Ever since Blok arrived in Clapton, taking over an old Victorian tram depot, I’ve been a fan. They kept the original bare brick walls, vaulted ceilings and a steady stream of fitness fans followed.
However up until this point, I’d only dipped my toe in, never committing to a monogamous fitness relationship. (If I’m honest, the place intimated me a bit!)
That all changed when they kindly (or cruelly, you decide?) challenged me to take part in 30 gym classes in 30 days. Non-stop exercise, for a month. No excuses.
Sounds pretty tough right? Especially when you consider that their instructors are professional dancers/stuntmen/aerial rope artists/ex-boxing champions (I’m not even exaggerating, these are all real!!)
But the motivation was there.
- Because I’m a pig-headed monster that will never, ever say no to a challenge (I once did Sober October because my boyfriend told me I wouldn’t be able to do it – and trust me, that was way harder than this) and
- Because five years of non-stop restaurant reviews, coupled with turning 30 have meant that I’ve felt my jeans getting a bit tighter.
So what did I do?
Hard-core cardio for 30 days straight may well have killed me, but luckily Blok have 27 types of classes so it didn’t feel repetitive. I combined low-impact Barre with ultra-relaxing Yin Yoga and tried loads of things for the first time.
Full body workouts included BLOKsculpt where I used resistance bands, gliders and ankle weights, BLOKstrength which made me feel like a complete weight-lifting bad-ass and BLOKfit which had me running full belt at a target with a resistance loop around my waist pulling me back against the wall. Jermaine J told me I was a natural at boxing and I floated on a cloud for the rest of the day. I found Cardio Barre really fun, despite having no coordination at all and sending a ball flying across the room with my thighs.
I accidently found myself in a Calisthenics class one time (always do your research people) which was truly hilarious. Not only did Jermain S help me do a chin up, he patiently talked me through how to do a pike.
I didn’t go back to Calisthenics. But hey – you can’t be good at everything can you. (I’m not the only one, I had people contact me to tell me they hadn’t been able to feel their arms for a month after doing this class).
I think the earliest class I ever managed was at 6.20am (zzzz) and I often popped into late night Yin Yoga for a stretch before bed. I did quickie 30 min HIIT classes and back to back hour-long classes. I walked into classes with scary titles like Cardio Killer without anyone holding my hand, and I drank a lot of protein packed smoothies (blockbuster being my fave, with innermost whey protein, banana, peanut butter, oats and coconut milk).
So it’s probably at this point you’re expecting me to tell you that I’ve dropped a dress size or that I can now count all the abs on my new taut bod.
I haven’t and I can’t. BUT (and it is a big but, no double-entendre intended), I feel a lot prouder of my body. I can do a press up or two and a shit ton of burpees without feeling like I’m going to throw up.
Don’t get me wrong, I still look at some of the girls in their crop tops with their washboard stomachs and think HOW!? But then I remember that I literally eat mince pies for a living so all things considered I think I have the body I deserve. If this had been 30 days of deprivation I don’t think I’d have kept it up, but that’s not what this is about. BLOK 30 in 30 is all about DOING. BEING. TURNING UP!
Anyway, it bloody worked because now I’m hooked.
I was getting a lot of people telling me they couldn’t get up that early or didn’t have the time. Hell, I regularly used to say the same thing. So just to reassure you that I did still have something of a life while undertaking the challenge, here are just some of the things I did whilst training: Attend LFW shows, 13 restaurant reviews, make it to book club, remembered to send my brother a bday present, go to see the hilarious Katherine Ryan on her Glitter Room tour, make a mean Sunday roast for friends, visit a vineyard in Kent, check out some affordable art at the Print Club show and study for and sit my WSET level 2 wine exam (don’t know if I’ve passed that yet though!). I also held down my full-time job as a womenswear buyer, and wrote 12 features for The Independent, The i Paper and Balance Magazine.
So yeah, I reckon if you want too, you can probably squeeze a daily class in too.
Oh, and I’ve been extraordinarily lucky with the weather. Sure, all of the classes take place indoors, but it’s so much easier when you’re leaving the house at 6am if it’s not pissing it down.
Fancy giving it a go? Sign up to a 30 day unlimited trial here.