The Refinery is a quirky gym offering a wide range of classes; it was hard to choose one, but I settled on the ever-so-slightly gimmicky sounding POUND® … a workout with drumsticks. I headed off on the long journey East with images of a Shakira music video in my mind, ready to get lost in the music and enjoy the “energizing and sweat-dripping fun of playing the drums”.
What They Say:
Using lightly weighted drumsticks engineered specifically for exercising, POUND® transforms drumming into an incredibly effective way of working out.
Instead of listening to music, you become the music in this exhilarating full-body workout that combines cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements.
The Refinery is a lovely little spot; hidden in a basement down a side street in Hackney it had a really welcoming feel in a slightly grimy East London style. On arrival, we were greeted with the scent of woody candles and the receptionist was really friendly, offering us a hot mint tea to settle in from the freezing night outside. The gym has 3 or 4 studios and offers a range of classes – mainly yoga inspired – and massage treatments. It has a laid back, homely feel; a little bit scruffy in a stripped-back way.
Our instructor, Jess, was by the reception desk when we booked in and enthusiastically greeted us when she heard we’d be doing her class. She told us what to expect and it was immediately clear it would be a fun session.
The studio itself was pretty small and just about fit in the 10 or so participants (9 girls and 1 very camp guy… men, this is not a class for you!). We did the class in bare feet, each with a set of weighted bright green drumsticks (or Ripstix… ‘cos they get you ripped!)
Jess was great… her enthusiasm pervaded the room and it was impossible not to smile for the duration of class. She started off checking in on injuries and explaining the optimal positions with some very clear guidelines and cues for common faults. We got into a warm up and quickly got to doing what we were there for… pounding those drumsticks loudly on the floor! The music was uplifting, ranging from rap to girl power to Michael Jackson. Each track focused on a different body part or movement – with a couple of lunge based moves, some rotational work, squats and abs, all the while pounding those drumsticks in time with the music. At the start of each track Jess told us what was coming up and what to focus on. I – along with the rest of the class – spent a fair amount of time laughing at hapless attempts to follow all the moves in time… legs, arms, double taps, double time. The 45 minutes flew by and we were cooling down before we knew it.
Chatting to a couple of girls in the changing rooms afterwards, they said they come along every week just to have fun and get moving to some uplifting music. I’d challenge anyone not to come away from this class smiling! It was a friendly group and the coach’s passion for Pound was infectious.
Would you get in great shape solely from going to Pound classes? No
Was it a lot of fun? Yes!
I wouldn’t say I came away having done a particularly challenging workout, but I got a bit of a sweat on, smashed some drumsticks into the floor and got moving with a big grin on my face. That, in my book, is time well spent! This class is about moving, letting go and having fun – the movements themselves were well explained and the class is accessible to anyone.
If I lived out East I’d definitely go back to the Refinery, and would like to try some of their their other classes… brilliantly named things like Happy Hour @ The Barre, Mattitude and Pump Up the Flow. They don’t take themselves too seriously here and have a unique style… apparently during some of the yoga classes they project images of seahorses onto the walls, which I think sounds epic.
Where: The Refinery, Hackney
Cost: Taster Class £5, or £35 for an unlimited 10 day pass. Packages from £8 per class (for 50) to £14 (single drop in)
How to book: www.therefinerye9.com