THE BASICS: Animal Prime is a class designed to help you move like you’re meant to. Whaddya mean you know how to move? I mean reeeeally move.
Like humans did when we were basically animals. Y’know, running around barefoot and using our knuckles and clubbing wooolly mammoths and stuff. Stay with me. Look, nowadays we squish our bodies in shoes and sit at desks all day and walk upright and our bodies are ruined by the time we’re 50. Kathy and Satz, the women behind Animal Prime, want to help us solve this.
The class is currently (Dec 2016) run out of PureGym Union Gate in Bristol, and it’s £3 supplement per class. It’ll soon be moving outside too, so you can run round in a
local park genuinely wild habitat.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: I had a bit of an idea what to expect in this class as I’d been chatting to the founders while they were cooking up this concept. I didn’t however, expect to be standing in a circle, letting out animal cries and beating my chest by the end of hour, that’s for certain!
But trust me, by the time we got to this stage of Animal Prime, it felt absolutely normal to be standing in the middle of a busy gym on a Saturday morning, howling like a wolf.
Mobility was at the heart of the particular class I went to, but I know these girls will be working strength and fitness into each session as the course progresses. For this sesh though, it was back to basics, and we needed to learn how to move again – in particular this time, our hands and wrists, and feet and ankles.
We all rely on keyboards and phones, sitting hunched over them for hours a day. I know from weight training, that my grip strength is probably best described as pathetic. My hands move fine, they’re dextrous and capable, but I don’t give them a second thought. Same with my feet. What generally happens is I need to move and they just do.
I take all of their amazing movements for granted. This class made me move, stretch and challenge all of these delicate but very strong joints, muscles and bones that needed some TLC. I learned some wonderful wrist and finger stretches that I’ve found myself doing a lot in preparation for lifting heavy weights since – the stuff these gals taught was instantly useable and has improved my understanding for workouts outside of this class.
We also spent some time using our whole bodies after this dextrous work. Think rolling around on the floor and being encouraged to feel the connections between our muscles and our bodies against the floor. Teddy rolls and turtles (just think rolling around like when you were little and not giving a damn. Literally that. It was a lot of fun!)
These girls have phenomenal knowledge about what they teach. They help you loosen up quickly and confidently so you don’t feel too self-conscious doing things that might feel instinctively alien. And the content that they’re teaching you is applicable to everything you do with your body, whether in the gym or just moving around day to day.
And extra kudos for their playlist too. So often classes see an instructor fumbling around with a playlist they’ve had ample opportunity to think about prior to class. It gets pretty frustrating. These gals had it nailed – Jungly, animally chanting music was on the entire time. Little things like this really make a difference to the overall experience of the class. Noted!
THE VERDICT: Having that hour to think and connect with how your body is designed to move makes a real impact on the rest of your week as you really do start to pay more attention to movements you’ve probably taken for granted for years.
The fact this class is part of a progressive series is even better, because it means you’ll be able to build on your knowledge and probably sort out a hell of a lot of the niggles you’ve got because of the way you unconsciously move all of your component body parts at the moment.
THE EXTRAS: Having spoken to Kathy and Satz about where they want to take Animal Prime Bristol, they’ve mentioned time and again that they are keen for the class to be accessible to people at every ability or disability. They’re fascinated by how these animal movements may aid the overall experience of movement for those living with a disability, and I know they’re keen adapt the class as needed so everyone is completely welcome. We likey!