Want buns of steel? Visit this woman.

I’d like to say that all the Muddy Editors are *ahem* in peak physical condition — and Hero, over at Muddy Bucks & Oxon, has been to try working out with a fitness instructor who’s perched precariously on the Bucks-Herts border.  She’s just about stopped gasping…

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Here is Melissa Scott, a woman with the kind of body tone that you only see on SAS army training programmes and the kind of ‘get on with it’ mentality that lazy knackers like me regard with a wide-eyed wonderment.

I have been trying to get to one of her classes for months and months – honestly! –  but my dodgy back has not been playing the game, so I’ve had to cancel a few times. Anyway, two weeks ago I finally made it, and hats off to Melissa, she’s created a brilliant studio tucked behind on the grounds of lovely Chenies Manor, where in summer she can also take classes in the gardens.

Melissa is often in London – she’s a Sweaty Betty ambassador as you can see by her studpendously cool work out gear and often heads in to various classes and fitness clubs in the city. Thus, she’s brought back a whole heap of ideas to her own studio in the Home Counties, the coolest of which is her neon lighting that can change colour and intensity depending on whether she or one of her team is teaching yoga, pilates, Team TRX, running, barre or mytrainer. And look, it’s well funky, particularly as the studio feels so rural. Not quite the dusty village hall is it?!

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Classes are a maximum of 12, a number that fits comfortably into the space, and on the day I tried a class it was full. It’s pretty much word of mouth around here and La Scott, it is clear, has quite the rep. I watched the TRX session in the morning which is pretty much gym sadism –  stirrup contraptions come down from the rooftop to hoik your feet into while you work muscles you never thought you had, pay your money and shuffle off exhausted afterwards.

This TRX gig is for people with a higher level of fitness so, er, that’s not me at the moment, though maybe next year I’ll give it a go (I said maybe, don’t hold me to it!). I tried the My Trainer class instead, which is uses exercises designed to shock the body into burning fat and strength/lengthen muscles, with Melissa on hand to make sure everyone is using the right technique – the ‘my trainer’ bit comes from the idea that it’s the intimacy and attention of personal training, but in a small group.

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I won’t bore you with the grunts, wobbles and slight cheats that the Muddy body performed over that next 50 minutes, or how much of the class I lamented forgetting to bring a bottle of water with me. I will tell you though that if you find yourself in South Bucks you’ll be doing your body a favour going to see Melissa. You can pay as you go on the classes which I like, and her vibe is very positive, knowledgable and a teeny bit bossy in the way you want your fitness instructors to be – you’ll have a work out whether you like it or not!

It’s worth underlining that this space is a studio rather than a club so it suits those who want to dip into a class and then get on with their busy days, rather than those who want a more fitness club experience. That’s a personal preference, but I will say that whether you’re part sloth like me who needs encouragement, or someone who is superfit but wants increase fitnesss and strength further, you’ll be well looked after here.
Melissa Scott, The Old Dairy, Great House Farm, Chenies, Rickmansworth, WD3 6EP. Tel: 07973 449919. melissascott.net

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hertfordshire