A couple of weeks ago, I was desperately trying to find my Olympic spirit. Little did I know that once the coverage started I would be spending most of my days glued to the TV, welling up at every little montage and beaming with pride at how well London is coping with the extra pressure. But as I said, a few weeks ago I was definitely still on Team Sceptic, so to try and get on board, I thought it was time I got some inspiration.
I've been aware of Frame Shoreditch since it opened and have often eyed up it's snazzy music video dance classes, ballet for adults and reformer pilates. So when an email landed in my inbox promoting their Olympic challenges, I decided to bite the bullet. Having not been to the gym yet this year, like an over-excited golden retriever I signed up for their 'decathlon'- 10 classes in 2 weeks. To prevent repetitive strain injury, you must take 2 classes from 5 of the different types offered- 2 yoga, 2 pilates, 2 dance, 2 fitness and 2 of Frame's signature classes. So this is my diary of the 2 weeks. Did I manage all 10 classes? Not quite. Did I die? Not quite.
I have decided to ease myself in gently with a dance class- Dancefit. Before heading to the gym I have a brief conversation with a fellow journo on twitter. She warns me I should have my American Apparel everything with me if I'm going to fit in. I start to worry that I am kitted out in leggings from Tesco. And actually I got them off ebay. True story. I arrive at the gym and it is truly hipster central. It's not quite as bad as trying to find the courage to swim at Shoreditch House, but it's still a bit intimidating. However-the hipsters are very good at what they do- the waiting room is full of magazines- a big win for me. A huge fridge is stocked full of Vita Coco coconut water- you know, Rihanna juice, and there are shelves full of healthy snacks like Naked bars which I am a huge fan of. Similarly, the changing room hairdrying station boasts all the different types of styling brushes, so you can get your big hair back in time to hit the streets of Shoreditch after class. As intimidated as I am by the hipster vibe and good looks of everyone present, the instructor who takes our class is hugely friendly and a bundle of contagious energy, so I get a really good workout to some guilty pleasure dance tunes. This is easy, I think. I can totally do 10 of these.
This is totally me
'Camp' is one of Frame's Signature classes; The class is split into 2 sections; A cardio section consisting of sprint and hill intervals on the treadmill, and a conditioning section where the instructor leads you through exercises with weights. This part is fine, but I am really dreading the treadmill. However, the way they have the interval training set up works really well- I don't have time to get bored as I'm constantly having to check the table in front of me to see when I should adjust the speed and inclination. The final 15 minutes fly by. A 30 minute class doesn't seem very long, but I've worked up a real sweat.
Oh God my muscles. I am in a very hurty place today and really have to make myself go into the Beginner's Reformer Pilates. I have never done any Pilates before, but my sister who is a dancer, raves about it. We lie on special work-out beds with a series of springs which you adjust for each exercise. It is exactly the work-out I need; lots of deep stretching, but most of it done lying down. I barely break a sweat-it's all very controlled and steady, but hugely satisfying. I am completely sold and immediately buy a Frame top-up card so I can continue coming to these classes after my Decathlon is finished.
Unbelievable to think that whilst I barely broke a sweat in Pilates yesterday, I obviously worked so many muscles as today I can barely move. I'm meant to be at Yoga this afternoon, but I miss it. First fail.
Muscles still in state of shock. No classes scheduled for today, which is lucky as I currently have to hold on to the bath and the sink in order to lower myself onto the toilet. My thighs are broken.
Another day of rest. Starting to feel human again.
This is a lot more like me
On the way to the gym I spot a few Olympians, including one stunning Amazonian woman with the body of Beyonce. I try to be inspired rather than just depressed. My class today is Frame Barre- another of the signature classes. Unlike some of the other ballet classes Frame offers where you learn a little routine, this is all about the repetition and getting a really good work out. Our instructor is a professional dancer and certainly nails the ballet teacher vibe- I'm having all kinds of flashbacks. Unfortunately, ballet is not as easy as it was when I was 10. My legs are reluctant to do the right thing, and soon my thighs are burning. The floor exercises are particularly vicious.
Astounded at the places I am feeling the pain from ballet, including muscles I haven't felt for years in my hips. Today I'm trying 'rebounding' – basically a workout on a mini trampoline. I wear two bras in anticipation of the bounce. I arrive a bit late, desperately need the loo, but rush in to join the class for fear of being left behind. A few minutes in and I realise this is a bad idea- trampolining and needing to pee do not go together well. I sneak out of the class and when I come back, I do feel a bit left behind. I find it hard to keep my balance well enough to focus on the exercises, I'm constantly worried I'm going to fall off. The instructor does explain to me afterwards that she goes very fast, so not to worry, and that I'd pick it up after a couple of classes. I do love how you don't feel the impact on your legs- my knees and ankles appreciate the break.
Day 9 and 10
No classes. A number of hot baths.
I have a yoga class booked in but I don't get back from a weekend away in time to make it.
This is totally how my ass looks
Kylie Butt Lift class- I am promised ass of Kylie. Yes please. The instructor Jo is another professional dancer. I really enjoy this class- we learn to use a few pieces of equipment I haven't come across before, including leg weights. Feels like it's really doing the job. There is much humorous slapping of bums to get the blood flowing again after stretches.
On my way to the gym, I pop in to the Beats by Dre lounge at Shoreditch House which is currently full of Olympic athletes. Inspired, I pop across the road to Frame for a Hip Hop dance class, taken by Moncef, also a professional dancer. The class is rammed, obviously a lot of regulars plus a handful of newbies. I'm standing next to a stunningly gorgeous, super thin girl. I am ready to hate her. But then she turns out to be just as shit at picking up the moves as I am. I love her! We bond. Then Moncef does something which brings back all the nightmares of PE at school- he divides us up into smaller groups and makes us perform the little routine for the others- in groups of only 4 or 5 of us at a time. It is excruciating. Some of the participants have obviously been coming to the class for years and have done this exact routine before, so are pretty expert at it, but I haven't danced whilst sober for maybe 10 years. Moncef explains that doing it like this makes it 'more fun'. He is clearly a psycho. Still, it makes me feel like I'd really, really like to get back up to a standard where my brain and my body both work fast enough to manage more complicated dance routines again, so I'm not writing this class off, though I may have to go with a friend for moral support.
The final day. I have another session of beginners' reformer pilates, which is still brilliant. I'm looking forward to moving on to the regular, open reformer pilates classes. It's been great fun pushing myself and trying new things.
If you hate the gym because it's too boring, then Frame is definitely for you.
Here are some of the deals currently on offer:
Triathlon- 3 classes in one day: If you come to 3 classes in 1 day between 16th July and 12th August, they’ll refund the cheapest class back onto your account
Heptathlon- 7 classes in 7 days for £55
Decathlon- 10 classes in 2 weeks for £100