I have an important question – does it still count as proper exercise if you can’t stop smiling doing it? Because for the whole of Superfly, the latest addition to the Gymbox aerial series, I was absolutely beaming.
There are a lot of classes I love at Gymbox, but after an hour strapped into a harness dangling from a bungee cord, Superfly has shot straight to the top of the list. I got a great workout, I had so much fun doing it, and it’s like nothing I’ve done before – you can’t ask for much more than that.
I was fairly dubious when I arrived. I’d spent the journey there looking at class videos and there appeared to be an awful lot of bouncing involved. I seriously regretted the fish finger sandwich I’d eaten half an hour earlier, and while everyone else was excitedly checking out the equipment, I was deep breathing and willing myself to digest quicker.
Fortunately, when we started getting ready for the class my mind was taken swiftly away from sandwiches. The first ten minutes of the class were spent making sure we were (very) securely strapped into our harnesses (which are like those you wear for climbing or abseiling). There was a lot of getting up close and personal with the instructors as they tested and tightened straps and buckles; they’re very snug around the top of your thighs but you soon find out why! When you’re trying to fly, you want to know your harness is going to hold. And while they’re uncomfortable to start, you quickly get used to the feeling.
A thorough warm up complete, the time came to hook ourselves up to the bungee cords and start having some fun! We started out getting used to the feeling, bouncing around in squats (most enjoyable squats ever) and leaning all of our weight forward to get confident in being held by the bungee. Ice-breakers over, we finally got to really put the bungees to the test when we start throwing ourselves face-first at the floor.
Leaping into that first “burpee” – a squat then flying over into a plank position – is vaguely terrifying. It seems so unnatural to just fling all your limbs into the air as you sail to the floor, but as soon as you feel the bungee grab you, that feeling of weightlessness and freedom is amazing. We move through a range of motions at ground-level, from superman push ups to the only bunny hops I’ve ever enjoyed, before picking ourselves up for some jumping around.
We spend a brilliant ten minutes gliding through the air in poses that make me feel like a pro-dancer, a superhero and a gymnast all at once. The shapes you’re making get bigger and better as you throw more and more into each leap forward, and you realise that flying is what’s been missing from your life all this time.
I’m having so much fun that I’m surprised to repeatedly find myself out of breath. Can cardio be this much fun?! I actually takes quite a lot of effort to control all the movements, and to put enough force onto the bungee to get as low to the ground or as high into the air as you want to (the next day, my forearms can attest to how much went into the floor work). But when putting a bit more effort in means you get to fly that bit higher, your inner five-year-old is more than happy to try harder.
I love everything about this class. The music is brilliant (think Jay Z, Missy Elliot and, of course, Jump Around), it’s lit like a club, everyone’s laughing and you get your heart working without even thinking about it. And I’m not the only one – there aren’t many classes where people will wait behind at the end to have another go.
To all the team behind this latest class – congratulations, you’ve truly outdone yourselves!