How Clubbercise fitness craze is taking over Scotland

Jane Bradley joins in with the regulars at a Clubbercise class at Murrayfield church hall in Edinburgh. Photograph: Ian Georgeson

Jane Bradley joins in with the regulars at a Clubbercise class at Murrayfield church hall in Edinburgh. Photograph: Ian Georgeson

It is the latest exercise craze to follow the likes of Zumba, Boxercise and spinning.

Now the generation who grew up to the sounds of the likes of Candi Staton can recreate the clubbing memories of their youth – while getting fit at the same time.

Clubbercise classes across Scotland – from Dumfries to Kirkwall – are packed out, with waiting lists of up to 50 ravers wanting to combine exercise with glow sticks and disco balls.

The classes – held, like any exercise classes, in church halls and community rooms – take place in the pitch dark, with music ranging from 90s classics to the latest chart hits. Glow sticks are handed out to participants and disco balls add atmospheric lighting.

The idea was the brainchild of Claire Burlison Green and two friends, who wanted to incorporate an exercise class with the feeling of a night out and popular music. The franchise, which now has more than 2,000 trained instructors UK-wide, won the Fitness Brand of the Year award at the first annual National Community Fitness Awards in November.

Burlison Green said: “We’re thrilled to see how popular Clubbercise is in Scotland – people here have totally embraced it. I think the reason people love the classes so much is that it’s exercise in disguise – it feels like a night out with your mates, but thankfully you won’t suffer a hangover the next day.

“What’s more, Clubbercise is totally accessible and inclusive in that you don’t have to be a brilliant dancer to attend a class; you can relax, enjoy yourself and burn a good few calories at the same time. It’s a healthy way to socialise and enjoy yourself.”

Julie Nisbet, who runs Clubbercise classes in Edinburgh, has a long waiting list for her popular twice-weekly sessions.

The vast majority of her clients are people who were teenagers in the 1990s – many of whom now have children and are unable to hit the town on Friday nights – who want to use the class as a chance to let go, but also burn off some calories.

“It’s like a night out without the hangover or the cost of a taxi home,” said Nisbet, a high school modern studies teacher. “I really try to create that party atmosphere.”

Nisbet previously worked as a Zumba instructor and switched to Clubbercise last year.

“I had to take a break after an injury, and when I wanted to start up again I heard 
about Clubbercise and thought it sounded great,” she said.

She took part in a training course and set up her first class.

“I first started doing one class, then I found the waiting lists were enormous, sometimes as many as 100 people, so I started a second one in the week.”

Primary school teacher Rachel Quinn, 40, from Edinburgh, has been attending Clubbercise classes since last year.

She said: “I used to love clubbing when I was younger and it was the thought of being able to come out like this and not having to wear heels or having a hangover that appealed to me.”