Best's Bootcamp: The Lowdown
A few weeks ago I was invited to trial the new kid on the block “Best’s Bootcamp” and attend its cool launch event – here’s The Lowdown.
FORMAT: Another class like Barry’s Bootcamp and 1Rebel where attendees alternate between the floor (using weights and plyometric training) and the treadmills, surrounded by the usual fare of dark lights and big pumping tunes. I hope the comparison don’t sounds flippant but even the PR for the launch referenced their competitors, and it sounds like there is space in the growing London market for another class of a similar format.
LENGTH: 50 minutes which was perfect in my opinion (I find 60 a bit much!). There are fixed variants of the classes so you know how long you are on the treadmill/floor each time – I’ve been to other classes where this comes as a surprise during the class.
HOW MANY PEOPLE: I’d guess around 40-50 people, half on a treadmill and half on the floor boxes.
INSTRUCTORS: I’ve only attended one other time since the launch event, and at the launch therewere loads of instructors present walking around, having fun and correcting form (and they were super friendly and full of energy). One thing Best’s told us it prides itself on is correct form and that’s my major gripe with some other studios where exercises are carried out so quickly with really heavy weights and actually it’s often better to do a few movements slowly and with lower weights and do them properly, than race through killing yourself and arching your back or twisting your wrists as you do it (not to mention feeling a bit crap about yourself at the same time!)
Best’s boasts a 360 degrees camera on the instructor so you can see him/her at all times – goodbye to frantically trying to pick out the instructor’s location as they demonstrate the next move in the dark on the other side of the studio.
YOU WILL LIKE IT IF YOU LOVE: Obviously Barry’s and 1Rebel. I think it might be a slightly better ‘starter’ place if you are a newbie to this kind of format as I think you’d be welcomed without feeling intimidated.
SWEAT FACTOR: 5/5. I found the workout intense but the exercises more varied and easier to sustain that I have in other classes (again, might be the focus on form meaning I didn’t burn out five reps into an exercise). One thing you won’t be sweating on is the treadmills which are so brand-spanking fancy they have insane fans on them that almost blow you off the treadmill, which as someone who doesn’t sweat but goes crazy red and hot, I absolutely LOVED. The treadmills also had ‘downhill’ functionality which I had never used before and was blooming brilliant.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Classes are £20 each, which is really standard in London. I was slightly disappointed that Best’s didn’t take the opportunity to slightly under-cut the competitors and offer a cheaper alternative especially given it doesn’t seem to be going for the super luxe edge that some gyms are, but as I said, standard cost for London and worth it for the class.
LOCATION: Embankment which isn't necessary the coolest location, but there aren’t any other similar classes in that area so a new demographic can be served. I wouldn't be surprised if more sprung up from Best's in different locations.
CHANGING ROOMS: The changing rooms didn’t have the wow-factor that other studios have – I think the space used to be a fitness first which explains the look. Although there are loads and loads of lockers, there were only a couple of bench spaces so I think it could get seriously rammed in the morning. On the plus side, there was a funky cool body drier thing you can stand under for cold blasts of air, and some of the lockers have plug sockets in them – after recently witnessing a friend pretty stressed when her blackberry ran out just before a spin class somewhere, this is a great, unique feature.
THE VERDICT: Great new bootcamp adding to the current offerings. With a couple of USPs, Best’s seems like it might carve a niche in its emphasis on form and less on the military style. There’s also a juice bar and a spin studio, which are cool added features. I will definitely be going back as I had a great time and loved the buzz about the place – get over and try it if these kind of classes are your scene or you want to see what all the fuss is about.
All photos copyright Marcel Grabowski Photography.