When you review fitness classes, you tend to get a lot of emails that promote some pretty bold claims, most of them in fact. So when we received one for “The hardest gym class in the world”, we kind of rolled our eyes, half expecting it to be from some sort of Insanity-inspired HIIT class or a spin studio that’s started using 2kg weights.
It wasn’t. The claim was made from the guys over at Gymbox, and if you know us at all, you’ll be aware that we spend more time there than we do in our own living rooms. We love the place in fact. It’s cool, its modern, it has great trainers, and, it does some of the best classes we’ve ever managed to find. The kind of classes that do exactly what they say on the tin. And trust us, we’ve been to some damn hard classes at Gymbox. So if they’re claiming to have something that beats any of their other sessions, we were sure as hell going to find out if it was actually true.
As the name suggests, Flatline is a class designed to push the body as far as it will go i.e. death. To the point where not only do people taking part need to sign a waiver before they do it, but Gymbox also need to have a professional cardiologist in attendance for each class. You know, in case of emergency medical situations. They even have oxygen on hand in case people are struggling.
Now, we’re pretty sceptical about most things, so a gym class that needs medical assistance on hand for emergencies seems pretty far-fetched. We know Gymbox pretty well though, and we wouldn’t put anything past them when it comes to making a ridiculously tough class. So when we turned up, we were more than a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. To the point where we even turned down free drinks the night before – we were that scared.
The class format seems relatively simple at first glance, participants at any one time will work their way through a grid of activities that comprises of kettle bell thrusts, atlas stone throws, weighted rope climbs and weighted box jump burpees. Finishing up with a 45-metre sprint carrying an additional two ammo cans. The routine is then repeated for five sets. On paper it looks relatively manageable. In practise, not so much.
The format utilises three sections of the brand “spank me” new facility at Farringdon: a training studio, a scaffolding-style area and a massive 30-metre training track. The result of this is a workout you seldom get in a normal class. One that allows the trainers to hit varied exercises, subsequently tiring out pretty much every part of the body.
First of all, the weights we were using were heavy. A 100lb atlas ball that had to be lifted over the shoulder six times, two 16kg kettlebells used for 12 squat thrust reps, two 12kg dumbells used for 12 burpee box jumps (yeah that’s right, 12 burpees over a box holding 12kg weights… seriously).
After 45 second rounds of each exercise, with a 15 second break, we jumped on the fan bike (where you use your legs and arms to generate power, then had to climb to the top of a pretty high rope four times, before finally doing a firemans walk and a sprint. Six minutes of work before having 60 seconds rest, and then repeating the whole thing again (luckily we only had to do four rounds – no idea how we’d have managed five).
So, as we lay in a pool of sweat on the fancy new gym floor, we were pretty much destroyed. Was it the hardest gym class in the world? We have absolutely no idea, but it’s definitely the hardest we’ve tried out (if you’ve got one you think is harder, then let us know). As we write this, sitting on a sofa the day after, we’re aching, a hell of a lot in fact. Which is a good sign that we’ve put some major effort in.
Oh yeah, the new Farringdon Gymbox – absolutely beautiful. Seriously, we wandered around looking at all the equipment like 7-year-olds on a trip to Legoland. We’re basically just sat here waiting until it opens now.
Flatline is included in the Gymbox membership fee, which start at £80. Saunter over to the website here to find out more. The new Farringdon Gym opens it’s doors on Monday 14th November.
Oooh look, there’s even a video featuring all those cool trainers Gymbox has. Enjoy.
Picture Credits: Matt Alexander/PA Wire