It’s gym day. But you don’t much fancy it. You can’t find anyone to go with, and the last time you flew solo, the grunts from the heavy lifters over on the squat rack knocked you off your stride.
Gyms can be intimidating places, especially if you’ve not trained in a while, or you’re looking to set out on your fitness journey for the very first time.
The equipment can look scary and how do you know if you’re using it properly, unless paying for a personal trainer to guide you (pricey), or spending hours on YouTube watching fitness tutorials? Very few gyms still offer free 6-weekly workout programmes as part of their memberships.
The above scenario is one that chimes with the team behind Fitssi, a new concept which is aiming to make fitness more fun, less scary and more social, especially for women – Sport England has found that 75% of women are intimidated by the gym environment.
Fitssi allows small groups of people (up to five) to share a personal trainer, and then perhaps go on for a latte afterwards. There’s an app coming in the New Year which will show your location and the Fitssi sessions taking place at the times you want at various pop-up venues near you. You’ll be able to check the host PT’s credentials and book a slot via the app. You’ll also be able to invite your own friends along through social media.
A few weeks back I went along to a pre-launch #fitssifriday Fitssi session at the Lorna Jane Studios in Covent Garden – the concept is rolling out in London, initially – to find out more about it and get a taster of a typical workout.
Now, I’m very much a gym rat, so am coming at this from the opposite angle to the one that Fitssi is targeting. But I acknowledge that gym training can be a solitary affair and making it more social can be incredibly motivating – a supportive girl squad encouraging you to train harder, and helping you to achieve something you didn’t think possible means you are more likely to keep it up.
I knew no one in my squad (a larger than usual crowd) before I arrived but after some quick introductions we all felt connected, ready and up for getting our sweat on in a ‘togetherness’ way. The session was led by certified PT Naomi Jade, who immediately put me at ease by asking if anyone had injuries she should know about – “yep, me, and I’m so glad you asked as I have dodgy hips!”
With the beats pumping, we were away, a mix of cardio and bodyweight strength training that got hearts racing, body heat rising and muscles and joints aching – oh, my mistake, that was the next day!
There were solo exercises, paired moves and group activities. Adaptations of familiar exercises including lunges and planks got us working together and sharing laughs when our hands and feet didn’t quite finish in the right places.
Naomi was just brilliant. Full of energy, enthusiasm, laughs, and firm at the same time – no slacking: this is a Fitssi workout! She was also incredibly attentive, popping over to me with alternatives I could do while the others got on with their mountain climbers and burpees. That’s the benefit of a small group – the PT has the time to focus on your individual needs, unlike in a bigger class setting.
The 45 minutes went in a flash and at the wrap it was high fives and hugs all round, plus a few moments’ pause for some Instagram snap taking (of course). And we were all rewarded for our efforts with a MissFits Nutrition shake.
You can find out more on Fitssi here, and if you’ve yet to book up for New Year, how about joining Fitssi at their special end of year Rave & Behave party, with special guest headliners including… drum roll… celebrity trainer and fitness model Bradley Simmonds *quickly mops sweat from brow*