It was a blustery ol' day in London yesterday and after indulging in some hardcore Ottolenghi brunching, even after a good hour of walking (fine, it may have been around the shops) I needed a good cardio fix.
The wind was really putting me off the idea of a run. I'm a slow runner at the best of times and the idea of a headwind that would basically make me feel like I was standing still was not appealing in the slightest.
At home, I had the option of a) sucking it up and going for a run b) doing a Crunch yoga video that's an old standby or c) sitting on my butt. As appealing as a pair of PJs, a mug of coffee and the warming glow of my laptop (or an ebook) were, I knew I'd feel better for not going with option c. But I wanted something a bit more intense than yoga and mentally I'd already chucked the idea of a run in the 'save for later' pile.
Suddenly I remembered I'd been meaning to check out the new online service, Body Network, fronted by London resident personal-trainer-to-the-stars Matt Roberts. I wasn't that familiar with Matt before this, although I'd heard the name, so I checked out his creds and he's got a pretty impressive line up of clients including Tom Ford, Amanda Holden and Mel C. Let's just take a second and remind ourselves what those lovely people look like, shall we?
(courtesy The Sun, LA Times and The Sun respectively)
Hmm, yep, definitely doing something right on the fitness front!
It all sounded good on paper--a PT session from a top pro with celebrity/super-fit clients without leaving the house? I feel like a Real Housewife!--and they have an offer for a free five-day trial. Decision made! (Okay, okay, mostly it was about not leaving the house)
After a very hassle-free sign up (I didn't even have to give a credit card number for the free trial--there's none of that 'opt out before the end of your trial to avoid charges) I was browsing the available workouts in no time.
There are loads available, categorised by type of workout, trainer and studio partner (Yogasphere is a major partner) so it's easy to browse and fine what you want. From HIIT to intervals for runners, to kettlebell classes to yoga and Pilates, they cover a very broad spectrum of workouts and they come in varying lengths so you can choose what's right for the amount of time you have. I love this as it makes it even easier to fit fitness around your schedule.
It's almost mean of them to offer us this when we're working out in the rain and cold at home!
I ended up choosing the first workout of Matt's 14-day training programme--start at the beginning I guess! It was a 20-minute session where Matt talks through the moves and another PT, Clodagh, actually does the workout. One of my pet peeves is trainers and classes where they don't watch or coach form enough and this workout was really good for being precise and Matt and Clodagh talking through the moves, demonstrating them, but also pointing out good technique. Matt has a very reassuring and motivational way about him (I'm sure it's part of why he's been such a success!) and that really worked for me, too.
I didn't really feel the 'burn' too much while I was doing the workout. It was challenging but not insane, got my heart rate up and it's wasn't traumatically hard (I don't know what I expected from a celebrity PT workout but I was picturing near-death and the urge to vomit and I didn't come anywhere near that!) so I'd definitely do it again.
Now, today was a different story. My legs are wobbly and sore and my upper back doesn't know quite what I've done to it but it's pretty vocal about the fact that something happened. Which is brilliant! I feel like I had a good workout yesterday and worked some muscles groups that I'd been neglecting with some different moves.
There were some bits I couldn't check out and I don't know if that's down to the fact that this is pretty early in their launch phase, the fact that I'm on a free trial or something technical--for example the yoga videos mostly said 'coming soon' and there was an interval training audio workout that said you could download it to your audio device which I'm guessing was blocked since I'm not a paying member at the moment.
That said, the rest of what was available all looked great and is stuff that I'd want to try. Outside the five-day trial, the prices are incredibly reasonable, especially considering training with Matt starts at £100 for a single session: Body Network is £15/month or £3 per video if you're not into commitment. All the videos I looked at were pre-recorded but if you plan ahead you can join classes and interact with the instructor via web cam if you want--another great feature for the personal-trainer-at-home-on-a-budget.
Overall I'm pretty impressed with this new kid on the online fitness block and whether you opt for a subscription or the pay-as-you-go version, it offers a really good alternative for when you can't make it to the gym, the winter weather is killing your motivation to get outside or you're travelling and need something you can do without having to find a local club.
Have your tried Body Network? Do you think this could replace your regular gym sessions or PT?