Clubbercise is, technically an exercise class, but it’s really, really fun. I can’t stress that enough. It’s incredibly fun. Suspiciously fun. And there are a couple of things which set it apart from ‘normal’ classes.
For a start, there’s the setting. The room is dark, apart from some red, green and blue disco lights. Facepaint and rave gear are encouraged – and everyone was supplied with glow-sticks (reusable, with LEDs and three different settings), which meant that we were smiling even before the class had started. With the glow-sticks in the darkened room, star jumps looked amazing, and even the stretching looked spectacular – like the whole room was trying to guide a plane in to land.
Then there’s the exercise itself. The moves were really easy to follow (and Rhiannon, the instructor at the Old Fire Station, was quick to stress that we were welcome to follow what she was doing, or freestyle). Throughout the session, Rhiannon was super-encouraging - like the rest of the room, she was genuinely having a brilliant time – and her whistle was as much a complement to the music as it was a prompt for us lot.
The music is a mix in two senses of the word; it spans early 90s to modern hits, and it’s all (relatively) beatmatched, including a few breaks for water. So you can expect Artful Dodger, 2 Unlimited, and Bizarre Inc, alongside David Guetta and Calvin Harris.
This was only the fourth session in Oxford, but the classes have really taken off elsewhere. And you can see why; there’s something amazingly fun about jumping around while the speakers remind you that “there’s no limit (no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no …)”. If there was one tiny criticism of the class, it was that at some points I couldn’t see what Rhiannon was doing with her legs – an inevitable consequence of the dark, I guess, although the glow-sticks meant that arm movements could be clearly made out. To be fair, it was possible to pick up the moves from the person in front of me, and I had quite a lot of fun jumping when I couldn’t.
To summarise, it’s all the fun of clubbing, but without having to queue, give up your personal space, or spend money on drinks, and all the fun of a really good workout, but without the self-consciousness of being in a lit room. It’s the best of both worlds.