So as part of my fat club journey which is basically an attempt of being proactive at a healthier and more active life for a while, I decided to try out this new fitness class I’ve heard people rave about – pardon the pun!
For those who have not heard of this new phenomenon then Clubbercise is basically an exercise class that emanates an old skool rave! Started in early 2014, the Clubbercise website sums it up on their home page:
If you like the idea of a fitness class that feels more like a night out than a workout you’ll LOVE Clubbercise®
Fun, easy-to-follow dance fitness routines using rave glow sticks to club anthems from 90′s classics to the latest chart hits taught in a darkened room with disco lights.
I had seen it on Facebook as a few people I know had tried it out and said how much fun it was. I mentioned it to a friend Rach a few weeks ago – probably while out drinking high calorie alcohol and gnawing on a bar of lard so obvs before I joined fat club. She had tried it out before on some fitness weekend I think and said it was great fun and was keen to come along to the St. Neots class near me. It just so happened that we decided to go the week I joined fat club (Slimming World) – I really should stop calling it that – so quite good timing!
Now before I go any further I think it’s important at this point to stress that I really don’t like aerobics classes – am I showing my age there as I think they may be called fitness classes these days. Don’t get me wrong I have really tried to like them and throughout my life have done a lot of them and keep trying to like them but the long and short of it is I really don’t think I do. I still try to persevere with them every now and again as can see all the benefits and know there are millions of people who really do love them. While on this subject I feel the same way about exercise machines although I don’t mind weights but before you think i’m against exercise, I do enjoy getting out in the fresh air, riding bikes, riding my sisters horses, swimming in the sea and lakes and I quite like team sports as I’m quite a competitive person, but to be honest, I am a bit lazy and of late my exercise regime has really just consisted of walking the dog!
One of the main reasons I don’t like aerobic classes is because I am really really bad at the co-ordination thing so if anything is anymore complicated than a side step I struggle to cope with it. I’ve never been any good at playing an instrument (apart from the recorder and I play a mean triangle) where you have to do different things with each hand like play the guitar or drums and with drums you then have to use your feet too so forget that!
So basically I spend the whole exercise class looking like a buffoon trying to work out the steps and just as I think I’ve started to learn it the move changes. I just end up frustrated and feeling that I haven’t really got much exercise as too busy trying to do the moves!
I’ve recently been reminded by my lack of picking up moves by going to dog agility which I love but we have to learn certain moves and when I have to think about what I’m doing it all goes horribly wrong. Once I get it, I can then subconsciously do it and am fine but it’s when I have to think about it. Oh well I guess we can’t be brilliant at everything! (that is a joke for those that don’t know my sense of humour)
When younger I would feel really self conscious and I’ve just had a flashback of a time I lived in Birmingham and my good friend Shivon thought it would be good fun to go to this dance class she saw advertised! Now Shivon was Miss Sri Lanka one year (she hates me telling people that but I’m proud of her achievement) and she was pretty good at choreography and of course beautiful and slim (may I say she radiates with inner beauty too which is what is important and why I was attracted to her as a friend) and I….well I must have looked like the ugly duckling and a heffalump next to Shiv but the great thing about Shiv is she is so full of love and acceptance of people that she has this great aura that makes you feel great in her company.
So we turn up at this dance class she had convinced me to go to, despite my reservations and…OH MY LIFE. I don’t think there was anyone there who was over 15 years old, we must have been about 25/26 at the time, and they were all very good dancers and as beautiful and elegant as Shiv is it really was like a scene from a French and Saunders comedy sketch. At one point we had to go one by one across the middle of the dance floor prancing about – the pubescent, size zero, girls looked like beautiful, graceful swans and me…well you can imagine! Even Shiv who was able to do the moves looked totally out of place. Honestly, it was like the twilight zone and still to this day I’m not sure if it was just a bad dream or if it actually happened! Luckily we saw the hilarity of it all and I am always thankful for moments like this as it’s another great memory and experience to store away for when I’m old and can look back on life and think ‘Yes, I did live’!
Anyway, I was up for giving this new sensation of Clubbercise a go if only to hang with Rach as it doesn’t seem to matter what we get up to, we always have a laugh. Even when life hands Rach lemons, her reaction is to make great lemonade to share around. Rach is a great friend and like me is always up for anything.
So off we trot to Ernulf School sports hall, about a minute before it started, I really should try to be on time more, the hall was darkened and strobe lights were in play making it atmospheric. We popped to say hi to the instructor and to get our FREE glow sticks! Yes, you get free glow sticks on your first time and I was already impressed as I was expecting the one’s you have to bend to activate, but no these one’s were posh and you could change the settings to get different colours and a flashing mode, they were almost like mini light sabers with wrist straps which I guess were for health and safety reasons in case you got a bit overexcited!
The instructor was lovely and very welcoming. She was very bubbly and enthusiastic but in a genuine and positive way and certainly not an annoying way. She made sure we were fit and healthy to take the class – I’m certainly not fit or healthy but I had no conditions, other than Lazy-itis, that would prevent me from taking the class. She then told us to find a space and she hoped we enjoyed the class.
Lisa Hillier, the instructor but don’t worry you can just wear normal workout gear!
It was obviously really popular with lots of ravers, I mean people, ready for the fun to begin, but there was still heaps of space to move around so you don’t feel like people were on top of you. We picked a space in the centre with a good view of the instructor who was on a stage at the front and the great thing about it being a big class it being dark is that the spotlight is not on you. I was also thankful that there were no floor to ceiling mirrors as I’m still in denial that I’m not actually a 6ft, size 10 supermodel so didn’t want to burst my bubble! Mirrors, like reality, really can be evil you know!
Anyway, I hadn’t really taken much notice of the people around me as I was so chuffed with my glow sticks so was surprised when someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and it was the lovely Steph Harris. I’ve known Steph for quite a few years and she’s been bringing her children to Crafty Monkey pretty much since it opened. Now Steph is a bit of a guru when it comes to exercise classes and has been running Jazzercise in the local area since 1992 but has recently handed the reigns over to Lisa Turner, one of her long standing instructors (Don’t despair though as Steph still teaches the Sandy class – that’s commitment for you).
I remember doing Jazzercize back when I was 18 in St. Ives and to this day I’ve always thought it’s the most funkiest aerobics class I’ve been too, I’m sure that is still the case as they have kept up with the times but for me it is just a bit too funky and getting a bit confused with the side step doesn’t equip me well but for those who love fitness and dance then I would deffo recommend it.
Steph told me she had come along as she likes to keep up with what is going on in the industry but secretly I think she wanted to relive her clubbing days and probably like me just couldn’t resist the glow sticks. She was also there with a good friend of hers,who I also know so think they had come like me and Rach for a bit of a giggle too.
Anyway, as much as I know Steph is lovely and as much as I knew Steph would be looking at the instructor’s moves and not my moves or even judge, and we were in the dark, I did feel conscious that I had an expert behind me and the pressure was on to perform – or even to not fall over would be good! It was actually a good thing I felt pressure as it made me concentrate a bit harder than I would have done and also not slack off as much.
So the Clubbercise website reads:
After checking in you’ll be given a set of flashing rave glow sticks, these are reusable so much more environmentally friendly than the single use ones. We darken the room, get the disco lights going and start with a simple warm up routine. Then we work up a sweat dancing to floorfillers from 90′s rave to recent dance anthems. The routines are easy-to-follow and always have high or low impact options. It’s all about fun, not about perfection. Take it to your level, keep it simple and enjoy the music.
…and can I say that it did exactly what it said on the tin and all I can say is what a good job it wasn’t about perfection with me there!
The moves were all basic aerobic moves that have been around for years making it easy to pick up so good for someone like me and what I loved about it was that it wasn’t too strenuous for too long and even when they did the high impact bits you could take the easy route with the low impact. I also liked that there were a few breaks to swig a bit of water (the more breaks the better for me! ;)) and before you knew it we were on the warm down. I had thought it was an hours class so was over the moon to realise it was just 45 minutes – a real bonus in my books as that’s about just as much as I can handle of aerobics, certainly no reflection on this class or the instructor!
The instructor was actually more than good, she was ace and had a lot of energy. In fact someone remarked ‘I’d like what she’s on’! The hall was not full of pubescent girls with a perfect 10 figure but of all shapes and sizes and all ages and there was a great atmosphere with everyone seeming to be having fun! The disco lights, the glow sticks and the dark is what made it different to your normal aerobics. And yes I will admit, it was fun and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really like aerobics but also I never really liked clubbing neither!
It hasn’t changed me into a Clubbercise fanatic overnight and my mind did wander half way through as I had a profound thought and came to the realisation that I don’t think I have a very good attention span but this was in no way a reflection on the class and is just the way my brain is. This blog post is a prime example on how easily I get distracted and go off piste, as it was only intended to be a few paragraphs about Clubbercise and not a life story!
So back to the subject intended, I would definitely do it again and it’s a great thing to do as a date with friends. And if there’s one thing that sells it then it would have to be the glow sticks!
I also love all the merchandise they sell and sayings that surround it and how they call it glowing rather than sweating! Great marketing there!
But on a more serious note I LOVE the fact that they donate money made from training instructors and the merchandise to a worthwhile cause:
EVERY TIME an instructor completes our training course we make a donation to Oxfam so that they can provide safe drinking water for around 10 people in some of the poorest places on the planet.
Not only this but I also LOVE that they are backing #thisgirlcan campaign to encourage women to exercise without fear of judgement.
I came home feeling fresh, awake and happy and got all the benefits from exercise. Not only that but we had a laugh too and it was lovely to see everyone else enjoying themselves in a non judging atmosphere.
Overall, It has a big yes vote from me. I think it is such a fab idea and it seems to be attracting a lot of people who wouldn’t normally be up for fitness classes which is always a good thing as it’s reaching out due to the emphasis being on having fun and that it is open to all ages, sizes and abilities.
If you live local I would highly recommend checking out Lisa Hilliers classes she runs and judging from her 5 star feedback on her Facebook page for the St. Neots class, I am not alone in recommending her!
I would love to know if you have tried Clubbercise and what you thought or your thoughts and comments…