If you've been to one of her classes or fan-girled over her many Instagram reels, you'll know Hattie Grover is a lover of no-limits and a bit of a sucker for sky-high spinning. When she's not contorting herself (or our members) into the wildest shapes in Aerial, she's busy teaching in our Rhythm, Strength and Sweat categories too, all whilst bringing energy as high as her hoop. Our blogger Kat had a chat with Hattie to find out what her go-to playlists are and how she got to hanging upside-down for a living...
So Hattie, you’re an instructor at Gymbox as well as an aerialist. How long have you been working at Gymbox and how did that come about?
I’ve been with Gymbox for five years now which is crazy! I literally feel like part of the furniture!
It was actually Hester (Gymbox’s incredible aerial master trainer) that got me to audition for Gymbox. I was signed up to her CircusFit Flyers Level 1 course which she runs out of Gymbox.
We instantly hit it off and she assured me that my experience in dance, fitness and soon-to-be aerial would be a great fit for Gymbox. Needless to say, she couldn’t be more right! I’m so grateful to her for pushing me and referring me for an audition. Thanks Hester!
What led you to wanting a career in fitness?
Movement is my medicine and it was always going to be a part of my future, but being a fitness instructor was never the plan. I started dancing at the age of three and continued to study it at college and university, so the goal was to make a living dancing professionally. Breaking was (and still is) one of the dance styles I’m super passionate about. In hindsight, I believe the intense physical demand it required from training is what prepared my body for the fitness industry.
A few years after I finished uni, an opportunity came up to audition and become a Nike Training Club Trainer. Of course I grabbed it with both hands! As a result, my best friend and I began teaching a regular boot camp class on Clapham Common and I was blown away by the infectious high that radiated around the group at the end of each class.
I got to witness our community of regulars grow in ability, strength, stamina and confidence each week. So I would definitely say that’s when a switch clicked for me…I could get down with this fitness stuff! A few years later, I started my Gymbox instructor journey and that was it!
One of the things I adore about Gymbox is the way it completely encompasses how multifaceted fitness is. It has something for every side of my fitness personality, be it dance, aerial, sweat or strength. Who knows, maybe I’ll add spin to that list soon!
How did you get into aerial and how long have you been doing it for?
Well, the first time I tried it was a week before I signed up to Hester’s teacher training CircusFit Flyers course!
I went into it quite confident because of my breaking background, but let’s just say I was very quickly brought back down to reality. I don’t think my body has ever felt so heavy before! If I wanted to get any good, I knew I would really have to graft and put in the work.
One of the things that really motivated me to stay persistent was watching other instructors and aerialists lifting, pulling, pushing and bending their bodies into shapes that I was mesmerised by! It was a whole new world and I couldn’t wait to throw myself in head first.
Can you tell me more about High with Hattie?
Of course! High with Hattie is my new company that specialises in private hire aerial classes for every occasion in groups of up to 22.
Over the years, I’ve taught lots of private aerial classes for birthdays, hen parties and work events. I love it! From seeing the nervous look on peoples faces when they first step into the studio and see all the aerial apparatus hanging from the ceiling, to that look of sheer joy that could light up a room when they achieve skills they didn’t know they had in them. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough as an activity to take part in for a celebration and that’s why I launched High with Hattie!
Aerial can be for everyone! Believe me, I even managed to get my dad (who’s 59) to try it out for the promo shoot. As a result, he’s now a Gymbox member!
My classes for High with Hattie will be based at the beautiful Westfield Stratford Gymbox, right in the centre of retail shops and restaurants.
Aerial classes are an unusual form of fitness that have definitely picked up popularity over the last few years. What benefits do you think aerial fitness has brought to your life and how have you seen it impact those you teach?
There are so many benefits to aerial fitness! It builds strength, boosts confidence, helps posture, lifts your mood, develops mobility and flexibility, improves spacial awareness and coordination, plus…it’s fun!
It’s also super important to note that you do not need to be able to do a pull up before attending an aerial class! The best way to build strength is by doing conditioning in class. I have had the pleasure of witnessing so many members flourish and go from strength to strength! Some were unable to get up to the equipment or hold their bodyweight in the first session. Every journey is different and no timeline to seeing progress is the same.
It’s such a fun, creative way to train that comes with so many benefits. It keeps people coming back!
Please can you tell me how you manage to not get dizzy while spinning around and upside down?!
I think it helps that my favourite fairground ride as a kid was the waltzers! I could never be spun fast enough!
But in all honesty, you build it up over time. The first time I took the hoop on a spin I thought it was like a tornado..then I watched the video back and it was more like a gentle breeze!
You have the studio to yourself and have control over the sound system. What do you pick as your workout soundtrack?
Acoustic, alternative R&B or Soultronic sounds. Basically anything that mellows me out and contrasts the high energy music I blast in class!
What’s your favourite thing about teaching at Gymbox?
The people! They are the best. It’s where I’ve made best friends for life!
Everyone from the instructors, members, staff, cleaners, maintenance, head office, VPTs…you name it. They are the face, the heart and the soul of Gymbox and I get to tour around the clubs and see their beautiful faces everyday!