When the colder autumn months begin to approach, it’s all too easy to hit the snooze alarm or make excuses for not working out after work. There are so many benefits to exercising – weight management, increased strength, better posture, positive endorphin release and energy level regulation – so it’s important to keep your body and mind motivated throughout the winter months.

MC health and copy editor Kate Mason and Body101 columnist Wardah Hartley try out the latest indoor circuit classes so you can exercise without braving the cold.


6 exercises that will strengthen your core muscles

1. The Grid, Virgin Active 

The Grid - teaching you to move better.

What: Virgin Active’s new exercise programme, The Grid, includes high intensity interval training. There are four different Grid classes: Grid Active, Grid Lean, Grid Fit and Grid Strong.

Where: 92 of Virgin Active clubs countrywide and Virgin Clubs internationally.

Class length: It’s a 30-minute session designed to burn up to 500 calories.

Areas of the body worked: The class structure incorporates six primary movement patterns we use in our day-to-day lives – squat, lunge (taking the stairs), twist (throwing a ball), pull (picking up a box) push (opening door) and bend (awkward plug reach) – to work all the key muscle groups together.

Kate: ‘You can’t help but gravitate towards Virgin Active’s marked out floor area designed in a square grid format. Here, sessions on The Grid involve high-intensity functional training moves one after the other for a mixed up circuit workout that keeps your body guessing!’

Price: Included in Virgin Active membership packages.

For more info: Virginactive.co.za


10 foods dieticians will never eat or drink

2. S.W.E.A.T.1000


What: S.W.E.A.T.1000 is an acronym for Specialised Weight Aerobic Endurance Training and burns 1 000 calories in one session.

Where: Claremont and Sea Point in Cape Town, Brooklyn in Pretoria and Morningside and Nicolway Joburg.

Class length: One hour.

Areas of the body worked: This is a full-body workout option that combines core-stability work and interval training – 10 minutes of floor work alternated with 10 minutes on the treadmill with no breaks.

Kate: ‘BUC is a state-of-the-art gym using top-of-the-range equipment. Focused attendees show up for two reasons: to have fun and get results, and boy does it work. I soon get swept up in the energy as the live DJ plays fun remixed dance tracks. If you’re looking to tone up and lose weight then this certainly does the trick!’

Price: From R180 per class or various package deals.

For more info: Sweat1000.com 


10 Instagram accounts that will keep you moving

3. Movement X


What: A new chain of private gyms, owned by two women, that offers various classes: BarreX (based on ballet), BoXer (boxing), AXis (based on Pilates), EXtreme (HIIT class), FleX (yoga) and ApeX (a combination of strength and conditioning based training).

Where: Norwood and Bedfordview in Joburg and Umhlanga in Durban.

Class length: All classes are 60 minutes.

Areas of the body worked: One is able to get a full body workout with all these disciplines of classes, however a class like FleX (yoga) allows one to increase flexibility and strength. It’s also a great way to get an ‘active rest day’ workout that acts more as a recovery workout.

Wardah: ‘I had the opportunity to try each of the classes offered at MovementX and the best thing about this gym is the variety of its exercise offering – there is a class for every kind of exercise personality.’

Price: From R160 per class (the student rate is R120) or various package deals.

For more info: Movementx.co.za

The secret to a slimmer waist


Screen shot 2015-04-23 at 09.01.45

What: SWITCH combines cardiovascular, functional and plyometric training, boxing, core stability and power-flow yoga to create a ‘perfectly balanced playground for the body and soul’.

Where: CBD, Cape Town.

Class length: 60 minutes.

Areas of the body worked: These classes provide a full-body workout.

Wardah: ‘Each session is uniquely designed to challenge the body and stimulate the mind. With its party-like vibe, complete with live DJ at every class, smoke machine and disco lights, you forget you’re working out. The ‘SWITCH Playground’ is a winning concept from renowned fitness trainer Steve Uria, where the gym area is much like an ‘adult playground’. Participants pair up and SWITCH between workout stations. In your first class it’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a hurricane (but in a good way!), but you’ll walk away wanting more.’

Price: First class is free, thereafter R150 a class. They also offer various package deals.

For more info: Switchplayground.com

Read more health & fitness.