Up your training tempo!

I’m in the gym five to six times a week and, in all honesty, well, sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a rut, doing the same exercises out of habit.

So, when I was offered the chance to try a Speedflex class, I was instantly curious.

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Speedflex is a form of high intensity interval circuit and strength training, but with a difference.

During the class you use a host of machines which respond to each individual using them in a completely personal way.

Instead of having to swap around heavy plates and waste time, these machines vary the amount of resistance they produce depending on your ability and how much effort you put into the exercise. All you have to do is step up to it and start using it.

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But then surely if you want to ‘cheat’ you just won’t work very hard, right?

Wrong….!

During each workout you wear a MYZONE monitor – much like a heart monitor – which straps around your chest, just under your sports bra. This monitors your heart rate during the workout and also calculates the total amount of calories your burnt.

However, the studios are kitted out with monitors which display everyone’s heart rate throughout the workout, and they are colour coded.

So, green is your resting heart rate, yellow means you are working at a decent pace and red means you’re training to your fullest potential.

Having this on display works in two ways – firstly the personal trainer taking the class can ensure everyone is putting in the right amount of effort for their fitness level and you start to become competitive with yourself, wanting to stay in ‘the red’ to ensure you get the best and toughest workout.

After the session you even receive an email with a summary of your results, so at the next session you can try and work even harder.

So how did my Speedflex session go?

Before you even set foot in a Speedflex studio you are given a health check and undergo a body composition analysis, which includes stats such as your overall weight, skeletal mass, body fat, visceral fat – the fat around your organs – and even the amount of water you’re carrying.

This information is then stored on your file so that as the weeks go by you can monitor your progress.

Then it’s time to enter the studio and take a class!!

There are two large studios at the London branch of Speedflex on Lombard Street (nearest tube Monument).

The machines are static and then other equipment is placed amongst them to create extra workout stations for the circuit – such as mats for press ups or abs, kettle bells, or boxes for step ups.

The class is led by a personal trainer who runs through what each circuit will consist of and then sets the timer and counts you in.

Music pumping, we got to work.

While I was using a machine to knock out squats and the girl next to me was doing military presses, the third member of our group had to count out 10 burpees before we were all allowed to move on to the next piece of equipment.

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I’d thought the machines wouldn’t be that tough, but they were hard.

Each one has a red, orange and green light on it and the aim is to try and keep the red light illuminated, so you are working to your full potential, so this soon became a battle against myself!

Classes last anywhere between 30 and 45 mins and you can burn up to as many calories as a two hour run.

During the next circuit we were squat jumping, shoulder pressing and doing up right rows… then it was press ups and lat pulls to squats…. By now I was red faced and rather sweaty!!

But you’re not just burning fat, these machines are designed to build strength and muscle too.

Speedflex is a great all round workout and something that beginners or people who train like me can benefit from.

I found it was great for me as I rarely spike my heart rate like that during a weight training session, so I was getting a great cardio kick. Meanwhile, others may benefit from the range of strength training equipment on offer, that they can use in a well supervised, friendly, group setting – rather than having to pluck up the courage to set foot in the free weights section of a gym and try and figure out how to use the equipment.

Of course, if you want to get into serious weight training, then you need that equipment, however, if you are looking for an all-round workout that blends strength training and HIIT then I would suggest giving this a try.

New Speedflex studios are opening up around the country as we speak and there are already locations in Newcastle, Leeds, Surrey, Aberdeenshire and Southampton.

Until next time, stay happy and healthy…

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