The other afternoon I did something a little bit stupid – I tested two new workout classes back to back. The thing that made what I did REALLY stupid however was that the first one was GRIT.
Created by the Les Mills Franchise GRIT is a 30- minute High Intensity class which sees you mixing up little blocks of four different exercises done as hard as you can for 30 seconds each. They claim it can burn off up to 600 calories a session – although I think that’s more likely if you’re a super bulky bloke going at an intensity of 10/10 for the whole thing, rather than a lightweight girly; but even so I thought I’d be clever and make sure I got into the cardio class figuring I can run for over two hours now, I’d be fine – erm, seems that being able to run for over two hours doesn’t make you fit, and it definitely doesn’t make you strong.
The class started with a sprint warm up – excellent, this I can do, then we had to start touching the floor between sets – seems that completely confuses my brain! By the end of the warm up I was sweating – and then the jumping moves followed by press ups started! This working on the lower body, then hitting your upper body is key to GRIT’s success as it employs a tactic called shunting. This sees you alternating upper and lower body moves so your system has to rapidly alter which muscles its sending blood too, and this increases the stress on your cardivascular system improving fitness even faster.
I won’t got into specific detail about every move, but it seems the only one that running adequately equips you to do in this class is the high knee raises – I was AWESOME at those, everything else though was a little bit tragic. Take the core section – it started with hovers (aka planks) at which point I discovered that my ab muscles either have some kind of performance anxiety in a class environment or have left the building entirely over my 18 weeks of race training! I couldn’t even get into the position I was supposed to hold let alone support myself for 30 seconds – the move then progressed into planks with leg lifts and planks with hand movements. I, by this point, am lying on my stomach, crying with laughter.
This was good – as in the wrong hands, I could see GRIT being one of those classes that made me cry with actual sad tears (yes that does happen, more often than you might think as I’m really not a sporty person) however the trainer Rob was so nice that he didn’t make me feel like a pathetic individual when I couldn’t do half the moves (don’t even get me started on what happened with the burpees) and while there wasn’t an alternative move for a lot of the suggestions – which might be something they need to work on a little bit – he was so positive that I did want to try and achieve things even for a few seconds. That transformed the whole class for me and I had an absolute blast. It flew by and I’d love to do it again.
There was however one tiny downside – serious DOMS the next day. Honestly, I haven’t ached in so many places for a very long time – and it lasted two days. Shows it’s working though right?
So my overall verdict is, this is not a class for absolute beginners, but if you want to improve fitness and strength fast then it’s great. You don’t need any co-ordination to do it, but a sense of humour if you have a few weak muscles might help you come back a second time. Oh, and don’t plan your long run the next day…….I had to skip mine! If you want to give it a try, you can find your nearest class by clicking on this very handy link here