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Gym like no-one is watching

July 26, 2012 in fitness, health

 I love going to the gym. As much as I also enjoy outdoor exercise, the recent Cape Town weather hasn’t made that very do-able so the gym is the next best thing. But I really do love it – it feels like a second home. I love the smell of the swimming pool as I walk in, the beep of the super circuit, the thud of pumping music from the spinning studio – I love it all.

But it was not always this way. There was a time when I first joined the gym that the thought of walking through those doors and not knowing what I was doing terrified the bejeezers out of me. I was convinced that everyone there would somehow know that I was a newbie and had no idea what I was doing. Which of course they didn’t. You see the truth is that everyone at the gym is too wrapped up in their own exercise routine to really give too much thought to the person pressing all the buttons frantically on the treadmill, willing it to move.

Like with most things, you will get better at it the more you do it. So the more often you go to gym the more you’ll understand how certain equipment works and within no time you’ll find the machines that you like and maybe even a class or two that tickle your fancy.

Until then however, we have some tips on how to fake-it-till-you-make-it at the gym with some great articles on how to use the rowing machine properly to get the best workout possible on it. And this article on how to use the super-circuit, an article which even seasoned gym-goers would be wise to read as a refresher.

Once you’ve figured out how the basic equipment works, why not try out some of these fat-busting cardio workouts on the treadmill, elliptical trainer and rowing machine. And if you’re in the mood for a class, try out one of these to get you started.

Just make sure you make the most out of your time at the gym by choosing exercises and classes that you enjoy. There’s more chance you’ll stick with it and trust me, by the time summer rolls back around you will be very happy you did.

What’s your favourite gym exercise or class?

Zero to hero in 24 minutes

July 16, 2012 in fitness, health

Have you heard of the new gym class at Virgin Active? It’s called Twentyfour and is basically 24 exercises performed in 24 minutes. It’s my kind of class… fast, to the point and effective.
 
Last week I decided to try it out at the Table View Virgin Active shortly after it was launched. It. Was. Hectic.
 
It’s a very fast-paced workout that moves from one heart-pumping exercise to the next with only 13 seconds rest between them. You go from jumping jacks to push-ups to wall-climbers to jumping squats. And let me tell you, but the third set, 13 seconds REALLY isn’t all that long! 
 

 
After a short warm-up we really got into it and it didn’t take long for my heart rate to spike. I must say that those 24 minutes felt a lot more like an hour at times and at the end of the class my legs were trembling slightly and I was a big mess of sweatiness – but it was all good. There is nothing more satisfying than a good, hard workout. And Twentyfour is exactly that.
 
 The high intensity moves coupled with the short rest periods and pumping music push you to go faster, and as the voice on the soundtrack counts you down with only 10 seconds left, if you’re anywhere near as competitive as I am you’ll do your hardest to push out those last few reps before your 13 seconds of rest.
 
The only piece of equipment used was an exercise mat as all the exercises use your own body weight, so the kilojoule-burn is at an all-time high.
 
So if you want a really good workout in a short amount of time, try this one out. Just remember to take lots of water and a towel cause one thing I can guarantee you is that you’re gonna sweat buckets!
 
Have you tried it yet? What did you think?

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