Fit for a fiver
Reader, I don't often evangelise about exercise. For me, working out will never be as fun as, say, watching Netflix with a platter of cheese, or loafing around in bed for an alarm-free morning. Or going to the dentist. Since moving to London six years ago I have tried and failed to make a gym membership worth the money, while jogging on pavement for three years has knackered my knees and I've run out of interesting loops near my house.
But like searching for the perfect pair of jeans, I think I might have finally found a class which fits me. And best bit? It only costs a fiver.
I first started going to outdoor fitness boot camp Fit For A Princess in May last year, a reassuringly low-fi, mud-splattered, women-only affair on my local common. There's no fancy gear required - just a bottle of water and a yoga mat (I got mine for £8 from TK Maxx) and the whole experience costs less than a few Starbucks coffees.
Here are the five reasons I have stuck with it longer than any other fitness class, even through a very dark and cold winter.
1) You don't get bored
The thing about any exercise class with the same instructor is that after a while things can get a little samey. The whole Fit For A Princess structure is built on variety. There are 15 different classes a week and the instructors swap between classes regularly, so if you want to you could see a different trainer every time. The work-out alternates between cardio and conditioning (hence the yoga mat) but each trainer has a different way of working - so like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, you really do never know what you're going to get. Other than thighs of steel.
2) There's no sticky subscription fee
Just pitch up with your cash and you're good to go, meaning if your plans change at the last minute you don't lose money. Equally though, if you're the sort of person who never has money on them you can pay up front for eight-week stints, or £14 a week (if you're feeling really hardcore and make every class that's 90p a session - bargain)
3) They do LOADS of classes
Early-bird ones, evening ones, weekend ones, so if you miss a class you can just go to another. It's very much a flake-friendly system.
4) The all-women thing is great
I have to admit I did initially balk at the pink packaging and 'princess' slogan, but the reality of an all-women class (minus the pink hoodies) is actually brilliant. As a beta woman, I also appreciate the unintimidating mix of abilities and ages.
5) You get a full-body workout
The Fit For A Princess workout style, which switches between bursts of cardio (with short recovery periods) and conditioning (crunches, planks, squats) is AMAZING for your body. You'll tone up, burn calories and increase your fitness in one. Doing 2-3 sessions a week meant I was able to sign up to Tough Mudder on a spur-of-the-moment decision last October and get around the course without suffering any kind of vital organ failure. Result! Also I have lost half a stone, which is always a bonus.