Would you drink a gin and tonic from a teapot? Do you own an item of polka dot clothing? Would you be delighted if you were invited to a vintage-themed wedding? If so - get ready for your new favourite fitness fad.
SwingTrain is a new fitness franchise, featured on Dragon's Den, which offers cardio dance classes based around swing dance. It's from the same people as Swing Patrol, a dance troupe whose workshops I've enjoyed at a fair few festivals. New SwingTrain classes are popping up around the country, with Oxford's opening this week. The music is all swing (brilliant if you don't like conventional exercise class soundtracks) and the routines have a generous smattering of Charleston's thrown in amongst the grapevines and crunches.
However the class is not just a gimmick. It's an efficient and well balanced cardio workout with some light toning elements, which I found, with my fairly average fitness level, a bit of a challenge. My gym bunny friend wasn't really pushed, but enjoyed the class and felt it was a worthwhile workout. There were enough modifications offered throughout by the (friendly, reassuringly qualified) instructor that I'd be comfortable taking a complete beginner as well.
If Zumba is a fitness class that makes you feel like you're going clubbing, SwingTrain is a fitness class that makes you feel like you're attending a rehearsal for a musical. The swing dance is heavily featured throughout, and while the steps are simple, they're engaging enough to distract you from grumbling about the workout. I found the routines genuinely fun to learn and perform, offering a pleasing sense of mastery. I also think I've picked up a few moves to rock out at that vintage-themed wedding.
This a deeply charming and properly fun little class. While I might not go every week, it's the kind of thing I'd do with friends before drinks for a quirky night out, or as a way of breaking an exercise rut and finding some joy in movement again! I urge you to dig out your polka dot leggings and have a go.