TOPLINE FITNESS: Hollywood's hot new class

TOPLINE FITNESS: Hollywood’s hot new class

Opening line Occasionally along comes a workout craze that leaves Hollywood so breathless (figuratively and literally) that we cynical Brits can’t help wanting to know what all the fuss is about. If only so we can sniff loudly at it. The Class is such a craze.

Get in line Alicia Keys and Gwyneth Paltrow are fans. Naomi Watts says it’s ‘unlocked something’ in her, while Emma Stone goes as far as to describe it as ‘transcendent’. New York-based creator Taryn Toomey’s celebrity friends include the Duchess of Sussex, whose baby shower she attended.

Online Before we get into what The Class is, let’s be clear: it is not a class. It is loads and loads of classes. Bricks-and-mortar spaces exist in New York and LA. Otherwise a subscription to The Class Digital Studio gives live-stream international access to classes, an on-demand library of sessions available round the clock, with new offerings seven days a week. There’s yoga, of course, plus everything from breathwork and meditation to sessions with weights and resistance bands.

Hard to beat: Caleb Spaulding’s rhythm of happiness class 

Dotted line Sign up for a free trial and then it’s around £30 a month depending on the package you choose (

Helpline All classes are designed to aid emotional catharsis. Word of warning for the repressed: there will be crying. The idea is that participants repeat a move throughout one song until they enter a meditative state. As you do this, so the theory goes, you can tune out from purely physical thoughts and begin to observe the emotional.

Frown line When an unsettling emotion surfaces, you’re advised to release it with a sound – sighs and grunts are popular. The aim is to regulate your nervous system so that a lighter version of you (physically, maybe, but mostly spiritually) steps off the mat.

Laughter line It’s all very American and almost certain to have you in hysterics at some point (which is no doubt cathartic too). I picked a session from the online library called ‘The Class for Feeling Good’ with a bubbly instructor called CJ. While going through the prescribed jumping jacks, I became aware that she was bellowing, ‘Your hand is on the knob!’ My family looked highly sceptical when I explained later that this instruction pertained to workout intensity.

Reapt after me: The Class has an online library of options available 24/7

Draw the line I moved on to a meditative session featuring percussion instruments. I’m sure that, for some people, ‘Caleb Spaulding’s Rhythm of Happiness’ is the last word in inner harmony. To me it sounded like someone doing piling work in an adjacent room. Caleb and I lasted 15 minutes together.

Power line The Class has great physical benefits. There’s something deceptive about performing one move repeatedly while being asked to focus on your emotional landscape. I found I’d done way more burpees, mountain climbers and glute bridges during CJ’s class (while being encouraged to shake off dark energies) than I’d ever have achieved while simply thinking, ‘These hurt!’

High line You’d have to be truly hard-hearted not to be lifted by the relentless team positivity. As CJ likes to say, ‘Maybe good is on its way. Maybe great is just behind it.’

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