A few weeks ago I somehow acquired a free five class pass to Black Dove Body Bar in West End. My inherent stinginess compelled me to go along and try the classes despite my natural reluctance to engage in exercise, so I set off early one morning to a pilates class.
The new studio in West End (there is also one in the city) is upstairs on Montague St – it's light, airy and smells like pretty oils and whatnot. A beauty spa is also integrated into the studio hence, no doubt, the yummy perfumes. My pilates class was taken by Lindsay, a co-founder of Black Dove along with Claire (who is involved more on the beauty side of things). Despite my misgivings, the class was great – I've tried pilates before and spent the entire time lying on the ground thinking "what is this supposed to be doing?". Lindsay has all sorts of little tips and tricks for actually making it work - my tummy definitely felt that it had enjoyed a little work out the next day. The people in the class were friendly and welcoming as well. All in all, it was a very pleasant little excursion into the world of fitness.
I then made the incredibly foolish decision to attend their F.I.T Blitz class followed by the yoga class in one evening. It should have been clear from the name that F.I.T Blitz wasn't going to be entirely relaxing. I knew something was wrong when we started the class standing up, rather than lying cosily on the floor like we had in the pilates class. I further deduced that something was astray when I was handed some weights (weights!). For thirty intense and embarrassing minutes I was encouraged to jump about like a maniac while holding said weights; jumping jacks, burpies, squats, running on the spot, high kicks - you name it. The friend who I had brought with me was mouthing "I am going to kill you" to me, about four minutes into the class. Finally, sweating like a polar bear in a nightclub, the torture was over. I watched jealously as my friend dragged herself out to freedom. I still had yoga to go.
Now I have actually practised yoga for some time and am reasonably adept. Following F.I.T Blitz however I was shaking in the first downward facing dog, and it didn't get any better from there. I was sweating so much that I was sliding about on the mat and, I'm sure, interfering with the chakra alignment of everyone else in the class. The teacher kept looking at me with pity, oh yes, she had seen these two-class-in-a-row fools before. Finally my undignified sliding about was brought to an end by the close of the class and I limped away.
The next day I felt like I'd suddenly aged 60 years, there was absolutely no way I could wash my own hair – my arms couldn't reach that high. The day after was, if anything, worse (I still couldn't lift my lunchbox). But, sure as the return of spring, my body began to return to normal. Or did it? There was a curious protrusion on each of my arms and some more on my legs. Oh god, perhaps I should make an appointment with my doctor? Were these burst blood vessels? I asked my flatmate to inspect…"they are muscles you idiot". Ah. I see. How interesting, you mean if one does difficult exercises with weights one can acquire a more toned body? Sweet.
Needless to say I have now attended my second F.I.T Blitz class. It wasn't half as ghastly as the first (no doubt the lack of death threats had something to do with it) and I still appear to have fully functioning limbs a day later. I've decided to take out a ten class pass, so I can also enjoy the more relaxing classes. I will not, however, be making the mistake of attending back to back classes again…at least for a while.