Unique bouncing treadmills…need I say anymore…?
The boutique group fitness phenomenon continues across London with the arrival of Bests Bootcamp out of Charring Cross. Naturally I got my sweaty self down there to check out group fitness Best’s Styleee…they have a few twists and spins on the boutique fitness format that will help squeeze that extra bit of effort out of ya!
Bests is a compact set up nestled deep into the walls and tunnels of the surrounding train station at Charring Cross. Walking in you certainly sense a gritty edge as the strong steely and brick warehouse like interiors match up to the surrounding sense of industry and, well…exertion, buzz and excitement of central London. This isn’t some casual jaunt off to a quiet corner of town…this is hustle and bustle quite literally interwoven into the fabric of the old town.
The industrial gritty edge to Bests doesn’t start and end with the location and interiors…it surges forward into the content of the training sessions as well. Trainer Rusty Clark finely balances good humour with challenging training routines that are brimming with useful coaching points…something I’m particularly keen on. In fact the introduction of one of Best’s key USP’s is the ‘Trainer Cam’ which allows all group participants to view demonstrations of technique on the big screen. In the past this has been a potential short falling of the boutique group fitness recipe – the ability to demonstrate and correct good technique in a way that everyone can clearly see. With ‘intensity’ being such an important factor to the effectiveness of group training it is essential that good form is practiced by all participants to improve ongoing performance and avoid injury…I’m a stickler for practicing correct technique no matter the environment (One of the side effects of having been a PT for 10 years is that my coaching hat is always firmly on). Best’s Bootcamp have looked to take care of this issue in one fell swoop with the introduction of ‘trainer cam’…I very much like it thank you!
So what’s the second twist unique to Best’s I hear you ask…
well sit back, relax, and allow me to present to you the ‘bouncing treadmill’. Yep you read that correctly. The evolution of the treadmill within the fitness industry over the years has been an interesting development to observe as a Personal Trainer myself. Nowadays, due to design, we have far more uses for the treadmill than simply running and we have far more treadmills designed to compliment the way we run as opposed to grind against it as was so often the case in the early years.
The treadmills at Best’s seek to reduce the impact associated with hard heavy belts by absorbing the force as your foot hits the ground during your run.
Likewise it assists with a smooth ‘bouncy’ take off as your stride resumes into its forward motion. The end result is smooth and comfy sensation that feels more natural and akin to running outdoors on grass. Pretty cool huh! Secondly, and I’ve sort of made this up without any research, but I believe that the absorption of your foot deeper into the treadmill belt also simulates more similarities to the friction experience of running outdoors on terra firma. Regular treadmills often get criticised for not mimicking the friction found in regular running – instead of engaging with the floor and pushing away, as when running outdoors, a treadmill belt simply slides back and does the work for you. The end result of this is that running on regular treadmills favourites the knee drive to the front and neglects the leg drive through hip extension to the rear. To help solve this problem ‘bouncy treadmills’ are perhaps a step in the right direction…so to speak.
So back to the session…
The content of the session itself was ‘full body’. While this can often be more exhausting and overall more demanding it’s also sometimes a relief to be able to share the work load throughout the body…leg drives and push presses quickly move onto rows, then core and cardio…you know the drill! The difference with this session was that Rusty moved things on at a good pace…a lazy trainer would perhaps leave the class chomping away at the same exercise for minutes at a time but Rusty was creative and moved us on to the next challenge every 45 seconds. This was great to be a part of as it kept things moving at a fast pace and challenged both mind as well as body. Alongside his creativity Rusty has a great energy about him and helped us all to raise our game when it came to hitting the treadmill…go and check out one of his classes!
*To keep some consistency within my series of reviews on London’s top group fitness venues I have devised a rating system that I will apply to every experience I have – hopefully this will help you to decide what venues would best suit you. I love being a ‘fitness tourist’ myself and would encourage you to have a little exercise roaming in your life too…
1: Training Environment/Atmosphere: Bold and buzzing…I loved the music selection and energy in the room. Feels like you’ve been locked into the vaults for some serious work…no escape until you’ve sweated every last drop out.
2: Coaching style: Plenty of guidance in this area which is great! Loads of coaching tips coupled with the ‘trainer cam’ make this one of the ‘Best’s’ places to pick up some useful tips on the group fitness scene.
3: Equipment: Unique bouncing treadmills…need I say anymore…?
4: Bedside Manner/Customer Service: So goddam friendly. I hung out with Rusty post workout and enjoyed one of the signature house protein shakes at the bar. Great place to chill as well as smash it up!
5: My ‘Knack Factor’ – how knackering was it? As you can see in my Instagram video of the session…I gunned it on the treadmill hitting max speeds during the sprints, not holding back…show boating ever so slightly. It’s always a challenge to hit those levels on your own but Rusty pushed me hard. I award Best’s a solid knack factor of 9!!! BOOM!!!
In summary – Solid upgrades of the group fitness formula such as ‘trainer cam’ and ‘bouncing treadmills’ make this a MUST VISIT venue on the London group fitness scene. You WILL work hard and you WILL have fun…no brainer!