A friend has been waxing lyrical to me about Project Fit, a new fitness class with City-boy muscle. It’s the brainchild of co-founders Joel Hilton (a top PT in the City for the past eight years) and Ben Staines (who comes from a finance background). Designed to increase aerobic and muscular endurance to improve body shape and tone, it splices cardio interval training with resistance work.
I enter the dimly lit studio, which is already pumping with tunes (think Jimmy Hendrix and Blur mixed with Skrillex), and meet Joel, my trainer for this session.
I hop onto a sleekly designed Cybex treadmill and begin 10 minutes of speed-interval training, while Joel turns his attention to the other half of the class who are doing a floor workout. I feel a little sidelined – the treadmills are on an elevated platform, which means we are separated – and despite Joel’s microphone, I don’t pick up on his directions as much as I would like. Nevertheless, I go with the flow. He says to set the speed between 8km/h and 12km/h and the incline anywhere up to 2 per cent. I go for a 10km/h speed on 2 per cent incline for a brisk warm-up.
After 10 minutes, my half of the class switches over and hits the floor for some leg exercises using a Bosu ball: lunges, squats and mountain climbers. I seriously feel the burn and have to keep reminding myself that my wobbling only helps to strengthen my core.
Back on the treadmill, and Joel darts back and forth between the two groups. With him doing two jobs, I get so confused as to what speed and incline I should be switching between that I attempt running at 10km/h on a 6 per cent incline, only to be instructed to do the very same thing when he returns. I end up doing the exercise twice! I am pouring with sweat. Back to the floor for some suspension training, where we work our arms and chests in resistance straps (like TRX) anchored from a ceiling rail. This time, I am grateful for Joel’s focused attention. For the next round of cardio, we are told to push ourselves as fast as we can. Joel growls from the shadows in his gravelly timbre, “Just do it.” I pump up to 14km/h in a spell of madness and maintain this speed for three minutes. Crazy? Possibly.
Back to the floor for some ab work, again using the Bosu ball. We do crunches, V-sits and planks, before flipping over, abs pulsing upwards to lengthen and stretch our core muscles.
Back on the treadmills as a full group, we perform a final set of sprints, which we intersperse with jumping up on the sides of the treadmills. Never the most co-ordinated, I find hopping from one leg to the other rather terrifying, but Joel urges me to ramp up the speed.
Panting, I am beyond relieved to wind down for the final stretch and a “well done” clap.
The bottom line:
Bootcamps in London may be dominated by two major players – British Military Fitness in the Royal Parks and Barry’s Bootcamp in Euston – but this is a feisty new player on the scene and its Bank location lends itself nicely to City types wanting to push themselves. Project Fit is not for the faint-hearted; it’s one no-frills, no-nonsense, hard-core workout.Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, therapies and accommodation.