First of all let me start by saying that the very kind people over at Active Newport read my blog post about visiting their gym (you can find this here…) and have offered me the chance to come back and try out their facilities, a few more classes and have even lined me up with a few sessions with a personal trainer (super scary!). I love my current gym but am very excited to try out what Active Newport has to offer as I didn’t get to make the most of the 5 day pass I had a few weeks ago. I will be reviewing the classes on here as part of this month’s class challenge and even though I have been given these for free I will still be giving honest reviews!
So let’s get on with it. Active Newport offer a large range of classes over their different sites, so I am keen to try out some that my gym doesn’t offer, to see what I am missing out on. So I booked up for a class on Monday night called Metabolic effect. The class is described on the website as being a dumbbell based workout designed specifically to target your fat burning hormones. Sounds intriguing right? Also, I thought, dumbbell exercises, how hard can they be! (I didn’t notice until afterwards that the class was listed as a high level workout!).
I turned up slightly early not having a clue what the class was going to be like. Luckily there were some women standing outside of the studio waiting for the class to start so I asked them what to expect. The women were all lovely and said that it was a hard class but they all really enjoyed it. They explained it was mostly dumbbell exercises but with a bit of fat burning cardio thrown in. I noticed as people were arriving a lot of them were carrying their own yoga mat. I hadn’t realised you needed a mat, I would of brought my own if I had, I think that’s definitely something that classes should make you aware of when you book it as its nice not to feel like a complete newbie (or use a stinky gym mat when you could of brought your own).
So we went into the class and immediately people started grabbing mats and weights. I chose 2kg dumbbells not being sure what the class would be like and OMG I am so glad I did!
People quickly found their place (I got the feeling there were a lot of regulars in this class) and I found myself having to be at the front, right in front of the instructor, which I really hate, but it is a good place to be able to see how to do the moves properly. The instructor, Jenny, asked if anyone was new so I put my hand up (I love it when they ask that). I think I was the only new person there this week; I started to get a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up!
We started off with a cardio warm up which included jogging on the spot, high knees, jumping twists, all the usual suspects. I know I’m getting fitter as I used to struggle with these types of warm ups but now I find they just warm me up.
Jenny explained we would be doing 3 sets of 3 different exercises with each exercise being repeated 3 times. Each set of 3 included 2 dumbbell exercises repeated for I think 30 seconds and then a strength exercise, these were repeated for 3 rounds and in the last round there was a minute of cardio thrown in between each exercise. I tried so hard after this class to remember all the exercises (what’s the point of the review otherwise!) I even sat in the car park for ages afterwards making notes about it on my phone. But I cannot for the life of me remember what the first 2 exercises in that set were, I have a feeling they had something to do with squats and dumbbells. I do remember that the 3rd exercise was push ups. I struggle with push ups so always do a modified version on my knees, I noticed a few other people were doing the same so didn’t feel so bad.
The first round was a killer, I looked around at the lady I had been talking to before the class and she laughed, well she had tried to warn me.
The second set of 3 consisted of forward lunges while dropping the weight to the floor, backwards lunges while pushing the weights up in the air and lying on the floor, shoulders off the mat criss crossing your legs (there is probably a technical term for this exercise – I will try and find out). This reminded me that I had not been practicing lunges. I really struggle with them and getting my form right when doing them, so really need to spend some time on these, I find backwards lunges especially hard. Alone, none of these exercises sound that bad but by the time you repeat them for the third time they feel ridiculously hard, I was actually grateful for the fat burning cardio in between to break them up (never thought I would be grateful for cardio!).
The 3rd set was absolutely the hardest, by this time my dumbbells felt like they weighed 5kg each instead of 2! The first move was to perform a wide stance squat while pushing your elbows up and out holding the dumbbells, repeating this for 30 seconds. I struggled with this one and had to pause a few times, looking around the class I noticed other people were pausing too so I guess everyone was starting to flake. In a weird way, watching other people pause spurred me on to try harder, I’m not sure why.
The second move was to take big steps backwards, lifting your arms out to the side and up into the air holding your dumbbells. It was at this point I could feel my top lip starting to curl up! I was shocked and surprised by this, my weights were only 2kg!! I paused a few times but tried to keep up as much as I could.
The last exercise was bending down and walking with your hands along the floor until you got into push up position and then doing a push up. There was no way I could do the push up, I did attempt it once or twice but it was so feeble that I decided to give that a miss and just do the hand walking instead.
And then the class was over! It was 30 minutes long and it had gone so quickly. We did some cool down stretches which felt amazing and we were done. I had considered using the gym after the class but I was starving and that was such an intense workout that I didn’t feel using the gym would be very productive so I walked out of the class with the lady I had met and we chatted about how lard it was.
What I liked about this class was that the instructor Jenny was so lovely and she gave modified moves for people who were beginners or just struggling. She also advised that it was our workout so to take a rest if we needed a rest, but motivated you to keep going at the same time.
So what have I learnt from this class? I have learnt that I really need to improve my lunges, need to work on push ups and that there are more to dumbbells than just bicep curls. It really opened my eyes to the different types of dumbbell exercises there are, I will be looking into this a bit more as I have dumbbells at home.
As I was at the front and opposite the mirror I also learnt that the green Nike top I was wearing is not flattering at all and my sports bra was not very supportive. Luckily I have invested in some new gym kit so will be wearing that next time to see if it’s any better!
Have you ever tried a class like this? Is there a class you’ve always wanted to try? Would love to hear from you in the comments!