Having a look through I was seriously impressed and felt vaguely giddy - 80's aerobics? How to dance in music videos? I had found my exercise spiritual home. I was also impressed that everything was online so booking was quick and easy. I deliberated for about 45 minutes over what to pick - Commercial Hip Hop?? Musical Theatre?? - but in the end went for something that sounded fairly 'normal' as I was going to be a firsttimer - Dancefit.
All week I was really nervous about going to this class. I was shy about the fact I wasn't going to know anyone and the fact I am pretty un-coordinated (DYSPRAXIC I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW) and hardly super glam and thin (hence the whole having of this blog in the first place). So a couple of days ago I headed down to Frame after work a bit giddy and a bit shakey, with absolutely no idea what to expect.
Frame is actually under the arches of a railway bridge and screams "SHOREDITCH".
Toto, we're not in Wandsworth anymore
I entered reception and was hit by the fact that everyone working there looked like they'd been flown over specifically from Hollywood for the purpose; shiny hair, great nails, the works. The changing rooms were good; quite busy but it was pretty peak time when I went and still enough space for everyone to get changed. You take your bag into the studio with you so no need to worry about lockers etc which is great.
As I waited outside the studio to be called in for our class I felt horribly sick and nervous. Everyone also waiting was about 6ft 5 and a size 4 and a lot of them had American accents. They all looked like they worked out all the time and I was really worried I was going to show myself up. My nerves weren't calmed when our instructor turned up, especially as she had abs that would have put Jillian Michaels to shame.
When we all were in the studio and the other people turned up my nerves were calmed a bit. For three supermodels in galaxy print leggings there was at least one person who looked vaguely normal and like I could empathise with them, so I decided to hit it hard. There were no men at all - it was all girls, and ages were mixed from I would say about 17-35. Most people seemed to be in their twenties so I felt like the right demographic. No one else there was there with friends (as far as I can tell) so I didn't feel like a freak for being on my own.
Dancefit the class itself was hard. There was no explicit warm up and cool down - it was all incorporated into our routine. It was pretty much like aerobics but with routines you had to remember and the odd random shimmy. For a while it felt like all we were doing was jumping and all I was saying in my head was "I have paid £10 to feel this awful, I have paid £10 to feel this awful, what is wrong with me I have paid £10 to feel this awful". I think the worst part about Dancefit was the giant mirrors in the studio - I totally understand the point in having them, but I don't like looking at myself in the mirror at the best of times let alone when I am glistening with sweat, bright red and wearing leggings (George at Asda, not American Apparel galaxy print, no worries). However, there were loads of good things about Dancefit. Leaping around to JLo and Cheryl Cole is my natural and spiritual home. My heart was beating in a way that I am not used to and I am beyond confident that I got a good workout - I am still aching all over now!
After the main cardio session we did sit ups, planks etc which was hard work as my abs were still aching like mad from my kickboxing class two days previously and I am not ashamed to say that I did not do every last sit up, but both the instructor and the girls that managed it were almost certainly not human so there you go.
After the class I had a nice long hot shower in the changing rooms as a reward. The shower was great - individual cubicles (Call me a prude but for me it's an essential!), nice shampoo and conditioner provided, and a nice powerful hot shower. I was only going home after the session so I didn't tart myself up too much but there were hair straighteners provided as well as plenty of places to sit and do your make up so it would be easy to go and meet friends after a class.
I was struck by how friendly everyone was at Frame - the instructor, despite not being human as previously mentioned, seemed lovely, and all the staff were super nice. During the class it was pretty normal and not weird for people to make eye contact and mouth "I THINK I AM GOING TO DIE" which is always enjoyable, and after I got changed some posh woman with impeccable hair struck up a conversation with me about Bikram yoga. Everyone was like "well I don't feel guilty for going for pizza now, ha ha!" and I thought in my head "Well of course you don't, you're a size 6" but I didn't say it out loud.
Overall I had a really positive experience. Despite anything negative I may have said and the fact I don't feel like I *properly* fit in, there were quite a few other people who seemed similar to me and as I kept trying to remind myself, unless they were born looking like gazelles I'm pretty sure they too had to start somewhere. It was different from what I am used to but different's not a bad thing and I will be going back.
As mentioned my boyfriend is off on business all week next week so I'll have plenty of spare time. As well as my normal kickboxing class I've also booked myself in for a 'Vibe' session (oo-er) and a 'Quickie Bound' session which involves mini-trampolines(!). I'm even considering booking myself in for a class on the Saturday, that's how seriously I am taking this. I will let you know how each class goes and maybe I should make my way through the whole menu to tell you all how it is!
Overall: If you live or work in London, give Frame a go. It's super convenient if you work in the City, and fairly easy to get to from anywhere else - it's right by Shoreditch High Street Overground, and about a 10 minute walk from Old Street Underground. If you're looking for something different and a seriously good workout then don't be shy and throw yourself in!