Trail and ultra running has made me lazy. It's fine to walk when it gets too steep, regular pictures are a must and if you go too fast, you'll miss the view. It comes at no surprise that I'm a much slower runner than when I pounded pavement.
How do I remedy that? Essentially, by doing all the things I usually avoid. Running faster, hitting the treadmill for some vomit-inducing intervals and using gym equipment to keep my base strong. I've been playing too long. If I want to improve, I need to visit the pain cave more often.
In this case, that cave was situated between Embankment and Charring Cross stations and looked pretty unthreatening. Best's Bootcamp lure you in with their ever-changing live DJ, Kiel's toiletries and smoothie bar but once you're faced with one of their treadmills, they only mean business.
As the new kid on a whole block of treadmill HIIT studios, Best's has the opportunity to improve upon an existing formula and they've taken full advantage - using the latest and greatest treadmills that even boast a downhill function, fully padded workout boxes that prevent any shin-to-edge injuries and an 'trainer cam' which gives you a 360 degree view of the instructors and allows you to view exercise demos from anywhere in the room. They've done everything they can to help get you comfortable with getting uncomfortable.
The hour-long workout, as expected was glute-shakingly tough and sweaty. A familiar combination of treadmill sprints in between reps of strength exercises, overseen by hawk-eyed support trainers made sure we were suitably tired. It's the type of class you love to hate (except the downward treadmill sprints, where I had to restrain from holding my arms out like an aeroplane) until the moment you're finished. By then all is forgiven. You stop internally throwing abuse at the instructor and your death stares become subdued.
Being rewarded with a post-workout smoothie further helped to win me over to this slightly darker, disco lit side. At £20 a session, it's far dearer than a casually paced explore outside but as a proven formula, it's sure to provide results.
DISCLAIMER: Best's Bootcamp invited me to a free pre-launch event to try the studio.