Whether its fashion, skincare or nutrition, consumer demands are driven by trends. The trends we see on the runways of London, Paris, New York and Milan will predictably influence what we buy on the high street. The latest trend in skincare has moved from a focus on what we put on our faces, to what we put in our bodies that will have positive effects on our skin; all hail the rise of ingestible beauty. And unless you have been living under a rock, or possibly just outside of London, ‘clean eating’ is still the dominating trend in food.
Fitness is no different. It seems every other boutique gym in London is moving away from one type of fitness class and instead, combining elements from many to create new improved hybrid classes. So, we thought it was time to investigate what all the hype was about. Enter Best’s Bootcamp.
Firstly, the location of Best’s Bootcamp is nothing short of a dream. Just a hop skip and a ride up an escalator from Embankment station and you find yourself at the reception.
Unlike some of the other boutique gyms in London, my first impression of Best’s Bootcamp was how understated it was. Personally, I liked the no muss no fuss appearance of the space. Having said that, you are still able to enjoy all the little perks we have come to expect from our fitness studios: great shower products, hair dryers, GHD straighteners, deodorant, and shakes.
I was greeted at reception by two very happy looking members of staff who instructed me where to go and what I would need for the class. I couldn’t help but notice another Best’s Bootcamp first timer next to me who was nothing short of terrified. Her concerns about how intense the class would be were met with comforting words from the reception staff, explaining that it is perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to listen to your own body, and go at a pace that suits you.
Now, when it comes to working out, I am perpetually lazy. This is the reason I spend an extortionate amount of money on gym classes; to have trainers bully me into pushing myself physically into places I otherwise would never go. So this, to me, was not good news. I need to be pushed gosh darn it!
The studio itself, which is far more impressive than the reception area, is made up of 20 FreeMotion treadmills, designed with pre-set speeds and inclines with the aim of making life easier when switching between each. Just off each treadmill is an individual workstation where strength and toning exercises take place. In short, the structure of the Pull & Abs class I took part in goes something like this: 6 minutes treadmill, 50s recovery, 6 minutes strength and toning, 50s recovery, 6 minutes treadmill, 50s recovery, 6 minutes strength and toning and so on, until the class comes to a sweaty end 50 minutes later.
The treadmills line the mirrored walls which make for interesting watching; I never knew my face went that red. Whilst on the treadmills, our instructor referred to us as his ‘tread army’. He took control of the class instantly, letting us know what speed and incline our treadmills should be on, which varied each time we revisited the treadmills. During our first ‘tread army’ interval we were given the option to pick a speed of 8, 10 or 12 which increased, along with the incline, throughout the 6 minutes. Although this was a choice, I couldn’t help but notice the other faces in the mirror, eyeing up what speed and incline I was opting for. I found my competitive nature kicking in, which despite my unwilling body, kept me working as hard, if not harder than the people around me.
Switching from treadmills to the floor stations came, not only with a variety of strength and toning exercises but also with a new name, ‘workers’. Lunges, squats and box jumps turned quickly into chest press, bicep curls and flys, which again turned quickly into leg raises, flutter kicks and bicycle crunches. I found a variety of free weights, kettle bells and medicine balls close at hand, all varying in weight and size, allowing me to choose aptly for my own ability. However, we were all strongly encouraged not just to pick up the lightest weights available; ergo, the competitive nature kicked in once again, resulting in an embarrassing and unavoidable mid-interval weight downsize. The shame.
Luckily, my weight mishap did not occur whilst the instructor was knelt down in front of me, assessing my form. This happened a lot during the class and it is something I developed a love hate relationship for. You have to love it because ultimately it’s to ensure you don’t injure yourself and that you get the most out of each exercise. This is refreshing in a city where injury during fitness classes is becoming more and more common; particularly because classes often contain upwards of 50 people, and instructor to public ratios are poor. However, having my instructor watch my form and inevitably, how much effort I was putting in, made me work that much harder which in turn, made the burn that much worse.
The studio even has a unique Trainer Cam on the wall so, wherever you are in the studio, you can always see what you’re supposed to be doing. This is demonstrated by the instructor and is something I have never seen at any other boutique gym.
Overall, Best’s Bootcamp was pretty great and ticked all of the boxes for me. Quality instructors, state of the art equipment and the cheapest post workouts shakes I have come across yet – £5! Not to mention the Best Blast Shower; a cooling airstream shower which guarantees to stop you sweating before you get dressed.
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