As fashionable sportswear becomes a main staple of our wardrobe and Flyknit trainers replace our skyscraper heels, what does this mean for our sporting lifestyle outside of the closet?
It means following suit.
With the rise of funky exercise classes like Rave Aerobics and HulaFit that give working out an injection of fun, making our bodies look and feel good doesn't have to be a separate affair to seeing our friends or making new ones.
If you're the person who goes to a gym class wanting to meet other like-minded fitness fanatics, but aren't one to stir up that first awkward conversation, or you simply don't want another boozy night in the pub with your friends, then it's time to introduce your circle of friends to a new fitness experience made to seamlessly integrate exercising with socialising.
The founders of WeTRAIN, the app which promotes socially-charged fitness classes have upped their game with a brand new concept called WeEXPERIENCE. Each carefully crafted session is between one to three-hours long and was born out of the dream weekends of world-renowned fitness guru's, including team GB athletes.
It's these experts who host the intimate session alongside a maximum of eleven other people. Looking through the catalogue of possibilities, you can spend quality time over brunch with a world champion kick-boxer after sweating it out, or go for a trails and nails experience - a forest run followed by a much-needed pedicure.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend their horse-riding, Pilates and tea-tasting experience in Teddington, West London. Ed Hill, co-founder of WeTRAIN explained upon arrival that socialising is a really important part of what they are doing - with such small classes that are socially charged from the outset the group can get to know each other on a first-name basis, which can make a huge difference for those who turn up by themselves.
I soon found myself saddled on a stunning black horse called Luna at Park Lane Stables. It felt incredible to be riding through Bushy Park in the late morning sunshine. We were led into a trot, which for a non-experienced rider is slightly nerve-racking, but the gentle guidance of our instructor quickly relinquished any fears. My natural lack of rhythm means I will sadly never be an Ascot-winning horse rider, but the best part was just letting loose with my group of other like-minded people and laughing it off together.
A short ride brought us to Nikki Urwin, an expert Pilates instructor. The horse hack had awakened thigh muscles that I rarely work and it was great to have some dedicated time to stretch and strengthen my body. We spent the hour breathing into our moves, engaging our core and pushing our muscular limits on a dark wood floor surrounded by candles.
Lastly, the experience was rounded off by some well-earned refreshments - the tea-tasting time. Travelling the world of tea with Lucy Chappell, director of the London School of Tea, was a pure delight. The humble teabag was brought to life through her passion, quirky-nature and incredible knowledge. I really enjoyed the interactive experience of wakening our taste buds to the likes of umami and learning to properly 'schhlurp'.
Expectations of exhaustion after the three hours never arrived - in fact I felt completely rejuvenated and actually, pretty inspired. I was practically new to everything that had been put in front of me over the past three hours but I had more aches from laughing than working out. The bonus was I actually met a new friend who I'll be grabbing a coffee with next week, something that never happens at the gym.
Working out towards a social treat or just having a more socially open dynamic is a powerful motivational boost.
I'm glad to see the launch of an innovative concept that genuinely breaks down the social barriers that can exist when just going to a gym or out for a run.
Surely that can only be a good thing. So with the recent trend of trading in our heels for trainers, let's hang up our social norms with it and embrace a sweat and catch-up.
Tagged in health and fitness