As a budding blogger, I really enjoy checking out other blogs – each has their own flavour, style and focus. Mamamia (one of Australia’s biggest blogs aimed at women) and Riot Act (a well-known Canberra blog that In the Taratory have previously featured in) are two of my current faves. It was through Riot Act that I came across HerCanberra late last year. As the name suggests, it’s targeted at women in Canberra – and, like In the Taratory, they also frequently write about happenings here in our Capital. Their focus is a little wider than ours, which makes for interesting reading.
Anyway, I’m probably going to get into trouble with T1 for spruiking our ‘competitors’ (hehe) so I’ll get on with the point of this review! HerCanberra launched a great initiative back in January: the HerCanberra Summer Shape-Up. Heaps of Canberra fitness businesses joined in for the action, offering special discounts and free classes for readers. From power yoga,boot camp and self defence, to personal training and dance classes, there was something for everyone. Over the course of eight weeks in January and February, ladies could sign up for any or all of the free trials. I went along to quite a few classes here and there – it was a great way to find a new hobby without committing to a term’s worth of fees.
Then on the last weekend of February, HerCanberra held a grand finale event to celebrate the culmination of the two months of fun and fitness. I’d found out about the event on trusty old Facebook, so headed along to Stage 88 in the Commonwealth Foreshore area for the festivities.
There were a number of other women who had come alone too, so we quickly banded together and chatted about the events we’d been to over the past few weeks. The HerCanberra team gave a quick run-down of the timetable for the day. It was pretty basic: there were eight stations and two hours. The girls would be divided into groups of six or seven and allocated a starting station. After 15 minutes at that station, the group would move to the next. The entire grassy area in the Stage 88 area was utilised, as well as the stage.
My group started off with ‘Fairy Flow’ hula hooping. I felt super uncoordinated, but it’s apparently very good for the core and toning those pesky love handles. We learnt to twirl the hoop around both our hips and hands, and how to wriggle the hoop back up over our bums when it was starting to fall down. It was a bit of fun, but I don’t know if I could go along to a regular hour-long class (kudos to the instructor, who twirled hoops continuously for the two hour event – she’s well on her way to cheese-grater abs!).
The next stop involved some kicking and punching with United Taekwondo. The instructors gave us a comprehensive overview of the basic blocks and attacks, and brought out some punching pads so we could practice our moves (I gotta say, I was pretty chuffed with the height of my kicks – didn’t know I still had it in me!). 15 minutes was just long enough to have a few ‘hi-YA’s’ each before moving on to Subsdance’s Samba station. The instructors here were full of energy and smiles. We shimmied and booty-popped along to infectious Brazilian music. Although most of us were unfamiliar with the steps, it was hard not to have a crackin’ good time – phwoar, it certainly got us breathless though!
Still pretty puffed out from the dancing, we were happy to take a breather while watching the iSpin girls demonstrate the art of pole dancing at the next station. Pole dancing classes have become quite popular over the past couple of years, with studios sprouting up around the country. iSpin is Canberra’s main pole dancing studio. I’d been tempted to try it out before as a bit of a laugh with the girls, but it never eventuated. Unfortunately, the poles were a bit slippery as a result of the warm day and sunscreen, so most of the girls didn’t have any luck with spinning fully around the pole – but gosh, did we have a laugh at our own expense! I could definitely appreciate the level of fitness required to master the pole – you’d need to have strong, toned thighs for one (and toes, for climbing purposes). It mightn’t be my hobby of choice, but I do reckon it’d make a fun event for a hen’s night or girly bonding sesh.
Our group then moved on to natural fitness with Tengeri, which had us crawling stealthily through the grass and using just our bodies and the earth to work out. We learnt how to jump and land safely (apparently, if you land silently, you’re less likely to injure yourself). I think the back-to-basics premise of natural fitness is great – I get so bored just plodding away on the treddy or the crosstrainer at my airconditioned gym. In reality, you really don’t need much to get your body in shape. It’s always nice to get outside and grab a bit of fresh air, too!
We finished up with two separate boot camp-style sessions. The first session had six of us trotting around the smaller lake next to Stage 88 (NOT Lake Burley Griffin, thank goodness!) with a rather heavy stretcher. It was all very military-like – the instructor ordered us to get our steps in sync, and alternate smoothly with the two spare girls who were running behind us when we tired. I really enjoyed this activity; again, it was so different to my usual old crosstrainer-Body Pump class routine. Hut hut hut hut! Attttttten-TION!
The last boot camp session involved using pipes of varying weights for deadlifts and squats, alternated with push-ups and sit-ups. Ooh, the burn! Then, after two hours and eight different stations, we were done and dusted. The Subsdance girls called us all back to the stage for a relaxing warm-down track, followed by an encore Zumba dance (I don’t know how they had any energy left to do another dance, but everyone was still smiling!).
So, big kudos to HerCanberra for organising such a well-run event for the ladies of our city. It was great to have a taste of so many different activities that I likely wouldn’t have tried otherwise. We definitely lucked out with the weather, which was quite unexpected given the shocker of a summer that Canberra had this year (my poor shoulders had turned a crispy shade of red by the end of the day – they hadn’t had that much sun in ages!). The HerCanberra crew announced that they’d try and organise a second round of outdoor fitness before the weather cools down too much (or alternatively, when it warms up after winter). I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for more ‘bite-sized portions of fitness’ in the Autumn or Spring Shape-Up – you should join me
When: Saturday 25 February 2012
Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
Worthwhile: Very worthwhile
Want more? www.hercanberra.com.au