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Head to the Gym for Some Off Piste Thrills

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Ski season is well and truly upon us and the ski enthusiasts amongst us are busy gearing up to plough the pistes.

But if you haven't skied since last year, you may find that you're a wee bit rusty and could do with oiling up those muscles before heading off to the slopes.

With this in mind, Reebok Sports Centre in Canarf Wharf, have put together ski fit classes, so that your body won't get a complete shock when you get out there on your annual activity break.

Now, I'm not a skier, but I am always ready to try new exercises that are different from my own fitness regime to eradicate boredom settling in.

I was expecting to spend an hour or so on some sort of a ski machine, but upon arrival, I realised that what my trainer Alfie had in mind and what I had in mind as a ski fit class, were two totally different classes.

Indeed the warm up began on a normal stepper to raise my heart rate during which Alfie explained what lay ahead.

"The classes are designed to incorporate a variety of moves that mimic those that are used during skiing", explained Alfie. "When you're in the mountains, you're using your body in a variety of ways. You move uphill, downhill, sideways - recruiting a number of different muscles.
Even if you are a regular gym goer, it may have been sometime since you used certain muscles that are used during skiing, so these classes are a great way to prepare you for them."

With our warm up done, it was time to tackle the main workout which consisted of mini circuits using various equipment and the treadmill.

I began with stepping onto an upside down bosu ball - an inflated semi-circle shaped equipment - with a weighted medicine ball by my chest. I then had to squat down as far as I could go down and then up again. Performing a squat on a steady ground is hard enough let alone trying to balance on the ball. And this isn't the only exercise that can be done while performing a balancing act as I learned. Alfie then moved us on to rotate from side to side with the weighted medicine ball held chest height with arms extended in front of us. The sheer weight of the ball had my arms pumping, while my legs got a workout with the balancing I had to do. And of course with the twisting action, I could feel my love handles melting (hopefully) away. Rocking on the bosu ball from side to side followed which was actually fun even though I almost toppled over a few times. All of these moves require concentration and a really strong core. The more I tightened my core, the steadier I became.

Moving on to the TRX, It was time to smash those legs further with the almighty lunge. The TRX is a strap supported by an overhead bar with a loop to hold on to, with which numerous exercises can be done. We had to hold on to the loop and do back lunges with a jump back into the starting position. It sounded easier than it was as I found out. It was hard not to sway from side-to-side on the way back into central position and it was only towards the end of the 45 second circuit did I manage to perfect the move. The good thing was, I spent so much time concentrating, it helped take my mind off the pain of the actual exercise.

"These moves are designed to work with weight resistance, cardio and strength in mind", added Alfie. "The idea is to shock the body so that it doesn't know what is coming next just as you wouldn't when on the ski slopes." True to Alfie's word, the body did indeed get a shock.

It doesn't matter how fit you are, but if you do exercises that your body is not used to, you will really feel them in muscles that you never thought you even had.

A number of explosive moves followed with the use of various equipment like kettlebells, boxes, and the gym ball followed during the class.

All of the exercises had some kind of twist to it like standing on one leg, incorporated with a quick burst on the treadmill whether it was an uphill walk or a gentle run, and then another body weighted move.

Alfie, who developed a passion for skiing during a school trip, is not a forgiving kind of guy and I really felt I had endured a tough session.

But I just about forgave him when he informed me that I had burnt around 400 calories during the session and would continue burning more for the rest of the day. The good news is you don't even have to be a skier to benefit from such a high intensity class.

You can have some off-piste thrills without having to brace the cold or even leaving the country. For more information on ski classes at the Reebok Sports Club log, on to http://www.reeboksportsclublondon.com/ or call 020 7970 0900.