Want to get fit for the slopes? Or just plain fit? The our new class Powder Power will give you a vigorous all-over body work-out. "Loads of people go on ski holidays so how hard could it be?" says reviewer Amy Strode. She finds out.
Like many well-meaning but badly behaved fitness fans, I find January a struggle. All skiing puns aside, shifting from last year's Christmas parties into the new year can become a slippery slope, but there can't be a better solution than shaking things up and getting those Gymbox juices flowing at new class, Powder Power.
Designed to target the major muscle groups needed for snow sports, Powder Power offers circuit training with a difference. Being a ski and snowboard virgin – and being more snowball than snow bunny at this time of year – I was a little apprehensive about the class but, arriving at Old Street, I left this worry at the door. Loads of people go on ski holidays so how hard could it be? If it's anything like in films, all you need is a fluoro shell suit and some quirky knitwear and job's a good'un.
I could not have been more wrong.
Instructor, Liz, began the class with a brisk warm up to get our heart rates up, and made sure we focused on stretching in preparation for the circuits ahead. These included a number of equipment-based exercises and, whilst the prospect of using new apparatus seemed daunting at first, we were briefed on how to use all elements of the circuit so as to benefit the most.
Starting with a Gyroboard, we worked on mounting and dismounting (DISCLAIMER: If you've recently been slacking with your fitness regime like me, this exercise will make you will notice parts of you wobbling that you never knew existed). After moving onto side-to-side ski motions, we took a short break, and advanced to the Bounce board – a foam imitation snowboard which allows you to hone your jump skills with the aid of a trampoline. I liked this one the most, as practicing 180s made me feel like a pro, even if Liz made it look much cooler than me. Whilst I wasn't brave enough to try a board grab, I could definitely feel my confidence – and my leg muscles –growing.
Next was the air dome, working the legs with squat jumps on and off the equipment and then side steps – more wobbling but keeping to a rhythm helped to maintain balance for this one.
We finished the circuit with a variation of mountain climbers using TRX handles to keep our feet elevated and to work our core- again, mine non-existent- but we were spurred on with some motivational words and instruction. Then a round of one and two-legged squats on our trusty friend the Gyroboard just in case we hadn't already reached the tip of the iceberg (I know I said no puns).
Ensuring we left with our muscles sufficiently cooled down, Liz ran through some heavy-duty stretches, which were definitely well-needed.
On leaving Powder Power, I felt pretty rejuvenated. With its upbeat, thumping playlist, I might not have been doing the "real thing" but my adrenaline was definitely pumping and I could almost convince myself I was at a wild ski resort party had it not been for my aching quads and abs. What's more, instructor, Liz, encouraged us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone physically but to focus on exploring exercises to their full potential by knowing our bodies' limits and gaining confidence as we went. I was also glad to find a kindred spirit in Liz, as a fellow lover of bobble hats.
Far from the images of a 70s ski resort brochure, the class was a great step into 2015 and the world of modern snow sports. I would definitely recommend it to those wanting to brush up on technique ahead of a trip to the slopes. Whether you are a more experienced skier or boarder or a newcomer to the sports, the class can compliment other exercise, building strength and stamina. It's a great reminder that it's not all about the après-piste; if you're ready for the ski season, whatever you do, never underestimate the power of the powder.
We dare you to book yourself in right here.