Training like an Olympian. Not a sentence I thought I’d ever write in my life, but then again I never really thought I’d be writing about fitness on the internet. And here we are. Myself and Lea were invited down to Fitness First at the Cottons Building in London Bridge to check out their newly refurbished space, try out some Team GB approved classes and generally have a bit of a fitness mash up.
This Summer the Olympics will be back (hooray!) in Rio, and it has come around so quickly that I can hardly believe we’ll be watching our Team GB heroes (holla at me Katerina Johnson-Thompson) in a months time. Fitness First are the official partner of Team GB this time around. As you can see from the class specifications below, they have worked alongside the Pro Athletes and their trainers to create special classes so that the likes of you and I can give it a go.
The Fitness First Mashup that we experienced were four of their classes mixed into just over an hour of extremely sweaty exercise – we tried spinning, Body Pump, Body Balance and really what we were there to try; a Team GB Pro Athlete class.
- Team GB Pro Athlete in the Beat Studio
These classes are designed by Fitness First and Team GB athletes to really get your training just like an Olympian. The group exercise class will allow you to work at a pace and intensity that’s right for you. They take you through a variety of training techniques across five key disciplines that any professional athlete requires to excel in their chosen sport: Speed, Endurance, Power, Agility and Strength.
Our session was based around the volleyball team (think jumping and lots of push/pull type exercises) and took place in the Beat Studio. To the uninitiated, the Beat Studio syncs with your heart rate monitor and your heart rate is right there with your name on a massive screen. There is no hiding, and when you are flipping tyres or rowing like a banshee you can see how hard you are working.
- Pro Cycling
If I’m honest, I’ve never got on with spinning but I’ve always thought that I would definitely be quite good at it if I tried. After my experience with Pro Cycling (a group cycling class exclusive to Fitness First!) I’m not quite sure that is the case.
This class is very different to the lights down, bike raves that many trendy spin studios offer, and instead encompasses the training principles and competitive races in Velodrome Cycling. As part of our 15 minute taster we concentrated on power and endurance, mimicking cycling events such as the Team Spring and Keirin.
For cardio and spin aficionados, this is a fantastic cycling class. For short-legged easily bored ladies like me, not so much.
- Body Pump
If you’ve ever set foot into any gym ever, this class from Les Mills will be very familiar to you. Aiming to sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, the barbell class is a combination of weight training and aerobics, and focuses on low-weight loads and high-repetition movements to help burn fat, increase strength and improve muscle conditioning.
I love weights, and surprisingly had always been way too scared to try a Body Pump class but even after only 15 minutes I was completely hooked. I love the feel of the heavy bar bell, lifting in time with each track, and I love that each track is mixed with a different body part.
- Body Balance
After 45 minutes of very hard work (whereby I could barely see because I had sweat in my eye, grim), it was nice to settle into a mini Body Balance class, again by Les Mills. This calming class takes a holistic approach to fitness, as it guides you through a unique mix of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi.
As someone that practices yoga very regularly now, I felt frustrated (all I wanted to do was a few sun salutations!), but for someone that struggles with stretch routines or wants to get into a yoga practice this is an ideal class to try.
I’ll be straight up honest here – I’ve never been a fan of Fitness First. Their gyms were never as nice as some of the other brands, and when I did try and cancel my membership they made it difficult and overall it left a bad taste in my mouth. However, that opinion has fast changed since attending the Fitness First at Cottons.
This gym is one of four premier gyms (the others being Baker Street, Tottenham Court Road and Hammersmith), and includes a fantastic range of both cardio and resistance equipment, free weight area, PT spaces and the Beat Studio and of course their class studios. The changing rooms are immense (with a swimming pool and sauna too), and best of all their staff and trainers are friendly helpful and welcoming, something that isn’t always forthcoming from chain gyms like these.
We’ve got a three day pass for Fitness First to giveaway to one lucky wannabe Olympian. Whether you use it at Cottons Gym in London Bridge or one of their many locations across the UK, we hope you enjoy working out!
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