Debrief Does: Shred At Fitness First
The Debrief: We sweated it out at Fitness First's new weights-meets-HIIT class so you don't have to. Here's what happened when The Debrief tried Shred
Jazmin hates anything that feels remotely like legitimate exercise while Alyss thrives on that feeling of getting a really good workout. What happens when two young women with completely opposing outlooks on (and willingness to) exercise try out the fitness class of the moment? Here’s where we find out...
Do you ever wonder into your local gym ready to get your sweat on, take a look at the class timetable, not understand what any of it means and think better of giving it a go even though you're sick of the treadmill and petrified of the weight benches? We feel ya. But, you might just be missing out. We headed over to Fitness First who have just launched an exclusive new class called Shred. It's part lifting and part HIIT training which, admittedly, sounds pretty intense. Here's how we, erm, survived.
Jazmin: 'WEIGHTS, Alyss? FFS stop making me do things I'm scared of and actively don't like. I thought we were friends. Why are you not my friend?'
Alyss: ‘We’re late, we’re late,’ totally our own doing. It was a very early class and Jaz and I were both late. This totally threw me off at first as we had to collect equipment, and the class had already started but that being said, I didn’t feel uncomfortable going in 10 minutes behind.
How difficult is it?
Jazmin: Difficulty is in the eye of the weight holder, my friends. It's not an easy one becuase, well, you're mixing lifting with HIIT which, even just writing down, makes me want to vom. But what's great is that you have a lot of control over how hard you push yourself. So you chose how heavy the weights you use are and when you're doing the HIIT interval you're doing the exercise to time rather than to a number of reps which means there is some flexibility to how hard you go. I didn't feel awkward about slowing down or doing less than the rest of the class which was nice.
Alyss: Weights are tough, because if you don’t pick up the right weight (hi, me) you’re either going to feel like it’s too hard and struggle for the whole class, or you’ll pick up weights too light and won’t be pushing yourself enough. I did the latter, so I had to push it extra hard during the HIIT section. This hurt. The squats hurt real bad.
Do I need a working knowledge of exercise beforehand?
Jazmin: I mean, I got through the class just fine and the very lovely instructor does do that thing of walking around to make sure that no one has passed out under their barbells. But I did feel like I would have gotten more out of the class if I knew more (anything) about the correct form for lifting. Spoiler: I've never lifted before.
Alyss: I’d say regardless of your knowledge beforehand, you could do this class. The instructor explained everything in great detail, and you do each exercise a couple of times so you can really grasp the concept. And even if you were unsure, there’s plenty of opportunity to sneakily ask when the instructor walks around.
Can I fit it into a lunch break?
Jazmin: I'd say so. We went first thing in the morning (sigh) and the class was less than an hour which would give you just enough time to pop your pits into the shower. Just.
Alyss: You could, you easily could. It’s 45 minutes but if (like me) you don’t sweat that much during weight training you could hop on a bus after and get back into work, asap. You’ll feel like superwoman all day after proving how strong you are.
Would I need to shower after?
Jazmin: Erm, yeah mate.
Alyss: I’m going to get real with you and tell you I did not shower, nor did I change. I popped a jumper on and went on my merry way. Call me gross, but I was ok…
What do I need to wear?
Jazmin: I wore my most comfortable pair of H&M leggings and a pretty casual Nike vest with splits either side for a bit o' extra freedom. I'm not an expert but I'd say if you're going to give it any thought, pay extra attention to what you'd be most comfortable doing the HIIT stuff in, i.e. a super supportive sports bra for all that annoying jumping around. I wore the Nike Pro Classic and for a 'medium support' bra, there was zero jiggle.
Alyss: I wore my favourite Nike Zoom Flyknit trainers, and they felt great, because they’re suitable for things like squats, burpees and indoor training. My top tip, don’t wear leggings that fall down like I did – these Reebok leggings look great, but the low waist band meant I spent the entire session pulling them up.
Could I take a mate?
Jazmin: There's a bit in the class where you work in pairs. One of you holds a plank while the other has to do ten burpees. Burpees are my worst nightmare and I usually flat out refuse to do them. So I didn't feel so guilty about leaving Alyss in the world's longest plank while I struggled to get up from my push up. I imagine it would be a bit more stressful if a stranger was waiting on you.
Alyss: Of course, but it’s quite a dark class so you might not be able to see their face much. The whole class focuses on individual training, apart from at the end – so going solo would be totally fine too.
Was it fun, though?
Jazmin: I'm not going to say it wasn't fun, but it is the class that encompassed all of my biggest fears about gymming, so I was quite anxious for a lot of it. That said, I did it and I feel that little bit more comfortable with it all which is a good thing. I found the stretching at the end like actual fun though, does that count?
Alyss: I wouldn’t call this one ‘fun,’ but only because you’re not dancing around like you would at Ministry Does Fitness. But, I felt like I learnt something about weights – I now know how to do exercises like arm pull ups, and I didn’t know that before. So it was fun in a ‘I learnt something new’ kind of way.
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