Fresh: No Holds Barred class review

Fresh: No Holds Barred class review

Tom Wheatley is back! This week he tries his hand at brand new class, No Holds Barred. "I spent the next two days struggling to lift my bag over my shoulder" he says.

I've tried a lot of classes out at Gymbox over the past few months, and if I'm being honest most of them are pretty tough. I like a tough class, I don't see the point in giving up an hour of my day if I can leave without having to tie my sodden gym kit up in one of those little cellophane bags; it's like a personal medal of the work I've put in.

I don't always put in the effort though. Sometimes I'll go to a class after a night out, or maybe I'm just in a fitness slump. When that happens I need a class that actually makes me have to work hard; one where I can't sneak off to the back and sip water every time a bead of sweat forms on my forehead.

Anyone who's done one of Wayne Nicholas's classes at Gymbox Holborn will know what I'm talking about. The man seems to know if you're slacking off even if he's fifteen metres away with his back turned, and he's not afraid to show you up in front of the class. No Holds Barred is a class of his own creation and it's designed to make sure you're working hard. Very hard in fact; pretty much to the point where you end up lying on the floor afterwards heavy breathing and reaching for the water fountain.

The format is relatively simple; working in pairs you take it in turns to switch between overhead bars and barbells. The class is thus split into two competing teams – this bares little significance on the outcome of the class but goes to make for some involved camaraderie over the forty-five minutes.

The class covers a full body workout ranging from weighted squats, pull-ups, bicep curls as well as the odd plank or two - normally around the time Wayne forgets how to count properly and has to start again. On the harder exercises (you have to use the same barbell weights throughout so things like bicep curls can get very hard), your partner will be there to spot you so you can carry on for the set time.

As Wayne explains at the start of the class, it’s designed to be difficult. If you come in to the class thinking you can relax then you’re not going to get the best out of it. In fact you’re probably going to leave wishing you hadn’t gone in the first place. The fact you need to be spotted for some of the exercises means you’ll be pushed pretty hard. I can testify to this as I spent the next two days struggling to lift my bag over my shoulder.

Book yourself in! Monday 12.15pm, Bank / Thursday 12.15pm, Holborn / Friday 12.30pm, Farringdon