For the past three years yoga has been pretty much my only form of exercise, with the occasional run or spin class thrown in. But lately I’ve been feeling like I need to change it up on a more regular basis, throwing some cardio into the mix at least once a week, not because I’m bored of yoga, not even close, but because my body no longer felt at its best.
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I’m not sure why, I’ve been doing as much yoga as I was before and I don’t think I’ve been eating a whole lot more than I used to. Maybe it’s a getting older and my metabolism slowing down kind of thing. Or it could be a going back to working in an office, spending more of my day sitting down and eating carb-heavy lunches from Pret as opposed to a stir fry or soup at home. Or maybe it’s a bit of all of the above.
Whatever the reason my body no longer felt as toned as it once did and a couple of my favourite things to wear were becoming a bit of struggle to squeeze into. Not wanting to stop doing yoga (quite apart from the body benefits it calms my mind), and also preferring going to classes than exercising solo, I kept putting off actually doing anything about mixing up my workout week. Paying for my monthly yoga studio membership, plus additional drop in cardio classes was out of the question budget-wise, even for someone like me who can happily justify all fitness related spends as an investment in my health and therefore worth the cost, I need to be able to pay my rent and you know, eat, too.
Enter ClassPass, a monthly membership to fitness classes at various studios around the city, which launched in America in 2013 and came to London in March. You sign up for one month, three months, or six months (it’s cheaper the longer you sign up for) and you can book classes at lots of different studios. You can exercise as many times a day as you like. The only catch is that you can only visit the same studio up to a maximum of three times per monthly membership cycle. But as someone who wants to mix things up that’s a plus. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first, it sounded too good to be true, but my sister joined and kept telling me how good it was. Within a couple of weeks of her joining I’d signed up too.
Four weeks in and I’m a full on ClassPass fan, good thing really, as I’ve signed up for six months. I’ve averaged five classes a week (I’m nothing if not focused when I’ve got a goal). I’ve revisited some studios and styles of exercise I’ve tried before, but also discovered some new studios and classes in parts of London I don’t know well at all (posh bits, like Fulham and Highgate!).
I’ve done a spinning class at a studio so fancy they give you free bottles of their own water, the towels are chilled, the benches in the changing rooms are heated and there are even copper waterfall showers that Lauren would fully approve of. I’ve done a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class that worked me harder than many 60 minute classes I’ve done in the past. I channeled my inner Rocky at a box fit class, felt like an extra from Fame at a barre class and lifted weights heavier than I’ve ever even picked up before. I’ve even been on a treadmill for the first time (I’ve always been a bit scared of them, imagining it would go out of control and I would fall off the end, kind of like like Bill Murray on the elliptical in Lost In Translation). And of course I’ve done lots of yoga too, both hot and regular temperature classes.
My body is feeling stronger and more toned already. I’ve often got that next day (and even the day after) ache that tells me I’ve been working my body hard. I’m enjoying pushing my body’s limits and visiting parts of the city I haven’t been to in a long time, if ever. I’m even saving money – ClassPass is £35 cheaper than my monthly yoga membership. Admittedly I do miss the fact that by going to different studios and classes all the time I don’t know the teachers and my classmates like I did at the yoga studio I was a member at, but they’re a part of ClassPass, so I get to visit three times a month and I’ve met lots of friendly people at the other classes I’ve tried. I’m determined to keep mixing things up and trying new things. I’m sure I spotted parkour on there the other day. Intrigued!
Anyone else got to a point where they plateaued exercise wise? What did you do? What’s your workout week mix right now? Tried any new types of exercise lately? Any other ClassPass fans out there? Leave a comment below!
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My faves so far
What: 30 minutes of treadmill, floor exercises and weights, followed by 30 minutes indoor cycling
What: Strong flowing yoga with creative sequencing and Shazamable-soundtracks
What: Basic boxing moves and plenty of punching and kicking equal a challenging, fun and sweaty workout
Where: Frame Shoreditch
What: Hot yoga that leaves you feeling as good as a Bikram class but without the boredom factor
Where: Fierce Grace City
What: Challenging class that pushed my body to its absolute limits, in a good way
Where: Paola’s BodyBarre
What: Rowing, running, weights, floor exercises and TRX, you’re hooked up to a heart rate monitor so you can see how hard you’re working and the calories you’re burning
Where: David Lloyd Orangetheory
What: 10 different exercises over 30 minutes, you repeat each for three short bursts at maximum effort, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest, uses bikes, balls, rebounders, sandbags and more. Different every time.
What: Reformer pilates taken up to eleven
Where: Bootcamp Pilates