I’m not often awake when it’s still dark outside, but I made an exception this morning, as I’d been invited to the UK launch of ‘the hottest fitness trend from the US’ – Beaming. Due to a weird word confusion tic in my mind, I keep referring to it as Planking, but no this is a separate activity which involves doing a range of exercises while balanced barefoot on a 6 inch wide beam. ‘The next hour is all about these 6 inches’, says BEAM fit founder and instructor David Mesirow as he begins the class, ‘size matters’.
It definitely took me back to my days as a gymnast, always wanting to be a princess, leaping elegantly across the high beam. Well this is much the same, although now I’m a fully grown adult and this beam is only 2 inches off the ground.
The class was attended by health and fitness journalists from a range of publications, all up at 8am to visit the Mayfair Virgin Active gym to be taken through their paces. We were told that you could do almost any kind of exercises on this beam, from yoga to aerobic to weight training – and it felt like we did the lot.
The class began with David telling us he didn’t like ‘hangovers’. There were a few sheepish glances around the room before he went on to explain that he meant feet hanging over the side of the beam. This was about balance and alignment – BEAM is also an acronym for Balance your body, Engage your core, Align your spine and Move through life.
There were a lot of lunges. I remember thinking this at the time, but I definitely know it was the case now, as I can barely climb the stairs, and am walking as if I’ve been riding a horse for too long. I felt the class was a good workout, and the energy was kept high with uplifting music along with the high octane wisecracks from David Mesirow.
Like any group fitness class, a lot of it depends on not only the moves performed, but on the person teaching. ‘We can’t all look gorgeous’ he told one unfortunate chap who was scrambling to get his balance during a particularly graceful pose, ‘just kidding!’ he continued with a smile.
I’m not sure I’d switch completely from my usual yoga classes, but if I wanted to supplement them with a physical challenge which also focuses the mind (it’s hard to balance while thinking of other things) I would definitely return to the class.
Speaking to David after the class, he commented on how pale I was in comparison. As he spends most of his time in Palm Springs, this was hardly surprising. I always think that those who live in sunny climates do a lot more fitness – if for no other reason than they need to look good as they’re half naked most of the time. Back in cold and windy blighty however, an early Beaming on a dark morning can make you feel energised and fabulous – and perhaps a little pale.
Recently launched in the UK, Beaming will be rolled out at Virgin Active health clubs across the country in the new year.