Hi all 🙂
I’m super excited to be sharing my official fourth Discovery GemZone post with you all on this sunny Friday! Today, I feel inspired to share with you the gems London has to offer in regards to the ‘F’ word we all love to hate, hate to love, or just love to love…that’s right, we’re talking about fitness today!
For those of you who have read some of my previous blog posts, you’ll know that I have discussed my relationship with fitness and I have even already dedicated a previous post to my favourite classes in London. However, since then, I have adapted my approach to the types of exercises I go for and have added in some new classes as well. I now feel like I have found my stride in regards to the classes that work for me and my body, and with Discovery GemZone being a public space I have created to share my favourite things with all of you, I think now is a better time than ever to update you all on which exercises I’m opting for these days 🙂
Before I start, there are a few important things to know about my approach to fitness, and how it influences the exercises I go for:
1. Strength, stability, and flexibility vs. cardio, shredding, and dreading: There was a time, even up until the earlier part of the year, where I was convinced that exercise would only be effective if it was hardcore with someone shouting through a siren: ‘go hard or go home’. I would go hard…and then I would go home and get a migraine. After having tested (far more than necessary) whether cardio was triggering my migraines, I finally accepted the nasty correlation. Now, I opt for classes that do not require me to be jumping on my feet (e.g. pilates or barre), but that also allow me to build the strong, lean, and healthy body I’m aiming for. These exercises may not help me lose weight as quickly as a HITT class, for example, but fitness is a journey after all and no ‘quick fix’ is worth the price of a migraine.
2. Classes vs. the gym: I simply don’t gym anymore. I just don’t enjoy it, and I’m not a self-motivated person when it comes to machines (e.g. I’ll aim to ride the bike for 45 mins but will become bored after 15). I find that classes are much more motivating as I enjoy the group environment and there are great teachers out there who genuinely want to help you.
3. Consistency, variety, AND development: Once I find a class I love, I thrive to go consistently as I look forward to adding it into my routine and it becomes a hobby vs. a chore. The more I consistently do these classes, the healthier I am becoming, which is what I’m after. I also like to consistently go to the same classes with the same teachers, and the more they get to know you they are able to help you with your goals and will intensify your exercises as you become stronger (hence you’re not plateauing into a fitness regimen where you can no longer improve). Whilst I have my favourite classes and teachers, I go to the same teachers but from multiple different studios as they each have their own approach and teach different exercises, so I’m ensuring to get variety into my regimen.
All the three points combined really boils down to one simple point: fitness is about listening to your body. Choose the exercises that you enjoy and don’t force yourself to do something because you assume it will help you reach your goal faster, when indeed it is hurting your body!
Without further ado, here are my favourite fitness classes in London:
If you’re a complete beginner to the reformer, and have no fitness experience or are looking to slowly build your strength again after some time off, Ten is the place to start.
I had always been curious about giving reformer pilates a go as it kept popping up in film, television, and my Instagram feed more frequently. I was equally apprehensive however as the machines were completely foreign to me and my interest sparked during a time where I was just beginning to exercise again; the moving ‘bed’ struck me as something far too alien and where I could easily injure myself.
Quite the opposite happened, and I am so happy to have discovered Ten on ClassPass as it was the best introduction to reformer that I could have had, and it ultimately made me fall in love (no, seriously) with reformer pilates as it is my favourite form of exercise. It is no wonder that the studio is so highly rated by ClassPass goers, as the quality of the class and extensive knowledge from the trainers shines through.
Found across London (including Notting Hill, Fitzrovia, and Farringdon), the Ten studio has a distinct approach from its competitors in that it splits their reformer sessions into three training levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. During my first session as a complete newbie, I was given a complete introduction to the reformer and how it works, and the instructor was equally encouraging and corrective in regards to my posture when partaking in each exercise. I have been in beginners classes for nearly 6 months but I am still progressing as there are always options to adjust the difficulty of each exercise, dependent on your experience and strength level, which the instructor will always advise.
Ten has been the places that has truly allowed me to regain my confidence in regards to my abilities and strength, and I feel my body getting leaner on a weekly basis because of it.
Single class £27 | Intro offer 4 classes for £50 | Unavailable on ClassPass | Full prices can be found here
With studios located across West London (from Kensington to Hampstead), Heartcore can equally boast about it’s superb quality of instructors and facilities as much as it’s competitor Ten does.
A recent addition into my routine, Heartcore does not divide its lessons into levels, which is why I’m glad I begun my reformer journey with Ten. Whilst the instructors are just as lovely, encouraging, and corrective, I would advise refraining from Heartcore as your taster session if you go into like I did with no experience and little to no fitness endurance.
That being said, the instructors really do preach what I’m all about, which is listening to your body. So there is no pressure if there is a move you can’t do or if you need to reset. I find Heartcore classes far more challenging than Ten, so I opt for these when my body feels it needs a more rigorous workout.
Heartcore has the distinct advantage over Ten of only having a maximum of 6 reformers in a studio, whilst Ten has…you guessed it…ten.
Single class from £18 to £23 | 3 for £35 | Buy one get one free | Available on ClassPass | Full prices can be found here
No other class has activated and fuelled my core as powerfully as LDM has.
Two separate classes, Sculpt and Refine use different equipment (varying from weights to resistant bands for your arms and legs), but both classes set out to to target, tone, and strengthen individual muscle groups through isometric exercises.
You may hear ‘sculpt’ and ‘refine’ and raise your eyebrow (I did): what is that exactly? In less fancy terms, these classes are a combination of everything you learn in Pilates, Barre, and Yoga.
The ab exercises are unmatched, and I the burn you get from it is the kind you have a love-hate relationship with, because it is bloody difficult but you can feel your abs developing as you do them so you become motivated to not give up!
The boutique studio is currently only located in Fitzrovia and Muswell Hill, and I’d recommend giving this a go if you’re looking to take your toning and leaning goals to the next level!
Single class is £28 | Various May saver and first time offers | Available on ClassPass| Full prices can be found here
This trendy studio can be found across London (from Hampstead to Moorgate), and quickly gained pop culture status due to its celeb aficionados.
No, this isn’t the happy hour you may think about where you drink cocktails at the bar, we’re talking about B-A-R-RE, the kind that gives you elegantly defined and toned body of a ballerina.
As you attempt to balance yourself (un)gracefully on the barre on your tip toes, whilst squeezing a rubber ball between your thighs, your legs will begin to quiver uncontrollably which can be hard to get used to but just keep reminding yourself that the shakes means its working!
Beyond the kick-ass joint friendly exercises in each barrecore class, this studio has become a favourite of mine due to the booming soundtrack each instructor always provides (music is so important for me in terms of motivation and how much I enjoy a class!).
So there you have it! My favourite fitness class in London 🙂 Any queries or feedback, feel free to sound off in the comment section or drop me a line below!
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