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Would you exercise naked?

Yep, nude workouts are officially ‘a thing’. Features Writer Charlotte Grant-West casts off her Lycra and puts this, plus four other fitness crazes, to the test

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‘Like me, you’ve probably returned from your hols with, ahem, “excess baggage” (and I’m not talking souvenirs). But it’s hard to get back on the workout wagon after a summer of indulgence, right? So I challenged myself to try five trending workouts to shake things up. Hopefully, they’ll have you dusting off your trainers faster than you can say “I want Davina McCall’s abs”…’

All workout and no knickers!

WHAT Naked Movement
WHERE Various locations
HOW LONG 2 hours
‘I’m someone who feels so uncomfortable showing even a flash of my pants in a gym changing room that I strip off in the loo. Yet I’ve now danced naked with 15 total strangers, for two hours. Weird, huh? Actually, exercising nude is a growing trend, with fans claiming that working out in the buff improves form, because you’re so much more aware of your bod.

 

So what’s a nude dance class like? Well, my Naked Movement session, held in a yoga studio in suburban south London, began with a fully clothed meet and greet. There were people of all ages, shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life, including PRs and night-shift workers. Our instructor Calu kicked things off with a tribal tune, and encouraged us to move in any way we wanted (for me, that was awkwardly pretending to play the drums). Then, as we got more into the music and the dance tracks became soulful ballads, everyone around me began to shed their clothes. Feeling left behind, I nervously took off my dress. The class progressed from group work, where we danced in a circle of five, to pairings, in which one of us “observed” the other (less sexual than it sounds, I promise!). And while there was no Full Monty moment, people started to peel off their final layers.

 

The turning point for me was a classical ballet piece (cue men pirouetting around the room). Everyone was so relaxed in their own skin that it was genuinely infectious, and before I knew it the gloves were off (and the bra and pants) and I, too, twirled like an extra from Swan Lake. By the end, people were even rolling around on the floor – but I was worried about splinters in my nethers…

 

To sum up, Naked Movement is quite the workout – you’re dancing non-stop for two hours, after all. But more importantly, it’s about body acceptance. It reminded me that fitness shouldn’t be about how many reps you can do – it can be something that makes you feel good in body, mind and soul. I may sound like an Instagram Inspo post, but it made me feel genuinely #blessed to have a healthy body. Now I’m working on getting changed in the changing rooms!’

 

For more info on Naked Movement, email Calu at liberatingmovement@gmail.com.

It’s your booty call

WHAT Glute Gains
WHERE Fitness First gyms nationwide
HOW LONG 30 minutes
‘Think Gluteus Maximus is the name of Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator? If so, you might need to try this class, which focuses on your glutes, aka your booty. A stronger bottom won’t just fill out your jeans à la Khloé Kardashian – it plays a key role in helping to protect your lower back and knees. So if you’re a runner (like me), neglect the glutes at your peril!

 

My Glute Gains session focused on the lower body, mainly using resistance bands. Expect squats while pushing your knees apart against the band, leg raises, and tying the band around your knees, then side-stepping across the room (oh, the burn). It’s all about nailing technique, rather than going at it frantically, so you’ll really feel the gluteus maximus work. The Kardashian Klan would high-five my efforts…’

 

To find a Fitness First gym class near you, go to fitnessfirst.co.uk/gyms.

Boxing clever

WHAT BoxxMethod
WHERE Your living room
HOW LONG 15-30 minutes
‘Boxing is very “in” right now. But you don’t need a ring, gloves and a spare hour to do it – just try a 15- or 30-minute virtual class on the BoxxMethod website. I squeezed in a BoxHIIT 15 while dinner was cooking. The workout was led by an instructor and two participants demonstrating the moves at two levels of difficulty, with an on-screen timer and shouts of “go for the knockout” for motivation. You don’t need kit, but I’d recommend 1kg dumbbells to take it up a level (I used baked-bean tins) and a mat for your knees – especially if you can’t do full press-ups *looks sheepish*. In 15 minutes I worked up a sweat, and it was over so quickly my meal wasn’t even ready. Boom.’

 

Boxx Method regularly runs free 10-day trials – sign up at theboxxmethod.com.

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Charlotte gets in the swing
The class is inclusive of all abilities – I have the dad-dancing prowess of Gary Barlow, circa 1992

Put on your dancing shoes

WHAT SwingTrain
WHERE Various locations
HOW LONG 1 hour
‘If you’re tired of the thumping bassline of most 21st-century workouts, the vintage vibes of SwingTrain could be right up your street. The class incorporated moves from swing dance (think Charleston and Lindy Hop) set to swing, gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues. Plus, body-weight exercises such as squats, lunges and press-ups boosted the intensity. It was fun, relaxed – and inclusive of all dancing abilities, which is lucky, as I have the dad-dancing prowess of Gary Barlow, circa 1992. The best part? Because you’re constantly moving, you can burn up to 500 calories an hour.’

 

Classes are on offer nationwide – to find your nearest session, go to swingtrain.com.

Pimp your downward dog

WHAT Voga
WHERE London and Edinburgh
HOW LONG Various
‘If you’ve ever thought, “You know what my tree pose needs? A healthy dose of Madonna”, then this fusion of voguing and yoga is for you. It’s not easy, though – I thought I was pretty good at following instructions until I tried striking a “warrior 2” pose while nodding my head sassily and doing “Vogue arms”! Set to an 80s house beat, it was more like a fun night out than a class. Yet because it’s so tricky to master, I felt my poses were compromised somewhat – so it’s probably not one for yoga purists. But it’d be ideal for a girly get-together, hen party, or for those who want their ashtanga with more attitude.’

 

Go to houseofvoga.com for more details, including news about retreats and pop-ups.

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Photography Pixeleyes, evanjamesroberts.wordpress.com

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