One of my biggest struggles with exercise and going to the gym is that I get bored really easily. The thought of going to a gym and running on a treadmill/working on equipment alone fills me with dread. Luckily for me, Hope Park Sports run lots of fitness classes where you can go and exercise with other likeminded people. From yoga to HIIT class, there is something for everyone. All of the classes are FREE too, it’s included in your £25 registration fee – bonus!
My friend mentioned she had been going to circuits and was enjoying it, so I signed myself up for my first class. I knew vaguely what was involved; a number of different stations, working on them for short bursts of time and going round in pairs.
I was nervous before my first class, worried that I would look totally out of place and would feel like an idiot for not knowing what to do. However, when I arrived everyone was really welcoming and friendly – there were around 12 of us in total, a mixture of staff and students of all abilities, it was a great group and I immediately knew I had nothing to worry about.
When we went in the room for the class, Laura talked us through each station, showing us the exercise to be done on each. There were loads of different exercises to do using all sorts of equipment, including rowing machines, spin bikes, kettle bells, slam balls, weights and boxing, to name a few. She explained that we were to go around the stations in pairs, working on each one for a minute before moving round to the next. So with everything explained, my first circuits class began…
It was hard. BUT, I actually really enjoyed it! I went round with my friend, and Laura was really great in coming over and showing me exercises that I’d forgotten, or correcting me when I was going a bit freestyle! In between some of the stations, Laura would also get us all to do 20 seconds of high intensity exercise (as if it wasn’t intense enough – she is cruel!!). It was really great to go around in pairs, as when I was getting tired or thinking of giving up, my friend and Laura would encourage me to keep going.
To give you an idea of some of the exercises we had to do, here’s a few I can remember (it’s a bit of blur now as it was quite a whirlwind!):
- Rowing on the hardest setting
- Cycling on a hard resistance setting
- Lunges whilst holding a 10kg weight
- Boxing and sprinting
- Squats whilst holding a kettle bell
- Slam ball and burpees – a particular favourite as it involved throwing a sand filled ball as hard as I could to the ground!
- Planking (this is definitely harder than it sounds!)
One thing I really loved about the class was just how encouraging Laura was. Whenever anyone was looking tired or wanting to give in, she would come over and say encouraging things (like for me, she kept reminding me of my goal of getting into my wedding dress!). I also really liked how it was ok to take a break. There was one point on the second round (oh yeah, everyone conveniently forgot to mention that you do the circuit twice, different exercises on the second time round!) when I felt really light headed and, quite frankly, a bit sick, so I went and had a little rest on the bench. After a few minutes Laura came to check I was ok and encouraged me to get back up and complete the circuit. And I did! And I was so proud of myself!
Once the main circuits class was finished, we all grabbed mats and did some “core” workouts, a planking challenge (which I was rubbish at but hope to get better!) and then we did some stretches. By the time we left the class, I’m not exaggerating when I say I could barely walk! However, I was assured that this was only temporary and I would get better each week. Laura must have done a good job at convincing me it was temporary, as I signed up for the next class the following week – I must be mad! In the days after the class, my legs were really, really sore, especially two days later. However, the pain did ease off and I’m hoping that next time, it won’t hurt so much *crosses fingers and toes*.
I know this has been quite a long post, but I just want to finish off by saying that although I found the class hard, I truly enjoyed it and I felt so much better for doing it. Everyone was so helpful and friendly, and Laura was brilliant at keeping us all going. She was also great at giving alternative exercises if some of the ones were too tricky, and at no point did I feel out of place in the class – I don’t know what I was worried about! I’m proud of myself for sticking at it and not quitting at the first hurdle – and I genuinely am already starting to feel a little bit better about myself.
Thanks so much for reading – next time I’ll let you know how Circuits Round 2 went, and I’m going to go to the gym soon too so I’ll let you know how that goes! Until next time – I’m off for a bubble bath with a sprinkling of Epsom Salts which are apparently really good for helping to heal muscles!
Amy 🙂 x