A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to try out Speedflex. Given that I have been challenged by injury in the past few months, I have realised that maybe strength training is the thing I need to focus on more right now, if I’m to get back to my full running fitness again. So…
What is Speedflex?
Speedflex sessions are high intensity interval training, led by a personal trainer, using a combination of resistance machines and cardio work to really get your heart racing. The Speedflex machines respond to the force that you exert, meaning anyone can use them without having to adjust the different elements, this makes it an easily accessible class for beginner, right through to fully fledged gym bunny.
Class in action (photo credit Speedflex)
What happens before a Speedflex class?
First of all you will have an induction with a personal trainer, they will show you how to use the machines safely and confidently and how to get the most out of your workout. My induction was just before a class, with one other person, so lots of attention from the instructor, who was knowledgeable and friendly. I have used lots of gym equipment over the years, so feel quite confident anyway, but I was coming to these machines with no prior knowledge and came away feeling ready to go for it.
Personal trainer (photo credit, Speedflex)
Body Composition Assessment
One option offered at Speedflex centres is the Body Composition Assessment, which is basically a health check to look at fat to muscle ratio, water levels and levels of visceral fat (the fat around your internal organs, the hidden fat). These are measured by standing on a fancy machine, whilst gentle electrical currents are sent through your body (I was totally unaware of any currents while I stood there!). It turns out I am in tip-top condition (phew!), which gives me a great starting point for a strength training programme. You could choose to reassess after a period of time, to get a sense of how you are progressing and see the results of your hard work.
What does a Speedflex class look like?
I have done two classes now, one thirty minute class and one forty-five minute class. The thirty minute class was during lunchtime, so busier than the second class I did. In both sessions I found the instructors friendly, welcoming, attentive and they gave just the right levels of direction, correction and encouragement. In the lunchtime class each machine was in use at all times and we worked in pairs, one person using a machine and one working on an activity such as box-steps, burpees, kettle-bell swings and so on, swapping in with our partners when the time was up.
The class (photo credit, Speedflex)
It was fun working as a team and I found it gave me a sense of responsibility – I didn’t want to let the other person down, so pushed myself harder and felt motivated to keep going. On the machines you will notice three lights, which flash as you exert pressure, showing you how hard you are working. I quite liked this, as it made me push when I was starting to feel tired.
In the second, longer class, there were three of us working together, moving between two machines and one standing activity (I particularly liked the medicine ball throwing, taking out all my frustrations on an inanimate weighted ball!). I must say that this slightly longer session was most definitely harder. It’s in my nature to push myself and it seems I’m quite competitive, not wanting to stop and show myself up in front of the two men I was working with! Throughout the session, our instructor walked around, checking our posture and technique and correcting when needed.
Would I go back for more?
Absolutely! If I lived or worked closer to one of the studios, I would be there all the time! I loved the classes and it made me realise how much I enjoy this kind of group session, working together to push ourselves and each other. The equipment, the facilities and the staff were all really great and I felt well and truly worked when I left. One of the claims of Speedflex is that you won’t ache afterwards, the dreaded DOMS! After the first session I was amazed not to ache apart from a little soreness in my inner thighs. After the second, longer, session I was a little sore, but that might also have something to do with the swimming and yoga I did around the session!
I found the classes perfect as a support for other sports, offering a well-balanced training to build strength and improve cardio vascular fitness. Here are some details of the various membership options and you can find out more and book a free session by visiting the Speedflex website here.
- Gold – unlimited number of classes/use of functional studio: £99 a month
- Silver – same as Gold but off-peak times only – £60 a month
- Bronze – unlimited use of functional studio (no classes) – £45 a month
- 8 classes a month deal – 8 classes per month at any time – £60
This might seem pricey, but the facilities are great (lovely showers with white fluffy towels!) and you are working with a qualified personal trainer in a supportive environment.