Fitness Friday: Drums Alive® and Chillaxation

Following on from my post about Fitness Fiesta, I’m reviewing some of the classes that I enjoyed.  Both Drums Alive® and Chillaxation were taken by Gary Daniels – so it made sense to put them together.

Gary’s Fitness Fiesta profile states that:

“Let me entertain you” seems to be the motto by which he approaches life. With a background in show business from an early age, Gary brings fun back into the studio class with choreography that you can make as complicated as you wish.

And Gary’s classes were fun! But I think I got a good work out too!

Drums Alive®

I came away from the weekend with most muscle ache in my back – I put that down to the constant beating the ‘drum’ – it’s surprising how much it works your muscles.  Alongside that there is a fairly gentle cardio workout as you lunge to the sides to beat the drum of the person next to you, twist to beat the drum behind you, and do a number of ‘cha-cha-chas’ or ‘chassés’ around the drum.

Drums alive, fitball

Drums Alive

For the record – the drum is actually a fitball placed on top of step risors to ensure it doesn’t ‘run away’.  Though I wasn’t the only one to beat my drum so hard it bounced off. I may have been the only one who beat the drum so hard the stick flew out of my hand and actually disappeared! Honestly, I did that ‘lost-girl’ 360 degree turn looking for the darn thing.  It was handed to me by the fit (and I mean fit in both senses of the word!) BodyBalance instructor who had slipped into the back of the room to have a peek at what was going on 🙂

Their website states:

“Using rhythm as the source of inspiration to discover a new group fitness experience Drums Alive® combines the benefits of a traditional physical fitness program with the brain affected benefits of music and rhythm. Drums Alive® is a program that fosters a healthy balance physically, mentally, emotionally and socially! Join a class and experience how it provides an element of fun and creative expression”

The music was good with an eclectic mix of old and new music – kicking off with Gangnam Style and progressing through some upbeat pop songs.

In terms of calorie burn (calculated with my Polar FT4) it was slightly less than Cheerobics, but more than the pilates classes.  I’m reluctant to give actual results because they are ‘personal to me’ ie – it’s affected by size, fitness, sex etc. so isn’t indicative of what you might get.  Perhaps I’ll do a summary post at the end of the review to see what worked me the hardest.


This was the last class on Sunday – so it was a chance to have a good stretch and relax before returning to the real world.  It was styled as a pilates type class, with relaxation at the end.  We started off standing, but quickly retired to the floor for stretches.

Two things stick in my mind from the chillaxation:

  1. The controversial hip flexor stretch: Gary had us more upright in our hip flexor stretch.  Instead of leaning into it, (one knee on the floor and the other bent and 90degrees with the foot on the floor – proposal pose) we instead tucked the butt under, and pushed the hips forward.  I have to agree with Gary that this got into the hip flexors rather than recruiting other muscles.
  2. The disappearing floor: you raise both legs off the floor.  Return one foot to the floor (I think, I can’t actually remember what you did with the non-working leg).  With the working leg (keeping it straight), you lower it to the floor slooowly – really, it takes 1 minute to lower it.  The first leg I went a bit fast to begin with and had to halt – but I really got it on the other. You get to a point where your brain is telling you that you should be at the floor by now, but you can’t find it.  Just when you think the floor has actually disappeared, you finally reach it 🙂

What classes have you taken recently which you really enjoyed?


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4 thoughts on “Fitness Friday: Drums Alive® and Chillaxation

  1. Marnie @ SuperSmartMama March 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm Reply

    What interesting takes to working out! I’ve never heard of either of these classes, how great to read about them!

    • Emily Hawkes March 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm Reply

      It’s what I love about the weekend away – you get introduced to so many new classes 🙂

    • Emily Hawkes March 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm Reply

      It’s what I love about the weekend away – you get introduced to so many new classes 🙂

  2. […] Drums Alive and Chillaxation […]

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