When you get an invite offering the opportunity to train with some of the world’s top fitness athletes, the first feeling you get is excitement. The second feeling, when you’ve suddenly realised what you’ve signed up for, is fear. If you check out the Instagram accounts for Steve Cook, Shaun Stafford and Lilly Sabri, you’ll probably notice that they like doing a bit of exercise occasionally. A hell of a lot more than your average human does. So as we wandered over to Ministry Does Fitness to take on an evening of classes headed up by the team, we were a tiny bit concerned.
The event, hosted by the guys over at Optimum Nutrition, was to promote the 30th anniversary of their Gold Standard range. The idea being that, as well as being dragged through an hour of painful exercises, we’d also have the opportunity to test out various nutrition products at the ideal times they’re meant to be consumed to aid a workout.
We’d been to Ministry Does Fitness before to test out their classes. We loved it in fact. Set in a little studio behind the club itself, the sessions are designed to make a workout seem a bit more like being in a club. With pumping house tunes blaring, PTs excitedly jumping around shouting and a fully stocked bar waiting for you afterwards.
Before we ventured into the studio area, us, along with a selection of some pretty fit looking people, were handed a sample of ON’s pre workout. Not something we normally use for the gym, but staring around at the rest of the group we thought we’d need all the help we can get. If you haven’t taken pre workout before, it’s designed to increase energy and focus through things like caffeine and creatine. Definitely woke us up.
As we excitedly walked into the hallway that led to the workout area, pre workout coursing through us, we realised that instead of heading to the normal studio, we were actually going into the club itself. Pretty cool. They also had ON athlete and DJ Joel Corry on the decks as we stepped through he door. Not your usual evening workout.
After a run through of the event, Shaun Stafford kicked things off with a warm-up. For the next 15 minutes we jumped around the club doing various exercises, as well as a bit of awkward dancing (the pre workout helped with that). Then it was time to kick of the main session. We split into two groups. Our first session would be a toning workout with Lilly Sabri. Now, we’ve done a class with Lilly before and it was actually a pretty relaxing yoga and stretching session. This time it wouldn’t be so easy though. Before we headed in the guys passed us some of the new raspberry lemonade flavour Pro BCAA drink, although we may have enjoyed it a bit too much as we drank so much we ended up with a little bit of a burping problem during the next following exercises.
As far as ab and core workouts go, we can be pretty lazy. So 20 minutes of some of the most intense stomach toning exercises we’ve done was tantamount to hell. Seriously, we’ve never felt pain like it. She wouldn’t even give us a break. Every now and then we’d fall on our backs only to find Lilly stood over us shouting for more reps. Loves a burpee as well. Loads of them in fact.
Evidence of pain can be seen here.
So, with our abs crying out in pain and Lilly shouting words of encouragement as we ran away from her, We nipped in to another area to take on Steve Cook’s part of the evening. A HIIT workout taking place in the Ministry Does Fitness studio.
When you walk into a room with Steve Cook stood there about to make you do a workout, you know it’s really only going to go one way. Around the room were various workout stations set up for a timed circuit workout: battleropes, kettlebells, treadmills,TRX, Bicep curls. He pretty much had everything covered. In groups we moved around the room, one minute at each station whilst Steve ran around shouting words of encouragement at us. Words of encouragement that are pretty hard to ignore when the man doing it is 210lbs of muscle. He’s pretty persuasive.
Finally it was over. As the sweat continued to pour off us we wandered back through to the bar area to be handed an Optimum Nutrition shake and massive table of meat. Suddenly it all seemed worth it. Also turns out that when they’re not stood over you telling you to do five more reps, the ON ambassadors are a ruddy nice bunch. We probably shouldn’t make a habit of posing with fitness models though.
Picture Credits: Optimum Nutrition