What To Expect From A Speedflex London Class

September 11, 2018

Speedflex London invited me to try their flagship class, so of course I said yes (thank you). Here’s how it went, what I thought of it, and why I challenge you to give it a go! (Spoiler alert: you’ll work harder than you thought possible in 30 minutes but feel amazing the next day!)

Speedflex Helps Put The “I” In HIIT

We all know about HIIT – high intensity interval training, right? Great for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time, and a good way of hanging on to muscle mass rather than just getting “skinnier”. But – the clue is in the name – HIIT has to be intense. Not just a bit hard. It has to push you right out of your comfort zone. And be honest, how easy is it to REALLY push yourself to true “intensity”?

Speedflex promised me a lung-busting HIIT workout, but the bit that really got me interested was the method. Speedflex uses nifty kit to turn your HIIT workout into a resistance session.

I might have hung up the bodybuilding bikini (for now… never say never and all that) but I still train with weights. And whilst I might not want to put on any more size, I’d like to hang on to the muscle I have! (At a 40-something lifetime drug free female, that’s no easy feat and certainly won’t “just happen”).

Speedflex would be a great workout for anyone in my position (wanting to hang on to muscle but work on fitness – oh and not get too fat despite eating pretty much whatever…) It would also be a good workout for anyone who wants to build a bit more muscle but doesn’t want to do the freeweights or gym weights machine thing.

Speedflex London (where I went) offer several different classes. I did the Classic (the flagship 30-minute class). But all the classes use Speedflex’s unique weight training machine. It’s really clever – it actually changes resistance level based on how hard and fast you push/pull/press/row (etc) it. There’s no momentum, but constant tension which increases as you put in more effort. So when you get a bit tired, the resistance comes down. But when you’re ready to go at it, it throws more at you.

This means you can achieve a challenging level of intensity no matter how experienced/new/strong/tired/fired up (etc) you are.

No kit to load, nothing to drop on yourself, and no sudden jerking movements – Speedflex is really safe but (trust me on this!) very challenging!

Fun fact: did you know that Speedflex was formed in 2011 by a group of entrepreneurs including Alan Shearer. You do now!

About My Speedflex Class

So – enough about the sciency stuff. What is a Speedflex class actually like (and would I recommend it)?

First up, I had my inbody assessment which I’ll talk about in another blog post. All Speedflex attendees/members get regular inbody assessments so you can track changes to your body composition with real data. Very rewarding!

Then I was given an induction – how to use the Speedflex machine, using my own weight/strength to alter the resistance as there are no pins or plates or stacks.

After that, it was into the class – a 30 minute high-octane combo of giant sets using the Speedflex kit, battle ropes, slam balls, and kettlebells.

Each class is different (check out the different versions of Speedflex class here) but each instructor will naturally design the sessions a bit differently, too.

Our coach Tigan was smiley on the outside but don’t be fooled – the man knows how to design a killer session! Our group was a mixed ability of men, women, sportspeople, and beginners but it’s fair to say we all got what we wanted from the session. Sweat pouring, gasping for breath, just enough recovery time to go again… It was one of those sessions where halfway through you’re thinking “this is never going to end!” and then with 5 minutes to go you feel like it wasn’t so bad and you could push a bit more… Perfect!

It took me a while to recover (as you’d expect, when my heart rate had hit 90%+ of max!) But afterwards I felt good – tired but not destroyed, and no DOMS the next day (<<< this is a big USP of the Speedflex system – little to no DOMS).

Would I recommend Speedflex?

Yes, without hesitation. Great for freshening up your fitness routine, perfect for people who don’t like “the gym”, highly effective for weight/fat loss and muscle gain, and an amazing way to do true HIIT.

Want to try Speedflex? They have a 2 week free trial (unlimited classes in that time period) so you can get a real feel for it. Just ask at your local studio or click here. At the mo, there are Speedflex studios in London, Coulby Newham, Cork, Darlington, Dunfermline, Durham, Dallas, Dubai, Edinburgh, Reigate, Mansfield, Newcastle, Norwich and West Byfleet.

Oh – and I apparently burned 342 calories in the 30 minute class (as measured by the MyZone system – used in all Speedflex classes so you can see how hard you’re working and challenge yourself).

Let me know if you’ve got any questions – or if you try a free class like I did!

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

A workout for 12/12/12

December 12, 2012

Ooh, look at the date. 12/12/12. Alexandra Burke, surely the greatest philosopher of our age, gave us all something to think about when she posted on her Twitter today that this will be the last repeating date of our lifetime.


Anyway, on this very cold and rather frosty evening, I decided to pay homage to the visually-pleasing numerical date by designing a 12-themed home conditioning circuit. I have a few items of kit at home (shout out to Wolverson Fitness), including kettlebells, a Bulgarian bag (my new favourite), a weighted vest, a wall ball and a slam ball.

My choices of toys today were a 16kg kettlebell, 12kg kettlebell and 8kg Bulgarian bag.


This is how it went down:

Set a timer for 12 minutes

Do 12 reps of the following 12 exercises (do you see what I did there?). Rest after each circuit.

Repeat as many times as possible until the 12 minutes is up.

1 KB swings (two handed)
2 KB swings (right hand)
3 KB swings (left hand)
4 Bulgarian bag spins (I think that’s what they’re called) left
5 Bulgarian bag spins right
6 Bulgarian bag cleans
7 goblet squat
8 squat jumps
9 KB cleans (right hand)
10 KB cleans (left hand)
11 burpees
12 press ups

Did you mark 12/12/12 by doing a 12-inspired workout? Tell me all about it thankyouplease!

Oh, and… only 12 sleeps til Christmas-Eve-eve! 😉

A workout for 12/12/12 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

20 minute cardio

April 13, 2012

This morning’s cardio session was just 20 minutes long (well, 30 if you count five minutes warm up and five minutes walking on the treadmill after). Want to try it? Here’s how it went down:

What you need
One staircase (sturdy) with area at the top
One kettlebell, two dumbbells (or two kettlebells of the same weight)
A bleepy stop watch (or a friend with a watch)

What you do
60-seconds: running up and down the stairs (careful – mind you if I can do this and not fall on my face then I’m sure you can too)
60-seconds: exercise (see below)

Do this pairing five times (all the exercises), then have a 60-second rest. Then go again.

a) kettlebell swings
b) squats (I did goblet squats)
c) press ups
d) walking lunges (with the two DBs or two KBs)
e) burpees (HATE)

Total work time: 20 minutes.

Done, and done.

Needless to say, because you’re not working for very long, you need to work very hard. Max effort on the runs up the stairs, gently does it (active recovery) on the way down, max effort on all the exercises. Yes, even the burpees, sorry. You can, of course, change the exercises to suit your ability, your needs and your sport. Enjoy! 🙂

20 minute cardio is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Physique comp prep, 8 weeks to go: all change!

May 3, 2011

My first bodybuilding comp is 8 weeks on Sunday. EIGHT weeks. That’s, like, two months. Or less. Time flies eh?

I’m trucking along, training hard, lifting heavy and eating well, trying my best to maintain all the muscle I’ve gained whilst cutting body fat so I hit the stage in the best condition possible.

Yesterday, my trainer Kat sent me my new training plans and we had a Skype call to discuss my nutrition goals for the next few weeks. So I thought it was time to update those of you who are interested!

For the past few months I’ve been training in an 8-day cycle, with five lifting sessions every eight days (legs twice, back/triceps once, chest/biceps once, shoulders/back once).

With (just) eight weeks to go, my calories are starting to come down, and it’s no longer realistic to think I’ll be gaining any muscle. The aim is to retain what I’ve worked so hard to gain, and to get rid of body fat so I can show aforementioned muscles to the judges! So my training now is focusing on more cardio and interval training, and a slightly different approach to weights.

Here’s my new 8-day cycle for now – as with anything, we’ll see how it goes. Nothing’s set in stone, we give it a try for a week or two to see how I respond physically, emotionally, hormonally and all the rest of it.

1 (am) interval training (this could be a kettlebell complex, hill runs, a track running session, bike turbo session etc)
(pm) weights – legs & some postural work. This day is a “high” day for calories and carbs – cos I need it!

2 (am) weights – pull – back and biceps
(pm) cardio session (this could be a bike ride or even a long walk with the dog). This day is a more medium/lower calorie and carb day, with carbs (other than those from veg – which I eat with abandon) put mostly before and after training.

3 (am) interval training
(pm) weights – push – chest, shoulders, triceps & yoga/stretching. This is a medium/higher cal/carb day as intervals and weights demand it!

4 ideally some cardio (as low impact as I like) and the all-important posing practice. If I need it, this day can be a complete rest day (although I really should practise posing as often as possible – got to get that pesky left shoulder blade doing what I want it to during my lat-spread!)

and repeat for days 5, 6, 7, 8. 🙂

Yesterday was a day 4, I walked the dog briefly (but briskly!) in the morning and was then persuaded by my husband to come out on my lovely road bike. It was very windy, and I was wiped out afterwards!

Today is a day 1 so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to swing some kettlebells in front of a somewhat bemused dog….

I’m a bad blogger, no progress pics, but I’ll take some soon….

So that’s it for my very brief update, but I’m happy to answer any questions about my training, preparation, planning or nutrition. Please just ask away!

Physique comp prep, 8 weeks to go: all change! is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

The Fit Writer’s pick of 2010

December 31, 2010

Me and Richard of Richard’s Transrockies 2011 blogging amidst the New Year beer…and wine….and Bailey’s…and whatever else you can spot there in the background 😉

How was your 2010? I’m not hugely into resolutions (I prefer to make them as I go along, regardless of the date) but, as it’s the final day of the year, I wanted to look back at 2010 and pick out some highlights for you. A kind of a New Year’s Honours list, if you will. Without the royalty.

So here are The Fit Writer’s picks of the year gone by:

Favourite commission
Ooh, well. Most of my commissions are favourites (how’s that for diplomacy?), because I just love writing. But some stand out for being a little more unusual. How about a week in Croyde in August, training with the RNLI Beach Lifeguards to get a taste of what their qualifications consist of? (Hint: really hard work) That was for an article which appeared in Coast magazine. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting, swimming with and getting some swimming advice from Liam Tancock later in the year. Judging by the search terms which lead to this blog, it would seem that many of you would like to do the same! You can find Liam on Twitter and he’s a jolly good sort of chap. Did I tell you that I tweeted I was on the way to meet him, and someone who follows me on Twitter said how much of a fan his daughter was. I told Liam, who was happy to pose for a photo for the guy’s daughter, and then said hello to her on Twitter. Nice guy 🙂

Favourite race
Another tough one. I really enjoyed getting into road cycling this year, completing several sportives having never done one before. But I think the Favourite Race gong has to go to the Folkestone Half Marathon: it’s in my home town, I was cheered on by my new nephew and I got a PB. What’s not to like?

Favourite event
Speaking of new nephews, event of 2010 has to go to the birth of my nephew Henry. Nothing to do with sport, I realise (although, a few weeks later when I was struggling through the Little Woody half Ironman triathlon, I did draw on the strength I’d seen my sister demonstrate during labour!) Nephews rock, particularly mine.

Favourite bit of fitness kit
Although I’ve been asked to review lots of lovely bits of kit and gadgetry this year, the award for favourite bit of fitness kit has to go to my kettlebells. You saw me using them during my 10,000 swing kettlebell challenge, and I use them regularly for both strength and CV work. So handy!

Favourite training session
I’m a bit of a hermit. So it takes someone fun to persuade me to give up training solo for once. And when I end up crying with laughter, I know I’ve found a good training partner. So props to Kat Millar, PT and now a good friend, with whom I trained a month or so ago. Second place goes to one of the many beautiful road bike rides I did back when it was burning hot and sunny: just lovely.

Favourite sporting moment
I watched as much of the Commonwealths as I could, and cheered as loud as any of you when Rebecca Adlington won both the 400m and 800m freestyle. Whadda woman!

Well, that’s it. I can’t bear this super-slow internet connection any longer! I will bid you a very happy New Year’s Eve, a great evening and a fantastic start to 2011 – and I’ll see you on the other side. Thanks for reading!

The Fit Writer’s Pick of 2010 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Away for New Year? Keep training!

December 30, 2010

Every year, we go away with a group of friends to a big old house somewhere for New Year week. In many ways, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas (there’s certainly more food and drink!) In the face of all the beer, wine, port (and cheese), nibbles and massive portions of dinner, you could be forgiven for thinking we might give up on exercise altogether for the week. Not us!

Amongst our party, we have two mountain bikers, one runner-turned-mountain biker and one Personal Trainer. Oh, and me. So I thought it might be useful to show you how we keep a balance (a kind of “detox/retox”, if you will) and keep training whilst we’re away from our respective gyms and out of our routine.

1: Bring bikes, running kit and other outdoorsy stuff

Even if all you want to do is go on long walks with the dogs, make the most of the fact that you’re somewhere different. We always end up somewhere pretty remote and very beautiful, and running/cycling/walking is a pleasure. So it would be a shame to find yourself with no kit. Pack the running shoes!

2: Pack indoors exercise kit

I brought my kettlebells, Personal Trainer friend Jo brought her Z-Trainer (a suspension trainer – review to come soon) and more kettlebells, and Gliders. I put a few exercise DVDs in my bag I’d been asked to review. It’s all stuff we’d rarely use at home, but being away from the gym and running a totally different routine is the perfect time to experiment with other bits of kit. And, of course, having a Personal Trainer on hand is too good an opportunity to pass up!

3: Plan your exercise

I know, this sounds terribly dull. After all, we’re away for the week with friends and meant to be enjoying ourselves. But our group of friends do enjoy training, so it’s no hardship. We have all day to do whatever we want whilst we’re here, so 30 minutes here and there making up a new routine with kettlebells is all part of the fun. The rules are there are no rules, just the opportunity to train if you want. Two of our party don’t exercise and really aren’t interested. That’s OK, we still love them 😉 Every day, one or more of us will be heading out for a run or a bike ride, or heading to one of the larger rooms to do some indoor training. Anyone can join in, but no-one has to. It works for us! (And it makes that first beer of the evening taste all the better….)

My friend Jo (one of the group I’m away with for New Year) is a Personal Trainer. Here’s her advice on training whilst you’re away from home (she’s the PT):

“Keep it simple: you really don’t need a lot of time, space or kit to stick to an exercise routine whilst you’re away. Don’t forget that you carry the best bit of gym with you all the time – your body! Put together a routine of simple, compound bodyweight exercises (any kind of full or modified squats, lunges, press ups, planks, triceps dips, step ups) and work hard – job done!

“Write down what you want to do every day so you have a plan to stick to which can become part of your day. That way you’re less likely to find that the day has flown past without you getting your exercise session in.

“If you’re training for something, don’t panic that you might not be able to get your regular training session done. You won’t lose any fitness or strength in just one week. It’s far better to do something than nothing at all, however short and however different to your normal training it might be.”

I’ll do reviews of the various bits of kit and DVDs we do whilst we’re away this week.

Oh, and a note to all the burglars reading: yes, we’re away from home but neighbours are keeping an eye on the house and popping in from time to time! 😉

Away for New Year? Keep Training! is a post from The Fit Writer blog

10,000 kettlebell swings

December 24, 2010

Phew! Made it 🙂 It was close for a minute, and I’m aching now, but I managed my 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge in December – with a few days to spare 😉 Let the festivities begin!

I’d already done 7750 swings last time I posted. Somehow, in amongst the Christmas drinks, meals out, shopping, food prep and present wrapping (and snow-shovelling), I’ve swung that bell 2250 more times.

Let me break it down for you:

20th December: 150 as part of gym warm up
21st December: 850 at home, 100 later as gym warm up
22nd December: 800 at home (really aching by this point)
23rd December: 200 (callouses and blisters…)
Which left me with just 150 to do…..which I duly did (using my heaviest kettlebell, just to end on a strong note) this morning:
24th December: 150 (aaaaand breathe)


Merry Christmas from The Fit Writer

10,000 kettlebell swings is a post from The Fit Writer blog

Kettlebell challenge: will I make it?

December 19, 2010

Gosh, there’s a lot to do before Christmas isn’t there? Finishing up at work, shopping, planning, present-wrapping and kettlebelling.

You know I have my priorities straight.

So, we left off with me having done 5,500 swings of my 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. The deadline is Christmas Day.

Amusing as our guests may find it, I really don’t fancy this kind of scenario:

nor this

and especially not this.

(Note to self: this much kettlebelling can make a person look really tired, evidently…)

So I’ve been swinging my bells (sounds kind of festive?) every opportunity I get. Bearing in mind I’m currently lifting some pretty heavy weights in the gym, this has been a challenging goal. My muscles have sometimes tried to persuade me to give it up, but I’m nearly there:

14th December: 500 at home
15th December: 100 as part of my gym warm-up
16th December: 300 at home, 100 later on as my gym warm-up
17th December: 150 as part of my gym session
18th December: 150 as part of my gym session
19th December: 200 as part of my gym session, then 750 at home later (yes…a mild sense of panic setting in!)

Total=7750 (I think? Maths never my strong point)

So, 2250 with 5 days to go. Hm.

Are you kettlebelling with me? How are you getting on?

By the way – just a quick funny – blogging does make me laugh sometimes. Here are some of the search terms people have put into Google (other search engines are available) and then ended up at my blog. I genuinely can not fathom how some of these pointed to my blog. Hope they give you a giggle:

– speedo dads
– train routs from camberley to bournemouth
– good dog, bad husband
– black and white devils hand
– guy taking ice bath
– hairy torso
– images of giants with serpentine legs
– open girdle
– weather report 1971
– chafing groin swimming
– pictures of ice cream van at dorney lake
– is it common to be so hungrty three days after running a half marathon
– words with ow that fit with happens in water (…what?!)
– elderly people on a picnic

Kettlebell challenge: will I make it? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Fitness trends for 2011

December 15, 2010

It’s a great time of year for setting goals and thinking about shaking up your fitness routine. I’ve got a big change and an exciting goal up my sleeve which a few of you already know about. The rest of you will know just as soon as I have a firm date to attach to the goal! 😀

What are your 2011 fitness and sport goals? Are you aiming for an event, wanting to try a new sport, or setting yourself more private and personal goals?

I blogged here about Leisure Industry Week earlier in the year, where I sat in on the FIA (Fitness Industry Association) keynote, which was packed with thought-provoking ideas and updates about the direction in which the industry is heading.

This month, I asked those in the know to tell me what they thought would be fresh and exciting in 2011. Here’s what they had to say:

Nigel Wallace, Director of Training at Lifetime, a national training provider in the fitness industry thinks: “Traditional gyms will evolve with a shift towards niche facilities that target specific demographic groups. The gym will be a hub of fitness and advice rather than a prescriptive home for ‘this is what you need to do…’

“The future of the fitness industry is behaviour change management. iPhone apps allow, and will further develop, exercise routines to extend beyond the typical hour-long face to face sessions. For example, when a client goes on holiday, their PT can contact them, motivate them and update their training programme via the apps.”

Ben Jones, Teaching and Curriculum Manager at Lifetime (and a nutrition specialist) adds: “There is going to be a trend towards genetically modified foods. We already have the technology to add artificial vitamins and minerals to food. Crops will be made with higher protein quantities/fewer calories, There will need for increased education around obesity – better regulation and signposting.”

Rob Beale, Group Health and Fitness Manager at David Lloyd Leisure says: “2011 is going be even better with new classes starting and more of a focus on children’s fitness, as we all work together to improve the health of the nation and get people active. Improving children’s fitness has never been more important with childhood obesity increasing at an alarming rate. Health and fitness operators will look to provide better facilities for children and look to educate them and their parents better.

Triathlon is Britain’s fastest growing sport and we predict an increase in triathlon based activities. Triathlon clubs will be run in all David Lloyd clubs.

Indoor group cycling will be transformed by the introduction of a new class – Adidas Zone Cycling, inspired by Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. Exclusively at David Lloyd Leisure, this class will take you on a journey around The Velodrome and get your heart pumping.

“We also predict that more health clubs will affiliate themselves with injury specialists and sports medicine professionals to offer members an extra service and help members to make the most of their time at the gym.”

I’ve got my eye firmly on nutrition at the moment. Dr Nina Bailey, a nutrition scientist, thinks EPA will be big news. “An omega-3 fatty acid generally associated with fish oils, it’s emerging as a natural product that, when taken in high enough doses (1-2g/daily), can have a profound positive effect on mood. Being hailed as ‘mother nature’s antidepressant’, regular intake of ethyl-EPA supplements may be the answer, not only to keeping Winter blues at bay, but also providing clarity through its brain boosting powers, to help us focus on achieving our January goals.”

I think kettlebells will continue to be a strong trend for 2011 – and you know all about my love of the ‘bells!

You’ve already had my review of the Gravity Training System, and I do think that total body training will be popular in 2011. What’s not to love? It saves time, hits the entire body, provides cardio and strength. Gravity classes like the one I did use your own bodyweight and a variable incline to deliver muscular endurance, cardio endurance, strength, agility and flexibility. If you’ve got a Nuffield Health Club near you, lucky you – give a class a go (search gyms here).

There are also some great new fitness DVDs coming out which I’m going to be reviewing soon, so stay tuned for those (I’m taking a stack of them away with me to wintry Wales for New Year).

Music and its effect on training and performance is an area I’m really interested in. Who doesn’t love a brand-new playlist on the MP3? There’s a new CD aimed at runners and gym-goers which I’d like to tell you about. I’m going to blog about it in more detail soon but, for now, I’ll just mention that The Workout Mix 2011 is a great package (ideal for a pressie actually) – not only do you get 3 CDs of (bang up-to-date, original artist!) music mixes but you also get free passes to Fitness First, access to the website with bonus features and training tips, and a bonus 30 minute training session led by Personal Trainer Matt Roberts. The CDs are cleverly done with each mix of music ramping up in BPM tempo over a 60-minute period to keep you motivated and pushing through your training session.

What do you think? Are there any bits of kit, new classes or forms of technology which you see shaping your workouts in 2011? Let me know; I’d love to hear about them.

10,000 kettlebell challenge: nearly there!

December 14, 2010

(This pic obviously has nothing to do with me, I just liked it)

Getting there with the 10,000 swing kettlebell challenge! I do love kettlebells and like the fact that setting challenges like this one reminds me how great they are.

With so much else to choose from (gym, classes, cardio outside), I can go weeks without picking up my ‘bells. I shouldn’t neglect them! They are ideal for Winter (I am of the view that – as a channel swimmer – I’ve spent enough of my life being unbearably cold. So nowadays I refuse to be any colder than I have to, and that extends to running or cycling outside when it’s sub-zero). They deliver a fantastic full-body/cardio/resistance workout within a very short space of time. And then can be done in a small space.

So, how am I getting on? When I left off, I was at 4,100. Since then I’ve done:

6th Dec: 50 swings at the gym as part of my warm up
7th Dec: 350 swings at home (done as sets of 50s with upper body exercises between) then 500 swings at home at the other end of the day (done as 50s and 75s, with lower body stuff between)
8th Dec: 50 at gym as part of warm up
9th Dec: 50 at gym as part of warm up
12th Dec: 100 at gym, 300 at home

So that brings me to 5500 with 11 days to go. I’m aiming for 800 today as my cardio session. How about you?

Are you joining me on this challenge? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you. My ladies Jo and Viv, how are you getting on?

PS Sorry for lack of pics but there’s a limit to how exciting I can make pictures of kettlebells!

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