London Fields Fitness, Sapan’s Booty Camp
THE BASICS: I put a call out on Twitter for unusual classes to attend. London Fields Fitness replied. “Try Sapan’s Bootycamp” Twitter said. “You can’t quite put it into words, but just go” Twitter said. Twitter was right. There is no way I can describe this class, accept to say that my stomach still hurts, not from sit ups but from laughter. £5 on a Sunday morning (11am, what a thoughtful hour for a Sunday).
THE BITCHES: Carly and Laura
THE CLASS: After an introduction like that, I don’t really know where to begin! I’d previously met Sapan when I was at London Fields Fitness earlier in the week doing a PT session with Kate from FormFitness. He was rather amusingly wondering round with a loo roll, looking lost. I said hello mid-gurn, and he laughed a knowing laugh when Kate told him I was going to be coming along to his Booty Camp on Sunday. This left me somewhat fearing for my small, chubby life.
I was correct to fear this.
We arrived and held a two minutes silence before the class for Remembrance Sunday which I thought was really great in a city where people often ignore such an event. After that, we got straight into a high intensity warm up of burpees (I hate burpees), squat jumps, star jumps and running on the spot. Reps increased as we progressed, and by the end of the warm up I was pretty much done for the day.
I looked at Laura. She looked at me. We were both in a state of shock. I don’t think either of us expected anything other than a little light aerobics. And we were only ten flippin’ minutes in!!
Sapan threw open the gym doors and invited us all out to sample the air in the form of a light jog. Ok, so he may not have said it quite as politely as this. In fact I think his words might have been “go on, out you go, RUN!!” Laura jogged alongside me as we ran to the top of the road and back, muttering under her breath about not having run for years. I charged along in my usual flat-footed manner.
Back in the gym doors and we started squats. So. Many. Squats. And press ups. Squats into press ups. Squat ups. Just a whole world of pain in the form of press up squatting. Sapan remained like a sweet faced yet deadly exercise assassin throughout. “And ten more squat jumps!” he’d say in a cheery manner. As weak groans came out from the entire class, he would splutter with laughter, which would then set us all off giggling, and we’d think we’d got away with it. Nope. He hadn’t forgotten. SQUATS JUMPS! NO SLACKING!
I lost count of the number of floor reps we did. That’s the beauty of being a human, you block out severe bouts of pain. Several more runs out into the bracing morning sunshine were interspersed with the rep work. Laura’s mutterings had ceased, instead graduating into a look of shocked, silent stupor. At one point she gave me a look begging for mercy to such a degree that ,when Sapan noticed it, he burst out laughing and made a quip that this class may well mark the end of our friendship. This set us both off laughing for a good couple of minutes. I admit, I may also have been doubled over laughing so I could excuse myself from the press up to plank sequence he was demanding of us.
Now I don’t want to give away the secrets of this class because I really want you to all go and try it out yourselves, but all I will say is that other activities include balancing on each other’s laps whilst yelling out interesting facts about yourself (one girl- she’d lost 7 stone this year- AMAZING!! My fact- I grew up in the Home Counties- not so amazing), “bum wrestling” (yes, this is the official term) and planking whilst rolling a ball at each other and holding a bit of a group therapy session.
I told you this class was going to be impossible to describe!
Now, alongside nearly losing control of my bladder due to Sapan’s total lack of political correctness and assassin-like PT style, there was one more thing that had the rest of the class crying genuine tears of laughter. One man in our class. Hmmm. How to write this? Let’s just say that during this class, we all heard him make some of the most intimate noises a man can make.
I probably sound mean. But don’t worry, after each, um… shall we call them “exercise-gasms”, the perpetrator was sniggering as much as we were at his involuntary, effort-induced yells. It was truly astounding, and rendered me incapable of one of the last sets of press-ups because I had exploded with laughter whilst he panted away next to Laura.
We completed ab work last, and Sapan was commenting happily on the looks of death he was receiving from everyone at this point! It was Just. So. Frikkin. Hard. Laura and I frequently swapped looks of utter confusion at what we were doing out of bed and exerting ourselves in such a manner. I think I may have had my own exercise-gasm or two.
Sweet, sweet warm down finally came, and I embraced its friendly, forgiving arms with delirium. Never has a respite from exercise felt so welcome. We left- shell shocked, exhausted, amused, confused, delirious, pumped- and not sure we weren’t going to be able to walk tomorrow. I am already looking to my next class in a couple of Sundays!!
THE VERDICT: Now listen to me and listen to me good. GO. Go to this class. GO THIS COMING SUNDAY. It was just too funny to put into words. Sapan’s personality completely makes the class what it is. He was tongue-in-cheek, kept the banter going, interacted with everyone, got us all talking to each other, encouraged us, got us laughing at ourselves… he was just brilliant. Be ready for some bloody hard work though. This is definitely not a run-of-the-mill easy aerobics class!! When I saw Laura the next day, she was reduced to saying “ow ow ow ow” every time she had to walk up or some down stairs. Not that I was laughing. We are now bonded as friends for life following our bum wrestle. Bum Wrestle Friends don’t laugh at each other.
THE EXTRAS: This video from the London Fields Fitness website should further deepen your knowledge of this class. So now you know. Oooh- and the gym will be holding a party on 29th November! Just think- you can party on Friday, lie in bed hating yourself on Saturday, and go to Booty Camp on Sunday. Win.