Keeping fit has never been easier.
Long gone are the days when exercising meant forcing yourself to slog it out on a running machine for 45 minutes or do a stale aerobics class. With boutique studios and creative fitness classes popping up across the UK with impressive regularity, we’re inundated with fun, sociable and exciting ways to workout.
But with so much choice, how do you know where to start? Which classes are actually good and which ones are just passing fads?
We’ve made it our mission to try out as many of the trendiest workouts on offer in London, and here’s our verdict.
Flykick is an innovative new workout class that fuses an intense HIIT workout with kickboxing. The workout is split into several sections, speeding up the tempo in some parts and slowing it down in others so that you can make it to the end of the class feeling like you’ve worked yourself as hard as humanly possible. The instructors at Flykick are all experts in their field and will keep you motivated until the very end. Most importantly, this class is an absolute blast. We loved putting our bodies to the test and picking up a new skill at the same time.
It’s yoga, only in an insanely hot room. And yes, it’s very sweaty. The idea is that the temperature increases your flexibility, helps the body release toxins and helps promote mindfulness. In practice, however, it’s a struggle to hold a downward dog when your hands and feet are sliding down the mat thanks to all the sweat. In my opinion, you’re better off with a standard vinyasa flow – at a normal temperature.
Australian import F45 is one of the fastest growing fitness chains in the UK. The F stands for ‘functional training’ and the premise is simple – there’s a different 45-minute workout each day of the week, some strength and others cardio-based. It’s supposed to be an efficient workout, but in reality there’s not a long enough warm-up, absolutely no cool-down, very little instruction on technique and you end up jumping from exercise to exercise so quickly you can’t really get into any of them.
Seen on Screen
Seen on Screen run dance classes – but not as you know them. Led by celebrity instructors who work with the world’s top stars, you can expect to learn the actual routines to hits by the likes of Beyoncé, Britney and J.Lo. You get a brilliant workout without it feeling like exercise, and you’ll leave feeling entirely empowered and awesome.
If you’re bored of working out on the ground, why not take to the sky with an aerial fitness class? At studios such as Flying Fantastic in Borough you can learn the ropes and develop all sorts of new skills, while building strength and improving flexibility. Be warned though – whether you choose to try hoops, silks or trapeze, prepare for your workout to be harder than expected. As well as being challenging, it’s a lot of fun.
You might think you know pilates, but prepare to think again at Exhale Pilates in Chalk Farm. Instructor Gaby Noble teaches pilates in its most true form with the classical pilates class, with clientele including Sadie Frost, Jools Oliver and Harry Styles. Classical pilates uses not just the reformer machines that most people know, but various other scary-looking pieces of equipment incorporating springs and resistance to work the muscles to their peak. Gaby absolutely knows her stuff and I loved learning new ways to engage my muscles.
With studios across the capital, Barry’s Bootcamp has cemented itself as a favourite of celebrities such as, yet again, Harry Styles. Workouts are running-based, with people spending half their time on treadmills and the other half doing resistance work on the floor. It’s divisive though – some fitness fans are obsessed with the gruelling workouts, others find it unpleasant, brutal and overpriced – a single class is £20. If you like running, you might enjoy it. If you don’t, you’ll probably hate it. But at least you can console yourself with a peanut butter shake afterwards. Some people rave about it, but it wasn’t for me.