I joined LA Fitness in June 2010 and I love it. This local gym is one of my favourites ever and it is surprisingly good value – £34.50 per month. I am the Foursquare Mayor – meaning I’ve been 20+ times in the last two months and no-one is going to oust me! I like the classes rather than having to motivate myself in the gym, although I did pay for a Personal Trainer – more about that later.
I have tried basically every class on the timetable – more or less – and needless to say I have something to say about all of them ;0).
I did this back in June time and went to the Monday 11am class after pump at 9.30am. I was really challenging myself to go swimming and back then I was keen to lose weight and so tried out everything! Laura was the instructor and I really liked her style. She’s since left, just after I filled out a questionnaire saying she was my favourite instructor (wonder if that is relate?).
Anyways back to the class. Really surprisingly good exercise – the resistance through the water made what looked like really easy movements turn out to be really quite tough! I particularly enjoyed the foam floatie thing that added yet more resistance. I swear I was either out of breath or sweating most of the time. And the music was normally sing-a-long good too.
I was the youngest participant by about 20 years I reckoned; but didn’t mean the oldies weren’t up for a good work out and even some banter and mucking around.
The funniest thing – seeing all the hats. At LA Fitness wearing a hat is compulsory, I don’t really mind and some of the fluffy pinks, rubbery flowers and wild designs made me giggle every time.
The weirdest thing – having to hold hands as we made a circle. I’m not one for touching in the gym and trying to focus on your own movement whilst holding hands with someone who is trying to go in the wrong direction at snails pace is really quite irritating.
Fun Factor: 7/10
Fit Factor: 7.5/10
Spin Class (18 Dec)
It was years ago that I last got on a bike and the prospect of cycling for fitness filled me with dread. I then discovered Spin and love it. I also got a bike for my birthday and cycle to the gym come rain, snow or shine and love that too. I’m not really sure why I like it, I just feel that the workout is intense and rigorous. I sweat like a PIG and I believe that you lose about three pints during one session! I’ve invited Nancy along to a couple of sessions, but I hardly have any breath to talk. That said, there are plenty of the “WI” types that seem to natter all the way through.
The funniest things are really the characters you get to see:
· One instructor I refer to as the “Music Nutter” – I swear he does not make eye contact with anyone. But the music is loud loud loud.
· Another instructor seems to think that giving 110% resistance is a hard work out – this gets me every time as it out actually be an impossible work out as 100% resistance would be stationary…
· The Olympic Amazonian is a character I see in Body Pump.
· Sweaty Older Gent – there aren’t many blokes in any of the classes, but spin is probably the most likely place to see them. This chap is older – maybes 60s – but fit as you like. His only issue is his sweating – way more than me and requiring a mattress of hand towel around him to mop up.
· The “German Towel” brigade is made up of anywhere between 1 and 5 people who pre-select their preferred bikes and leave water bottles/towels draped over them to claim “Ownership”. I am dying to move them around to see if they notice ;0)back is to the mirror and I cannot see my reddeing face!
Fun Factor: 5/10 – I cannot describe it as “fun” per se, but…
Fit Factor: 9.5/10 – best cardio by far (and only 45minutes!)
I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a dancer and loved watching strictly as the end of last year. I enjoy a good bop but rarely get to do it. So having an opportunity to dance as exercise is great.
LA launched an Alesha Dixons Dance class which has a combo of Hip Hop, House and Latino. You learn three routines after warming up. They are relatively simple and the instructions are built up over the 10-15 minutes you have to play with. With the mirrors at the front and side of you, you get to see yourself from every angle and often it ain’t pretty. Personally my main problem movement is the body popping where I seem to look like a choking giraffe; and actually my favourite moves tend to be salsa/mamba latino moves, no idea why.
Fun Factor: 8/10 only the instructor makes the dancing look good, so anything goes and it’s all a bit of fun really
Fitness Factor: 7/10 you don’t totally feel like exercising, although it can be quite tiring!
This interval training is a tough work out with impact and energy. I probably consume the most amount of water during this session and sweat almost as much as doing Step. The music at the moment is fab – with Madonna to warm up and Aha’s Take on Me for the running track. I’m often out of breath jogging, jumping or kicking.
I do get annoyed with people who lack spatial awareness. We have mirrors all around and yet some people still invade your space by leaping too far.
Fun Factor: 7.5/10 (more if the space invaders are not around)
Fitness Factor: 8/10 – but watch out for stress fractures. Two instructors have had them in the last six months!
If pushed I would always say Pump is my favourite class – a nice weight/resistance activity without impact or too much cardio.
My challenge is to get my weights up this year as well as improve on my technique. I was proud
The session follows a prescribed routine of muscle groups with music associated with each section.
· Warm up – covers all the areas and hints at the moves you are going to be doing
· Squats – with weights or without, but technically tricky
· Chest – done on a step and best with shoulders “back and down” (thanks Cat)
· Back – clean and press = most pointless move in Les Mills BTS?
· Triceps – usually tough but good
· Biceps – usually tough but often horrendous
· Lunges – I actually like these but need to improve technique to benefit more.
· Shoulders – always tough and who is this Mac bloke that created the mac raise?
· Abs – almost a relief to do
· Cool Down – currently chilling to Adam Lambert and a welcome end to a rigorous hour
Rhian is one of the best Pump instructors I have come across and is technically very good, has an aspirational body shape/size and works with good weights that inspire you. I love some of her idiosyncratic phrases such as: “Go Go GO” and “Sharpen up the edges” and she’s one of the few instructors that will use the word “Nipples” to identify where you have to position the bar in the chest track.
Fun Factor: 8/10
Fitness Factor: 8/10 Good all round work out
This is a surprisingly tough workout usually on a Tuesday at 9.30am. My neighbour takes the class and I like her style.
It’s often a mix of aerobics and toning and it’s not a BTS workout and the moves are often fairly similar session on session. I like going back to basics on aerobics with the grapevine, hamstring curls and box steps. We often up the intensity with louder music or speeded up and then we can move to a toning session.
If you think the toning session is going to be easier – think again. Trish sets the hardest abdominal stretches I have come across and what she gets us to do with the bars and the rubber straps is often verging on painful! Just when you think the countdown from 8 is going to end, she’ll make you hold the move, speed it up or simply do it again.
Fun Factor: 8/10
Fitness Factor: 9/10 I reckon if you did this more than once a week it would make a real difference!
Step and Tone
This has to be one of my most troublesome classes. It is full of characters and tends to wind me up massively as I also find it very challenging. I am surprised that I have not given this up as I am not that good at co-ordinating t speed on different levels, but for some reason I keep going. Probably because it is a Saturday am class and followed with a half hour toning session. What better way to start your weekend?
The class is always busy and today I think it had 4 more people in it than they are supposed to have. This annoys me. Davina is a great instructor but never asks if anyone has any injuries or if there are any newcomers and she also never counts. I swear there will be a clash of bodies one day. The characters annoy me.
· The Air conditioning Complainers – you get them in every class but for some reason there is a plethora of ladies who just don’t understand the principles of air con. The room is cold cos it is empty. It gets warm when 20 people jump and leap around for an hour. It then gets cooler. They still have to complain. They drive me insane.
· The Equipment Moaners – My god did LA have an ear bashing on the state of their steps for a month or so. New ones were ordered but took a while to arrive. They still had to complain to each other and moan every session without going to seek the facts. Did anyone say thanks for the sparkly new ones either – did they hell!
· The Numpties that set off the alarm – There’s an emergency alarm near the step risers. Numpties stack their risers right against it. WHY? Someone did it today. I actually moved the risers to keep the button clear
· The WI – I have no idea how everyone knows everyone (yummy mummies I reckon) but they seem to wait until they are in the class to catch up on their week. The noise is relentless from quarter to the hour until 5 past which is when it usually starts as the stragglers always turn up late. Here is a snapshot from today:
· The Teachers Pet(s) – this is the only class where the instructor seems to have private conversations with her clan. It’s a little annoying if the class is running late.
· The Jerky Spider – this individual is unpleasant to the eye. She is incredibly enthusiastic with the class and over-stretches, kicks higher and jumps higher than everyone – including the instructor. But she manages to do it with jerky movements that make her look really weird. It’s so distracting.
· The Why Does She Need to Come? – I am beginning to think that this lady is an instructor herself. She has natural movements and a great style, but she does embellish a few movements and have her hair in bunches….
· The Token Boy/Man – Not much to say apart from the fact that it is rare to see men in any classes
· The Un-coordinated – This one appears from time to time and it’s a bit unfair to point as I am hardly one to talk. But frankly this one lady was so incredibly bad she scarcely knew her left from her right which is fatal in this class. Give it up honey, go find something else!
Fun Factor: 5/10 definitely not fun and needs a lot of concentration and determination
Fitness Factor: 8.5/10
So, in six months I have probably been on the treadmill once, on the cross trainers or bikes once. Self-motivation is not a strong point. I enlisted a personal trainer to give me a boost. Time is not my issue but doing the right things to get the right results is. I need to do more cardio – rowing is actually fun and I need to up my running what with the 10K run in March. I also need to so some weights to tone further. It’s just tricky to motivate myself, if I book a class I commit therefore I go. If it is down to me I can’t do it. Not even to watch Jeremy Kyle on the TV screens!
I am pretty much getting to the gym 3-5 times a week and I need to do a mix of things in order to reach my goals :
· Lose weight – I would love to be 10½ stone
· Lose inches – from waist and thighs mainly
· Build stamina – so I don’t get breathless running for a train
· Sweat less – I am told it is good to sweat but it is not a good look!
· Tone muscles – firmer butt, thighs and arms would be good.
Not too much to ask for huh?