Review of ClassPass London

My name is Sophie and I’m a ClassPass addict. 

Rewind back a month to the launch of ClassPass in London and I was a bit ambivalent to what they were offering. For a monthly fee you can go to unlimited classes at nearly 200 studios around London. The only limitation that I could see was that you’re restricted to 3 visits per studio each month (visits to different locations of the same studio, like Boom Cycle,all count as one studio). It sounded alright and I thought at best it would be worth a try for a month.

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And now here I am at the end of the month and I’ve loved it. Here’s why:

– I get bored if I take the same classes every week so variety helps me to stay motivated

– I enjoy group classes for the social aspect and they push me more than I might if I was working out by myself

– Even though I’m a Personal Trainer I still sometimes like to let someone else do the thinking for me and put together a workout

– I work from home 2 days each week so I can squeeze in lunchtime classes on those days which widens the choices of classes

– I’ve tried new studios and classes that I wouldn’t go to before because the price put me off

– It’s ridiculous value…

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Putting the work in at Moreno Boxing, Dalston

To put it into numbers:

Number of classes I did: 14

Cost of classes if I’d paid individually for each one: £176*

Cost for 1 month of ClassPass: £89/month

Cost for 3 months of ClassPass: £69/month

Cost for 6 months of ClassPass: £59/month

*This is the worst-case scenario i.e. not taking into account membership discounts at the studios (which I don’t have anyway) or introductory offers

So if you sign up for the 6 month ClassPass membership you’re effectively getting over 30% off every class if you use it very regularly.

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The torture chamber Pilates studio at Tempo Pilates, Netil house

There are a couple of things that would improve ClassPass in my opinion:

– More early-morning classes that aren’t yoga

– A wider geographical spread of studios because as an East London-ite there aren’t a huge choice of places out in Hackney

– Not being limited to 3 classes per studio each month (although I understand why they’ve done this)

– Not having to pay for all 6 months up front when you choose this option, it’s a lot of money to stump up all at once

– Being able to choose spin bikes when booking a class – I have to spin without my glasses on and if I’m not in the first couple of rows then I can’t really see the instructor! 

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This was the sweaty pain at the end of a boxing class, i’m loving it really.

I’m planning on signing up for the full 6 months because I can see the value in it and I really enjoy the classes that are on offer. Who’s signing up with me? 

I was given a month’s free trial of ClassPass but all views are my own

Review of Moreno Boxing Lunchtime Classes

I’ve been interested in boxing since the lovely Kate of Form Fitness introduced me to it in her weekly classes. Even back then I always felt better after sweating and punching for an hour, it does wonders for the brain!

Fast forward 18 months and I’ve started going to weekly sessions with Carlos Moreno from Moreno Boxing. His new studio is conveniently opposite my office meaning that there’s no excuse to get down there during a lunch break.

I mean, it’s literally about 50 yards from my desk….

Carlos is an internationally competitive boxer and currently holds the Portuguese national champion title as well as numerous others. What more could you want from a trainer?

Each class starts with a warm up consisting of skipping (which I can confirm that I’m getting better at luckily), shadow boxing, lunging, footwork and some dynamic stretching.

Then onto the boxing. Firstly, technique, which is something that I need to work on as although my offensive movements aren’t too bad, I have no defence at all, as Carlos showed me by pointing out exactly where he could punch me. Not that he did but lesson learned anyway.

We then did some 3 minute rounds (I have no idea how many, I got into the zone and lost track) of sparring, mixing up punching and defensive manoeuvres which equated to a serious cardio workout. The sweat was real.

Trying to concentrate on lots of new things all at the same time can be a bit daunting but it’s brilliant for clearing your head of all other worries as you focus 100% on where the next punch might be coming from and where there might be a chink in the armour that you can take advantage of.

Then followed 3 minute rounds on the punchbags, alternating ‘freestyle’ minutes with all-out 1-2s to keep the heart rate up.

My face says it all…

Each session is then ended with taking the gloves off and getting stuck into something a bit different, whether it’s TRX, circuits or something else to mix it up. Yesterday we did a circuit of heavy deadlifts, battle ropes and sit ups with a ball to isolate the core. With 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest this circuit was a killer.

To finish everything off you can look forward to a series of planks, just in case you haven’t had enough.

This is exactly the kind of class that I love because it’s tough, works you hard but also dedicates some time to technique. There’s nothing as satisfying as that thwack when your glove connects with a pad correctly. You also know that you’ve worked hard because the next day everything is that right amount of sore.

Details

What? Moreno Boxing Lunchtime Sessions

Where? 1 Bailey Place, Dalston, London, N16 8BA

When? Check out the timetable here

How much? Classes are normally £12 but you can get your first class for just £6. Or for those on ClassPass, they’re included in your monthly fee! If you’re interested, sign up here for £50 off a month’s membership, total bargain!

2015 Race Calendar

The atmosphere, buzz and sense of achievement connected with any organised sports event is scarily addictive… And this is why I keep signing up for more and more! 

This year you can find me at:

February 1st – Winter Run 10k – COMPLETED 73:16

May 23rd – Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5k run)

June 7th – Finsbury Park Women’s Running Series 10k

June 21st – Nike Women’s 10k (Victoria Park)

August 8th – London Triathlon Olympic (1,500m swim, 40km cycle, 10k run)

Who’s with me?  

Warriors Assemble

I like to think of myself as someone who could handle themselves in a fight. Whether this is actually true or not I’ve (luckily) never had to prove and long may it continue that way.

But when the opportunity came up to start working out like a fighter and training in boxing techniques I was far too excited… Introducing ‘Warriors’ from those lovely people at London Fields Fitness Studio.

I dragged a friend (Kristina) along with me to the first class because I had no idea what to expect and I was oddly terrified! Quite rightly…

We started off with a gentle group warm up before getting stuck into the first circuit – 15 reps, 5 stations, as many circuits round as you can do within 15 minutes.

Circuit 1 (cardio): burpees, military press + triceps with 5kg plates, crossover star jumps, stepper, sprint up the road and back

I pushed myself hard and managed to fit in 4 complete circuits. I might have pushed myself too hard based on the muscle soreness today.

Circuit 2 (strength): abs + obliques, knee + arm blocks, jump squats, slow push ups, punches with weights

My weak back and I were rubbish at this circuit as I really struggled with the ab work – very frustrating!

At this point Kristina and I were dripping sweat and looking at each other in terror contemplating what was coming up next.

Luckily, next was some boxing technique which gave us a brief breather before we were skipping round the gym working on our footwork. Every time ‘don’t cross your feet’ was shouted, all I could think of was ‘don’t cross the streams’. Particularly useful, thanks brain.

The session ended with a 3 minute round of sparring putting into practice our newfound punching and blocking techniques. We walked out into the fresh air feeling on top of the world (if not quite like Rocky yet…).

Details

When? Every Tuesday 8-8:45pm

Where? Railway Arch 379, Mentmore Terrace, Hackney, E8 3PH

How much? £5 per class, no booking necessary

Be:Fit London – my highlights

Last weekend was Be:Fit London, a 3 day health and fitness event aimed purely at women.

Now, as a woman who is just starting on her health and fitness journey and is somewhat confused by all of this talk of macros, protein bars and tabata, I decided it would be a useful thing to go to. And it was.

I recruited my mum (who has been doing pilates for the past 15 years and has dodgy knees) and my friend (who is getting fit for her June wedding) to come with me and so, dressed in our snazziest workout gear, we headed down to Old Billingsgate Market on the Thames.

As soon as you walk in, you’re assaulted by a huge number of companies giving out tasters and wanting to talk to you about their products. It was a little overwhelming so here are my highlights:

1) Chia Pods – I’ve heard a lot about this supposed wonder-seed but have never found them cheap enough to warrant trying them! These little seeds soak up a lot of moisture making you feel fuller for longer as well as giving you 10% of your daily Omega3 as well as 25% of your daily fibre. And they taste pretty satisfying too! 

2) Quest protein bars – These are everywhere online and everyone keeps talking about the #chunkporn… So I had to find out for myself if they’re as good as everyone makes out. I got 2 free samples, the cookies and cream bar and the peanut butter supreme bar. They’re very sweet which is good if you’re having a sugar craving but they still have that slightly synthetic taste of protein which puts me off. Still, for 180 calories, 21g of protein and only 3g of carbs you can do a lot worse.

3) Eat Water – This company is tagging along on the back of the supposedly miraculous Zero Noodles which are calorie free noodles and pasta. Eat Water’s offering is made from the konjac plant from Asia which contains high quantities of soluble fibre meaning that it’s easy to digest, keeps you feeling fuller for longer and prevents some fat from being absorbed. Mixed with a simple tomato and vegetable sauce, the testers that we had at the event were delicious! The texture is a bit weird as it’s nothing like pasta but for a quick low-cal meal (only 7 calories per serving!!) mixed with some sauce and protein these are a great idea.

4) The Reebok Fitness Studio – Be:Fit paired up with Reebok to provide 30 minute tasters of some of the hottest classes around. Seeing as we’d done a killer PT session that morning and we were totally preoccupied with trying as many freebies as we could, we only made it to one class! We tested out The Body with Carly Newson which was a hardcore hiit class that didn’t stop for the entire 30 minutes! Within seconds we were sweating and our legs were groaning as we worked our way through a strengthening routine to pumping music. 30 minutes later, we staggered out and had some frozen yogurt to cool down. 

I would definitely come back next year although I would come with a bit more of a plan as to which classes to do and then explore the stalls in between each session. 

Details

When? March 2015 TBC

Where? Old Billingsgate Market, EC3R 6DX (TBC)

How much? £18 per adult although you get a £5 ticket for a friend if you buy full price. Bargain! 

Musings on train advertising

Every single person on this train is looking at one screen or another. iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, HTC, Lumia, they’re all the same. Including me.

But if they’re all looking down, who’s looking up?

That’s where the advertising is and that’s where companies are paying sometimes large sums to be. It makes me think, is there still a point to it?

Back in the day where you’d either read a book or the newspaper on the train, advertising had its place. You could stare at it to avoid making eye contact with your neighbour or to avoid making awkward conversation with that bloke that lives a few doors down from you.

It gave advertisers a chance to utilise slightly longer copy and some attention-grabbing imagery. They had a captive audience for at least 3 to 4 minutes, far longer than most impressions in a newspapers or on a website.

For today’s time-poor and over stimulated audience, I would argue that until train advertising updates itself to move with the advances in technology, it is going to remain largely irrelevant.

However, as soon as you start to look at the stats, a different story emerges. With a 0.86% response rate on mobile banner ads compared to a 79% response rate from tube advertising, you start to think that actually, this environment is the perfect place to engage a relevant audience.

Just take the CBS Outdoor Look For Longer campaign as an example. With over 5,000 people correctly guessing all 100 stations within the new image already, it seems that a new breed of tube advertising has arrived.

Although a 79% response rate seems impossibly high, something is clearly clicking with the audience who are sometimes forced to look at the advertising as they’ve lost all of their lives on Candy Crush Saga. 

Am I just looking at all of this with the cycnical eyes of an advertising professional…..? What do you think?