On Saturday I found myself at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill; a beautiful building which plays host to all manner of performance arts and events as well as serving food and drink in it’s busy kitchen and bar.
As the name suggests, it’s a workout class designed for high calorie burn and improving core fitness using a hula hoop. The class incorporates the traditional hoop moves alongside boot camp style cardio and even some impressive dance/circus moves for the more confident/ambitious.
I compared notes with the other girls before the class started. Many had arrived with impeccable hair and makeup and were not expecting a hardcore class. However killer abs had been promised and I got the impression from our instructor Anna that we would not be in for an easy ride!
Anna is one half of the creative force behind HulaFit. She is an international hula hoop performer and “London’s cult hula hooping artiste” (The Times), currently the resident hoop performer at the legendary Café de Paris in London. Her husband Rowan Byrne (a personal trainer with a degree in Dietetics and Nutrition) completes the team.
She explained that the hoops are weighted to provide a great core workout. There were light, medium and heavy hoops to choose from for the main workout, but we were encouraged to use the heavier ones as these are easier to control.
Anna warned that your body needs to become conditioned to the weight
though so you’re liable to pick up some bruises on your first class. She
wasn’t exaggerating! Within the first few seconds of giving one a
whirl, I was already feeling a bit battered as it rotated around my hip
bones and lower rib cage. I opted to switch to a mid weight hoop which
felt much more comfortable.
To start the class we were shown the proper hoop technique. It’s all about subtle movements rather than circling your hips violently from side to side. We were all a bit lost as to what to do with our hands at first, but once you get started you soon forget about this.
After we’d got the hang of the basics we were shown ‘The Steeple’. To do this, you need to bring your feet together and raise your arms in a steeple above your head. Of course, at this point I lost control of the hoop – how the heck do I keep it rotating with my legs together?! Anna explained that you use your core to control the hoop, so once perfected, this move burns more calories and really works your abs. Core workout = killer abs = learn to steeple people!
|Lauren – Blonde Vision|
We went on to learn how to walk whilst hooping, then to control the hoop at fast and slow speeds and bounce it off various parts of our body. I felt like I was always about 3 moves behind where everyone else seemed to be and the hoop spent a fair amount of time clattering around my ankles. However as the class progressed I relaxed and decided to focus on perfecting the moves that I could do.
|Nevena – nevenakrstic.blogspot.co.uk|
|Poppy – eleanorpoppyfield.blogspot.co.uk|
|Latoya – fashionclutter.com|
|Kara – queenofthelbd.com & Lou – naturallybeige.com|
I was in my element when we got to the cardio section however, which involved circuits around the hoops, burpies, star jumps and lots of running. There was even a bit of skipping with the hoop too.
Near the end of the class, we learned a few circus style tricks too, such as hooping with our arms, hands and then finally fingers. This led to a few near disasters as we all got a little bit excited and sent hoops flying through the air in all directions!
If you haven’t already noticed, we spent the whole class laughing and smiling – it really was tonnes of fun! Although I was exhausted afterwards, the fun element had truly distracted me from all the hardcore work that my body put in over the hour.
This is not only very fun but also a great workout. The next day I did have some bruises, but was kind of proud of them in a way as they showed me all the places I’d worked with my hoop! I could feel the muscle ache in my abs, so although I didn’t get an instant six pack (!) I’m sure that regular classes would help to tone those problem areas.
The class is going to appeal much more to women than men, so it’s a great class to go to with a friend. You’ll be in fits of giggles, especially if you attempt some of the more ‘booty shaking’ moves that Anna encourages!
At present HulaFit classes take place Monday to Friday evenings at various locations across London. You can find out more about this at www.hulafit.com.