So this is New Years, And what have you done …

I know the song lyrics are ‘so this is Christmas, and what have you done’ but I think it works feel for new years ;).


Wether you are a full on New Years enthusiast or someone who believes we should set goals throughout the year and NYE is just another night I still would argue that this time of year definitely encourages us to reflect on the year that has passed, this reflection then spurs on reviewing lessons learnt, memories made,  achievements, not-so-sucessful moments, highs, lows and what we may wish to do for our personal development and to tweak our standard of living in the coming year. If you don’t agree and are perfectly content with your life how it is or think new years is a load of rubbish then I fully respect that school of thought. I too believe that you don’t need a new year to make a change however I do feel there is something slightly magical about this time of year.


2013/2014 have been some of my toughest years yet but this year I have had many wonderful times too.

Highlights have to be: My trip to L.A, The Shine Marathon, Miss Galaxy Universe, becoming a POUND pro, teaching at Pineapple more regularly, All the fitness conventions, presenting last minute at Fitcamps, presenting at Champneys, Dublin for my birthday, teaching at the brand new Gymbox on opening night, being studio and operations manager, learning new skills, working with a great team, leaving the role of studio and operations manager, Fuerteventura, all the laughs with my buddies, climbing table mountain, Free VIP ticket Capital FMs Jingle bell ball, Boulders Beach, Friends who have had new babies and watching their older babies grow, coffees, nights out, Matilda the musical, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nigh-time, all the other amazing pieces of theatre I have watched, Seeing my boyfriend in War Horse, Having my class concept on the Gymbox timetable, watching my loved ones achieve great things …

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I am very proud of these achievements. My memory is awful (I mean truly ‘I can’t remember if Snape is good or bad’ awful!) and sometimes I really struggle to remember all the cool things I’ve done or moments of inspiration or achievements. I saw something on Facebook and I think it’s a GREAT idea. Throughout the year, if something good happens or you go somewhere cool or whatever, write that thing on a scrap of paper and put it in a jar.Let the jar build up and then at the end of the year empty it and look back on all the things you’ve done, ideas you’ve had and other significant noted moments. Besides the obvious great aspects of this idea I think it’s so quick and simple that it is definitely realistic to think that this can be maintained all year. Unlike a diary entry or something similar a scribble on a scrap of paper takes seconds. I don’t know about you but I’m going to get a jar and I can’t wait to see what is inside at the end of 2015!



Also 2014 has had equally rough times …

It has been my first full year as an orphan and also saw the death of my last remaining grandparent, my beautiful grandmother Nancy. My boyfriend has been touring the UK, Ireland and more recently South Africa at times it has been even impossible to have a 5 minute conversation with him for days. I experienced my mothers birthday and the first anniversary of her death totally alone in London. On top of that I was faced with a stressful £8,000.00 bill and a lot of questions I needed a parent, my parent, to answer. Not only was my emotional support missing my financial security and safety was massively threatened. I am not explaining this for sympathy but to highlight what I learnt.


In her book ‘The Mind Makeover’ Sharron Lowe explains that humans have great results in moments of inspiration and moments of desperation. I love this and totally agree. As I sat in the bath alone in my London home desperate for a friend or shoulder to cry on I cracked (I blogged about it briefly previously). My moms birthday and anniversary of her death are weeks apart and I didn’t realise how much it would get to me. Now, I know people can be surrounded by people and feel alone which is devastating but I didn’t even have that option. No one was around for even a bit of chit chat and a cuppa and I would have welcomed the choice of feeling alone with company then being option-less. This was my moment of desperation. And what did I learn?

I learnt to be strong. alone. I learnt that sometimes you just don’t have anyone to pick you up and you have to do it yourself and you CAN do it yourself. I could of sat in that bath, crying and turning more and more prune like waiting for someone to notice, or come home, or care and pick me up and wrap me in a blanket, make me a cuppa and tell me that everything will be okay but that wasn’t going to happen. When you are responsible for looking after yourself, which many of you reading this know, if you stop your world stops and no one will spin it again for you! If you haven’t yet learnt that then you are one of the lucky ones with people nurturing you – cherish them and hold that bliss close to your heart. Don’t get me wrong I have a handful of friends I know would look after me, I have an amazing brother and sister-in-law and I have a loving boyfriend who cares a great deal and his supportive family – I am very lucky. But people have their own families and responsibilities. Parents and Grandparents too to a degree, I believe, have some innate, loving responsibility and sense of ownership for the people they bring on to this earth and so are this invisible support and back up that always carries us as long as they are in our life. I think there comes a time when we all realise we are the master of our own universe and ultimately TOTALLY responsible for ourselves. Friends and family being that lovely cherry on the cake when we need them – and obviously for lovely fun times too.


At my moms funeral someone said to me “When your mom dies it feels like you’ve been unplugged, but the thing is, you never realised you were plugged in” – I guess this year I really learnt what that meant and how to survive without being “plugged in”. I write this in the hope that people can relate to my story and that that sense of familiarity provides some sort of camaraderie and comfort to anyone who feels like that.

I have learnt a lot, grown a lot and I do not regret one moment of the past year and all I can hope for is to not have any regrets in the years co come!!! I am fully aware that some people would LOVE to have my bad days that’s why asking for sympathy makes me cringe but all challenges are relative and important. We can learn from everything and although not all days are good, and although some days it reeeeally doesn’t feel like it I believe there is something good in every day.




So, after all this reflecting what are your new years resolutions???


Mine is to as ‘why?’ and ‘what’ more and not take things for granted. I often just accept things for example ‘why is the web addresses in south africa NOT Why when we are sad do we have tears??? What are some of the theories behind the wonders of the world??? You get the idea.


My second resolution is to talk to myself how I would talk to others and change all my ‘I can’ts’ to ‘I cans’ even if it is just ‘I can try’. I know I am mentally strong if I see myself as having no alternative but sometimes when faced with other options I doubt myself and this is definitely something I’d like to work on.


I wish you all a healthy and happy new year and even if it’s not I wish you all the best new years you can have in the situations you face. Whether 2015 is ‘your year’ or full of disappointments learn from it and grow and remember you CAN pick yourself up and sometimes you just have to. Rely on yourself tell yourself you can. Lets go get our jars ready!!!


2015, Bring it on …





Nervous doesn’t even come close …

Okay where do I start …


I have kind of kept quite about what I will be doing this weekend and although I have sold tickets and encouraged people to come I have not been that public on social media about my involvement in dun dun durrrrr … Miss Galaxy Universe.


For those of you that don’t know Miss Galaxy Universe (MGU) is described as a ‘show for women by women’ it is an all female fitness pageant. It is an amazing show which fuses the traditional pageant/catwalk and fitness tests to put the women through their paces. The great thing about the fitness tests the day before the show is it is a way of ensuring women are correctly fuelled and fit rather than just looking good on stage. If we are too depleted of carbs/water/whatever fitness tests would be a nightmare. The show has several different categories and there is one to suit every shape and size – it’s a very inclusive show and welcoming to all women!


I am in the beach body category (eek) this category is shapely and strong but not too muscular or too lean. The absolute bonus about my category is that this comp the theme is CARNIVAL – what an amazing chance to wear a carnival costume haha! We also have to do an evening gown round.

So now we’re up to speed with WHAT MGU is how about WHY am I doing this??? Well where do I start …


When my mother got cancer shortly after my Dad dying I became extremely anxious and wanting to be at the hospital all the time. I was living and working in London and she was being looked after by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. I would spend many nights at the hospital and my dinner would be chocolate from the vending machine, crisps from the shop or whatever junk fuel was quick and easy. I spent many nights driving up and down the motorway to see her or to get back for work, stopping at service stations and for food I would usually rely on fast food or again chocolate. I wasn’t sleeping well and I wasn’t looking after myself but I wasn’t my priority. Even when I wasn’t at the hospital I wasn’t very focused on myself, my fitness and nutrition. I was still giving my all in classes and to clients and would even prioritise their health and fitness over my own. I didn’t see myself as hypocritical because at the time I wasn’t even thinking of myself to notice the contradiction.


This was the start of a little bit of a slippery slope. I started getting back into good health when I went off to trek the Sahara for Marie Curie. The week I was out there I was trekking daily and eating beautiful, nutritious foods. However the day I landed back in the UK my mother sadly passed away. Once again my health and fitness wasn’t a priority and this time even brushing my hair or teeth was effort. I remember I didn’t even wash my face or make myself look presentable until the day of her funeral. I comfort eat too – I love food and it brings me joy and this is great – however team that up with a time in your life where you are seeking happiness and joy then this isn’t so great. Food becomes an artificial way of making you feel happy, even just for a second. But even a second, when you’re devastated, seems worth it. For a good six months my nutrition was poor. I always eat healthy anyway so I say poor loosely but I would also comfort eat and eat a lot of unnecessary calories. My asthma, which had never been an issue, went through the roof and I was put on the steroid inhaler. Basically I was feeling pretty rubbish, unfit and uncomfortable in my clothes etc.


I am NEVER one for wearing revealing clothes anyway. Friends will never see me in shorts and I rarely wear tight tops to teach my classes let alone, heaven forbid a crop top!!! I have even turned down work on several occasion due to the fact that you have to wear shorts! Since my mom got ill this has gone from bad to worse as the lack of care for myself has manifested in me feeling unconfident with my body. I spent a whole holiday with my girlfriends in Benidorm where I would not go in the sea, they didn’t know the reason was I was petrified to stand up and walk around in my bikini in broad daylight! Anyway it’s gone from ‘dressing for my shape’ to an unconfident, hindering, hang up!


I am a true believer that everyone is beautiful and should love the skin that they are in. I see beauty in all shapes and sizes and am probably the least judgmental person I know!!! I love to make the people who come to my classes or who seek advice from me feel great and I always advocate enjoying the journey. However the past few years applying this to myself has been a challenge to say the least!!! Life has just got in the way and loosing both parents has, rightly so, taken its toll.


Focusing on aesthetics wasn’t enough for me, yes I’d had a rough ride and gained weight but I could cover that with loose fitting clothes and I wasn’t overweight just over my usual weight. I needed more I needed something to help me focus on the long term – on my health!!!

What could I do to whip myself back into shape??? To overcome these hang ups??? To face fears??? To focus on my fitness??? The answer … Miss Galaxy Universe!!!




So in August I applied and I actually feel emotional as I write this because since then I have felt alive again. I have felt like me. Enjoying my training! I have not restricted my diet because I refuse to compromise my beliefs on that but I have been eating a delicious, balanced diet. It has only been about 12 weeks so the physical results aren’t amazing or very visible  but mentally I am so proud of myself (and I don’t think I or anyone says that often enough about themselves). The past few weeks have been stressful with the anniversary of my Moms death, my asthma came back and I was feeling really unmotivated. Without MGU looming I’d of probably skipped training and although the weren’t the best sessions that week – I didn’t.


For me Miss Galaxy isn’t about that moment on stage being the best I’ll ever be but it is the best I have been in along time and is the start of my journey. Unlike some people I am not feeling at my peak and wanting to celebrate my new body – quite the opposite but the lead up to this comp and the thought of it for the past 12 weeks has really helped me through a difficult time.


For someone who doesn’t even wear shorts or tight tops I can not explain how nervous I am. There have been a number of times in recent weeks I’ve thought I’m biting off more than I can chew and wanted to drop out eek! Well I haven’t and I’m doing it THIS WEEKEND. Fitness tests on Friday (which sound brutal) and pageant on Saturday which is a ridiculous push out of my comfort zone!!! I wouldn’t say I am bikini ready but I am mentally slapping myself round the face – WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL AND WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW!!! If I believe that so strongly then it’s time to not leave myself out of this positive thinking and celebrate that I am healthy, strong, and lucky to have a body that allows me to do these fitness tests and competitions!!! My body may not be in the best shape of its life but it’s certainly done a good job at putting up with all the crap I’ve put it through over the years and for that I respect and cherish it!!!


It’s been an amazing, eye opening journey so far, I have met some lovely people. Now all that is left is to actually get through the weekend to the best of my ability.







Taking time to just be …

When I was younger I remember my parents always saying “Oh Jessica can’t you just be???” I was always here there any everywhere, singing, dancing, playing the piano, making shoes out of tin foil – you name it I was doing it – well everything except sitting quietly. My family, on the other hand, were all happy book worms who enjoyed nothing more then to curl up with a good book. The last thing they wanted was someone jumping around in their peripheral vision or singing down their ear!


I never understood this ‘just be’ thing! I was just being – I was just being me!


That all changed this week and I had a bit of a eureka moment. My family didn’t object to my energetic ways but they also wanted to encourage me to have down time, take time out and just be in the moment – calm and peaceful. This is something 20 something years later I still struggle with. Don’t get me wrong I still LOVE to dance around, I even make a career out of it and I wouldn’t change that passion for the world. However like everything it’s all about balance!

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This week it happened, friends warned me it might and I thought it might but this week it did – I cracked! It was the anniversary of my mothers death, my partner had just jetted off to South Africa for three months on tour and I was alone in my London home my friends hours away and feeling really lost. For the past year since my mother died I ran around like a headless chicken but it finally was time for be to ‘just be’.


Although I was acting on impulse and acted financially irrational I decided to book myself a last minute spa deal. It was the BEST money I have ever spent. Heck if I was going to be alone and wallow I might as well do it in style and if my friends and brother weren’t there, my boyfriend was away and my parents not here anymore I thought I’d get some tlc from another source!

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Do you know the most therapeutic part??? Walking in the fresh air, surrounded by green. stopping by water and just listening to the quite sounds of nature. As I walked along outside I talked aloud to my mom and Dad about my issues and got everything off my chest. When I stopped by a lake and soaked it all in I thought “I get it” I was just being! I was connecting with the here and now. With my surroundings and my thoughts and feelings. So often we shove all that to one side and think about what’s next – where shall I go later? What am I doing tomorrow? I need to pay that bill/make that phone call/ send that email.

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A healthy body requires a healthy mind – the two are part of a system. Yes I still love to jump around but I also have now seen the necessity of the down time. Taking time to breath and heal. Bad thoughts: grief, heartache,trauma,upset etc are like unhealthy food if we keep digesting them but never use them then they just take their toll on our body. We have to feel these thoughts just like we need to utilise or burn our food for it to be beneficial. Anything sitting around our body causing us havoc is never a good thing. Don’t be scared to face feelings and feel them – feeling them is better for us then storing them.


From now on I’m not going to beg, steal and borrow to be able to go to a spa each week – this is not reality – but I am going to make a conscious effort to take time out, get some fresh air, give myself some T.L.C and just ‘be’ and I would recommend the same to all of you …

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Where have I beeeeen!?!



Wow, what a few weeks!?! So the reason for my lack of blogging … The plan was to have a re-vamp and give the blog a make over with a little help from my more techy minded buddy, however life got in the way and that did not go to plan (oops) so I am going to pursue with this blog and wait a bit longer for the face lift!


So what have I been up to since L.A. besides recovering from the jet lag and the holiday blues???

After teaching my first official Pound class whoop whoop x

After teaching my first official Pound class whoop whoop x


The most exciting thing to happen … I became a Pound Pro!!! For those of you who haven’t heard of Pound it is a rocking new workout developed by two brilliant young ladies. I already loved the concept after trying it at Gymbox and at Crunch in L.A. (see earlier blogs) but after meeting creators Kirsten and Cristina I fell in love with it even further. The girls explained more about the class, the benefits and the evolution but not only that the girls were down to earth, warm and welcoming and definitely the sort of people I would want to surround myself in life. They ooze great energy – maybe it’s all the Pound classes!!! The girls are both drummers and combined their love of drumming with some cardio and pilates moves and boom Pound was born! If you’d like to know more about Pound classes or would like to try one then please get in touch! Check out the website: I am sooo excited to be teaching this concept it is so exciting!!! Not only is the moves and music cool I ached sooo much when I first tried it – it woke up parts of my core I had been neglecting!!!


London Pound Posse!!!

London Pound Posse!!!




The last couple of weeks I have discovered is a love for old bananas!!! Banana bread and muffins is my new speciality. I can thoroughly recommend the muffins I made using:


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3 Mashed bananas

1/3 cup melted butter

1 1/2 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1tsp salt

1 large egg

Basically you pre-heat the oven and grease up that baking tray.

Mix the mashed bananas, egg, vanilla, sugar and melted butter.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt and voila!

Pop in the oven and bake for 20 mins. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top a couple mins before taking out of the oven for extra crunch.

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Usually when experimenting in the kitchen I like to bake Paleo, vegan or gluten free recipes but this one was just a bog standard yummy recipe – feel free to take it and tweak it t suit your health requirements or preferences!!!



On the 27th September I took part in the Shine walking marathon for cancer research. One thing I learnt – do NOT underestimate walking!!! The shine walk is a walk (either full or half a marathon) that takes place overnight in London. We set off at 10.30pm and walked for roughly 8 hours (with a couple of toilet and refreshment breaks). Everyone wears the t-shirt provided and jazz it up with glow sticks, glitter, wacky hats etc. I had one strong moment during the walk that touched me. My feet were bleeding and blisters had formed – I’m not going to lie I was struggling! However I couldn’t complain – I was one of the lucky ones! There were people struggling more than me, a 29 year old fitness instructor in good health! It bought a tear to my eye that as we all carried on through the discomfort and deprived of sleep we continued regardless for the joint hate of the awfulness that is cancer! It was emotional reading who people were ‘shining for’ some for themselves, some for their wife, some for other family members and some for a better future for everyone. I would strongly recommend taking part in the Shine Walk 2015 – I’ll see you there!!!


The following day, I was tired and hungry and where was the perfect place to refuel??? Veggiefest!!! As I stepped into this vegetarian heaven in Kensington Olympia I was swept away with all the stalls and places to eat! It’s rare as a non-meat eater to find myself in a place where I can eat anything!!! I made a beeline for the ‘Naked’ stand and bagged myself 18 bars for £8 – absolute bargain!!! I also got a huge bag of chia seeds for £4. They had several stands supporting animal charities which individuals could sign up to be involved in. Throughout the day there were also talks and demonstrations about veggie/vegan living. It was well worth a visit – if you are a veggie or vegan why not make a day of it next year and bag yourself some nutritional bargains! It was also just a great, alternative place to pop to and get lunch! My ticket was 2x£10 on Groupon – keep your eyes peeled!


There is another VERY exciting thing I am working on but it is to early to share it but rest assured I am busy working away on something fun – I will need people to get involved in the next few months so I can’t wait to share my plans with you all when they are ready and get people involved!!!


Now it’s time to put the kettle on and treat myself to feet up and a banana muffin 🙂 xxx











Wild Friday night … Or not


I had an amazing sunbathing session at the Roosevelt today. My friend from the UK came and met me and I got a delicious kale salad and had great company – bliss!


That evening I was SO excited to take part in the Zumba class at Crunch! Yes I know many young ladies would be looking forward to a night out or a cocktail or two but not me haha. Crunch instructors are some of the best in the biz so I was really looking forward to it!

The class was a good size for a Friday night! The instructor was friendly and welcoming and the class was fun and energetic. I really liked his playlist!

At the end I thanked the instructor, John Paul Batista. He was incredibly lovely and we became Facebook friends. If he’s ever in London I hope he pops by one of my classes!

Perfect Friday night!!! xxx


Thursday in Hollywood.


I decided not to set my alarm and allow myself to wake up naturally this morning to fight off the pesky headache that was plaguing me yesterday! A lie in, shot of Apple Cider Vinegar and a drink of honey and lemon seemed to do the trick!

The day was spent enjoying the sunshine in Santa Monica looking in the shops on the third street promenades and sunbathing on the beach. Back in time for Soulcycle!


I was sooo excited to try Soulcycle – a must on my Hollywood hit list. If you’ve not heard of Soulcycle and you’re in to group exercise I’m sure you soon will!!! Soulcycle is the new cycle concept that’s taken America by storm!


Walking in to the venue you are greeted with a beautiful smell from the scented candles. The staff are uber friendly and actually gave us our first session for free! It’s usually $20 for first timers and $30 each time after that. Pricey I know but keep in mind that this studio is located in a very posh part of Hollywood, in fact Johnny Depp has a house a stones throw away! Plus people are so loving this concept that they are willing to pay!


I was surprised we managed to get booked on to the class as when we had popped in a few days before most of the sessions were already fully booked – yes a week in advance! Bearing in mind they have at least 8-10 classes per day and slightly fewer at the weekend nearly all classes had a waiting list a week in advance!

If I’m honest, for me, the class didn’t knock my socks off. The instructor had a great energy which was infectious however I really struggled to hear him or take direction! The playlist was beautiful and empowering – a real winner with me and I LOVED the bikes! A nice COMFORTABLE (yes comfortable) ride with weights attached to the seat. I wasn’t too sure at first about using weights in a cycling class but I actually really enjoyed the conditioning track and the fact that the weights were built into the seat was an added impressive feature! The class lacked a bit of structure and at times felt a bit repetitive. The instructor also didn’t turn the fans on and with 56 bikes each manned with a hot, sweaty human the room soon became sauna-like!

I have never earn those fancy, clip in bike shoes before but at Soulcycle it’s compulsory (free first time and $3 after that). I found the ride a lot more comfortable than usual and I’m sure the shoes had something to do with that! However getting out of the bike pedals I found amusingly difficult! I could not for the life of me get free!!! Then once one foot became free and I tried to do the next the free one somehow would clip back in – anyway after missing the entire stretch track due to my shoe fiasco I finally got free of the bike and shoes!

I was VERY impressed with the staff and facilities at Soulcycle – they were so welcoming and helpful! The facilities are great and very clean. Lockers are free and no lock needed. Towels are complimentary as well as free: hair bobbles, face wash, hairspray, deodorant, razors, tampons, cotton buds and moisturising cream! The standard of the facility really added to the experience!


Like I said the class itself didn’t blow my socks off but my expectations were maybe too high. However over the road at Equinox I met an avid Soulcycle goer who, without being rude, implied that our instructor may not have been the best one to try and he recommended his favourite! There are also several instructors who are so popular you’ve got about as much chance of having tea with the Queen of England as you have getting into her class! With this in mind I would like to try it again and would recommend others try it too but if you do – good luck with the shoes ;)!


Woke up this morning with bruised knees and whip lash but was the dance class last night worth it … YUP!!!


First on the agenda this morning was an 8.30am Zumba fitness class. As a Zumba instructor myself I love keeping things fresh by trying other peoples classes – you can ALWAYS learn something!

The class was at L.A. Fitness on Hollywood Blvd. I was SO impressed with the facilities! L.A. Fitness is definitely representing L.A. Well in Hollywood! There is a: pool, basketball court, squash courts, 2 huge studios, kids play area, masses of cardio equipment and resistance machines, nice stretch area … Obviously not a gym for cross fitters, boxers or people looking for a climbing wall but for your class goer and gym user it was very impressive!

The class wasn’t too crowded but was nicely busy at thT time of day. The instructor, Ashley, was extremely likeable! The participants ranged in fitness level quite a bit so Ashley had a job of pitching the right level. It wasn’t overly hyper and intense but that was probably a good thing as I’ve had a sitting headache all day so a fun, les intense class was right up my street!

With my head banging all I wanted to do was lie down by a pool, catching some sun and snoozing off my bad head. The local pool was closed for the day for a film premier. L.A. Fitness said that their other branch in Universal City had an outside pool! They assured me it was right next to the Metro station. Whilst Lisa had her boxing session I made my way to Universal City to chill by the pool!

Okay so “right next” to the metro station was kind of exaggerated and after walking for miles I finally reached my second L.A. Fitness if the day! The pool wasn’t quite what expected but it was a pool, there was sun and a small corner where I could lay my towel down so I was happy!

After a 2 hour sightseeing tour around L.A. – I got to see Jennifer Anistons former chimney ladies and gentlemen – it was time for Crunch babayyy!

I didn’t know what to expect from ‘Buti’ – check out Butiyoga. Com

Despite my headache it was a lot of fun!!! Combining Yoga and booty shaking add a great playlist and a comical instructor and you’ve got the ingredients for an entertaining 45minutes!

The class is described as …

“A movement practice that fuses power yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics into a high intensity workout that transforms the body from the outside it”

Now I’m not one for feeling shy when it comes to trying new things in fitness classes but I imagine some people may find loosening their hips and shaking it during a Yoga practice quite challenging but my advice would be to let go, try and enjoy the freedom!

I intended to stay for Hip Hop but my head was pounding so I decided it was time for a trip to Veggie Grill and an early night!