Circuit training. Almost sounds boring, eh? I had to spice up the title a little, else you wouldn't be here would you? And this is a class worth reading about. Actually, it's a class worth attending, but one step at a time my little ones.
Instructor Michael's class today was like Book of Mormon in circuits form - witty, offensive and incredibly funny. If you are easily offended or prefer your class instructors politely encouraging and happy clappy complimentary, you should avoid this class. But, if you can take a bit of banter and just want to work out, then Instructor Michael is like no other instructor I've had so far. There were references to lady humps, buttocks and a mention of sex even came up - all of which were taken by the class in the light-hearted manner it was intended. (Subtle/not-so-subtle disclaimer). And jokes aside, he will make you work in that hour and he will make you work hard.
If Instructor Michael's refreshing, raw and direct style is not reason enough alone to try the class, then try it for the class itself.
Let's be honest, circuits classes are usually pretty standard. You'll do some star jumps, a few lunges, perhaps some burpees if you're (un)lucky and certainly some squats. Probably you'll use some handweights and do some bicep curls, a few tricep dips and a deadlift or two. You'll work out if you're feeling brave and you can slack if you're feeling a bit lazy, no-ones really counting how many reps you do.
But then you try this Mother-of-all-circuits class. It started harmlessly enough and it was during the warm-up neck stretch that I noticed there were no circuit stations set up - no exercises written on A4 sheets, no collection of dumb bells in one corner. So when Instructor Michael pointed at two ppl and then pointed to each side of the room, I was really confused. Then, to my surprise (/mild horror), the two chosen ones started picking members of the class, one by one. Yep, primary school, don't-pick-the-fat-kid-to-be-in-your-team stylee. (And no, I wasn't the last one picked and I'm sure that had nothing to do with Instructor Michael telling the chosen ones to pick a girl mid-way though the selection process).
Right, to the point. We're in teams. We did some mini-relay races. Then some more, with press-ups in between lengths (I quote "full ones, the ones on your knees don't count."). And some more. Yes, there was an air of competitiveness. So yes, I ran my sockies off. There's nothing like having a gaggle of majority guys cheering/ pushing you to get you to miraculously find that inner motivation.
Obviously the class was not just relay runs (thankfully - it would have been impossible to continue at that pace...or so I thought) and we did move onto circuits. Instructor Michael calls out "mats and benches!" And within 1-minute, an array or the old wooden school benches and big, soft crash mats are arranged throughout the dojo. But even with simple equipment, 8 extreme exercises are possible. Star jumps and jumping lunges were on the crash mats (so much harder!), squats were down until your bum touches the bench (that's one way to get people down lower on their squats) and push-ups holding a bench from the underside (you had to be there) - to name but a few.
By the end, you are trying to find a section of the dojo mat that is not covered in sweat to do your folding sit-up (that's hands to feet at the same time - kill.er). It may sound gross but it's all part of the charm - expect to work out, sweat and work out some more.
The Need To Know:
- Where: The Tokei Fitness Centre (www.tokeicentre.org)
- Nearest Station: London Bridge (7mins)
- When: Circuits on Tues/Thurs 18.00 - other classes available
- How Much: Day membership £10 else no-contract (yay!) monthly memberships available.
The Want to Know:
- Who's it For: For those who want straight-up, take no prisoner class
- Sweat Scale: 9/10.
- Strength / Cardio / Flexi / Tone: Mainly cardio and some toning
- Complexity: 7/10
- Fun Factor: 8/10
- Changing Facilities: Toilets, showers and a sauna I noticed this time!
- Instructor Inspiration: 8/10. Don't take no sugar-honey-iced-tea
- Total Time: 42mins (should have been around 52 but fat wrist syndrome stopped the watch).
- Average Heart Rate: 133bpm of recorded time, average will be higher.
- Max Heart Rate: 168bpm