I recently did a juice fast. I am not, by nature, the type of person who does juice fasts, or really any sort of 'fast' other than breakfast, but I was convinced by a friend to join Frame's Re-Boot Camp, which was sold to me as 'like being healthy, but for lazy people'. I was completely baffled by this sales pitch, but the Frame website helped to clarify: Re-Boot Camp is a week-long tailored exercise and nutrition programme, run by a trained nutritionist and Vinyasa yoga teacher. It is meant to provide the perfect kick-start to a healthier, fitter you. (I believe my friend described it as for 'lazy people' because a) she knew I would identify with this title and b) Frame puts everything you need in one place).
Buoyed up by The Sunday Times's recent #fitnothin, which seeks to build on the Olympic legacy to see more women involved in sporting activity, and to change the way women view fitness and their bodies, I decided to give it a go. I was also intrigued to see what the instructors would make of someone whose definition of 're-booting' involves only having a 'few' glasses of wine, to 'have a night off'.
My head filled with dreams of Rio 2016, I set off to Frame's Shoreditch gym, which I later found out is frequented by the model Daisy Lowe and most of the female cast of Downton Abbey. While I cannot personally think of anything I would like less than working out alongside my colleagues, I was heartened that Sadly I did not see any of them, but I did notice how young and friendly and downright cool the space, its instructors and clientele seemed to be. The Re-boot camp started off gently, with an excellent nutrition talk, along with a handy plan of easy to prepare meals and 'good' take-away places. (Whilst I was pleased that take-away was allowed, it was here that my dreams of pizza and Chinese were reluctantly let go, as various sushi options were extolled). Foods were listed under 3 separate columns, good, better and best, which made my supermarket shop a strangely pejorative experience. Determined to give this my best shot, I dutifully made enough 'good' food for both dinner and lunch, smugly arriving at the office with my Tupperware, only to end up eating my carefully prepared lunch at 10.30am. Realising fairly quickly that I was probably not the sort of impossibly disciplined and organized person who can ignore the siren call of their brought-in lunch until a reasonable eating time, I quickly sought out the nearest sushi vendor. Irritatingly, it turns out that not eating an enormous, overstuffed baguette at lunch means working post-lunch is much easier.
Nevertheless, I still had the hardest part of the Re-Boot camp. The juice fast, which began in a staring competition as I spent several minutes staring bleakly the 6 freshly made, different coloured juices which were meant to see me through the next 24 hours. Oddly, the fears I had pre- fast, in which I envisioned myself as a harrowed, starving type of monster, were not realized. Rather, I simply disengaged from the act of eating altogether. I was never hungry, but equally I took no pleasure from the juices, and eating as a social activity ceased to exist for those 2 days. Overall, it was boring. There is apparently endless science, and it's certainly fashionable to fast for some of the week, but I was left underwhelmed by the whole thing.
Much, much more fun were the exercise classes. The Re-Boot camp provides a choice of exercise classes, all taken at Frame, alongside daily email support and inspiration. There was also the option for a personalized exercise plan. I personally had a somewhat chaotic approach to my week of Frame classes, deciding to 'pitch up and try', which led me to trampolining, HiT training and dance classes, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Frame is a gym started by people who hated gyms, and it shows. Instead of endless rows of treadmills and rowing machines, there are light-filled studios where classes are themed around popular dance songs or personal competition. The focus is on internal, rather than external goals- its clients are women who are proud of their bodies not because of what they look like, but because of what they can do.
As I said above, I am not the type of person who does juice fasts. I am, however, the type of person who now goes trampolining before work, and who makes a mean feta and avocado salad, and who knows an entire dance routine to Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Soon, if I continue at Frame, it will be hard to tell me from one of his video girls.