I've been talking about JIM quite bit haven't I? Oh goodness, I don't mean to... It's just all I've been thinking about these last few weeks. No, no don't worry I've not ditched my fiancé for a guy in Loughborough called JIM.... JIM is actually the name of an exciting new gym in Loughborough I've just tested out.
I'm an active person and I love doing exercise but since doing Blenheim Triathlon in June, I've kind of stopped doing anything. I've eaten far more than I'm burning and quite frankly feel a right lump who is significantly unfit. I could list a number of excuses as to why but I'd have to say the main reason is because I feel totally uninspired and frankly quite bored with how I was training.
Training solo for something can be hard and when you're pulling yourself out of bed to swim a certain amount of lengths, or run a specific amount of miles, you sort of start to vex about training and it can become stagnant and boring. I was getting bored, but being bored isn't going to help me lose weight and tone up is it? So I needed to kick myself up the bum and find something to fill that void.
I've been a member of the large chain gyms before and enjoyed group exercise classes from Les Mills and so forth, but even after trying that again I just lost interested, I even tried out for another Cheerleading squad but regardless it didn't feel right.
A new gym, called JIM was opening in Loughborough situated where an old nightclub was. I was really interested to see what was going on in there after seeing some pictures on Facebook and I was then invited to try out what they had to offer. On initial impressions, I won't lie I was intimidated, it's quite dark, very 'trendy' interior wise and the equipment looked somewhat daunting. I'm not really making this sound good here but trust me I was so in need of something new I kept thinking this could be what I was looking for. I just needed the confidence to get past the feeling of 'I don't fit in here', or 'I'm not good enough', a feeling many of us are regularly faced with when we're out of our comfort zones.
Personal Training Session
Firstly I was going to be having a personal training session with Antoine, who I discovered loved to play tennis and was French. He wasn't intimating at all which made me feel quite relaxed...good start. We had a chat about my fitness background with me explaining my current fitness problems, so he took that into account whilst planning our session. Don't get me wrong I was nervous as even though I've drilled into myself 'sweat is fat crying', if I do sweat straight away I feel really embarrassed and unfit, even though I know part of that is adrenaline and nerves.
JIM isn't like normal gyms it has very few cardio equipment which I was confused by, but after quizzing my PT, I was told it's because they like you to challenge your cardio abilities in other ways by using other tools available. We started off on what I can only describe as a cross trainer, but instead of just scooting away as you do, Antoine challenged me to a boxing setting. This had short sharp bursts of doing a punching motion as fast as I could and then would return to a normal speed for a number of sets. Well, I was sweating after the second session finished and slightly out of breathe... All I kept thinking was what had I let myself in for!
We next moved onto a the ski pull where it was warming upper body by pulling weights down as if I was doing downhill skiing. It was here I confessed I had very little upper body strength, but to be honest I think it was looking quite obvious! I felt the burn very quickly and it started to dawn on me how much I hadn't been doing fitness wise, but regardless of me feeling like I was struggling I was constantly being reassured I was doing a good job and to keep pushing on.
JIM has astro turf in two spots in the gym and we moved across to the area filled with free weights, suspension ropes, battle ropes, etc. I was really interested to what we would be doing and we went straight to work on some core bits by using the suspension ropes. We hooked my feet up and I rested my arms on a cushion on top of a wooden box you'd use whilst doing plank. Antoine organised me to do sets where I'd pull my legs up towards my chest so I'd work my obliques and my abs. This was a real challenge but felt very rewarding. We tried out using a weighted ball and throwing it has hard as I could on the floor, then picking it back up as quick as possible before throwing it again. They were all simple yet demanding activities but I'd of never considered doing them before.
I have previously been to a specific bootcamp in Norfolk (see here) and loved it, so I was really excited to join in with a 10 week programme at JIM. I was only taking part in one session of the course with a bunch of people who had been following their fitness journey. Haider was our fitness instructor who was leading the session and had been throughout the course, from the start it seemed like a close net of people and initially I thought they knew each other before, but turns out each had bonded over the course. Going through something like this together had helped create friendships through coping which I guess is an added bonus of such a thing!
We kicked off in a circle to warm up followed by team exercises. We had weighted ball work and dead lifts with different weights that we alternated with. I was surprised how hard this was but Haider was encouraging each of us to keep pushing. It really helped me try harder.
I chatted to some of the members at the end and they said they'd loved the experience, well, not the hard fitness paces they were challenged to but the whole concept and the results they were seeing. Unlike other gyms, bootcampers don't have a before and after image, they do a weigh in and measurements at the start of the course then will see what happens at the end. Even going for one season I could see straight away how good this was and I was almost jealous I hadn't been there throughout. There were so many fun ways used during the session where we'd use some of the exciting equipment in JIM, which made me feel confident to come back and do it off my own back.
It was clear that JIM was giving a new twist on 'group exercise' and this was certainly something I'd never have found boring if I'd been doing the full course.
After trying out these two different services from JIM, I'd certainly say that I'm excited about learning more and about challenging my body further. Personally I love the team encouragement I saw with bootcamp so for someone like me that'd be something I'd be straight onto, but saying that when I just want to get on and get my head down, I now could do that after the personal training session. Memberships are £28.90 a month which you can cancel at anytime - handy if you hate those silly contracts. After visiting twice I've already stamped on my preconception of not being good enough, because this is a gym with all shapes, ages and sizes, but also an eclectic mix of exciting ways to train.
Big thumbs up... now back to tackle those battle ropes!