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Hanging Tough - Text summary
I get dizzy on a stepladder, so why would I ever attend an “aerial fitness class” at Flying Fantastic? Because who doesn’t want to run away to join the circus? Who doesn’t want to release their inner acrobat?
“You’ll be fine,” says a classmate as I walk into the alarmingly high-ceilinged gym. “You’ll only go up about 10ft.”
As any cat will explain, 10ft is worse than 100ft. No time to right yourself or say a little prayer.
In other parts of the facility, people are doing trapeze and circus rings, but I’m here for the silks. It’s the most popular class here, but also, as I discover soon after a punishing 15-minute warm-up, the most difficult. Once Hayley, our very bendy instructor, has put crash mats out beneath each pair of silk ribbons, she demonstrates the first manoeuvre.
All you have to do, she says, is hold the silks together above your head, pull yourself up and grab them with the soles of your feet, like this. Then, still gripping with your feet, you simply reach higher, like this. Then pull yourself up and grab again with your feet. And repeat.
Up she goes like a Mauritian coconut picker. In seconds she’s at disabled-cat height. Then it’s our turn. I pull myself up and attempt to grab the silks with my feet. This is hard. Then I attempt the next bit — gripping the silks with my feet while reaching up with my hands. This is impossible. Every time I reach up, my feet slide down. Fear of heights, it turns out, is not going to be an issue.
The other beginners, all petite women, are doing much better. The only thing more emasculating would be a jam-jar-opening class.
The second manoeuvre is for people who aren’t strong enough to do the first manoeuvre. Stage one: you loop a “french knot” around one foot and then step up onto it. Stage two: you unhook the knot, pull yourself up higher with your arms and make another knot. The longer you take hooking and unhooking, the longer your tiny biceps have to hang there.
Still, I sort of manage this and, before long, I’m a few feet off the ground, wondering how soon I should send my CV to Cirque du Soleil. Alas, there are more manoeuvres. Manoeuvre three: do the knot, climb up, split the silks, lean through them, reach up then drop forward into a figurehead position. My classmates all look like Kate Winslet hanging off the front of Titanic. I don’t.
Manoeuvre four: do the knot, climb up, split the silks, grip with your armpits and lean back. Manoeuvres five and six: fancier versions of manoeuvre four.
“Right,” says Hayley. “Now we’ll put all the positions together.”
By the end of the class, I’m several inches taller, but my arms and legs are no longer responsive. It takes a few classes to get the hang of it, says Hayley, as I gather up my limbs.
She hopes I enjoyed it. And I did.
Beginners’ classes in silks, trapeze and hoop from £19; flyingfantastic.co.uk
Under The Bridge - Text summary
Article in The Resident magazine by Madeleine Howell - March 2017
Change is afoot in SE1. For too long has the South Bank reigned supreme. Now, thanks to the regeneartion of Flat Iron Square and the Old Union Yard Arches, it's time for the southerly Bank side to shine. Already home to such attractions as Borough Market, Shakespeare's Globe and the Tate Modern, the changes are set to cement its pistion as one of London's hottest spots for a day out.
It's a place where the arts sit alongside artisan food. But as one of the oldest settlements in Britain, it seems only right that newcomers should remain true to the history of the south east Londoners that reside there. Balancing change and investment with authenticity is a precareous task, but after meeting with five of the residents, I would argue that they have struck a considered balance between old and new.
Amongst these five residents is Flying Fantastic who special in aerial fitness and are makng waves in London with their fresh take infused with circus skills, tricks and acrobatics.
Co founder Edel Wigan says they offer hoops, silks, trapeze, straps, ropes and aerial yoga. They also run kids classes and mum and baby classes.
Visit flyingfantastic to see more about classes, courses, practice sessions, coporate sessions and private parties.
City of swing - Text summary
How aerial fitness classes are turning London into a city of swing
Sweat workers who are tired of hanging around the gym are going to new heights to get in shape, says Phoebe Luckhurst in Health & Fitness section of Lifestyle section of Evening Standard Lifestyle publication
Read all about it in the Evening Standard
High Flyer - Text summary
London wouldn’t be London if it didn’t forever spawn new, extreme and ever crazier forms of exercise. In with a bullet this month comes Flying Fantastic, a new state of the art ‘Aerial Fitness School’ near London Bridge. Okay, so my attempt at the trapeze was less Cirque du Soleil than ‘Are you Okay’, but ice face excepted, being suspended upside down was fun. And challenging. Apparently an hour’s aerial session burns more calories than a spinning class.
10 Best New Fitness Classes - Text summary
From aerial acrobatics to exercising with the help of electrical pulses, these workouts will shake up your fitness routine.
Tired of doing the same old exercise class over and over? If you’re finding your regular workout is becoming dull, you’ll be pleased to know that a whole host of new workouts are out there. From aerial acrobatics to high-intensity dance routines and even working out with the help of electrical pulses, we have scoured the country for 2017’s best offerings. Read on for ten exciting new workouts to try this year.
How about getting fit while learning some impressive circus skills? With four locations across London, Flying Fantastic offer aerial fitness classes ranging from the hoop to the trapeze, with a bit of aerial yoga thrown in for good measure. The concept was launched at the end of 2016, with new classes being added all the time. Perfect to try with friends, you’ll leave having worked your core, and with a newfound strength and all-over flexibility. flyingfantastic.co.uk
Join the club - Aerial Fitness - Text summary
Join the club: Aerial fitness
By Linda Sharkey
I woke up to soreness. Every single muscle in my body aches. I can't laugh, my abs hurt.
I am feeling the burn after trying out aerial fitness, a workout that involves climbing up the silks rigged from the ceiling and performing stunts while hanging from them. It's not easy.
Picture Cirque du Soleil, but in a sparse London warehouse, where all levels of exercisers get to try out (and work out to) circus silks. If you go to watch the Cirque, its artists seem to float in the air, but it really isn't easy.
Aerial fitness manages to work almost every muscle in your body as you hang upside down like an acrobat. It hurts like hell, but the net result is that it strengthens your whole body.
The variety of moves, drops, wraps and twists are endless, but for a beginner like me, four positions were more than enough to learn in a usual hour-and-a-half class. My core was locked tight while arching backwards on the 'figure head' position, my arms were shaking as they held my body weight on the 'eaglet', and my body lost control on the 'giant steps' position. The 'French climb' was pretty much impossible – just like climbing up a rope.
The first thing you learn is the 'foot lock', which is your handbrake, or in this case, the life-break that attaches your body to the hanging silk. The good news for my vertigo was that although the silks are three metres high, your first steps are quite close to the floor – where a pad awaits if you fall.
The instructors, who have been practising aerial fitness for years, tell me this workout exists from the early Nineties, but it started to cross over the bridge (from circus to warehouse) a few years ago. Expect it to fly into your local gym soon.
Cheapskates' version: Try and climb a tree using only an M&S silk scarf. Drop-in classes cost £20 (packages available) at Flying Fantastic, in Battersea, south-west London
Let it Shine - Text summary
Great to get the boys from Drive into the yoga slings today. Best of luck in the final guys!
Global Wellness News - Text summary
Image: Flying Fantastic
London Wellness Concepts Tipped For Startup Success In 2017
BY LAURA HILL ON FEBRUARY 6, 2017
Online business resource Startups.co.uk has revealed the top business ideas for 2017 and wellness plays a major role.
The report, which combines detailed research and analysis of emerging business and consumer trends, alongside insights from leading bodies such as Mintel and the Office of National Statistics, highlights the vast number of opportunities present in the wellness industry. Several wellness-related concepts including sugar-free drinks and alternative fitness make the cut.
Commenting on the report, Tim Sawyer, CEO of The Start Up Loans Company explained that trends in the startup industry can be a great indication of what is going to thrive in the wider market, while Megan Dunsby, features editor at Startups.co.uk, encouraged aspiring start-up founders to look to the report as a source of business inspiration.
Using the sugar-free drinks category as an example, Sawyer explained that tapping into growing demand for healthy alternatives can be a recipe for success. “Looking ahead this year, we’re keen to support more businesses introducing something new to an existing market,” he revealed.
Highlighting a range of concepts from big opportunities to the more obscure, for those looking to start a business in the UK, the report reaffirms the growing role wellness is playing in our everyday lives. A $3.7 trillion market globally, today the wellness industry covers everything from healthy eating, fitness, travel and beauty to workplace wellness, alternative medicine and mindfulness.
According to Dunsby: “Despite what you might think about the current economic climate, it remains a great time to start a business.” And, these particular wellness concepts are among the best business ideas for budding entrepreneurs to pursue in 2017……
Alternative Hen Party Ideas - Text summary
Learn a circus skill
Channel your inner acrobat with an aerial silks session, courtesy of the fitness gurus Flying Fantastic. You'll be able to try some amazing moves and poses on aerial hoops, silks or even a trapeze – simply pick your favourite two for the session. While it looks challenging, this actually caters to all fitness levels, and it's brilliant fun – a great talking point for later in the evening when you're all catching up over cocktails!
See more from The Hen Planner at The National Wedding Show this Spring. Available with Flying Fantastic in London from £27pp. Book three months in advance.
Workout Wednesday - Text summary
Flying Fantastic Trapeze
I'm slightly scared of heights, so trapeze isn't exactly my first port of call when it comes to exercise. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be up there swinging from a bar, wearing a sequinned jumpsuit and make-up that would give the acts in Cirque du Soleil a run for their money, my body just won't play ball.
Thankfully, at Flying Fantastic Trapeze, height isn't an issue. The bar is within arm's reach while standing on the ground, or in my case, while standing on a cushioned blue matt. Yes, safety comes first here. Thank god!
Now, for those of you who are thinking, 'how much of a workout can you get from holding onto a bar?' let me tell you, I've never seen so many sculpted arms and thighs in my life! While regulars were pulling themselves up with ease, I was struggling to kick a leg over. Engaging your core is key.
Once I had this down-pat, I managed to follow most of the poses asked of me, including The Mermaid, The Birdcage, Hocks and Bird's Nest. I could've done this all day, it's that fun. The only thing that stopped me was my muscle fatigue. Yes, this is a serious workout.
What you need: tights and a t-shirt or vest (you don't want anything that's loose), no socks needed.
Difficulty: 4/5 - be prepared to get blisters on your hands and hit the point of muscle fatigue.
Location: Flying Fantastic, Battersea, Farringdon, Wimbledon and Old Street.
How do I book: Book through the website. Classes start from £22.