Free Hot & Happy Bootcamp- the Albany Club
Super excited- we have another guest review! This review was written by the delightful Nid, who took on the challenge becoming not only a Hot B*tch but a Free and Happy one too! Here’s how she fared….
THE BASICS: Nikkita and Becky are the Free, Hot & Happy ladies. Nikkita is a personal trainer who uses interval training workouts to help tone up muscle and burn fat, creating sleek & tight lines.
THE BITCHES: Nid
THE CLASS: I attended one of the ‘boot camp’ sessions held at The Albany Club just off Albany Street – it’s a bit tricky to find if you don’t realize that it is the pretty church in the middle of the estate. The church is beautifully converted with giant sofas and a kitchen to make your protein shakes, and large changing rooms with REN products to use.
At the top of the church is a beautiful studio in the arches of the nave with plenty of natural light. Nikkita decided that tonight’s session was a total body workout, but told me that she usually focuses on upper or lower body.
In total there were eleven lovely ladies at the session who were all very welcoming and supportive, which is clearly thanks to Nikkita who introduced a newbie and me to the group at the beginning of the session. When I chatted to some of the women they reported that they found the classes motivating and that their mood was happier, which I can believe as the positive vibes exude from the space from the moment you arrive. I was assured that the classes are never repeated so you never know what to expect, and therefore you can’t avoid any exercises! This being the case, the workout I did was something like the following:
The warm up consisted of jogging, jumping jacks, crawl outs, press ups and cobra back extensions in rounds of possibly 15 seconds each. This got my heart racing nice and quick ready for the main workout.
The whole session is interval training in a variety of formats and timings, but generally three sets of each format. These went something like…running on the spot with instructions to tap the floor with your hand – 1 for left, 2 for right, 3 for both hands and then burpee or squat – Nikkita would mix up the instructions to keep you on your toes and your brain active.
Then we had one minute rounds of alternating 10 press ups with 10 sit ups or 10 cobra with 10 burpees, and then shorter rounds (maybe 30 seconds of each exercise) of hand to toe taps, jogging, squats, mountain climbers, and alternating full lying ab crunches with press ups. All of his was repeated three times over. Our ‘breaks’ consisted of holding a one minute plank, increasing its intensity by adding leg movements. We then had to add the leg movements into the burpees.
As it was getting really warm in the room Nikkita opened the door, for what I thought was fresh air, but no, we had to walk down the staircase and run around the court yard outside before coming back upstairs – this was our other type of ‘break’.
The final third of the class was in pairs – swapping exercise or working together – maximizing our workout time. We did alternating tricep dips with bicycle crunches; holding hands on the floor to perform reverse curls and leg lowering ab exercises. My years of pilates stood me in good stead for this bit, but I could feel the accumulation of all the exercises wearing my abs down.
For the legs section we had three types of lunges facing each other, then crossing squats with jumps and crossing mountain climbers – my thighs were burning and I was starting to feel them seize with exertion! At this point I was grateful for this being a total body workout as if there had been any more lower body exercises I wouldn’t have managed to walk down the stairs to the changing room at the end!
The final exercise was a plank but with a twist – we had to pat our partner’s hand like “patty cake” as a child – but in plank! This might have been ok if Nikkita hadn’t kept reminding us about technique or if it had only been one round, but the third round the shoulder stability muscles were burning!
Throughout the class Nikkita was reminding everyone about technique and adjusting if necessary. She also modified exercises as required whilst keeping us all motivated and feeling supported – she is not the ‘military’ style instructor. Nikkita was impervious to the groans and moans of the group, making jokes and keeping the session light hearted throughout, which made a great difference to the positive vibes and feel of the workout.
The cool down continued with our partner performing an assisted hamstring stretch and pectoral stretch, before a solo quad stretch and side bends. I felt super energized and happy all evening.
The following day, I was thankful to Nikkita for the full body workout as I’m sure I would have been super sore if it had been focused on lower or upper body, instead the ache was manageable.
I’ve never been to a boot camp that has been so welcoming and supportive, and this all comes down to the care put in by Nikkita. She was positive and upbeat without feeling fake, keeping the boot camp focused yet light. The workout was a good challenge although I dread to think what the upper or lower body focused sessions must leave you feeling like!
THE VERDICT: This is an awesome way to get fit in a healthy and happy way! I would certainly go back for more as these ladies they know how to make you want to turn up and do the workout, but mostly how to make you feel free, hot and happy!
THE EXTRAS: If you have a deadline to get fit by, then consider the package deal of boot camp, personal training and online trainer that FHH offer. The newbie at the session was getting ready for her wedding and I have no doubt that she is going to be a very happy and fit bride! You can contact Nikkita about what package would suit you best.