The idea of doing high intensity exercise on what’s possibly the most unstable surface going is essentially a recipe for disaster. But I guess that’s kind of its point. Simply put, Floatfit HIIT classes take a classic bodyweight workout and plop it onto an oversized float in the middle of a swimming pool. You’ll be squatting, pressing and jumping around for a good 30 minutes and yes, while you are likely to lose your balance and fall head first into the water, isn’t that part of the fun?
THE BENEFITS OF WORKING OUT ON WATER
The circuits designed for Floatfit HIIT classes are more often than not a combination that all areas of the body. Exercises such as squats target the lower body, while press ups work on the muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest. And as for your core… well every exercise performed during the 30 minute class is going to work on that don’t worry. Because the constant fight to stay afloat relies on you to continually engage every single abdominal muscle you have.
Water workouts are said to burn around 400 calories in 30 minutes – although I didn’t fancy wearing my trusty Fitbit in such close proximity to water to test this theory out. However, with the added element of the bloody warm temperature around the pool – it’s hard to tell whether you’re wet from the water or just THAT sweaty – the number probably isn’t far wrong.
A far cry from cramped or intimating gym environments, Floatfit Ipswich’s classes have only five boards in the pool during sessions – so bring a couple of friends and its pretty much your own personal training session!
Floatfit HIIT classes are one of the two classes on offer at The Lodge – the other being Floatfit Yoga – however whatever your athletic ability, you’re sure to have a splashin’ time!
WHAT DOES A FLOATFIT HIIT CLASS INVOLVE?
First things first, if you’re worried about the initial shock of falling into a cold pool, fear not. You start the session by getting into the pool fully clothed (you can wear swim or gym wear for the class. I opted for the latter), which means you’ve already adjusted to the temperature of the water before you even get on the board.
After clipping your AquaBase board to the ropes tethered to the both sides of the pool, its time to clamber on. The board is about the same size as the inflatable lilos you find taking up most of the pool when you’re on your summer holidays, but with a textured surface to help you with your grip.
In theory, you jump onto the board and do a bunch of usually quite reasonable exercises and it’s the instability of balancing on water which makes you, and your core, work harder than you would do anywhere else. The same instability that Floatfit’s creators believe makes the workout so unique.
When up and balanced, the first move our instructor George asked us to master was our ‘active recovery’. Standing with our feet just wider than hip width apart, we were told to rock the board from side to side, to make as many waves as we could, and this would be our ‘rest’ between circuits.
Our circuit was made up of five exercises – squats, press ups, squat thrusts, mountain climbers and burpees – and was designed as a pyramid.
Round one: 30 seconds of squats, followed by 30 seconds of ‘active recovery’.
Round two: 30 seconds of squats, 30 seconds of press ups and then 30 seconds of ‘active recovery’.
Round three: 30 seconds of squats, 30 seconds of press ups, 30 seconds of squat thrusts and then 30 seconds of ‘active recovery’.
Round four: You get the idea…
We followed this all the way until all five exercises were included and then, once at the top of the pyramid, worked our way back down. Starting with the burpees we performed 30 seconds of each exercise (in the reverse order), knocking off one exercise each round.
Despite doing the moves slowly and steadily – I really wanted to make it through the session without falling in – I could definitely feel the burn building in my muscles. Every pose required a lot more work than it ever would on dry land too; I was constantly having to readjust my feet and my posture to keep my balance as the float bobbed and weaved beneath me.
Always one to happily try out a new health and fitness trend, I loved giving Floatfit Ipswich a try. The class was well thought out by our instructor; the exercises were challenging (especially on the water) but were still fun and achievable, and each was well explained and demonstrated, meaning even newbies are likely to feel right at home.
I worked up a sweat and, despite initially feeling like it may not be the most demanding workout I ever participate in, I was left with aching legs the next morning for sure!