It’s a great thing to get out of one’s normal routine and do something slightly unusual. I like to think I’ve lived a little and done one or two exciting things but to be honest my life in London can be predictable. But one thing that gave me a tiny thrill was attending a class in Battersea of all places, called Flying Fantastic. If you did a couple of these classes a week (for a good period of time) and added them to your normal gym routine there’s no doubt you’d see your summer body emerge quickly. Couple it with your beach body eating plan (that’s us) and you’re way ahead of the rest.
I’ve been to aerobics, jazz, ballet, tap, Swiss ball, and Bikhram yoga, tennis, golf, zumba, pump, spin, step, and everything in between and more. I’ve been enthusiastic, given up, tried again, got fat, got thin, ripped (well, sort of), turned into a slob, been on a health kick, and back again, but I’ve never got close to being an aspiring Cirque de Soleil – er! That is until I attended a Flying Fantastic class.
If you’ve ever been to the circus – and who hasn’t, this is something you start at an early age – you’ll know that those incredible acrobats slither up that rope with sensual grace and ease. It’s a familiar movement that is used from the most basic of circuses to the Cirque de Soleil experts themselves. You KNOW that you know it’s easy. That is, until you try it yourself.
See me below!
We had a lithe and light trainer on the day called Julia. She had the ultimate bikini body, the one we all aspire to and try so very hard to achieve. I have it on good authority that it is possible – it’s all about strength/weight ratio. Anyway, she demonstrated the easy move of slithering up the silk, and then it was our turn.
Picture first our ‘training’ environment. A large very high ceilinged hall with large deep mats, about 8 in total, each under a coloured ‘silk’ attached to the ceiling. We were divided into groups of ability and experience and my colleague and I were, being first timers, with the beginners. When the climb was demonstrated, it became immediately clear how all the experts I’d seen did it with such ease. You use your legs, not your arms. It’s a push with the legs so no wonder it’s so jolly easy – I knew there was a catch.
So you wrap the silk around your right ankle, in a specific way, then you bend your left leg and pin the left foot onto the knot you’ve tied on your ankle. All you do then is push and immediately glide up the silk. Not. No. You don’t. You still insist on thinking it’s a pull up using the arms, so you strain and grunt and get Julia over. She patiently tries to explain again, and after some considerable time when you’ve made it 2 feet up the silk, you wave, take a bow, and collapse, shaking and sweating, onto the mat in a humbled heap.
See the image below – this is where we’re headed. Honest.
Several moves later, with modest or indifferent success and great encouragement and praise from Julia, the body is begging to go home and lie in a soothing warm healing bath. And eat a carefully prepared meal with my artiste’s bikini body in mind – and dream on.
I knew I was in trouble after becoming a member of the circus, but had no idea that I would be crippled not only the next day, but for the next four. The consolation is that soon and very soon, I will be not unlike the images shown above.
For more information on flying fantastic, check out http://www.flyingfantastic.com/. They offer sessions every Tuesday and Thursday and you can book online. Be warned, it is popular and classes have limited sizes due to their nature so it is important to book well ahead if at all possible.
Lastly – if you have been, or go, based on our experiences above, we would love to hear how you found it?