Where? Portobello Green Fitness Centre, Westway
Here I was back for another class in the same place, but what can I say – so far they’ve all been great. This time I was going to play the role of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar baby –but without any of the emotional angst. We paired off immediately to start, I was paired with a newcomer named Lucia who it turned out was a bit of a Boxing veteran and all around tough girl.
Unfortunately the class was oversubscribed and there weren’t enough pads so the instructor told the rest of us to wear our boxing gloves in reverse. This had the effect of making you look like you were covering your face with your palms and whimpering ‘don’t hit me!’, it also made for a slightly more impractical target, but then I didn’t have a lot to compare it to.
Lucia gave me some great one-to-one tuition and I managed not to accidentally hit her in the face or otherwise embarrass myself in a martial arts-based way. Apparently I have a strong right arm and a powerful right knee, this totally made me feel badass until I realised someone could easily attack me from the left and then I would only be able to nudge them feebly in defense. It’s hard to make a nudge threatening; I’ve never seen an action hero do it.
The class was a great workout, particularly for the arms, back and shoulders which often get neglected in women’s group exercise classes, frequently in favour of 1500 squats. But it didn’t feel like a workout which was great, so distracted was I trying to learn the new skill the time (and punches) flew by!
The teacher was full of beans and shimmied her way around the class manically as if it was Notting Hill carnival, gyrating encouragingly to us. It was unorthodox certainly but you couldn’t fault her enthusiasm.
The only real downside of the class, was the pungent odour of sweaty feet that the communal gloves transferred onto your hands. That’s easy enough to get over, just don’t smell your hands, I mean who does that anyway?