In the age old tradition of trying anything once, I headed down to Hydrofit on the Fulham Road. Lured in by the concept, Hydrofit is hydrobiking or hydrojogging in a Jacuzzi.
Now I like cycling but dislike spinning as normal people do, but after trying out poolbiking and really enjoying it, surely spinning in a Jacuzzi could be fun?
At Hydrofit, you can get your own private “cabin” to work out in. If you hate group exercise or are self conscious of other people seeing you in a swimming costume, it’s perfect. If you want to work out with a “friend”, there’s a double cabin available. On arrival you’re shown your cabin and the machine you’ll spend the next half an hour in. It’s an exercise bike in a Jacuzzi.
Holistic disco Jacuzzi
Each cabin has a flatscreen TV linked to Bluetooth headphones and the pods have “chromo-theraputic lights” and a bottle of water. The lights turn the pod into a holistic disco Jacuzzi with each colour supposedly promoting a different mental state, or you can set it to cycle through all the colours if you can’t decide which mental state you’d like to be in, this is what I did. You’re encouraged to drink the entire bottle of water because “the 16 hydro-massage jets will detox your kidneys”. I don’t know where they think my kidneys are but the water barely reached my hip bone so I’m
You’re encouraged to wear a pair of “aqua-shoes” (aka, Hydrofit branded galoshes), the first time you’re provided them for free, but I hated the feel of them so didn’t enquire as to what the deal would be after the first session.
The pod is drained and refilled for every session so you’re never sharing water with other people. This also means that there’s no need for chlorine or any strange smelling chemicals. The water is treated with “antibacterial ozone” which apparently is also good for the skin.
The pod is filled half way before you get in and then fills the rest of the way when you’re securely in your seat and the door is sealed shut. There’s a panic button in a plastic bag (along with the TV remote) if you suddenly develop a case of claustrophobia or in case you just need something. Good to know.
“reduces knee size”
In the company’s marketing material it claims that hydrobiking “effectively erases cellulite” and “reduces knee size”. I don’t know if my knees need shrinking but I wouldn’t say no to less cellulite.
I was informed that cycling shorts are recommended to avoid chafing, however chafing wasn’t an issue for me, the award for the biggest discomfort went to sitting on a rock solid unpadded seat for 30 mins. They have a cushioned seat cover in cases of delicate derrières, but even with the cushioned cover, I wish I had worn shorts made of sponges.
You’re given a target to maintain; based on an estimate calculated from your weight, height, age and assumed level of fitness; you have a 5 minute warm up and you begin your program which is to alternate between furious cycling and normal speed cycling every minute. The water provides resistance making your cycling harder however, for me it wasn’t high enough to provide any core support, which might be a plus or negative depending on your needs.
Costing £40 for a 45 min sessions, it’s not the cheapest method of keeping fit, there are discounts for multiple sessions booked and they’re not shy of mentioning these…at length…numerous times. In fact, I had 4 emails and a text before I’d even stepped into the building. I can see the appeal, the privacy and seclusion might seem like a paradise for some. Not sharing water with other people can be a big pull for those who fear the public nature of swimming pools. Personally, I found it a lonely half hour splashing about and bemoaning the state of today’s pop music videos featuring people who were wearing less than I was. Go for the novelty, go for the privacy, go for the navel gazing….go if you like the sound of a private spinning session in a holistic disco Jacuzzi.