Susannah Taylor: This exercise class is so much fun

YOU Magazine welcomes the award-winning health and wellbeing expert, Susannah Taylor.

Susannah Taylor

Feeling that you were no good at sports at school sticks with you. My PE teacher’s words – ‘Susie, you are not a runner’ – rang in my ears until I was 35, and many friends swear their gym phobia was kickstarted by a fear of PE knickers and cross-country runs.

So what changed for me? Well, when I discovered I could exercise on my own terms – that I didn’t have to stand in a field with goosebumps; that I could wear cool gear, listen to great music and be inspired by truly motivational instructors – then it was actually fun. Plus, it made me feel amazing, something that got lost in enforced
school exercise.

Fun is something that exercise companies are going with, big time. Peloton is one example that kept me going through lockdown. It’s an at-home high-tech spin bike that is connected via a screen to a live spin class where thousands of other Peloton members tune in from across the globe.

The magic is made up of many elements – the charismatic, drop-dead gorgeous instructors with abs you could practise ping-pong against, the playlists that would have you leaping on to a dancefloor and the camaraderie of members, who high-five you throughout a ride. With pop, hip-hop, rock, even Dolly Parton and Prince-themed rides, I would  say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in an exercise class. At £2,000 a bike, and £45 a month subscription, however, Peloton doesn’t come cheap – but I guarantee you’ll get really fit without realising it. Somehow the big hill climb doesn’t seem quite so bad when you’re listening to ‘Purple Rain’ with 10,000 other people (onepeloton.co.uk).

Another fitness class that has captured hearts in the past six months is zerogravitypilates.co.uk, whose celebrity fans include Rochelle Humes, Alexandra Burke, Lisa Snowdon and Rio and Kate Ferdinand. Co-founded by trainers Chris Richardson and Chris Watson, who own five studios in London and the Home Counties, they had no option in lockdown than to take their pilates classes online. ‘We’ve taken traditional pilates and turned it on its head,’ says Richardson, who is doing a great job of making mat pilates cool. ‘The exercises are intense but it’s lighthearted. We never do the same workout twice.’ Richardson gets bombarded with images of people’s transformations, which is proof it works – and from £4.99 a month, what’s not to love?

Lockdown forced the exercise industry to give birth to entirely fresh concepts. For those of us with a Strictly star waiting to burst out, my recommendation is movehomestudio.com, the brainchild of Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt. Dubbed ‘The Netflix of dance’ the virtual platform has some of the UK’s finest dance talent and choreographers leading classes from hip-hop to ballroom and street dance. Taking a class is the nearest most of us will ever get to being on the West End stage or in a music video. Prices are £10 a class or from £25 a month.

The best part? No one could see me doing a class with a Pussycat Doll and making an utter idiot of myself.

My all-time favourite trainers

Adidas

Trainer shopping is incredibly daunting – there are hundreds to choose from depending on whether they’re for running, high-intensity interval training, weights or exercise classes. However, I have worn one style for every run and training session for the past two years: Adidas Ultraboost 20, around £160. Their snug, sock-like fit (known as the Primeknit textile upper) and bouncy, cushioned sole are, for me, hard to beat.

Get a grip

Manduka

I am passionate about yoga, but know there is nothing more annoying than being in a downward dog and finding your hands and feet sliding away from each other. Two mats that have amazing grip (and are favourites with yoga teachers) are the

Liforme Yoga Mat, from £100, made of natural rubber, and the Manduka PROLite Yoga Mat (right), £72, which is sustainably made, travel friendly and has a closed-cell construction so doesn’t absorb sweat. Both will stop you face-planting in crow pose.