Les Mills classes were the way I first got into fitness, with two hours of back-to-back Pump and Combat twice a week. Picture me jab, jab, upper, hook-ing in training gloves and baggy Nike dance pants and you’ll get the idea of a big Wednesday night out of my early twenties. Fast forward seven years and I was totally Pump-ed (ho) to hit up London’s ONELive with my fellow Les Mills-mad pal, Debs.
The classes have grown so much since I started doing them in my local JJB Sports gym and Les Mills has turned into a bona fidé mega-brand, with revellers at ONELive dressed top-to-toe in LM gear. If you’re unsure as to what ONELive is, it’s basically an enormous workout with thousands of other fitness freaks. There were three different studios (that I was aware of!) running classes all day, and I – being a glutton for punishment – did four sessions with what seemed like mere minutes of refuel in-between.
First up was BodyPump. Feeling fresh and not having done a Pump class for ages, but knowing how much I can squat now, I loaded up my bar with 20kg. Oh dear. The sweat rolled off every inch of my skin, but I managed to complete all the reps, even the pulses – I can still hear the track go “bounce, bounce” and my feel my quads scream at me! I gave a lot in that class and I waddled to lunch worrying about how I’d fare in the next three classes…
Next up was Combat. I used to love this class – I felt totally kickass knowing how to roundhouse kick and the correct form for a hook, and it gets you fit as a fiddle with its high-intensity burn. I think I kept up with the moves okay but I was surrounded by Combat obsessives Sarah and Debs, so couldn’t help but feel inferior compared to those two. The instructors for this were electric and I particularly liked when they got Combat instructor of the year up on stage, who beamed her way through her entire track.
Exhaustion started to set in when I hit the Grit Strength class with Natalie and Eliza. I’d never done this class before so was ensure what to put on my bar, but went with the general consensus around me and put 5kgs on either end. Man alive. My fitness was absolutely put to the test flinging that bar around, and admittedly I had to take a couple more breaks than were allotted. Honestly I wasn’t a fan of Grit Strength, as I felt I lost my form from trying to throw the weight around, but I’m willing to give its siblings Grit Plyo and Cardio a go another time.
By the time I reached the RPM class I was pretty much done for, so I spent the 45 minute class coasting along on my bike. At first my brain was telling me to just get off the bike, quit, we’ve done enough, but the RPM soundtrack was pretty heavy techno (well, mainly, apart from Years & Years) so I just kept my legs moving and enjoyed my last session.
Some serious Break Your Selfie vibes there after three and a half hours of classes. That was the hardest I’ve ever worked and at some points I hated myself for putting my body through it.. But would I do it all again? Erm.. YES. And guess what? I hear a rumour ONELive comes to MANCHESTER next!