Last week, I was invited by Train Dirty to try one of London’s toughest new workouts. Their signature class Skinny Rebel was introduced to The Conrad in St. James back in September and has since been labelled as one of the most extreme training sessions in the city. This is personal training with a difference. Skinny Rebel is unlike anything else on the market right now; a high intensity, full body workout, in which you wear an altitude mask. The effect is to expose yourself to limited oxygen levels, which forces the body to make captive changes about which energy stores to use during exercise and most importantly, when to use oxygen. The claims are big – up to 1,000 calories in 45 minutes.
‘London’s most extreme workout’ – The Telegraph
Upon arrival, The Conrad is gorgeous. Myself and Sian from Finding Fit sit down in the bar and would instinctively rather reach for a cocktail menu as opposed to a kettle bell. We’re greeted by Dean and James, the two lovely Skinny Rebel trainers, who immediately put our mask-shaped concerns at ease. Having recently completed an Iron Man, it was great to chat with Dean and hear his advice on Triathlon training. He was quick to sing the praises of the plyometric-style workout we were about to do, as a complimentary form of training to logging endless amounts of miles as a triathlete. Intrigued, we both reached for the masks.
The first obstacle was learning to breathe like Darth Vader. Even in a resting state it was somewhat challenging and the sensation is bizarre. But I think we both found it to be more of a mental battle than a physical one. The mask forces you to bring your awareness to your breath and indeed, one of our biggest observations throughout the session was how much we neglect our breathing pattern when we workout. It’s something I’ve been aware of since I started yoga and it certainly needs improving upon!
So off we go, the warm up. I’ve never done so many variations of ‘high knees’. And then follows a haze of tough plyometric moves such as bear crawls, commandos, jump lunges, mountain climbers, bunny hops and walking press ups. I loved the battle ropes before my arms began to shake and I never thought I could hold a press up position on a medicine ball for so long. That was the great thing about the intimacy of the workout – Dean pushed us really hard.
‘Burn up to 1,000 calories in just 45 minutes’
After 45 minutes, we were completely exhausted and found ourselves unsure whether to laugh or cry in the endeavour to walk down the stairs to the tube at St. James. So, the verdict? I wore my Garmin FR for the session and was in HR Zones 3 & 4 for the majority of the 45 minute session. As Dean recommended, this is perfect for my Triathlon goals at the moment; improving aerobic fitness as well as maximum performance capacity. I can’t say I burnt near to 1,000 calories, however I did go through a similar number to a 45 minute spin class – so it’s tough. Tough, but really good fun.
At £40 a session, Skinny Rebel is not a cheap class. But for this you are getting a PT session, as well as one of London’s most innovative and effective workouts. If you’re interested in signing up for a bespoke Skinny Rebel session, visit the Train Dirty website or email the guys here. I will definitely be going back for more.