Fitness / Review / Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: GrooveCycle

GrooveCycleThe thing about exercise is that you’re more likely to do it if it’s fun. GrooveCycle, a new class that combines spinning and dancing, most definitely ticks the fun box. In fact, it’s super-fun! In a dimly-lit studio with changing coloured lights and a pumping soundtrack, it’s like getting down at a fitness party in a nightclub.

SJ Aboboto created GrooveCycle earlier this year because she wanted to offer an exercise class that also has the uplifting experience of dance. Tiny and toned, with a huge smile and masses of hair, her energy is infectious. She’s been a choreographer and dancer for 12 years, working with stars like Kylie and Gwen Stefani, and says that while in many classes you work out to the music, in GrooveCycle you work out with the music. Not only do the groovy moves have you working that much harder, they also keep you motivated and give you confidence. I spent the whole class with a massive grin on my face, and even through in a few whoops and hand-claps. (I wasn’t the only one!)

A bit of freestyle grooving is definitely encouraged, but the idea is that you follow SJ, who has choreographed a routine for each track. For dance tunes like Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” (see video below) we were “popping” (like doing a press up on the handlebars), dropping our left and right elbows and punching the air up, down and to the side – all while keeping our legs turning. We grooved along more slowly to Bob Marley for some resistance training, worked our upper body with a hand-weights section and got our hearts racing again with tracks like Kings of Leon “Sex On Fire” before a cool down. It took a couple of tracks for me to find my groove – and locate my co-ordination skills! – but I soon left my inhibitions behind and let the exhilaration take me away.

A GrooveCycle class can burn up to 1000 calories. But it’s designed so that everyone can work to their own ability. You can start the moves small, and build them up, and SJ is more motivational buddy than militant instructor. Hillary, the keen rider next to me, said that several classes had increased her strength, which has helped to improve her yoga practice. It’s great to incorporate some strength training into a high-cardio workout. GrooveCycle has plenty to offer, and one guarantee is that you’ll leave buzzing.

GrooveCycle is at Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf on Thursdays at 18:25 and Saturdays at 11:30, and at Energie Fitness Club in Fulham on Sundays at 11:30. From £12 a session, or packages are available.

SJ also teaches GrooveCycle Advance – a version in which you’ll learn choreography – and she’s planning to expand to more locations in London next year.

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