No, it’s not a new washing machine programme!
If you feel like you’re treading water in your day-to-day gym routine,
head down to HydroFit and you’ll be surprised by the results,
says Georgina Blaskey
I love spinning and it seems I’m not the only one. But whilst at a regular spin class the instructor will walk around the room, announcing participants’ RPMs, encouraging them to “pedal, pedal, pedal!”, sometimes it’s nice to go and exercise without being shouted at or watched too closely. If you like the idea of cycling but prefer a more tranquil, private setting, you should get excited about the newest fitness craze to hit SW. On Northcote Road (at the Broomwood Road end) is HydroFit, the latest incarnation of the aqua-biking revolution. Imagine a spin bike in a jacuzzi and you get the idea.
Before I checked it out, the big question on my mind was, why on earth do I want to cycle in water? Well, according to the inventors, there are some pretty big reasons why you should. Put simply, HydroFit is an individual bicycle in a singular hydro-massage bathtub with water jets generating a steady release of ozone. The tub is equipped with four chromo-therapeutic lights (that’s pretty coloured lightening to you and me) and 16 hydro-massage jets oriented toward sensitive zones. On contact with the water, the ozone turns into nascent oxygen removing dead skin cells and promoting natural exfoliation of the skin. A 30-minute workout burns a minimum of 300 calories whilst reducing cellulite through skin peeling and toning, so two benefits in one.
As I sat in the tub (wearing special rubber aqua shoes – provided by the front desk) with the warm water bubbling around me, I felt I was having a rather surreal experience. In my private cabin, I opted to use the training video shown on the screen in front of me with the bluetooth headset provided. I watched and followed the girl, in a replica cabin, as she took me through a programme I was able to adapt to suit my ability. It has three levels within each section, and I did sprints and climbs, moving the handle bars and my body position to exercise different muscles.
Cleverly the water only comes up to waist height so you don’t emerge with wet hair and panda eyes; the tub has a door so you simply step in and out. The tank is made of fibreglass, the bike’s saddle is stainless steel and pedal intensity is easily adjusted. In terms of hygiene, fresh water is used every time (you can’t open the door and get out until most of it has drained away) and the ozone has an antibacterial affect.
Frenchwoman Delphine Riahi-Botbol brought HydroFit to the capital after it launched in France over three years ago.
Originally developed in Italy as a rehabilitation aid, other beneficial side
effects to skin tone and cellulite were noted and it soon became available for commercial use. Drop-in studios are popular in France and Delphine hopes the same will happen in the UK.
I left feeling more tired than I thought I would, but revived too. The resistance of water is 12 times higher than air and although I didn’t struggle during the workout, my legs were a bit shaky afterwards. Something about the setting, the lighting, the massaging bubbles and the sheer novelty factor makes Hydrofit an attractive addition to any fitness routine – and to Northcote Road.
Where: 137 Northcote Road, London, SW11 6PX;
Tel: 020 7223 5886
What do I wear: Swimsuit – water and towels are provided.
How much: £30 for 30 mins, but there’s an introductory offer for NappyValleyNet readers of 50% off your first trial session.