What it Feels Like to Burn 4000 Kilojoules in One Hour in a SWEAT1000 Class

There are smoke machines.

If you follow any local Instagram celebs for #fitspo, chances are you’ve seen a story of them sweating (but, like, in a hot way) on a treadmill while dance music blasts in the background in a room that kinda looks like a Lazerquest arena, complete with smoke machine. It’s a gym/workout/lifestyle called SWEAT1000, and if you’re into fun, high-intensity workouts directed by an instructor wearing a clip-on microphone, then you need to try it out.

I came across SWEAT1000 while trying to figure out how Nadia Jaftha has all that ass and all those abs. As someone who spends most of their time at the gym thinking ‘I hope no-one notices that I have no idea what I’m doing on this bike machine’, the idea of someone telling me exactly what to do for a whole workout really appealed to me. I tried out a SWEAT1000 class and this is what went down:

What is SWEAT1000?

SWEAT1000 is actually an acronym for Specialised Weight Endurance Athletic Training and the 1000 indicates the number of calories (about 4000 kilojoules) you burn per session (previously I thought it was called that because you sweat a lot, like times a thousand). Each one-hour session involves a combination of treadmill action and aerobic exercises on the floor with equipment such as weights, bosu balls, benches and more. Warning: you might get so sweaty that holding the weights becomes difficult and one flies out of your hand while you’re doing this squatting-while-weight-lifting move, only just missing the supermodel in front of you.

Your instructor will be buff AF and have a microphone through which they shout instructions like ‘Okay, let’s take that incline up to 20 degrees on the treadmill now!’ and ‘ARE YOU HAVING FUN, SEA POINT?!’. There is also a DJ (yes, really) playing what I imagine Skrillex sounds like to keep you feeling hyped for the hour.


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What goes down in a session?

I was totally intimidated when first arriving. It felt like everyone was either a professional model or BFFs with each other and knew exactly what to do with their gym bags. But my panic was short-lived. If you’re new, your teacher will personally greet you, then take a few minutes before class to thoroughly explain how your treadmill works and how the class will run (and show you where the lockers are). Their treadmills are the fanciest ones I’ve ever seen and boast the ability to go to a 30-degree incline (most stop at 15-degrees). Did you know that when you walk on a treadmill that’s tilted to anything over 18 degrees, you burn three times as much fat? Shook.

The class is divided up into five-minute sets. You spend five minutes on the treadmill, then five minutes on the floor, and repeat until you die the class is over. While on the treadmill you’ll be instructed to adjust your speed or incline every 30 seconds or so. Sometimes you’ll be giving it your all, sometimes you’ll be doing what the teacher calls ‘recovery’ but is just slightly less hectic running. Three different difficulty levels are called out (beginner, intermediate or advanced) so you get to choose how hard you want to push yourself. Although I’m pretty fit, I rated myself a ‘beginner’ to be safe and have no regrets; it was killer.


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Once your time on the treadmill is up, you’ll get to run to a mat on the floor where you can chillax into some burpees or the plank or whatever exercise your teacher demands of you. My teacher was Paul, who was easy to like and respect because of his infectious energy and because he has more Instagram followers than me . Props must be given to the DJ, too, for playing extremely energising music that complemented the workout and made you feel pumped. Also, unless I was hallucinating, there was someone in the room who kept going ‘WOOOO!,’ to keep our morale up, I assume, and it worked.

You get very sweaty and very red-faced. I’m sure the guy in front of me who I’d made eyes with before class began left wondering where the cute ginger girl he’d flirted with earlier went and when did Po from the TellyTubbies manage to sneak in?

Okay, so that sounds hectic; why would you do this?

OMG, it’s so much fun! Using the treadmill or doing squats alone at the gym is so boring that I can’t bear to do it for more than 20 minutes at a time. One of the best things about SWEAT1000 is it’s impossible to get bored. The classes are different every time you go, so you never know what to expect. And every five minutes you move from your treadmill to your mat to switch things up.

Not only are the exercises varied but there are also so many distractions in the class to keep your brain engaged. One minute the blinds are up and you’re looking at the beautiful view of the ocean, the next they’re down and there’s a smoke machine going off somewhere in the room. The blinds went up and down a lot. I don’t know what the meaning of that was, but thinking about it kept my brain distracted from the fact that I was running the fastest I’d ever run on a treadmill.


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And the aftermath?

Immediately after class I felt next-level euphoric. I left the studio feeling like a skinny legend who’d just lost 4000 kilojoules and looking like I’d been lightly boiled. The next day I was stiff but not unbearably so.

Find out more about SWEAT1000 and find your closest studio here (your first time is free if you’re a South African resident!).

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