*Deep intake of breath. And exhale.* It’s been a mammoth week since I last posted, hence the longer than usual radio silence, but I assure you I’ve been out digging up lots of good knowledge and experience I can bring back to these pages. Firstly, I’ve been writing away for the US magazine Prevention – always nice to help spread the wellness vibe on both sides of the Atlantic. Secondly, I’ve started teaching HIIT conditioning classes at work – bringing the Fit Brit philosophy to the office. There were some seriously achy legs last week so I kept my head low, but despite my class being renamed ‘Torture Tuesdays’ there have been plenty of requests for more of the same!
Finally, an event I’ve been itching to write about for days – there was Sweaty Betty X Skinny Bitch Collective (SBC) at the Ace Hotel last weekend. It was a free class hosted by Russell Bateman himself, with free workout vests from Sweaty Betty and a goody bag full of plenty of other treats. While I was too busy helping to organise the event to take the class, I kept a close eye on the exercises so I could feed back my key learnings…
1. Playground rules still apply
Bear crawl. Crab walk. Scorpion kicks. These are exercises I grew up with in my early childhood Phys Ed classes, but before Russell re-introduced them I hadn’t heard of them in the world of adult exercise. Take several supermodels with killer bodies sculpted by SBC training techniques and the resurgence is cemented in stone. Russell reminds us that exercise is not limited to squats and crunches, but there are plenty of ways to elevate the heart rate and add resistance to tone your muscles. Whether you favour the core-sculpting bear crawl or the bum lifting crab walk, it’s clear that animal movements are back for good.
2. Group exercise pushes boundaries
Russell often asked the group to move in unison – from a long line of walking lunges to V-sits in a circle, the pressure to keep the group in tact means everyone pushes that little bit harder. When you don’t have 28 other women to spur you on, exercising with at least one other friend can have a similar effect. Set the stopwatch and hold each other to the requisite minutes of mountain climbers – you’ll both have the other to thank.
3. A little instability can be a good thing
I’ve performed squats using Bosu balls, sliders and trampolines, but I’ve never put a tight rubber band around my ankles and made myself jump squat several feet in the air. That’s my next challenge, now I’ve seen the move in action at the SB X SBC event. Russell demonstrated how isolating your range of movement can call your explosive muscle fibres into action as well as putting your core strength to the test. Confidence is key, because a wobble could result in a serious fall, so I think this is one to build up to.
4. Walls are under-utilised
Why do mountain climbers on the floor when you can do them up against a wall? While I don’t recommend kicking your dirty trainers against a clean white wall at home, standing on your hands while supporting your feet against a brick wall outdoors can be a powerful way to activate all the muscles in your torso. If the sweat rolling off the participants’ brows was anything to go by, the gravitational challenge certainly ramps up the fat burn.
5. Caramel shortbread can be healthy(ier)
Joining Russell at the event was his girlfriend Danielle Copperman, model and founder of Qnola. For her contribution to the Sweaty Betty goody bags, she brought caramel shortbread with a base made out of protein-rich quinoa. It was seriously tasty, and I devoured it as though I’d just lost my bodyweight in sweat. Here’s hoping calorie burning works by osmosis…