I like to do things in extremes. Like, either I’ll be addicted to the gym and train *all* the damn time, or I will roll around in piles of chocolate and Haribo Tangfastics and Pizza Hut (stuffed crust, obviously).
The last few months have seen me hitting the gym again preeetty damn hard and I don’t know what I was doing before, tbh. One way of summing it up is: “‘I really regret that workout’ said no one ever.” And it’s sooo true. If only we could bottle our endorphins so we could remember just how awesome it feels to be going to the gym on a regular. Because the thing is it’s far more than just our bodies which improve in the process (although that’s for suuure a bonus) but our minds and our moods, too.
I’ve mostly been training with personal trainer Ali Malik who launched London’s Fit Labs and he has been so brilliant in terms of understanding what it is I’m after, what my body can do / look like and how to get the best out of me during our training sessions. A few months in I can already very much see a transformation in my body, and in how I feel.
I also enjoy switching up our training with at least one gym class a week, and there are some truly great ones all around London. I’ve rounded up some of my favourite below…
Lol that I’ve put this as number one because the first time I went to Barry’s Bootcamp I actually thought I was going to die but I kind of feel like that’s the whole point. You don’t die and it makes you feel freaking superhuman because of it.
Dark, dimly lit with a red glow, mirrors on all sides and energetic, pumping music, the space manages to bring out of you your very best attempt because, at the end of the day, the only person you’re actually competing with is yourself and the staring matches you / I have had with myself in the mirror as I’ve pushed myself far beyond where I thought I could go have been pretty epic.
The 60-minute class is broken down into four ten- to twelve-minute segments, two of which are spent doing interval training on a treadmill, the other two performing floor exercises with weights. During a single Barry’s Bootcamp session, you can expect to burn up to 1,000 calories and the workout is designed to help you burn fat, release stress, and work towards a leaner, harder body.
Actual gym memberships are so over. Core Collective on High Street Kensington offers pay as you go sessions for their classes which include circuits, spinning, TRX, yoga, pilates, stretch and sculpt. I’ve tried their circuit and TRX classes so far and have absolutely loved them. The TRX is my favourite and also the most intense, where you use your own body weight on the TRX to sculpt and strengthen. I also really enjoyed the Velocity class which is 45 minutes packed with HIIT circuit training, although you do have to pair up for the class which I always find a bit daunting.
The space itself is also gorgeous with really nice changing rooms, too and a cafe upstairs which serves delicious shakes and healthy options. Great seating if you wanted to take your laptop and turn it into your workspace for the day, too!
Xtend Barre brings in elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create a workout that’s a lot harder (and more fun!) than you might expect, strengthening, lengthening and chiselling your body in the process. You will deeefinitely feel the burn after the 45-minute class, which aims to enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenge the core. It doesn’t hurt that it improves your posture and firms up your butt, too!
There are a bunch of Xtend Barre studios around London (and the US!), including their flagship in Marylebone. I always really enjoy doing barre classes as they are low-impact and easy to adjust to any fitness levels, and the benefits are well-documented.
Another low impact class I’ve loved for a while is Vita Pilates, and I always notice a difference when I go in terms of it lengthening my body. I actually get a little bored when doing pilates and I’m not really a fan of yoga so this form of pilates is peeeerfect because it turns pilates up a notch using reformer beds, blending interval cardio and strength training with elements of Pilates, using not only your own body weight but weights, too.
Okay so it looks a little like a fetish, torture room upon first entry but stick with it and you’ll no doubt love it too.
Seen On Screen Fitness
I was recently invited along to a Seen on Screen Fitness dance class where we learned choreography to a Tupac track to celebrate the release of the ‘All Eyez On Me’ DVD. It was so.much.fun and such a good way to get some cardio done while not even realising that you’re working out because you’re having such a good time!
The teachers have all danced with some of the best in the biz including Beyonce, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera and they put together super fun dance routines that count as a work-out, too! Some of their upcoming ones include a Pussycat Dolls class which I *really* want to go to as well as a Britney Spears ‘chair’ workout which sounds absolutely brilliant.
Do you enjoy working out? What are some of your faves?
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