One of things that I’ve found hardest time-wise since becoming a parent, is finding the time to exercise (although that’s the excuse I use anyway!), and what to do with the children when you do. Of course, we do take turns to look after the kids whilst the other one goes to the gym/runs/plays football, but this obviously eats into our family time, something we’re not always willing to compromise on.
So when I got an email asking me if I’d like to try out a new class at my local David Lloyd gym called PRAMA Family Active with one of the children, I jumped at the chance. I chose to take Freddie (7) with me, as we were in need of some quality 1-2-1 time, and the kid has more energy to burn off than anyone I know. When I told him he was ridiculously excited, as some of the Crystal Palace FC players were going to be there before our class having a go at PRAMA themselves, and he couldn’t wait to meet them.
Year officially made, and I was the best mum ever!
So what is PRAMA Family Active, I hear you cry?
Forget treadmills and mats, PRAMA is a new high tech group workout that the whole family can enjoy together. The PRAMA studio is an awesome space that looks like a really large dance mat (I had SO much fun using computer console dance mats with my uni housemates!). It uses lights and music to create a playful, motivational workout. Whilst moving between stations, computer screens show your activity, tell you when to move on and helps keep you motivated during the session.
And any exercise that’s fun and doesn’t feel like working out is fine by me!
PRAMA has 6 different classes that you can try, but we were trying the aforementioned Family Active one that are suitable for anyone age 5 plus. The nature of the class means that it’s suitable for anyone from a family member taking their foray into fitness, through to the most athletic and fittest gym-goer looking for an innovative workout.
PRAMA classes are new to the UK, and David Lloyd Clubs are the first UK health and fitness group to house the immersive studios.
Freddie is super-sporty, very competitive and loves a challenge, so I knew that he would love to have a go at PRAMA and embrace the whole goal-beating feel to it. Held in a studio with pressure sensitive flooring and walls, and interactive lighting, the stations are set out in a similar format to a circuits class, with participants moving between stations at set times. As the brightly coloured, interactive floor lights up, class members will run, skip and even lunge across the studio, chasing the lights and dropping to the floor to touch lit-up stations.
When parents attend with their kids (such as Freddie), the sequence of workouts changes to a slower paced combination of moves that sees kids doing hopscotch and families working in tandem to run and touch walls or targets on the floor. Throughout the workout, the moves are shown on LCD screens so that class participants know exactly what to do at each station. A countdown clock indicates to participants how long they have left at each station.
After having a special warm up session and discussing the merits of chocolate chip cookies with his CPFC hero, Reuben Loftus-Cheek (I think F nearly died of happiness!) Freddie and I did two circuits together as a mother-son team.
Whilst I’m a fairly regular gym-goer, I wasn’t expecting a family session to be such an intense workout, yet it really was- thanks to Freddie and my desire to beat our scores and that of the other pairs at each station (and I wonder where he gets his competitive streak from!).
At the end we were both sweating buckets but euphoric, and it was a great bonding session for the two of us- I would quite happily do this together weekly, and I reckon Adam and Sasha would’ve really enjoyed it too. Much more fun that just going for a run together!
It’s definitely my new favourite fitness class, at a time when there aren’t actually many decent sporting/exercise opportunities you can do with a 5 and 7 year old (football/swimming aside), and I can’t wait to have another go.
*PRAMA is available at selected David Lloyd gyms in London, see www.davidlloyd.co.uk for more details. Thank you David Lloyd for working with The Spirited Puddle Jumper.
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