Ripped & Stripped is taken by the fabulous Deanna, who is one of those people that has an excitement and energy for life. She brings a real joie de vivre to her classes. which is an energy that's infectious! She eases you into the class, and then ramps it up. You're in an environment where you're challenged to be better, to work harder, to do more. Play harder. Because, as Deanna says, 'it's meant to hurt, and if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you'. Damn right sister.
For someone that usually has a structured training plan with mostly running or training with a VPT, this is a way to change things up and inject a bit of variety into my workouts! Ripped & Stripped is high reps, high intensity – a way to get it done, harder, and with other people.
The warm up begins with Deanna bouncing around the room, starting with some general body weight exercises. The usual star jumps, squats and of course, our favourite: burpees. Let's face it, a class wouldn't be complete without that classic method of torture! I know these are good for you (are they?) but I struggle with them. However, music helps. The soundtrack for burpees was none other than Jungle by X Ambassadors – with the music cranked up and a perfect beat to get into a rhythm, there's no reason not to get them done. Don't get caught standing still though, the class is made to get your heart rate up, and get a sweat on, from the very first few minutes.
The thing I love about this class is that everyone is in it together, but at the same time, everyone is focussed on themselves. It's one of those classes where you need to be able to push yourself. Having an instructor like Deanna makes it all the more bearable.
Having done a similar class in other gyms before I was cynical before coming along, but I was proven wrong. It wasn't the regular 'Body Pump' class because Deanna was there to keep us all motivated.
Once you're all warmed up (that was just the warm up!). Deanna talks us through the next sets. We did 4 exercises for a minute each so it's time to pick up the bar and do what it says on the label – escape your limits. The music switches to a David Guetta track and we're going for deadlifts followed by weighted squats to start off the first round. A sure way to get your glutes fired up and your core engaged. Every now and again you'll hear Deanna throw in: "No stopping!" or "Why are you standing still?!" But equally, there's plenty of encouragement as well. We're regularly told throughout the class that we're all "smashing it". It's really refreshing to be in an environment where the instructor knows the people in her class, who return week in/week out. Deanna wants you to be better than you were the week before. Despite feeling the burn from the reps, you can guarantee there'll be smiles from everyone in the room.
Thrown into the legs set is a move that needs some level of co-ordination.... the challenge for me was actually getting my brain to work in sync with my legs! I had to actually concentrate on exactly what I was doing when working only step work while getting out of breath from the cardio element. For me, this switches things up in a class, keeps me from becoming complacent. It also means that it's a class that's suitable for people of all levels – there are options for everyone, and it's a workout that will get you sweating. There's structure to the class but there isn't a moment where you'll find yourself standing still. Well, that's until you're done at the end, and you just need to lie down for a minute or two!
Talking of lying down, we finally get a chance to rest our legs. Deanna is now going to kill off our arms. Again, we're on for 4 exercises for a minute each. A mix of flys, chest press, bent over row and shoulder press has just reminding me that I need to up my game on the upper body workout. These sets were completed by free weights, and since I've neglected the arms for a while, it was almost an experiment to see if I could practice control. I won't lie, my arms were burning when I'd finished but it was a good feeling!
Time to fire up the core. The plank is one of those exercises that most people are familiar with and we're reminded, "not to be precious about our elbows." I can't actually remember how long we were holding that for, but everyone tried their hardest not to given. And finally we get to stretch out. The smiles return, and you can see a few proud faces.
Ripped & Stripped is a class where you use your whole body, but you still get to have a laugh (yes, it is possible!). It's 45 minutes of positive energy and some banging tunes. What's not to love?
Go on, book yourself in!