What does your celebration checklist look like? Fun? Food? Booze? Looking your best? More food? Actual chocolate Celebrations? Well forget it all – because the new best way to party is to… exercise. And apparently, that’s not totally miserable.
From birthday parties at Barry’s Bootcamp, to hen dos hitting HIIT classes (willy straws optional), and catch-ups at circuit classes... Getting a sweat on as you celebrate is becoming increasingly popular as our ‘clean’ obsession makes moves on our social lives. And while you may have had fun at a boozy sports day with friends, these workout parties are next level – and are likely to be appearing on your Instagram feed. Because why even do it if you can’t boast?
When Lucinda’s* colleague announced her leaving do wouldn’t be at the pub, but instead at a 7.30am Bounce session, she was amazed. ‘I admire her commitment to fitness,’ she said. ‘But being forced to sweat excessively through a class on a mini trampoline rather than six hours down the local Wetherspoon’s was a hard pill to swallow.’ Jo organised a surprise Bikram class for her yoga-obsessed friend ahead of her wedding. ‘She didn’t know until she arrived that she was actually teaching it,’ she said. ‘I’m sure it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it was great for the hen – there was a lot of giggling and red faces.’
And it’s not just parties. More and more we’re meeting up with friends to spin rather than sip Sauvignon Blanc, then having a quick catch-up with a juice or healthy brunch afterwards. Beth* admits it’s about efficiency. ‘I’ve got lots of friends and so combining a workout with meeting up with someone means I get the face time and can still get my exercise in,’ she said. ‘Also, it sounds awful, but if it’s someone I’m perhaps not as keen on seeing, it cuts down on chat time, especially if they’re the type to usually not let you leave until the third bottle of wine has been ordered. And actually, the extra energy it generates eases the flow just as much as a couple of drinks.’
Frame gym founder Pip Black says they’ve seen an increase in group exercise. ‘People are now more health conscious and realise staying fit can be enjoyable, as opposed to something you dread. It’s now a lifestyle people want to share with friends.’ Co-founder Joan Murphy says it’s not always a case of either/or when it comes to workout and play. ‘If you want to go for brunch after a class and enjoy a couple of drinks, do it and enjoy – the fact people are moving their bodies can only be a good thing in our eyes.’
Seen on Screen offer dance classes to private groups and have seen a huge increase in workout parties. ‘People want to invest in their health and wellbeing,’ says CEO Bonnie Parsons. ‘And mixing the business of fitness with dancing like Britney is proving a big hit with everything from birthday parties to corporate events, especially as it’s so Instagrammable. You get the endorphin-boosting benefits of a great workout – it’s a non-guilty pleasure. People aren’t necessarily ditching Prosecco, I think they do both.’ Those fitness Instagrammers are always telling us it’s about #balance.