I think I might start with a confession. As much as I enjoy a good, full-on, proper eye-popping workout, the only reason I am there is because I KNOW I need to get my heart going a bit and put my sedentary body through some much needed cardio.
Mad-for-it classes such as GRIT, Metafit and Insanity appeal to me and countless others simply because, although they are hard, they are also short! The enjoyment is actually a twisted sense of satisfaction – more of a ‘damn-I-made-it-through’ rather than a ‘that-was-fantastic’.
The classes I really, really, truly enjoy are long stretches, strong poses and deep breathing (rather than no breathing, you understand).
I used to do Body Balance years ago and I loved it – it was my weekly wind down and a class I never, ever missed. It has all the great bits of yoga and pilates but is a bit more dynamic. It also skips on the chanting and spirituality completely, which I actually quite enjoy but I know some people feel a bit self-conscious with the ‘OMS’.
So I was really pleased to see it return to Perth at both Live Active Rodney and Bell's Sports Centre. I booked in for an evening class and I have to say, having been living in one of the craziest months ever, I was torn between looking forward to it and curling up on the sofa with rubbish telly, a pot of a tea and a bar of posh chocolate.
I am desk based as a copywriter, so when I’m busy it means I’m sitting on my backside for hours at a time. I have tried everything to alleviate this – from the timer on my phone beeping at me to get up and have a wee wander to setting meetings to break up long days of typing – but the truth is, like everyone out there, when the work needs done, it needs done and I often find I have sat for three or four hours straight.
At the risk of sounding like an old woman I’ve noticed it takes me longer to recover from entire days at the desk. My lower back is sore and my shoulders are basically balls of tension – I use my LAL rewards for a monthly massage with Lynne MacDonald Therapies and I can tell you, that woman earns her money when she starts on my shoulders (but as an aside, we call her magic hands MacDonald – she is amazing!) Disturbingly, more recently, my left bum cheek has been getting numb and my shoulder has required some physio!
In short, I feel as though I need to be stretched. And also that I am beginning to feel my age. Which, as a woman who still stands in Eva Lucia contemplating whether she could pull off the short shorts suit, is not a great feeling!
The promise therefore, of ‘an inspired soundtrack that plays as you bend and stretch through a series of simple yoga moves and embraces elements of Tai Chi and Pilates.' sounded blooming perfect! I was also told that I'd strengthen my entire body and leave the class feeling calm and centered. Happy Days. (Check out the very perky Les Mills promo video here>>)
The class was being taken by Eva, and as I settled down on my mat, water at my side she gave us all a quick run through on what to expect. Eva has one of those lovely calm voices (she is a nutter in an Insanity class to be fair!) and we were instantly moving through a warm up that used Tai Chi inspired moves with sweeping movements.
I know these simple, slow moves can take a bit of a pasting from the hard-core exercisers but the truth is they are wonderfully energising and really do work quickly to get you warm and ready for the workout. I was minutes in and feeling very happy that I’d deserted the couch in favour of this glorious class.
We were into the warrior poses next, downward and upward facing dogs and rolling up from being bent almost double. This is what I was hoping for; a proper good stretch. I could feel myself physically grow – I reckon I gained about two inches! This is also where the burn comes in because I’m telling you now – those thighs are working baby!
I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t all pretty! It would seem in my years since I came to a regular Body Balance class, someone nicked my ability to perch on one leg. Seriously… one foot planted into the mat, one up behind me, arms out and I was wavering around like a drunk tree. I couldn’t hold the pose for love nor money. At one point I got into my pose, twisted round under my arm and was looking at an entire room of people who were staring back at me. Somehow, somewhere, I’d managed to get myself backward!
However, like all classes at Live Active Leisure, none of this mattered because the point is you turn up and you take part. You find something you enjoy and go for it. No-one cared at all that I was backward, no-one seemed to bother that my top was too short for a class that involved lots of stretches (wear a proper fitness top that doesn’t ride up or, if its loose, make sure it's quite long. I was staring at my bellybutton all night in the mirror and believe me that muffin-top ain’t bonny when you’re a warrior!).
I am LOVING this class and with both day and evening classes across both venues, this level of opportunity suits my crazy, unpredictable life perfectly.
Finally, we lay still for TEN WHOLE MINUTES! It was fantastic. I know I could just roll out a blanket and lie in my living room for ten whole minutes but of course, I never do. I was so relaxed, so stretched out and so energised that I walked home with a bounce in my step, feeling like I was six feet high!
Now available in Perth, Kinross and Strathearn. Check out the Live Active Leisure Body Balance page here>>>
(Remember, members can now book two weeks in advance!)