Located in the heart of French Concession, StromFit studio doesn’t feel like a traditional gym. The atmosphere is cozy and homely. Mentally it helps to relax and start the workout session without any annoying thoughts, like, “my favorite yoga spot is taken again” or “they are judging my uniform” and so on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is some sissy refugee center for people who can’t handle peer pressure, though. Sasha won’t let you waste your time there, she’ll make sure you work your butt off. In my case, almost literally, but we’ll get to that.
Who is Sasha Storm?
She’s one of those people for whom sport has always been a part of her life. At age 10, she got inspired by American fitness videos, and started doing acrobatic rock’n’roll (imagine if the Can-Can and professional cheerleading had a stormy affair to a pop-rock soundtrack).
Fastforward a bit, when she gave up a stable and well-paid job as a marketing research manager in Prague (that’s in Europe) in order to follow her passion for sport. Her China story starts in the traditional, time-honored way – language courses at Fudan University. A student during the day, the rest of the time would be spent in the gym.
Now, she’s a professional certified personal trainer, who went from freelancing fitness coach to the founder of her own studio.
StormFit is a mini laboratory for physical improvement. You won’t find heavy treadmills or machines here, as most of the classes take advantage of your own body weight. Exceptionally clean (Sasha’s a neat freak, she was spraying disinfectant on the yoga mats between sessions), well-lit, equipped with a tidy shower, towels, shampoos and all the necessary bits, all set in the converted front room of a cute little lanehouse.
Sasha personally teaches one on one trainings as well as small group classes: at the moment, she’s got High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Body Weight Blast and the brand new Bubble Butt class. Yeah, you heard me.
Pop culture loves big butts and it’s incapable of telling untruth. Who we are to resist the Almighty booty? Considering the market demand, Sasha came up with the tailor-made Bubble Butt program. The name speaks for itself. I had a cool chance to try out the very first class.
StormFit’s Bubble Butt Experience
You might think that squats can get pretty boring after, oh, a second. That’s because you have never done it in StormFit. With a group of four girls, we completed three sets of workouts, each set containing four exercises, targeting every butt muscle – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. That’s twelve different squats and lifts with dumbbells, ropes and exercise balls, working two more butt muscles than I knew existed.
Each of us was doing different exercise from the same set. I started with squats while throwing a heavy leather ball, the second girl was doing alternating lunges, the third one, plank with leg lifts and the fourth, alternating reverse lunges. After one minute we’d switch stations.
So what’s the verdict?
It was hard. The upbeat music and Sasha’s motivational chorus propped us up and helped maintain the tempo without letting us give up when it felt like our gluteus whatever the hell were about to go on strike over inhumane working conditions. By the end, I felt like I’d climbed to the top of Mount Everest. I was sore for 3 days.
At the end of the class, Sasha treated us to protein shakes and bananas. Because evidently she felt she wasn’t really fulfilling her potential with just being a fitness coach, Sasha is also a certified nutritionist. Added bonus, if you attend her classes, she’ll guide you on the whole nutrition thing too.
It was definitely a butt workout. As with any workout, it’s only really worth it if you keep doing it. Sasha’ll help you improve the exercises you can do at home too, but nothing will replace the impact of doing a hard-ass workout in a place that’s small, intimate, clean, well-located and designed for humans instead of maximizing gym membership revenue. Sasha knows what she’s doing, and the nutritional advice is folded into the membership cost.
Would I sign up for it? Absolutely, if I wasn’t on a writer’s salary.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks.
Packages (note, they all come with nutritional recommendations):
– One-on-One: ten 60-minutes sessions is 3899 RMB, or 2099 RMB for ten 30-minute session. Trial class is 99 RMB.
– Couples/2 person groups: ten 60-minute classes are 4899 RMB, 2599 RMB for ten 30-minute classes. Trial class is 149 RMB.
– Group class (max. 4 people): is 160 RMB, 10 classes price is 1499 RMB (valid for 1 month), 20 classes price is 2800 RMB (valid for 2 months).
Wait, why don’t I watch workout videos online instead?
I’ve heard this argument before, usually from people who haven’t given it a go. Try it. 10 squats in, you’re watching a mashup of Kim Kardashian’s Boomerang videos or whatever other weird shit your YouTube recommendation list is throwing at you.
At StormFit, at least you’re in a shrine dedicated to bubblebuttphiles everywhere, overseen by a professional bubblebuttologist, specializing in the latest bubblebuttechniques. Bubble bubble bubble butt. Try it.
Workouts usually take place in the mornings and evenings, although they can be rescheduled to fit your agenda. The benefits of smaller, more personal fitness studios.
Building 1, 22 Fùxīng West Road, near Wūlǔmùqí Middle Road