REVIEW: Fitness Playground, Burn Class

Fitness Playground no longer exists unfortunately. But my reviews of them are pretty entertaining even if I do so myself… so I have left them up. Just don’t go trying to attend a session because they no longer run…. 

THE BASICS: A second session with the awesome Fitness Playground guys- this time an hour long interactive mad dash around London’s Southbank. Stopping at several destinations to focus on intervals and reps to really work the muscle groups, inbetween our hardcore jogging tour.


THE CLASS: It was a Wednesday. It was raining. I am inherently lazy. I knew I was in for a corker of a class, and so despite the rain/laziness conundrum, I was ready and raring to go and sample a BURN class!

One of the Fitness Playground PTs Dan and I had spent the afternoon on twitter, trying and get the hashtag #FitnessRhyme trending (tragically, only the two of us were participating). Upon arrival at LSBU we both descended into giggles at the afternoon’s #TwitterFail, and this remained the tone for the rest of the class; yes it was a physical killer of a work out, but the entire session was genuinely, hysterically funny.

Matt was heading up most of the class, with Pete and Dan supporting, and after a warm up outside the sports centre, off we jogged into the rainy night! First stop was Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, and on the jog there we varied the early stages of the session with lunge-running, quick-stepping up kerbs and some sprinting. We reached the park ready for some fitness games!

Dan had run ahead and set up cones, ready for our arrival. I am obviously keen not to give away all of Fitness Playgrounds trademark secrets, and so I won’t tell you about all of the fitness themed games we played (quit reading this drivel and sign up for one of their classes if you want to know) but there is one game from this park session I really should share.

And that game is Hungry Hippos.

This game was designed to get us stretching and toning our arms, bums and legs, whilst reaching for cones in an agile way. However, there is also a bit of me that thinks this game might have been designed so Dan could legitimately yell “Come on hippos! Get the food!! Keep going hippos, quickly!!!” at class participants.

Rather fittingly, I generally feel about as dainty as a hippo whilst exercising, and I am also very realistic about the fact that I’m not a particularly graceful member of the human race; and so the sentence “COME ON HIPPO!” being yelled at me whilst I crawled about on the grass, flailing for cones, nearly made me pee my pants laughing.  I lost. Laughing hippos don’t get much food.

Anyway, after recovering from the hilarity that was Hungry Hippos, we jogged onto the Imperial War Museum and bear crawled up the stairs, then onto Southbank (I became a little disoriented at this point- not that familiar with this area of London, so forgive the vagueness!) all the while, mixing up our running with lunges, side-stepping and hops. We were also instructed to do jump and squat reps at traffic lights, in order to keep our pulses racing and out muscles burning whilst waiting for the green man (which led to some brilliant confused looks from drivers).

One thing I really liked during these parts of the class were that all three trainers were great at keeping us together in our little group, which means the pace must have been well judged. I liked the fact that one would always be at the back, encouraging the little straggler to keep the pace. I know this because the little straggler was, without fail, me. So this encouragement was much appreciated, thanks guys!

Interspersed with the jogging were several more “game” tasks, two of which stood out- we did some sprint intervals in a big artistic graffiti-tunnel close to Waterloo, which was good fun – it felt urban and edgy and suited the whole “London is your Playground” concept really well. I think these tunnel interval sprints may have been filmed by the FP guys as well…. and so I am currently working out what level of litigation lawyer I’m going to have to hire, to stop this video of a sprinting hippo ever being thrust upon a poor unsuspecting public.

The second game that stood out to me was plank-wrestling on some grass close to the BFI. The veteran readers among you may remember Sarah and I at the “Best” Session playing Plank-Paper-Scissors-Rock. This was similar, except without quite as much of a cognitively challenging element! Facing our opponents, the aim was to try and maintain a hard, taut plank position whilst trying to tap each other’s hands.

And then things got violent and we were tasked with maintaining plank position and trying to pull our opponents to the ground by tugging on their shoulders. I managed to do this once (yessssss!) but subsequently flumped on the ground myself (booooooo!). I am slightly aware that my plank might have been like a sagging souffle too, but that’s is by the by.

After all of these games, we made our way back, tackling Rocky stairs, more reps in tunnels and press ups/tricep dips on benches on our way. It was such a varied mix-up of tasks, every weedy little muscle in my body was shaking in shock by the time we neared LSBU! Fitness Playground, you killed me!! But then I am a hippo and so such torture exercise is definitely required.

THE VERDICT: These classes are seriously a BLAST! As autumn descends upon us, I implore you to get yourselves down to one of these Fitness Playground classes. Venture out in the rain and mist, and feel ALIVE!!! Grab your inner mole as he sleepily prepares to bed down and go into hibernation mode, grab him by his blind little face and yell these words at him: NO INNER MOLE!!! GET OUT AND EXERCISE!!! EMBRACE YOUR HIPPO!!! He’ll understand.

THE EXTRAS: I know you’re dying to read the highlights of Twitter’s new trending topic: #FitnessRhyme. Prepare yourselves:

“Time to ‘fess up, I love press ups!”

“Time to fight mean and get lean, forget this lazy shit and get fit”

“Gurn and feel the burn! Run and shrink your bum!”

I know, I know. Forgive us.


Leave a Reply