Earlier this year I took out a 10 week ‘Fit Into Summer’ membership to Live Active Leisure (LAL), which I promptly renewed once it expired. I’ve slowly but surely been working my way through the classes and established a few firm favourites; namely Spin, Bodypump and Yoga. Last week LAL launched a brand new class, PiYo, at Bells Sports Centre.
The official blurb tells you that PiYo ‘combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga’. My very unofficial verdict would be that it is best described as 'Bodybalance on steroids'.
The class starts at 7.15pm and as with all early evening fitness classes, make sure you either have dinner early before you come or after you get home (you don’t want to be feeling queasy whilst holding your best downward dog pose). It was immediately clear that I wasn’t the only one curious of what this new LAL class had to offer- the class was fully booked with 15 people there.
The instructor was the lovely Pavlina, who made sure everyone took a mat, found a space and removed their shoes before getting started. I chatted to a few others who were nervous that their lack of Yoga or Pilates experience would count against them but they were assured this wasn’t the case- all the moves were suitable for beginners as well as being clearly explained and demonstrated.
I bumped into an old friend of mine who I already know is super fit (she’s been a dedicated LAL-goer for years). We had a quick catch up as she happened to be stationed on the mat just in front of me, and I’m glad we did as I certainly didn’t have the breath to do much chatting once things kicked off.
A gentle(ish) warm up of dynamic stretches led us into a choreographed series of squats, lunges, planks and yoga poses. The moves come in blocks so just as one muscle group is beginning to tire you switch onto another, before returning to each in sequence in case you’ve got anything left to give. There’s also a balance section- cue lots of people wobbling about on one leg and me narrowly avoiding a fit of the giggles as the person next to me toppled over.
Pavlina encouraged everyone to work at their own pace and do what felt ‘good’ for their bodies rather than pushing beyond their own limitations. I’m relatively fit and was able to keep up with the speed in most sections but as with other classes the more often you do the routine, the more familiar you become with what’s coming next. There are comfort breaks for you to catch your breath, take a drink, re-adjust your mat or indeed just stare off into space wondering if indulging in those office cookies was worth it after all.
The class is 45 minutes long and it quickly becomes clear why PiYo has a reputation for delivering a true fat-burning workout; each move flows seamlessly on from the last and before you know it you’ve barely stopped for the whole class. One of the great things about PiYo is that it’s low-impact, so many people who find themselves unable to take part in other activities like running can still participate.
I’ve already been loving the benefits of feeling longer and learner after yoga practice with Cathy at North Inch Campus and am looking forward to adding PiYo into the mix as a regular class for me!
PiYo is on at Bells Sports Centre at 7.15pm on a Thursday evening. To book phone 01738 454647 or visit their website>