WE work with them, we eat out with them, we drink far too many cocktails with them. But until now, we've never been asked to pump some muscle in a gym with our colleagues. So when UP Fitness suggested a group of Confidential staffers try their Group Training Session, we were a little hesitant, to say the least.
Weightlifting, squats, planking, and wall sits become a lot more fun when your friends are sweating it out with you.
The sessions are a 45 minute power workout led by one of their expert trainers and with a strong focus on your individual fitness goals. Think personal training but you do it with a small group of friends, splitting the cost between you but still getting the results.
If you work hard that is. And this place has a reputation for making you work hard. You don't get before and after shots like they do without pushing yourself. It's why even fitness queen L'Oreal and ex-ballerina George were concerned about just how tough this session would be.
But as soon as our trainer Matt’s brimming smile popped up over the reception desk it dashed a lot of those fears. He welcomed us and asked about our usual exercise habits to gauge our fitness levels. Answers ranged from Davina DVDs in the living room, to kettlebells and bootcamps, to Krispy Kreme lifting sessions. They're used to working with people of all levels of fitness here, even within the same group, so it wasn't a problem.
Then it was into the gym. Maybe it was the handsome space, the bright studio lights, the high-tech equipment or all the buff and sculpted personal trainers, but UP Fitness just felt like a place where a person can achieve a real transformation. Have you seen the defined abs and taut bodies of some of their most dedicated clients?
We soon learnt excuses meant nothing here. Matt had a great deal of faith in our abilities – no matter how much we whinged, moaned and screamed ‘I can’t lift that’.
But far from being embarrassing or awkward, working out with people you know was a great motivator. Weightlifting, squats, planking, and wall sits become a lot more fun when your friends are sweating it out with you. It’s hard, though. Your bum hurts. Your arms scream. You sweat buckets. You want to swear even more.
Matt wasn’t like any other trainer we'd experienced before. He was firm and precise. He knew exactly how our postures should be and took in each detail as we worked while also motivating us. He kept telling us to tense in places we never knew had muscle (can you tense flab?) The wall sit was horrible but by this point he wanted to push us so he asked L'Oreal and gym-regular Alana to raise their heels. 'Intense' is an understatement.
The UP Fitness session wasn’t a breeze, but a workout never should be. It was however the quickest and funniest training session any of us had done in a long time.
If you’re like us and have the fear that this gym is too much of a gym for you, you’re wrong and we can almost promise you’ll love it. And if you think working out with colleagues will be cringe-worthy and competitive, you don't need to worry. You won't have the time or energy to be embarrassed or to compare yourself with the rest of your group.
We all left feeling good about what we'd achieved and satisfied that we'd made progress. But how much longer will we have to wall sit before we look like Beyoncé?
Find out more about Group Sessions at UP Fitness.
3 rounds of 60 seconds:
Incline dumbbell chest press
Incline bench dumbbell prone row
Resistance band palof press
Goblet squat with a kettle bell (heels raised)
Alternating lunges with weights
4 rounds of 20 seconds: