Get body smart at iOme
A personalised, holistic approach to fitness – no rows of treadmills, TV screens or gym bunnies here – it's personal training without the price tag.
In a converted Victorian mill, amongst a cluster of indy businesses – designer-makers, bakers, architects, arts outreach – on Flaxdrayton Farm, about five miles north of Crewkerne, half a mile from the A303, amongst the fields and winding lanes of south Somerset.
The theme is indoor garden studio, so there are kitsch flowers and greenery in amongst the plethora of gym gear.
Charlie Fardon is a Level 4 personal trainer, with qualifications and expertise in * takes deep breath * nutrition and weight management, bio-mechanics (posture correction), pilates, kettle bells, boxing, boot camps, sports massage therapy, older adults, pre-and post pregnancy… so pretty much all bases covered. She’s into growing her own veg and medicinal herbs and shares her knowledge with tips and recipes.
Body SMART is a highly personalised movement-based, functional training course, which, combined with nutrition and other lifestyle advice, helps you burn off fat and build a stronger, stable, flexible – fitter – bod.
The course consists of 12 one-hour sessions over a six to eight week period, with no more than five people in each session. You choose when you come, with a choice of six sessions each week, and it’s all under the guidance of Charlie.
It’s about inch loss and fitness rather then weight loss, so there are no scales to jump onto but Charlie will take down your vital statistics and discuss your goals. You take photos of what you eat for a week (be honest!) so she can advise on any changes or other ideas.
At each session, after warming up, Charlie gives you a series of exercises – could be around cardio, musclar endurance or strength – based on your own fitness levels (however low) and any health issues. You could be balancing on balls, battling with ropes, stretching giant elastic bands, swinging kettle bells, beating the hell out of a punchbag, cycling, squatting, lunging – playing Twister.
With such small groups, it doesn’t matter that you could all be at different places in your fitness journey, as Charlie gives heaps of personal attention throughout. You’re on the go for most of the session and I’ll be honest, it felt quite intense at times but her gentle encouragement kept me going when I really, really, really wanted to stop. No two sessions are the same – Charlie has a bottomless supply of ideas – so you don’t know what to expect when you arrive and so hard to be bored.
Charlie’s low key and super friendly, plays great music and even though it’s pretty full on in terms of what you’re actually doing, it doesn’t feel pressurised.
Once you’re enrolled on the course, you can access a members’ area on the iOme website which has really useful info on nutrition, recipes, more exercises for stretching and flexibility and more.
The result? Even I, a die hard couch potato, could felt the benefit after just a few sessions. I had more endurance, more energy and my flabby stomach felt tighter and flatter – and I’ve met some really great people, along the way.
Oh and why the name? Say it out loud: i…O…me – ‘I owe me’. Don’t you deserve to feel good?
Good for: If you want all the benefits of a personal trainer but without breaking the bank; want a holistic rather than purely exercise-based approach to getting fit; or if the idea of a conventional gym makes you want to run a mile (if only you could) then this could be the place – and course for you. Age isn’t a barrier; Charlie says current Body SMARTers range from 30 to 70s. There are other classes too.
Not for: People who want to plug in their headphones, work out for an hour, then leave.
The damage: The 12-week Body SMART course costs £199.
Flax Studio, Flaxdrayton Farm, Drayton, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5LR. 0800 978 8158/07470 299494.