This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

Health and the City Cardiovascular exercise

By Stephanie Ross in association with Virgin Active Barbican

I Stephanie Ross Gil Cramer

f you are looking for the best cardiovascular, fat-burning endurance exercise at the gym then one of the group cycling classes is for you. I have been doing Group Cycle with Mike regularly over the last few weeks. It’s an hour-long interval workout using the racer-style bikes and centering (obviously) on your legs – quads, hamstrings, gluteals and calves – and the lower back and core which keep you stabilized. Because you are on the bike there is less stress on the body compared to other endurance sports, like running. Your body will burn anything from 650 calories in the hour and you’ll really sweat leaving your skin looking fantastic. But what is particularly beneficial is the powerful individual mental zone that you get into here – a kind of dynamic meditation. Your mind is cleared of all distractions and it becomes just about you on your bike and how hard you can cycle. You are simply concentrating on your body working and the mental strength needed to do your best. What really helps is the lighting, music and motivating commentary from Mike. The cycle studio is in the basement of the gym and the lighting during the class is disco- style coloured lights – for those who haven’t done the class this may sound bizarre but it really focuses your thoughts resulting in your mind driving your endurance and strength in a way that you’ll find comparable to a long swim or run – afterwards leaving you feeling strong, well exercised and calm. Virgin Active Barbican offers a variety of cycling classes. There are forty five minute Freestyle Group Cycle classes with Jason, Mia and


Kat - which I have also very much enjoyed. Mike’s cycle class (also known as RPM) is part of the Les Mills exercise program. Lee and Marcus also teach RPM.

Les Mills was a New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games discus and shot put champion from the late 50’s to early 70’s. As a young, newly married athlete he made ends meet by building and opening a home appliance store, while his track and field athlete wife ran a shoe store. They started a gym business in the late 60’s, it was hard work and a real family effort with their children helping out after school (cleaning toilets and handing out magazines to those on exercise bikes!). Health and fitness was just starting to take off as a popular pastime but there wasn’t anything like the plethora of choreographed multi-disciplined classes that we have today. In the ’74 Commonwealth Games Colleen represented New Zealand in the 400m while son Philip did hurdles and daughter Donna did high jump. Les had had to retire from competitions and became Director of Sport & Recreation for Papua New Guinea. From the late 70’s Les and Coleen concentrated on their gym business and coaching other Olympic athletes. Son Philip took over running the business in the late 80’s, following graduation from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he’d studied Philosophy on a sports scholarship and seen the Californian trend for aerobics classes led by fit, motivating instructors. He knew that this would take off world-wide and that the time was perfect to expand into other exercise disciplines. Philip set up Les Mills International (LMI) and recruited top sports, dance and nutrition people. Together they created the Les Mills exercise programs – Body

Combat, Body Attack, Body Step, Body Pump, Body Balance and RPM.

Philip Mills and wife Dr Jill

Tattersall MD have been the driving force behind the company for the last thirty years. Les himself stepped down in the late 80’s, working as Auckland Mayor over the 90’s as well as coach for Olympic discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina. Today, in his mid-70’s, he is retired but still coaches a handful of up-coming teenage athletes. Today Les Mills International works with gyms worldwide training some 75,000 instructors. The classes are a carefully crafted selection of exercises. The benefit to us, the four million gym users enjoying their classes, is that there is a consistent standard of training and experience among the instructors and the music and moves are adapted and revised every three months so that we all stay motivated and keen.

Another person with the gift of motivation is Gil Cramer, Virgin Active Personal Trainer with over a decade of experience. He came to the UK three years ago from his native South Africa where he was a keen trail runner and mountain biker. He trains gym members in triathlon – focusing on endurance, flexibility, power and strength -and his interest in physiotherapy also sees him training and coaching members with a variety of injuries – coordinating exercises with their physiotherapists.

In addition he runs the Nike

Training Club (circuit-style) on Mondays at 7am and also leads the Powerplate fast class. His style is positive, clear, strong and motivating. When he isn’t working in the gym he organizes and participates in adventure racing trips – mountain biking, trail running and kayaking. He is currently training for a four and a half day 400km race from Whitehaven through the Lake District to Robin Hood Bay. He is also preparing a group to run the 2012 Comrades Marathon in South Africa. You can follow his progress on facebook at f.i.t concepts.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56