Edinburgh’s refurbished Meadowbank Sports Centre has been four and a half years in the making.
That’s long enough that I barely remember what it was like before. I’m pretty sure it didn’t resemble this smart building, with its landscaped grounds outside.
Owned by The City of Edinburgh Council and managed by the charity, Edinburgh Leisure, they’ve spent £47m on the venue.
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There’s now an outdoor eight-lane athletics track, an indoor athletics track, studios for dance and trampolining, a boxing gym, combat studio and much more.
I’m trying out a fitness class, though I have a spy at the pristine new gym and cycle studio.
Once I’ve left my bags in the changing rooms, I’m in Studio One, which has a stage for the instructor and blissfully cool air conditioning.
Although Meadowbank offers all their usual Les Mills classes, like Bodycombat, Bodypump and Bodybalance, as well as RPM, Pilates and yoga, they’ve also added a few more interesting sessions.
I’m trying Work It Out - a 45 minute class on a Sunday morning at 10am.
It’s taken by Felicity Halfpenny (or Flick) from Musical Theatre Fitness Ltd, and this is one of their first post-lockdown in-person classes. They’ve attracted a group of about a dozen, of various ages.
I’m probably not their most obvious customer, since I’m not a fan of musicals, unlike Flick, who tells us she fell in love with Starlight Express as a child. I’ve had no such epiphany, but I’m ready to unleash my jazz hands. I’m mainly worried about my lack of rhythm, but there are just two or three bits of choreography per song, and modifications for those who’re flagging.
I notice a lot of people grinning into the mirror as they hop around the room. I catch a glimpse of my face and I’m doing it too.
We dance to songs from SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical. There’s also something from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, and a squat heavy and punchy hip-hop inspired number to the song Rise Up from Hamilton. Of course, we had to have Saturday Night Fever, with the Travolta-esque hip thrusts and pointing at the ceiling move, and there’s a Western number, with some hoe-down style moves.
This is therapy for those who were traumatised by the film version of Cats.
There’s also an arm-toning song that involves small movements and seems to go on forever. I can’t remember what it was, since I was feeling the burn in my biceps. We finish with some stretching to MJ: The Musical, and I wonder if there are any tickets left for The Lion King. See. They’ve converted me.
Fitness classes of 45 minutes or more at Meadowbank are £8.80 for non members, £7 for discount card holders. Edinburgh Leisure are currently offering a Summer Pass, with six weeks of unlimited access at their centres for £60. Fitness Class Only membership at one venue starts from £39.50 a month, www.edinburghleisure.co.uk