When my friend Leonie invited me to HulaFit with Anna Byrne at the London Fields Fitness Studio, I jumped at the chance to try something new. I had never heard of HulaFit before, but I had seen hula performers at Camden’s Roundhouse which I thought was awesome! Excited, I went to the studio, a large space under the railway arches by London Fields, ready for a fun class. What I wasn’t prepared for was a workout!
Anna begins her class with a simple tutorial of how to keep the hoop going around your waist; you must engage your core! It also helps to slightly stagger your feet, one in front of the other and shoulder width apart, to maintain the momentum. This introduction is beginner friendly, but a great warm-up for the more advanced members of the class. Her class consists of exercises such as jumping over the hoops, squats with your arms raised holding the hoop above your head and even incorporates doing burpees! She even has her own names for the movements within the hoop, such as the ‘pigeon’, a rapid thrusting movement of the upper body whilst maintaing the movement of the hoop. This keeps your core engaged all the time, but gets your heart pumping.
“And you thought this was going to be fun!” Anna Byrne
The weighted hoops allows for an excellent workout whilst you are also having fun. The occasional clatter of a hoop falling to the ground is always followed by a giggle from the offender, which only adds to the energy of the class. Anna’s playlist is equally as awesome and energetic. Recent hits and older classics keep the energy pumping!
Anna’s classes are always different, to keep the class fresh and exciting. She even ends the class with a short routine on a regular hula-hoop for you to copy, so you can go home and impress your boyfriend! This is then followed by a cool-down and stretch, which is needed after a high intensity workout on your belly!
Anna is bouncy, fun and friendly. She has an excellent rapport with her dedicated followers who always enter the class with excitement and smiles. She has this fabulous ability to make you feel warm and welcome immediately, as if you’ve been friends for years. Yet she is tough and encourages you to keep going when the movements become harder and more strenuous, not allowing you to slack – this is surely an influence from her P.T. husband, Rowan Byrne! I wasn’t prepared for the sweaty glow that I left with, but this is what has made me go back and continue to frequent her classes; HulaFit gets your heart pumping, calories burning and body toning, yet is fun and not intimidating. A great one to go to with the girls, although boys are welcome too. Don’t forget your water bottle!
“I love it, I feel like I am doing something, but having a load of fun.” Beth
“It’s great fun, exciting and different.” Emma
Pros: You’re having fun, but you’re working out! Pay as you go class, no commitment. Anna is lively and energetic and quite a character. Music that keeps you moving. You can take your bikes into the studio!
Cons: As you learn, the hoops will probably fall, so you may feel tenderness or even bruise as the hoops are weighted – wear the correct clothing such as a comfy long top and leggings.
Will I go Back? Absolutely, I already have been!
Who Should Try It? Although it is primarily girls who attend, the class is open to all.
How Much? Classes are from £6 each, but a loyalty card gives you your 11th class for free.
Where Are They? Anna teaches in several locations in London. Click here to find your nearest location.
Read my interview with Anna here.
*Health Advice: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.