Witness The Fitness #1 – Rollerfit
September 9th 2014
As a city, Sydney is guilty of succumbing to fitness trends (#cleaneathing #greensmoothie #acaigojispirullinabowl). The early 2000’s saw the release of the Razor scooter and the men who thought it was appropriate to ride them to work in their corporate gear. A few years ago your friend’s hot mum probably took up pole “fitness” and now every park you go to is filled with Brazilian expats and acro yoga enthusiasts who like to tightrope between two trees with a zen look on their faces.
If there’s one thing that Healthy Harold taught me (apart from calling an adult if i find a needle in the playground), it’s that 30 minutes of exercise a day is one of the things that you should do if you want to be a grown up or good human. So, as Harold sits dormant in his caravan, robotic parts probably worn out, Bindi Donnelly has risen from his ashes to be your athletic spirit animal…
When I was younger, I had three consecutive birthday parties at the roller rink on Stanmore Rd, Petersham. It was run by this old Greek man who exclusively wore chesty Bonds singlets and would sometimes pinch my face. My parents loved it because you could bring your own food, which meant mum and dad could go bananas on the Black & Gold lollies from Franklins and with the savings I could bring an extra friend. I look back on that period as a twilight of my youth.
So, when my quest for a bangin’ summer bod and love of rollerskating coincided, I was excited and feeling quietly confident.
Rollerfit classes “aim to increase your cardio endurance, flexibility, core strength, agility and balance,” – all of which I could probably do with some work on.
The class is 99% female with one tall lanky guy balancing the oestrogen. I guess because I associated it with roller derby, I had assumed there would be a lot more polka dots and swallow tattoos, but the class seems pretty diverse and very welcoming.
Our instructor Stacey starts by putting on “Let’s Dance” by Bowie (great choice, Stacey) and telling us to do a few warm up laps.
It reminds me of that scene in Bambi where Thumper is trying energetically to get Bambi on the ice.
I step onto the floor with confidence, and I’m immediately on my hands and knees. Like Bambi, I have lost all control of limbs and any thought I entertained of looking graceful while doing this.
A girl in purple legwarmers and shiny jazz tights skates past me and says that falling over just means that I’m trying really hard. Her comment is like that participation ribbon with a multi-coloured snake on it that you used to get at running carnivals when you didn’t place, but I’ll take it! I get up and after a lap or two of using my legs like a newborn calf I begin to get that hang of it.
The class is broken up into drills; skating forwards, skating backwards, skating and then sitting (falling) down and muscle work. We do squats, crunches and exercises that I vaguely remember from a pilates class. I’m not sure how much a rollerskate actually weighs, but I think it’s at least 4kg that I’m really beginning to feel on our third set of leg raises.
We finish with a kind of Nutbush City Limits style rollerskating line dance. My vanity alerts me to the fact that there is a group of attractive men watching as we do this, but I’ve really enjoyed the class and manage to block them out as I fall over (try really hard) yet again.
I didn’t work up a crazy sweat at any time, but someone told me that each class burns around 600 calories (that’s three Tim Tams for anyone wondering). If anything, it’s great for the nostalgia. Highlights include the soundtrack; ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None The Richer and ‘Jump’ by Criss Cross (which was used for a drill where we actually did have to Jump! Jump!)
Fitness Ability: 5/10
While I wouldn’t recommend attempting this class hungover, I think anyone could jump in without fear of cardiac arrest.
WHAT :: Rollerfit
WHERE :: Mascot, Woy Woy, Dural, Morisset
HOW MUCH :: $18 per class + $5 skate hire
MORE INFO: www.rollerfit.com.au