(UPDATE: Love Your Body Health Hub is now unfortunately closed… But Sophie is still PT-ing and she is fippin’ brilliant!)
It’s 7.10am and the Spice Girls are powering me through my box squat jumps.
“giving you eeeeverything” [jump]
“alllll that joyyyyyyy can bring” [jump]
“this I sweeaaar” [jump]
My quads are screaming and I stop for a little rest. I’m impressed/annoyed by the fact I remember every word of this ’97 classic.
“Come on, 20 more seconds! Keep going!” says our instructor Sophie, her wry smile at my perplexed little face makes me break out into a grin. I momentarily forgive her for making me sweat this much, this early in the day. Like a trooper, she jumps up on her own step at the front of the class and completes the box squat jump set with us.
This is Body Con, with Sophie; a very reasonable tenner for one hour of early plyometrics and weights. You’ll find yourself panting and sweating, and your muscles will BURN- before the class changes pace and you put all of that pumping blood to good use, toning and conditioning your muscles. Healthy lungs and perky bum. YES.
Plyometrics are explosive “bursts” of movement that you repeat as fast and with as much effort as you can. high intensity. They become exhausting, quickly!
Think star jumps, squat jumps on and off of a box, burpees…. And repeating each of these movements for up to a minute without stopping, with a short rest inbetween each move, before doing the whole lot again. And again. By the time you get to that third set of burpees you are panting like a poodle on a hot day!
In this Body Con class, we used a step and a mat to complete 4 plyometric moves for 45 seconds each, with 30 seconds of rest inbetween. The class was focusing on legs and bum, so the plyometrics centered around this area of the body.
We did mountain climbers, frog jumps, and 180 rotation jump squats, among others. The 30 seconds inbetween each move was barely enough time to grab a drink and wipe your brow.
The second time we worked through these moves, we repeated them for 30 seconds each, with a 10 second rest inbetween. Thighs screaming and forehead dripping, Sophie was there at the front of the class doing all of the moves with the class to keep us going.
I found it really motivational to see our instructor working as hard as us. She was also on hand to give us alternative moves if we were finding the originals too challenging. “Just keep moving” was the mantra!
Should Girls Really Lift Weights?
The second part of the class was time to focus on weights! We worked through some lunges and deadlifts using hand held free-weights, to tone the thighs and bum. I’ve never done a deadlift before- and Sophie patiently talked us through the technique which you really need to nail before you up your weig, to avoid injury.
A few heavy weights with a good technique was the key here. 12 lunges on each side, 12 hip thrust raises, 12 deadlifts…. And repeat. When you focus on isolating muscles like this, you can really feel them working. It makes you hyper aware of the different parts of your body, and you can feel the magic working. I enjoyed this feeling.
Combining plyometrics and weights like this is magic in itself; cardio at the beginning means you carry on burning calories for hours after you’ve finished your workout. The efficiency of toning your muscles is amplified by this explosive cardio, too. Quite simply, it’s an incredibly effective way to burn fat and increase muscle tone. And with the Spice Girls and Beyonce warbling away in the background, you feel like a girly badass.
It’s an early-doors class but it doesn’t exhaust you before the day has even begun- instead it leaves you feeling strong and glowing from the inside. The gym is friendly, welcoming, and doesn’t intimidate. Other people in the class seemed up for a laugh. And as an instructor, Sophie is just the right level of fitness dictator and smiling nice person to keep you going.
I mean, yeah the eagle-eyed among you may notice that Sophie is my mate and everything, but it’s important to say that I paid for this class like a regular joe, and reviewed it unbiasdly through my blogger eyes. F’Realz.