I’ve heard of various high intensity classes that offered treadmill workouts, but I never thought it was my kind of thing. I don’t really like being yelled at (I’m more of a soft encouragement kind of girl), and I have a strong loathing of treadmills – so I had purposely avoided trying these classes out.
However, after reading a review on Lunges and Lycra and buoyed by the offer of a free trial – I decided what the hey, and booked in for a one hour class at PROJECT FIT with Mollie, Kiera, Margaret and Emma. The studio was rather discreet, a small sign off Cornhill (near Bank Station) was the only indication of its presence. We headed two floors down into the basement (I would struggle to get back up these two flights of stairs later!), and met Joel, one of the owners/instructors at reception. He quickly assured me that I shouldn’t be too scared. The glint in his eye and cheeky smile told me otherwise!
The before – no idea what we were in for!
After stashing our gear in the changing rooms (small, compact, but functional), we watched the previous class come out (drenched in sweat, yes, but still alive) and nervously entered the studio. On the upper level were approximately 10 treadmills, lined up and facing a mirrored wall. Scattered on the lower level were bosu balls.
Ben (the other owner/ instructor) introduced himself and talked us newbies through what to expect – although if I am completely honest it did go in one ear and out the other – I was too busy taking in my surroundings, and wondering what on earth was coming for us! Ben switched on the music, adjusted his microphone, and launched straight into the warm up.
Kiera wasn’t nervous, much!
I’ve never used a bosu ball before, but in the first 8-10minute set we became well acquainted. There was a cardio based warm up which involved toe taps on the ball, standing and squatting on it, and squats and lunges off the ball. At one point we picked it up and burpee’d with it (harder than it sounds!).
It wasn’t long before we were instructed to grab a set of dumb bells (various weights were lined up around the room for us to easily grab) and incorporate these into the short sets we were doing. My heart rate was up and the sweat was dripping – and we were only 8 minutes in. I shot a dirty look at Emma (whose idea this class had been) and gasped “how much longer?!”
At the end of the set, we were instructed to switch to the treadmills, where the other half of the class had just completed running drills. I had been so consumed with my bosu ball that I hadn’t been watching what was going on with the treadmills – but I was about to find out! Ben yelled out the incline number, and then three speed options… “12, 14, 16”. Around the room the words walker, jogger and runner were plastered – who the hell WALKS at 12 on a treadmill?!
Emma and Kiera managing to stay upright on the treadmills
Our incline started so high I thought I was going to fall right off the back off the treadmill, so I chose to stick to the lowest speed that Ben yelled. After a minute of struggling to stay on, we lowered the incline by 1 point, and upped the speed. Another minute passed, we reduced the incline, and upped the speed. I’d gone from clinging on to get up a steep hill, to twirling roadrunner legs and wondering how soon I would be spat off the back off the machine. Thank god the music was up so loud – I was audibly grunting with the effort! The 8 minutes felt like forever, but finally we were able to hit the red stop button. With jelly legs and gasping for air, I wobbled down the steps and back to the bosu ball for the next round of fun.
Another set on the bosu – this time focused more on upper body with shoulder presses and bicep curls and chest presses. I could feel all my muscles quivering, and before I knew it we were back to the treadmills again. I actually think I blanked out what we did in the second set – I can’t remember the speeds or the inclines or what we did, I can only remember that I swallowed back the bile a couple of times. I tried to focus on my grimacing face in the mirror in front of me, pump my arms, and KEEP BREATHING. Oh, and not fall off.
Am I dead yet?
Our final set was shorter (thank god) but not any easier. Planks and press ups and mountain climbers and more squats and lunges on the bosu. The treadmill set involved a minute sprint, then jumping off onto the sides of the treadmill for a minute of squats while it whirled at 14+ underneath us (and repeat). I was drenched in sweat, and absolutely wrecked – by the time the workout ended and we were taken through some stretches all I could do is lie face down on the metal floor with my eyes closed.
The after – still alive, still smiling, VERY sweaty!
So now that it’s a few days later, and I have recovered from the DOMS (ohhh, the DOMS! I was amazed at how much my quads hurt, obviously from the inclines) what is my overall verdict? I bloody loved it! Project Fit was the hardest, most sweaty workout I have ever done – but also the most challenging and fun. I am definitely addicted, and can’t wait to get back to Project Fit for my next
torture session workout.
I spoke with Ben after class about the benefits of training in this way – he was super helpful and really knowledgeable, and I appreciated the time he spent getting to know the people in his class. Class sizes are kept small, with a limit of 18 – so if you are struggling or unsure in what you are doing he can be on hand quickly to help. A couple of times I did struggle to hear the speeds he was yelling (more from not paying attention/ grunting too loudly) and the minute I waved my hand he was there to give me a prompt. It’s a real workout for the instructors themselves –running two classes simultaneously!
Another thing to note is that no two classes are the same. We worked out with bosu balls, but other workouts might involve medicine balls, hand weights, TRX’s, steps, floor exercises etc. All the equipment is lined up around the room – ready and waiting – it adds an extra element of surprise to the class!
I would really like to add a class a week to my marathon training schedule (strength and speed training in one!) and was excited to learn they are planning a specific set of running classes in the New Year. Sadly (as all things seem to be) the class passes are expensive, and with every penny tied up in paying for a wedding and honeymoon – I’m going to have to see whether I can creatively squeeze any classes in to my budget. Project Fit do offer a 15% discount off multi-class passes if you purchase within 48hrs of your first class, as well as running a Saturday Special of £12 a class. I’m planning to hit up the Saturday classes until long runs take over my weekends in January.
For more info on Project Fit or to book your first free class click here.
Do you like high intensity workouts? Do you think Project Fit would be your kind of thing?