A fun low impact class suitable for all levels of fitness and health.
It’s 10 am on a Thursday morning and technically it’s a Rest day for Switch 360. I say technically because I’ve managed to squeeze in an exercise session which I think should be fun and perhaps pay a little bit of penance as I missed Bootcamp earlier this week due to a dinner commitment.
I’m at L’Atelier Aquafit for an Aquafitness class. Aquafitness is a mixture of water aerobics and indoor spinning with the bikes being underwater in the pool. I’m booked into the ‘Full Body Aquabiking’ session which lasts 45 minutes For those new to Aqua biking it’s like a spin class underwater (the water is chest height), with the resistance of the water working against you and the water cooling you a bit. You can set the bikes with some resistance too, though its just on three levels rather than the more controlled resistance from a spinning class. The class is set to music and led by the instructor who demonstrates the workout at the front of the pool. The workout follows a typical pattern, warm up, exercise and then a stretching session at the end. Classes can accommodate up to seven people so it’s quite an intimate training session with plenty of attention and focus from the trainer.
Inside the villa I’m shown to the changing rooms, given some rubber shoes, and then after a quick shower take my place on my bike. Bike set up takes a short time and then once adjusted the class starts. The class is a mix of on and off bike exercises. On bike are similar to spin classes, off bike takes me back to aqua fitness classes in the UK with foam dumbells and resistance bands to help increase the intensity. The class is described as being suitable for age group since the water makes you feel lighter and reduces the impact on your joints and there are many different types of classes to suit all ranges of fitness. Whilst I’m comfortable pedaling whilst sat down, standing up and cycling isn’t comfortable to me and my knees can feel a ‘clunkiness’ in the bike – possibly the bike wasn’t quite at the right height, or I suspect I needed to put more resistance on, but this the instructor tells me you only set resistance at the start of the class, so I stay seated for most of the standing routines.
What to wear?
This is a class where you can wear your gym kit in the pool (no cotton) and I would suggest you wear a sports bra if you have one as it makes it more comfortable for you.
Hit or Miss?
Overall the class is fun, I actually prefer the off bike parts more than the on part bikes, partly because I really love Spin classes and the muscle burn I get from it which I can’t seem to reach that stage on the bike, partly I suspect because I can’t stand up and cycle and partly because exercising in water is fun with the reduction of weight that you feel in the water. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily an easy class, certainly you can feel the muscle burn and out of breath if you work hard, it’s just that working out in water always makes me feel happy.
Staff are friendly and know their stuff, the changing rooms are pristine and have everything you need to change and get ready for work afterwards. There’s also a lovely coffee/drinks area in the lobby and a small outdoor terrace so this could be a lovely social place too.