Meadowbank Sports Center has opened: we’re trying out a musical theater fitness class in their new studios

Edinburgh’s refurbished Meadowbank Sports Center took four and a half years to build.

It’s long enough that I can barely remember what it was before. I’m pretty sure it didn’t look like that smart building, with its landscaped gardens outside.

Owned by Edinburgh City Council and run by the Edinburgh Leisure charity, they spent £47million on the site.

Photo: Chris Watt

There is now an eight-lane outdoor athletics track, an indoor athletics track, dance and trampoline studios, a boxing gym, a fight studio and much more.

I try a fitness class, although I have a spy in the immaculate new gym and cycling studio.

Once my bags are in the locker room, I’m in Studio One, which has a stage for the monitor and deliciously cool air conditioning.

While Meadowbank offers all of 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.

Class Work It Out

I’m trying Work It Out – a 45 minute class on a Sunday morning at 10am.

It’s taken by Felicity Halfpenny (or Flick) of Musical Theater Fitness Ltd, and it’s one of their first in-person classes post-lockdown. They drew a group of about a dozen, of varying ages.

I’m probably not their most obvious client, since I’m not a fan of musicals, unlike Flick, who tells us she fell in love with Starlight Express as a child. I haven’t had such an epiphany, but I’m ready to let go of my jazz hands. I’m mostly worried about my lack of rhythm, but there are only two or three pieces of choreography per piece, and modifications for those who flex.

I notice a lot of people smiling in the mirror as they skip around the room. I see my face and I do too.

We dance to songs from SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical. There’s also something of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, and a heavy, punchy hip-hop inspired number to Hamilton’s song Rise Up. Of course, we were to have Saturday Night Fever, with the Travolta-style hip thrusts and pointing to the ceiling move, and there’s a western number, with some hoe-down style moves.

It’s therapy for those who have been traumatized by the movie 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, because I felt the burn in my biceps. We end with some stretching for MJ: The Musical, and I wonder if there are any tickets left for The Lion King. See. They converted me.

Fitness classes of 45 minutes or more at Meadowbank cost £8.80 for non-members, £7 for discount card holders. Edinburgh Leisure currently offers a Summer Pass, with six weeks of unlimited access to their centers for £60. Fitness Class Only subscription at one venue starts from £39.50 per month, www.edinburghleisure.co.uk