Review: Swedish Fit
Statistically, women are more likely to work out if they can do so with a friend. For some, running or cycling endless miles or lifting weights alone can be tedious and some really need the extra motivation a fitness buddy might bring. To this end, finding a good group fitness class is a great way to break up what you may feel is the monotony of your workout week. I was recently invited to try out Swedish Fit, a group fitness class popular in Sweden (duh!) and France that has just made its way onto the UK scene.
The hour long class is broken up into pretty seamless sections of a warm up, stretching, muscle building, cardio, running and relaxation. According to the website, the movements were designed by a physiotherapist to protect the joints and back. It also has this little nugget: ‘Each transition from one movement to the next optimizes your effort, making sure you exercise without tiring the body out,’ which frankly, is the kind of fitness talk that makes absolutely no sense to me. That sentence, combined with the video on the site, I’ll be totally honest, had me a little cynical about the session.
I took my friend Sarah Mei along one chilly evening this week and we resolved to keep open minds. Having completed the hour long class I will say it was a rather cheesy, almost 80s style aerobics class (not in an ironic way) with elements of dance/coordination in there and possibly the most bizarre soundtrack of any class I’ve ever been to. Some of the moves seemed really outdated (there was some grapevining involved). But with that said, it was actually pretty enjoyable. I think a class like this would work really well if it played into its cheesy-ness and also if British people weren’t so serious and reserved – this is totally the kind of class where you should feel free to let loose a little, woop and holler a bit, but this being London, everyone was a bit straight-laced. Sarah Mei and I high fived after a particular exercise and that sent a little ripple around the room of nervous laughter.
Personally, I found some of the floor work a little tough without a yoga mat – maybe I’ve just got incredibly knobbly knees and elbows or something but doing planks and such like on just a bare floor is pretty painful for me. However, it would totally break up the momentum of the class to be pulling yoga mats all over the gaff part way through.
The transitions between each section were really smooth and at the end, I didn’t feel all that tired. I don’t know if that’s because I have a good fitness level or because that’s how the workout is designed, as the website claims, but either way, I left with high energy and a smile on my face.
At £5 a class, this is one of the cheapest exercise classes I’ve come across in London (or anywhere for that matter!) and that really is a great bargain. Get a few mates together and revel in the cheesy nature of it all, have a laugh while you get your workout on – if you’re looking for a way to just get moving a couple of times a week, I’d say this is a pretty decent way to do it.
To find out more about class times and locations, check out the Swedish Fit website.