It was the Tuesday after the long Easter weekend that my colleague, Freya, and I decided to head over to Bank to try one of the latest exercise classes to hit London. Project Fit, located at 36 – 38 Cornhill, claims to be the ‘Ultimate Workout’ and as the first class for newcomers is free, we wanted to see if we could hack the pace.
As someone who runs regularly, plays sport, has completed a Tough Mudder and has tried other similar intense ‘bootcamp style’ workouts I was feeling fairly relaxed as Freya and I descended in to the basement of a fairly innocuous looking building in the heart of the City. We were met by Ben, one of the founders of the new gym, who was a friendly, welcoming face. I was soon to discover that his cheery demeanour was in sharp contrast to the pain that his business partner, Joel, was about to inflict on us….
Project Fit is not going to be able to avoid comparisons with the other ‘bootcamp’ workout across town, Barry’s Bootcamp. Like Barry’s, Project Fit is an intense interval training style workout, combining time on the treadmill with time on the floor doing weight and resistance training exercises. It claims to burn up to 1000 calories in an hour long class, and the music and lighting (or lack of) is all very similar. Where it differs is that all of the classes at Project Fit are designed to work the entire body, whereas at Barry’s there are classes which focus on specific areas of the body.
I would also say there is more variety on the floor at Project Fit. In our class we used a mixture of weights, suspension trainers and a bosu (if, like me, you are new to the term ‘bosu’ this is what I am talking about – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOSU ). Project Fit also have a number of ‘Express’ classes of 35 minutes, to cater for the busy City worker lunchtime crowd. They have also developed a clever partnership with salad company Tossed, meaning you can order your salad as you go in to your lunchtime class, and it’ll be ready and waiting for you to collect afterwards. Oh and the other major difference? There is no high fiving at Project Fit… or at least not that I experienced. I am not sure where you sit on the high fiving scale, but I am firmly down the ‘please let’s keep our palms to ourselves’ end.
But now, back to Freya and I… the first 15 minutes of the class were to be spent on the treadmill. Both Freya and I run regularly so we sprang on to the machines with plenty of enthusiasm and joined in at a medium to high intensity (Joel gave us three pace options to choose from depending on how fit you rate yourself). The first few minutes were spent warming up, after which the pace increased. It started to get tough enough to break in to a sweat, but sweat is what you want at a class like this so, so far so good. But then Joel’s sadistic side kicked in (or perhaps it was just his years of experience as a personal trainer and his commitment to helping his customers get the most out of their exercise sessions), and we upped the ante on the incline side of things significantly. By the end of the 15 minutes he had us sprinting up hills and begging for mercy. When we were finally allowed to step off the treadmills I half fell off mine in to the waiting arms of a towel and a much needed bottle of water.
Barely had I had a chance to wipe my brow before it was on to the floor for various exercises with weights. Joel paced up and down ensuring we were doing the exercises correctly and to stop us from cheating (believe me, we all tried). Although the floor exercises were weights based, there wasn’t much time to catch our breath, with plenty of lunging and squatting also involved. After the weights, we then moved on to the suspension training, before heading back to the (by now, dreaded) treadmill for more running. This time the incline was left alone in favour for the speed controls… up and up and up we went until we were flat out. By this point I wish we’d plumped for an express class so that it would all just end… but back to the floor we went to make use of those bosus.
When Joel finally announced it was time for the cool down the first feeling was one of massive relief. But as time passed following the class that familiar post-exercise endorphin rush washed over me and I was delighted to have got through such an intense workout. If you are going to dedicate an hour of your day to exercise, you may as well make it worthwhile, and boy, does a Project Fit class deliver on that score.
In the endorphin induced madness that followed the class (and that lasted until the next morning) Freya and I have signed up for a block of classes, so we’ll be back at Project Fit for more of the same next week. No pain, no gain and all that….
Our score – 9/10. Because nothing is perfect. And if I am going to pick fault I would say I would have liked a slightly longer stretching and cool down session. My legs in particular were in a bad way the next day. Easily fixed though with a quiet five minute additional stretch in the changing rooms after… a lesson for next week.
For more information visit project-fit.co.uk