You may wonder why I love SwingTrain so much and why I keep plugging the classes without even getting paid for it. Well, let me tell you about Beville.
Beville (not his real name) was a Boxercise instructor I encountered around ten years ago in West London, when Bob and I were on a foolhardy fitness mission. He wore lycra, he shouted a lot and made us run around a gym for six minutes at a time. We once tried a spinning class that was so tough I left halfway through, went to drink cocktails with Bob’s boss’ girlfriend and woke up at 4am on Bob’s sofa with my thigh muscles convulsing uncontrollably. It was enough to put me off exercise classes for life.
Then came Zumba and I managed a whole class without dying of exhaustion or embarrassment, though I’m far too British for all that sexy Shakira stuff. And then came SwingTrain. Like Zumba, the instructors are laid back and friendly – there’s no Beville-style yelling and to date I’ve never had to run round a gym in circles until I collapse in a heap. Plus, Charleston finger.
So what actually happens at a SwingTrain class? Well, luckily I’ve been to enough of them now to fill you in. Here’s a rough guide:
0-15mins – Warming up. This is easy. “Clap Your Hands” you say? No problem. I’ve been able to clap my hands since I was a baby. I totally have this. A quick shimmy? Some kicks? Why not? I can never have too many jazz hands.
15-30mins – Dancing time! Charleston and mambo a go-go. . I look so good, good, good when I do that swing thing. I could be on Strictly with these moves. I may be reaching my limit when it comes to jazz hands. That didn’t seem possible 15 minutes ago.
30-45mins – Woh there, push-ups? They never do that on Strictly. My teacher swears there are only 8 of them but doesn’t mention the other 24 near-push-ups after that. It confirms my belief that dancers are very good at counting up to 8 but not so good at counting past 8. Then there are some hops and now it’s me that needs to be really good at counting to 8. And 4, and 2 and 1. Luckily these are also things I’ve been able to do for quite some time. When it comes to Charleston Squats, on the other hand, it’s best to stop counting.
45-60 mins – Coming in to land. I don’t feel like dancing? Ah, maybe I do for just one more song. And then some stretches to a mildly depressing ditty about Minnie the Moocher. Nothing says “fitness goals reached” like a Dixieland funeral march.
After all that, you might have some aching muscles but you’ll have some smooth moves. Just like Eva…because my baby can dance, my baby can sway…