For those who love nothing more than being outside in the fresh air, running away the cobwebs on a bright winter’s morning, the thought of going to the gym for a cross-training session on the bike can seem pretty mundane. We all know that cross-training and strength work is something we must commit to if we want to boost our stamina and strength and reduce our injury risk but how do you get motivated to head to the gym when all you want to do is put on your trainers and RUN? Our answer? Try some new fitness classes. And not just your bog-standard ones. We’re talking fantastically fun, especially exhilarating and seriously sweaty classes, some of which even your dog is allowed to join in (we’re not joking!). Check these out:
If you want to inject some fun into your cross-training programme, it doesn’t get much more invigorating than an hour of endorphin-inducing bouncing! And you’re not just bouncing either, expect to be working your whole body with an array of cardio and strength-based moves while you’re at it, depending on the class you go for. Choose from an Airborne, Circuit, HIIT, Bootcamp or Combat class, all of which will help to improve your balance and core strength, while helping to develop your cardio fitness. And, because it’s so low-impact, you won’t be placing any additional stress on your legs, so you’ll be fresh to run the next day. Oxygen Freejumping trampoline classes are available in cities across England, from Southampton to Leeds, and class prices start at £8. For more information, visit oxygenfreejumping.co.uk.
Digme Fitness RIDE
Digme takes its name from the beach in Hawaii that serves as the start line for the Ironman World Championships so, as you may guess, this class is not for the faint-hearted. Spinning on top-of-the-range indoor bikes, geared up with the latest technology, you view and track your progress on a virtual road – and see how you’re doing against other participants in the class. Our assistant editor. Jenny Bozon, went along to try out a class and loved the workout environment. “It’s a super intense 45 minutes. The audio and lighting in the studio really gets you in the zone and the fact you can see how you’re doing against others is super motivating and really makes you push yourself. And, after each session, you receive a summary of your performance, so you can try to beat your stats each time!” For a quality cardio workout that will ramp up your heart rate and burn a lot of calories – fast – this is a good one to go for. The three Digme Fitness branches can be found in Oxford, Richmond and Blackfriars. Tickets work with a credit system, costing £20 for a single session and, if you take their £20 introductory offer, you buy two credits for the price of one, plus a buddy credit (so you can take a friend). Book your class at www.digmefitness.com.
Looking to try your hand (or your dog’s paws) at Canicross? See how you and your future four-legged running partner are likely to get along as a team at Doga – a London-based yoga experience that explores “the sacred union existing between Dog and owner.” No, the dogs don’t do the yoga part, but just get involved as and when, occasionally featuring as a dumbbell, at other times, a relaxation aid and, of course, making acquaintances with other hounds. Sadly, as a team of cat owners at WR, we can’t say we’ve tried it but we’ve heard great things – and if it means you don’t need to feel guilty about leaving your dog while you go to your post-work yoga class then why not? All breeds are welcome at Doga as long as they are fully vaccinated, not too nervous around other dogs and are able to be off the lead. A Doga session is £22.50 for you and your dog and the classes take place in either Camden or Queens Park. Find out more at www.dogamahny.co.uk.
Described on its website as “intelligent exercise,” this ballet-inspired class uses tiny isometrics movements and the integration of high-intensity, low-impact moves to create longer, strong muscles. At first glance, it all seems very, erm, dare I say it, “Ra”, but stereotypes aside, it’s a class that works you hard. Many exercises are taken from both yoga and Pilates and also some free-weight exercises from classic weight training, which focus on strength and flexibility. The isometric holds and tiny pulses, upon first trial, seem simple enough, but just a handful of reps will see your muscles shaking, burning and crying out in pain. These classes can be found in London, Bristol, Leeds and Alderley edge (just outside Manchester) and prices vary, depending on location, from between £15-24 per class. Book your class at www.barrecore.co.uk.
Remember those lunchtimes on the playground, spinning hoops around your hips, thinking you were the coolest kid in town? Prepare for some serious nostalgia at this hula-hoop based workout class. Two of the most significant benefits gained from spinning a hoop include coordination and strength – both of which are crucial for runners and areas we don’t work on enough. The weighted hoops require constant core muscle push-pull contractions, which enhance core strength and develop posture and poise. Hula Fit is designed as an alternative, fun and light-hearted exercise for those looking to stay fit and have fun while they’re at it. Class cost only £7 and are available in London, New Malden, Nottingham and Lemmington Spa. Find out more at hulafit.com.
If we told you that bouncing up and down on a trampoline for 45 minutes would improve your running, you probably wouldn’t believe us. But you’re going to have to hear us out on this one. The class involves a series of explosive but low-impact moves designed to develop your cardio fitness, balance and core strength. And while you’re busy having a whale of a time bouncing around to blaring music, you hardly notice that’s exactly what you’re doing. In fact, as you perform each move, your core is working harder than ever to keep you stabilised and you don’t even realise it – well until the end of the class when you’re instructed to get down on the rebounder to do sit-up reps and you’re shaking like a leaf. If you want to work on your core strength and you’re up for a laugh (and a boogie), you’d be a fool not to give it a go! Rebound UK offers Rebound classes around the UK. Find your nearest class at www.rebound-uk.com/find-a-rebounding-club.
British Military Fitness Running Club
Sometimes all you need is a kick up the backside to get you going! And these BMF classes are just the ticket. The classes are an hour long with a five to 10-minute warm-up and five-minute cool down, and focus on improving every aspect of your running performance, from your technique to your speed. Every session is different, so attendees never get too complacent and constantly strive to improve, and are tailored to suit all fitness levels. Classes are hosted at various outdoor fitness venues across the UK and membership starts at £27 per month. Find out more at www.britmilfit.com.