We try out a hell of a lot of fitness and training sessions at The Allrounder, but it’s not often we head to one where the instructors are actual GB athletes. But that’s exactly what the team over at GB Active have set up. Group training sessions with Olympic, World, European and National level GB athletes, where session formats utilise real athletic drills.
With five athletes, covering sprinting, triple jumping, bobsled and kayaking, the sessions focus on different exercises and body parts, with more general personal trainers covering parts of the class to ensure an all-round workout. A pretty simple concept that makes for an interesting hour of exercise and marks a novel development in the London outdoor fitness scene.
To be honest the prospect of being trained by a bona fide athlete is probably as scary to some people as it is exciting to others. So as we headed over to Green park, where all of the sessions take place, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. We mentally prepared ourselves for a fair amount of pain though, just to be safe.
The class format is broken down into different sections. For us it began with a functional warm-up before our GB trainer Michael Puplampu, a triple jumper who’s been a three times England senior as well a commonwealth games qualifier, had us run through a series of plyometric jump-based drills.
This is where the concept works really well. Unlike a normal HIIT class or bootcamp style session, Michael had us working on drills carried out by athletes. Basically this means that instead of the focus being on calorie burning and cardiovascular training, the goal is to teach functional movements that will help improve athletic capacity. The kind of technical drills designed to make you jump further or optimise how you run. Not something you often see in a gym class.
Using a set amount of cones, we worked on our ability to use momentum to jump a set distance. Something that involved a fair bit of technical explanation on direction and movement. The more correct your form is, the less effort is required to carry out the movement. Which is what athletes want. No point in using up energy inefficiently.
The second segment of the class was a more general HIIT style workout, predominantly working the upper body and core (since we’d pounded our legs enough with hopping and jumping). This format means that the PTs can modify the workout to ensure a full body workout. So if a kayaker trains your arms, they’ll do a lower body block.
The final section was a more fun, game-style set of exercises where we worked in pairs to carry out a series of exercises, before quickly attempting to grab a cone. The loser then had to do a forfeit, which for us was 20 burpees. We made sure to grab the cone the next time around.
There are three different levels of effort group within the class, giving you the option of doing bronze, silver or gold (we won’t explain how that works). So if you’re a beginner you perform less reps, or easy exercises than those doing gold. You can also move up and down throughout the hour if you think you’re in the wrong group.
It’s a nice class with an interesting concept behind training. The addition of real drills makes it seem more valuable than a normal HIIT session where your main aim to use up energy. Especially if you’re into sports or running. The splitting up of the session into three blocks makes it seem more manageable as well. The team behind it are also a damn nice bunch, so if you’re new to fitness or scared of being shouted at to do press-ups, this is probably a good option for you.
Prices for GB active include £15 for a one-off session, £65 for 5, or a £45 monthly fee for unlimited use. You can also sign up for a free trial session on the website. Session run every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:30-7:30pm in Green Park.
To find out more, head over to the website here.
Picture Credits: GB Active