer came into his own and really highlighted the importance of paying for the extra tuition. He noticed I had lots of strain and very little movement in my shoulders and upper back, so Ive been given some personalised exercises to carry out in my own time.
As someone with practically no muscle definition I found it difficult but my ultimate aim is to tone up and I think the kettlebells will work to make a difference.
Bring on the next session!
But then the horrible, excruciating, nasty bit hits us. The knee-high running on the spot. For forty seconds. This is my least favourite form of exercise ever. Bar none. I hate it. It makes me want to annihilate anything fluffy or young such is the rage it creates in me. But then its over. The next set is twenty seconds and by the time my bile has started to rise, its over. The next set is a mere ten seconds which is barely worth an aggressive eyebrow raise. Then its done. And that really is the worst part of the session.
Another run around the trees, another circuit of jumping squats, tricep dips and plank are a joy after the knee thing. And then were finished. Im still alive. And as we pack our things away, giggling and gossiping, Im already looking forward to the next session
In the meantime Ive been told to try out the Prone Cobra exercise to help improve my posture, click here to see how to do it
So, its time to get in shape for summer and what better way to kick start my motivation levels than with a months trial at Gymbox, the highly charged boxing-focussed gym with Olympic size boxing rings, dance studios, free weights and a variety of energising classes with live DJs playing to boot. So, off I trotted to the Holborn branch for my first Gymboxing class, off came the clogs and jewels and on came the boxing gloves (OMG, I really didnt realise I would have to wear boxing gloves!). Anyway, with my goal of subtly toned abs in mind (a nice toned four pack that didnt bulge into a bikini bloat would be much appreciated!) I took to the boxing ring with a Just Do it attitude.
Despite the class being 98% male dominated to an advanced standard, I was made to feel totally at ease by the personal trainer, who confidently assured me I could go at my own pace. I partnered up with the only other female in the class and worked on punching and foot techniques, combinations and cardio. By the end of the class I was actually jabbing a fully qualified instructor in the face AND not with just your average forward jab I hasten to add, I was giving him a very promising left hook!
I left the class feeling full of beans with a new ambition to become the next Laura Croft move over Angelina!
The next day I felt stronger, motivated and surprisingly low of any kind of water retention. I am going to keep up the good work in between classes and go for a run this evening- you gotta be in it to win it!
Final Note Good eye-candy to be had :) Well, a girl can look."
I hate running, always have. Then I went to watch my friend run the London Marathon and I got such a buzz from the day I wanted to give it a proper go and learn (read: force myself) to love it. Next day I signed up for a half marathon in October, what was I thinking?
I have spent the last week preparing myself for running. Motivational playlist compiled, check; trainers dusted off, check; sports bra found, check. So, now all thats left to do is actually run. And thats where the problem lies. I cant motivate myself to do more than think about running around the park, so I have signed up to British Military Fitness running club in Hyde Park.
Ok, so I missed the first class. Thanks to a hole in the crotch of my leggings which prompted an eleventh hour dash to Primark and getting on the wrong bus I arrived at the meeting point five minutes late. Not to worry I thought, Ill just jog round and find them. After 10 minutes, I couldnt track down the group anywhere alarm bells started to ring, how far had they got in 15 minutes that I couldnt find them (admittedly I can only run for about a minute before I need to walk)? Forty-five minutes later the group arrived back at the meeting point to stretch out they all looked happy and not too puffed out. Good sign.
After the class I spoke to the instructor Chris to find out how far they had run. 10k he answered. I thought Id misheard him, but no they ran through Hyde Park, onto Green Park and round St James Park then back. But they run at Scooters pace. Scooter is Chris Jack Russell who likes to take things slow and run eight and a half minute miles which is do-able, even for me. Plus, Chris explained that when newcomers join, the instructors look at their running technique and get them running properly, which almost always sees their times go through the roof. Thanks to Scooter and the thought that I may be able to run properly without wanting to give up after a minute, Im actually really looking forward to my session on Monday.
Emma Sells, Fashion and News Editor, Zumba
Goal: To get into an exercise routine
Id better admit one thing straight away: I dont do exercise. My idea of a workout is walking up the escalators at the tube in the morning, but my inactive lifestyle and my love of chocolate are starting to make me feel guilty. I think it might be time to think about getting fit, and with a holiday planned for the end of the month, I wouldnt mind looking a bit more appealing in a bikini either.
In an effort to trick myself into exercising Ive been dispatched to try Zumba, the latest Latin dance-inspired fitness craze to sweep the UK. Ditch the workout, join the party! says the official Zumba website. Sounds good to me.
So I dusted off my trainers (literally) and headed to the LA Fitness gym in Bayswater to try out my first class. It turns out that Zumba is a lot like aerobics but with Latin music and a bit more hip shaking. Yuliya begins the class by saying that if you get confused with the steps then we can just make up our own so long as we keep moving. This is good because by the time Beyonces Single Ladies has finished and segued into salsa rhythms, Ive realized that Latin spirit does not course through my veins. I feel uncoordinated and, while Im trying my best to channel Shakira, I sense its not working. I keep my eyes firmly fixed on Yuylia and avoid catching any glance of myself in the mirror-covered walls at all costs.
On the plus side its not too hard. By the time 45 minutes is up I feel mildly humiliated but as though Ive done my body some serious good. And I even let Yuliya talk me going to her other class on Sunday. Ive already loaded up my iPod with salsa and merengue to get me in the mood.