I am so excited by the fitness scene in London, it is currently booming, with new studios and exercise classes popping up all over the place. It also seems to be encouraging a growing number of people, women in particular, to make fitness a key part of their week, making it a fashionable thing to do (although this does mean that there are girls with full faces of makeup in classes!) There are more lycra options in shops, boutique studios and fun health and fitness events to attend than ever before.
My friend Loz first brought my attention to The SBC- Skinny Bitch Collective, a workout class led by Russell Bateman, and popular with models and celebs such as Millie Mackintosh. The SBC often posts pictures onto instagram of girls in the class doing strange moves; crawling around, doing handstands etc, so I was intrigued to try a class. However getting yourself signed up to attend a session proved to be harder than getting a table at The Fat Duck.
After unsuccessfully getting our names on the list for a class, we spotted that Russell was teaching classes at Well Fit Festival-a day of workouts, health talks and delicious, nourishing food, held at Frame in Shoreditch. It sounded like the perfect reboot that we both needed after the Berlin Marathon, and a chance to try the class (and for Loz to hear Millie Mackintosh speak- she loves her!)
We caught the tail end of the class before us, and saw that they were all dripping in sweat from their 30 minute workout. I knew SBC was effective having seen the results so obviously it was going to be a tough session.
We began with a warm up in a large circle, before bunny hopping and crawling on our hand and feet around the studio.
We then lay on our backs, and when Russell shouted a number, we had to jump up and do that many of an exercise, such as lunges and burpees. The act of getting up off the floor, doing the move, then getting back into position ensured that you used the entire body for each move.
The class used all body weight exercises, although we added a resistance band (black, with the highest resistance) in for some of the thigh burning moves, to ensure that the right muscles are working hard. Russell had us doing star jumps with the bands on, as well as squating, jumping and burpees.
A lot of the class was done in a circle, with planks held inwards, and moves passed around the group, such as press ups. It was a great way to have the class interacting with each other, plus with people watching you are more likely to push yourself further. Another bonus was I couldn’t stop smiling, laughing at the ridiculous moves, the pain of the workout and the faces of concentration around the circle.
My favourite bit was the handstand mountain climbers against the wall. These were tough but fun, although I probably wouldn’t do these at my gym.
After our class, we were able to attend a short talk given by Russell about SBC and his techniques. I know that some people are put off by the name Skinny Bitch Collective, which I understand, however what’s interesting is that the class isn’t designed for girls to get skinny, there’s a mix of cardio and strength for ‘girls to train the way should be training- not just plugging away on the cross-trainer’ says Russell. It is designed to be animalistic in nature, moving in the way we used to move, plus the workouts prove you don’t need a gym, just some space to exercise.
Russell also told us all that we should be our own guinea pig, you don’t have to follow a regime or a plan, discover what works for you and do it. Make your own decisions- your priorities will affect these decisions. Above all, worrying about what other people think is the worst mistake you can make. And don’t forget, what you’re putting into your body after your workout is just as important as the exercise.
Loz and I took part in another class, after the talk, called Bend it Like Barbie, that had us stretching our partners into deep shoulder, hip and quad stretches- and felt a little like we were at an anti-natal class. Fun but I wouldn’t love doing it with someone I didn’t know!
I really enjoyed attending the talks and classes at Well Fit, however I think the ticket price was quite high considering it didn’t include any food or drinks. It will be interesting to see if they offer more for the ticket, or reduce ticket price if they decide to host another Well Fit Festival- I do hope so!
Win Tickets to an SBC Class– If you want to try a SBC class taught by Russell, Sweaty Betty are giving the chance for you and a friend to win tickets to a free class at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. Just fill in your details to be entered to win tickets here.
I was given complimentary tickets to Well Fit Festival.