About Switch Playground
Created by Steve Uria, Switch Playground has grown a cult following (complete with special hand signals and apparel) and has playgrounds in New York, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. Switch classes are usually 60 minutes long and are unlike any other fitness class. The closest thing to a Switch Class is SWEAT1000, which happens to be co-founded by Steve.
Classes are high intensity, total body workouts that see you rotating between 20-40 stations every two minutes. No move is done twice, and you work every single muscle in your body. Classes are led by one instructor along with the help of a group of trainers, who are on the floor explaining each move and pushing you to do your best. Each class is powered by a DJ who manages both the music and lighting, turning the room into the nightclub of exercise classes.
There are Switch Playgrounds in New York City, Cape Town, Menlyn Maine, Bryanton, Greenside and now Sandton. Sandton, the newest Switch Playground, is the only Switch currently that has the Switch 90 class and there is just one Switch 90 class a week.
It’s R180 per class, BUT there are numerous packages which allow you to go to more classes for less.
Switch Playground Sandton is located inside GO Health Gym. Each class pass gives you one entry to GO Health Gym on the day of the class, with full access to the gym and amenities. Likewise, full Switch memberships at the Sandton branch include gym access to Go Health.
First Timers also get one free class to try it out. Details here
Switch Playground Sandton is located inside GO Health Gym and you have full access to the gym which includes their bathrooms, changeroom and showers.
Wear your most comfortable sweat wicking gym clothing. It’s a high intensity workout that involves both cardio and strength, so make sure you can comfortably move in what you wear and that it is cool (even in winter you will not need layers). A good pair of gym shoes and a sweat towel is a must.
Good for Beginners?
No. It’s high intensity and fast moving. If you’ve just started working out, you may find the speed overwhelming and intimidating. The Switch 90 class is also their hardest class so it is best suited for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
Switch instructors are all incredibly high energy and friendly. They give you a heavy dose of motivation throughout the class and don’t be surprised if everyone high fives you at the end of class. You’ll be too busy sweating to make small talk with fellow switchers though.
Did we mention it’s the only Switch 90 class there is? It was packed. There were a total of 27 stations and each had two people at it, which means there were 54 people in our class.
Male / Female
It’s pretty even between male and female, but if counted we may have come up with slightly more ladies than men.
Very sweaty. I Started sweating within the first 10 minutes and didn’t stop. There are no real breaks so expect to leave in a puddle. I averaged a heart rate of 101, while Feige averaged 120.
We’ve been to a couple of the regular Switch classes before so had an idea of what to expect. However, we always chose the 5.15am classes which were quite a bit smaller than the later 8.30 Sunday class. I had been pre-warned that this class was intense, and it was.
The class started like all Switch Classes do, with a yoga inspired warmup session. It then went straight into the 30-minute aerobic class which is what makes it different to a regular Switch 60 class. It’s a Jane Fonda inspired aerobic workout that involved the use of 1kg dumbbells (you have the choice to choose 2kg, but don’t if it’s your first time) and lots of moves that were basically danced to. Aside from being hard, it was loads of fun and made me want to get leg warmers, a headband and a Jane Fonda aerobic DVD.
Once we had sufficiently warmed up, it was time for the regular Switch 60 session to begin. It worked just like the usual Switch 60 class. The only difference was there were more stations than I’ve seen before (27 in total) and we didn’t go through all of them (we completed 21 stations).
The structure is simple and easy to follow. There are two people per station (if you come with someone, it’s likely you’ll be paired together) and at each station there are two types of moves to do. Each move is done for between 30-60 seconds. The main instructor counts down in 30 second increments and every 2 minutes you SWITCH to the next station. The only exception is the cardio machines (bikes, rowers, steps and treadmill) where you continue for the full two minutes.
The minutes are short but the seconds are long! There are instructors who are on the floor and move between stations to show you what to do at each station, and they do a great job of making sure everyone knows what they should be doing.
It ended with a quick stretch to cool down followed by downing a liter of water. I felt fine after class but the morning after my arms, shoulders and back were hurting! I felt muscles I haven’t in a long time. DOMS is real.
Tips to Know Before Switch 90
Come 15 minutes before class. No one is allowed to enter class 5 minutes after it starts so don’t be late.
Don’t forget a sweat towel. Aside from needing it, you sweat a lot and are sharing machines. Giving your station a quick wipe (especially if it’s mats/cardio machines) is the kind thing to do.
Bring a bottle of water to class. You don’t get actual breaks, but there’s enough time in transition between stations to gulp some down. There is also a note on their website not to bring glass bottles as classes are dark and they can easily get stepped on and break.
Should Anyone Avoid Switch 90?
In my opinion it is not a class for beginners – it’s very intense and moves very fast. While the instructors are helpful and show you the moves, they’re moving between stations and can only show so much in the minute you have to complete a move. If you’re not yet comfortable with exercising, I’d gain some confidence and fitness before trying it out. That being said, it really is a great class for people who are fit and want an added challenge and push.
For more details on Switch and to book, click here
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.