I first heard about Touchstone when an email hit my inbox from Jack, a trainer there. I thought it was spam at first, but when I saw it was about a “Health and Wellbeing Centre” right near my work it piqued my interest. So in October, with our France tournament looming in January, and a cancelled membership to Pure Gym I decided to give it a try.
Nestled inside the maze of the Boots Beeston estate in the D60 building – an imposing 1930’s creation with fantastic features sits this little ‘pod’. They don’t market themselves as a gym as such, because they aren’t. The equipment is state of the art and specifically designed for health and sports performance. I can’t describe it better than they describe it themselves:
“Touchstone’s vision is based around developing a simple trilogy of combining physical wellbeing with social interaction & mental stimulation.
The Touchstone ‘pod’ as it has been termed, brings together three world leading equipment providers in a union, the likes of which, is the first to be seen, anywhere in the world. The pedigree of Touchstone’s Fle-xx and eGym equipment is unquestionable with clients ranging from the prestigious Hurlingham Club in the UK, extending to over a thousand sites across Europe. MIE FitQuest (also based at Medicity) provides the medically based assessment equipment which is used by the RAF, NASA & the Royal Navy.”
Alongside the Fle-xx Pilates based muscle lengthening equipment (great for those of us with seated jobs!) they have 8 machines creating a complete total body circuit. But these machines aren’t like anything you’ve used before. If you like tech and gadgets – they are super exciting. After a set up session with one of the trainers, the machines remember your personal settings – no more difficult trial and error seat adjustment! A strength test determines your maximum single rep for each machine, and sets your reps accordingly on the sophisticated electromagnetic resistance technology. No manually adjusting your weights!
When you come to do your set on each machine the display shows a white dot, and a line with peaks and troughs to follow. As you preform the exercise you try to stay inside the line which means you are correctly doing an optimum rep each time.
For me this was super attractive because I know I can go to Touchstone, do a couple of circuits without having to think – “What weight am I currently using? How many reps and sets am I doing this week?” etc.
But that’s not all! What they also have is two clever machines to measure your progress. The FitQuest machine tests your athletic ability giving you scores out of 200 for things like balance, explosive leg power, speed etc. They also have the Bodytrax machine which measures body composition. Finding out what you are made of can be fascinating!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my last 4 months at Touchstone and I thought it would be really useful for my other team mates so a few harlots and their partners decided to come and get tested and shown around the pod.
Roller derby is so full of different strengths it was no surprise that the array of results was incredible. Everyone came away with at least one result that they were very pleasantly surprised with. Setting a baseline and knowing what your existing strengths are can be really motivating.
As a plus size skater I’m very heavy, however, my muscle mass is off the charts, and this sits me in the solid build category which is very encouraging. Since joining Touchstone my muscle mass has gone up and my fat percentage has gone down. Weight loss is not a goal of mine, and I made that clear to the trainers from day one. I just want to be fitter and stronger and I can see that progression in my results.
My only criticism of the system is that I would like at least 1 cardio machine for warms up and to increase my cardio fitness, but who knows what might happen if they expand in the future?
If you want something a little different to your average gym, if you LOVE technology and are spurred on by numbers. Give Touchstone a try!