I follow Laura Bosenburg on social media. She’s a principle dancer at the Cape Town City Ballet and I really think ballet is an incredible discipline.
I had noticed that her weapon of choice when it came to staying in shape was Switch Playground classes, so I got in touch with her to find out more..
I had never done a Switch Playground class before and I am always interested in different training methods and approaches. I asked Laura if I could join her for a session to see what it was all about.
I happy to report that the experience was a good one. The studio is located on Bree street, in the hustle and bustle of the Cape Town city centre, which I feel adds to the energy of the studio. I walked up two flights of stairs to the reception area, where I was greeted by one of the owners of the Cape town franchise, Storm.
She runs the facility together along with her husband, Gareth. Everyone was very friendly and professional and they have an amazing clothing line, which I loved and you need to check out!
Getting our sweat on
After signing in it was time to start the class. The first thing you’re hit with is the studio’s incredible energy. There’s a live DJ and the music is turned up to the max. I found this energising and it really picked me up.
Now, I understand that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always found that the better the music, the better the workout!
After a yoga-type warmup, which lasted about 10 minutes, the blood was flowing and I was ready to go. The class is structured in a way that you’re presented with various stations. Each station has a different movement. The station lasts 2 minutes and during that time you work in 30-second intervals, constantly switching between two exercises with a partner. This continues for around 40 minutes or so.
The movements within the workout ranged from box jumps, core work, shoulder presses, rowing, squat jumps, stair machine and inverted rows, among others. It was carefully planned and all the trainers in the room were on the same page and knew exactly what was going on. This helped with continuity and the trainers were very energetic and encouraging. There is a main trainer who essentially runs the class and the stations over a PA system and he is supported by other trainers out on the floor who assist clients.
I thoroughly enjoyed the workout and felt challenged. The nice thing about it is that it’s all relative. You can make the workout as hard as you want. If you feel like pushing yourself to the limit at each station, you can go for it. If you’re struggling and get tired, you simply move slower and catch your breath.
This is great from an injury-prevention point of view as you’re able to operate within your limits for the entire workout. There is no heavy lifting or technical movements. There is a lot of bodyweight exercises and plyometric movements, mixed in with some cardio machines.
It was definitely a niche experience, though. It’s different in many ways to anything I’ve tried before – the live DJ, loud music, lights, the trainers clapping, dancing and cheering you on. I felt it lends itself to a vibey young crowd who want to train in a high-octane, adrenaline-filled space.
I think it fits nicely in a space that appeals to people who are bored of the “globo gym” experience, but may not want to train at a CrossFit box or functional strength gym with all the weights and weightlifting. It’s also a workout that, if done consistently and in conjunction with a good diet, will yield a toned, fit physique.
I think each person would experience it differently, but it is definitely something that you need to try before you decide if you want add a few sessions a week into your workout rotation. Either way, you’ll enjoy a good workout, have a lot of fun, meet some great people and enjoy a delicious smoothie on the way out. For more info, visit www.switchplayground.com.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.