Once you’ve found your fitness thing, it can be difficult to get the balance right. You may be pretty speedy as a runner but this is at the expense of your flexibility. You can cycle round a track no sweat but try and lift anything heavier than 10kg and you’re at a dead loss. You try and become the best that you can be at your chosen sport but that focus can sometimes mean you have to compromise in other areas.
As a dancer turned runner, I know exactly how it can feel to lose my twinkle toes. Where as once I was able to do the splits, today I’m most likely to be at the back of the class struggling to touch my toes. I’ve always had a lot of bounce but my alignment and core strength has swayed slightly off track. It’s time to take charge. As well as running and training for my Challenge 2014 #Swimathon, I’ve been trying out different classes to improve my overall fitness.
First up: Sweaty Betty’s classes and Get Fit 4 Free.
What’s the deal?
As well as offering a range of fashion-focused fitness and sportswear and motivational messages (Got to love “Fit is the new it”), Sweaty Betty have made it part of their mantra to build a community of fitness fanatics. Affectionately known as Sweaty Betties, these women are empowered through fitness and like to practice what they preach. You can find a whole list of the core beliefs here. And before you go thinking this is an exclusive club, I want to tell you that Sweaty Betty’s main purpose is “to inspire women to find empowerment through fitness” – talk about speaking my language. They offer free (yes, FREE) classes in-store up and down the country, which range from Run clubs and Yoga to Tabata and Pilates . Check their list of boutiques to see if there’s a class you may like. And then, of course, there’s Get Fit 4 Free.
Say it again – Get Fit 4 Free?
Get Fit 4 Free is a month-long campaign which aims to engage the community, create a new challenge and showcase some of the hottest fitness trends. And this February, Sweaty Betty happened to choose something after my own heart: let’s hear it for Ballet Bootcamp.
Having a ball at Ballet Bootcamp 2014
Ballet Bootcamp 2014 is designed by the people behind sleektechnique.com and combines ballet technique with cardio and strength work, so you leave the class feeling like you’ve had an all-over body workout. It also happens to be a great way to stretch and use a range of different muscles. But be warned, as a runner you may experience cramp when you attempt to point your toes.
Alongside the class, which lasts an hour, there is also a video on the site by sleektechnique.com, who host live online classes (think teaching via Skype). You can also buy a range of ballet-inspired dance gear at Sweaty Betty entitled Dance Statement, which, get this – was designed in collaboration with English National Ballet.
Tried and tested
I tried the class at the Muswell Hill Boutique and was amazed by how much my arms ached after holding them in various positions. From testing my balance to using a different set of muscles than running, the “plies”/ “battement tendus” worked my glutes and the next day my muscles were a little bit sore. Santa may not have delivered on the Barrecore classes for Christmas but this class was certainly a wake-up call. Most importantly though, I really enjoyed the hour class and surely that’s what it’s all about. Let’s put it this way, Sweaty Betty got me fit(ter) 4 free with fun thrown in. I could also have a quick look around the store to eye-up any pieces for my shopping list.
Are there any downsides?
It’s a shame that the Ballet Bootcamp 2014 is only running until the end of February (so this week). Make sure you book a class ASAP. Speaking of bookings, you have to call the store a day before to sign up for the events and places fill up very quickly. You’ve got to be pretty quick off the mark.
Overall a thumbs up
I absolutely love the fact that Sweaty Betty offers its community these free classes and the Get Fit 4 Free campaign. The only downside is the booking. I’ll be trying to dip in and out of a few Sweaty Betty classes this year. Who knows? If ballet is back on the menu, I may try and perfect my arabesque.