The last time I ventured into a gym change room before 'exorcising' a McD's burger, I was met with a rather large, naked woman sprawled on her back across the change room bench. That's when I knew it was time to train elsewhere, like the Seven Star Energy centre...
Initially, I expected something with word 'energy' in the title to be a gimmicky, 'new age' 'haven'. You know the type: 'Enjoy a colonic purge while we re-integrate the 3rd chakra... blah, blah, blah.' Instead, this centre is humble; a comfortable wooden-floored space that's devoid of pop music, change room awkwardness or the chlorinated scent of a regular gym. And the friendly people offer a welcome relief from the usual designer-clad gym bunnies (who puts on make-up to go to gym anyway?). It simply feels like your friendly neighbourhood dojo.
The centre offers Gung Fu (Kung Fu to us plebs). Run by Yang's, an internationally established Shaolin School with dojos all over the world, the classes focus on the Shaolin long fist and white crane style of martial arts. Think: falling into push-ups from a starting position and doing squats for an eternity. It's fun, despite the resulting jelly legs. You won't turn into Jackie Chan overnight but you will enjoy increased flexibility.
If martial arts aren't your thing, try Kettlebell training. The Kettlebell is a ball-shaped weight with a handle on it which allows you to swing it between your legs, hold it above your head... you name it. In just 45-minutes, the combo of cardio and weight training in a Kettlebell class will definitely have you breaking a sweat. Luckily, the trainer is easy on the eye, which helps.
Other offerings at the centre include reiki, acupuncture, physiotherapy and DNA nutrition analysis and personal training. Or try the Evolution fitness program in the mornings which focus on increasing your fitness levels.
It's a little pricey. Martial arts classes are R500 per month for two classes a week and the kettlebell training is R400 per month, also for two classes a week. But, if you can afford it then give it a try. At least it'll spare you the vision of frolicking nudity at the Virgin Active.
Where? 86 5th Street, Parkmore, Johannesburg
Peri Zourides: 082 375 0825
by Dominique Baxewanos