Class crashers: The Fore
The trouble with signing up to a class called ‘Foretitude,’ is that it doesn’t really give much away. Strength, perhaps? And I guess a bit of courage is required? That’s as far as I get. And no, that isn’t a typo, ‘Foretitude’ is the signature class at The Fore, based in Kings Cross, London (see what they did there?).
It turns out, ‘Foretitude’ is a super-intense circuit class that combines exercises on the TRX, Skillmill (those curved, self-powered treadmills) and the rip trainer (a bar connected by a bungee cord to the wall, creating variable resistance depending on how far away you stand). Courage indeed.
The studio is every bit a functional training space, with the rip trainers against one wall, Skillmills against the other, and the TRX hanging in the middle. Marks on the floor denote different drill zones and resistance levels, and overhead exposed pipes add to the urban feel.
I’m pleased to find attendees are a good mix of men and women, and there’s an assistant as well as the main instructor, who shows me the basics before the class begins – how to use the Skillmill (it’s pretty simple, a lever changes the resistance), and some of the movements required for the rip trainer.
Our warmup consists of some basic moves – walk out planks, squats, low lunges and hip openers. Then we’re split into groups. Mine starts on the Skillmill with a simple run, where we’re encouraged to increase our speed to a sweat-breaking pace, reflected in mystifying (to me, at least) numbers on a display screen. Although we’re only there for a couple of minutes, the curved base means you’re essentially running uphill, so it’s incredibly fatiguing. Then it’s onto the rip trainer, where we twist: facing forwards and holding the bar to one side, you swing it forwards so your arms are straight out in front of you, hold it there for a few core-quaking seconds, then return to start. I stand as close to the wall as the floor markings allow, and still my obliques are screaming by the end of the set.
For our first round on the TRX, we put one foot in a long loop and move ourselves into a plank, the other foot hovering alongside the suspended one. As if this wasn’t hard enough, we then move our feet slowly out and back in, repeating for a full minute. I’m not ashamed to say I collapsed on more than one occasion.
We continue to alternate between sections, with no more than a 30 second rest in between. As well as playing with the resistance on the Skillmill, in one round we walk backwards, pushing the belt away from us, with legs at a 90 degree angle. It’s a thigh killer. Another round sees us facing forwards again, but with elbows wrapped around the handles and bent at the hips, driving the belt backwards. I feel like I’m in a rugby scrum, minus the grunting.
On the rip trainer, we perform chest presses, and then chest presses with squats, all the while holding the bar out in front. But by far the hardest exercise is the simplest – we stand further forward, at a 45 degree angle, and just hold the bar out in front. Within seconds my core is shaking, mirroring the trembling of the cord behind me.
Press ups are the exercise du jour on the TRX, both down low with feet in the loops and standing, leaning forward ominously with hands in loops and elbows to the side. The lower you go, the tougher they are, so naturally I stay as close to vertical as possible. There’s also more planks and rows, where you lean backwards, hands in loops and balancing on your heels, then pull yourself up in a rowing motion. Yes, it’s as hard as it sounds.
To finish, instead of granting us mercy with a little shavasana, we’re paired up to race. While one person runs on the Skillmill, the other squats with the TRX, and we switch until we’ve racked up a kilometre between us. The woman I’m paired with must be super human, because somehow, we win.
It’s certainly not an easy class, but I do feel incredible when we’re done. (And sweaty – don’t worry, they provide towels.) The variance means it’s hard to get bored, and the instructors are great at what they do, whether that’s yelling encouragement or helping you nail your form. The format changes per class and instructor, but you’ll always work on all three sections.
The verdict? I liked it. And I’m not usually a fan of circuit training, so that says a lot. Despite my protesting muscles, I’m back in a couple of weeks, dragging my partner along for good measure/emotional support, who was instantly hooked.
To book a class or find out more, head to the-fore.co.uk