‘A unique approach to fitness that is fun, friendly and fabulous’ says the quirky looking website, illustrated with hand drawn cartoons telling the story. Moose trainers will come to your home or nearby park toting a range of equipment to test your mettle. There are also group sessions in most of London’s green spaces if you’re feeling sociable.
By some rueful twist of fortune, I’d picked the coldest morning of the year so far to go training with The Moose in Kensington Gardens. The park may have looked beautiful as the sun came up, but it was –4°C for God’s sake. Staying in bed was much more appealing. Even my trainer Nick looked like he’d rather be under the duvet when he turned up. Once he’d clocked how many layers I had on however, he took on a more determined countenance that suggested he would soon have me stripping those layers off.
Pre-registration on the website lets your trainer know about any pre-existing health conditions, but on meeting you’re quizzed on your current fitness and your goals. Slapping a yoga mat down on frosty grass, Nick first warmed me up with a series of spine rotations, raising knees to chest and squats. Lifting a kettle bell followed, which always makes me a bit nervous about my lower back. Sure enough, when I got into the office there was a twinge and I was on painkillers for the next couple of days. Some advice on technique to avoid injury would have been welcome.
Despite that, the hour passed quickly and enjoyably and we packed a lot in. There were some boxing rounds, which I always like (they warm you up quickly too) followed by some skipping, some planks and some press-ups. All of that was challenging enough, but it was the sprints that did for me. I’m used to cardio first with resistance work to follow – going back to cardio had me blowing hard. The last time that I raced to a bench and back like that was as a child.
The Moose’s website places a lot of emphasis on having fun when you exercise and Nick proved both motivating and congenial company. I liked his honesty too, particularly when he told me I lacked upper body strength after the pathetic round of press-ups he’d seen me put in. If I’m trying to improve my fitness I don’t want someone to let me down gently. Feeling cold was a distant memory as I stretched at the end of the session and I had that nice tingly sensation: the endorphins had kicked in. The next couple of days saw me walking like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz as my muscles recovered. If you’re aching, it’s working.