January 8th 2019
The best new fitness classes for boosting mind, body and mood
September 5th 2018 / 0 comment
From sunlight simulating spin to drop-in meditation studios, these feel-good classes are certain to give your mental and physical health a helping hand in the winter months
With the days getting longer, colder and darker, keeping fitness motivation levels high can seem like an impossible task (anyone else feel like hibernating under a duvet until next April?). An extra dose of encouragement is needed and it comes courtesy of an incredible new line-up of classes from some our favourite workout hotspots.
From a stadium-style spin studio to a twist on trampolining and ‘Parachute Mode’ treadmills, there’s something for every fitness level. Here are the new workouts that you can expect to see trending at home, in the capital and nationwide.
If you love a spin class, you’ll love FirstLight Cycle. Five years in the making, it uses simulation technology to mimic the sun’s natural rays to provide you with a ride like no other.
Featuring 68 bikes and a huge state-of-the-art 30ft widescreen, displaying backdrops from Africa, Manhattan, Rio, Ibiza and Dubai, it’s impossible to zone out.
“We’re revolutionising cycling workouts and wanted London to be the first city to discover our fully immersive experience,” says founder and celebrity trainer Mark Anthony. “When it came to designing the perfect studio environment, we’ve gone for something radical. You’ll be working out in a darkened room, your senses heightened and focused on the task.” Options include riding through dawn, the light of midday, or through evening light, watching it slowly fade and helping your body produce sleep-enhancing hormone, melatonin. Two further studios, focusing on boxing and Muay Thai with live streamed classes, will open later this year too.
We could all do with a little extra light in the winter months, and this new spin class could provide just the solution.
Launches in Westfield London on the 17th of September. A pre-launch offer of £20 for two rides is available. Book at firstlightcycle.co.uk.
If you’re looking for a workout that can help you acquire a new skill, NUK SOO by Dan Roberts could be for you.
Featuring exercises inspired by the worlds of martial arts and calisthenics (drawing from Dan’s experience as a kickboxer in Thailand), the 90-day program has been carefully constructed to get body and brain fighting fit.
Alongside GIFs to illustrate proper form, you’ll also find tips on technique and each move’s benefits listed to ensure you get the most out of your experience. There are three levels of difficulty available, zero equipment is needed and no martial arts experience is required plus, each exercise is accompanied by a bonus video, explaining how it can be applied for self-defence or competitive fighting.
danrobertsgroup.com. £90 or a payment plan of three monthly installments of £39.99 is available.
Meditation in the city
How does unwinding in a meditation pod sound? Thanks to Inhere, the fantasy is set to become a reality for stressed out city-dwellers.
Launching later this month, the pods will come equipped with everything from comfortable seating to headphones (with connection to Inhere meditations) to provide the best possible environment for a peaceful meditation practice.
Another mind-boosting studio on our radar is Re:Mind, whose London-based studio offers drop-in meditation sessions ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. From its Re:Breathe rebalancing class to its latest addition, Re:Wild, a session that encourages participants to channel their inner animal to help them feel more connected to the natural environment, there’s something for every level. New member five session packs are available for £35.
Say hello to FLY LDN, a new opening that brings two major fitness trends into the spotlight: immersive exercise classes and LIT training, i.e. low impact training, to help you achieve your fitness goals without putting unnecessary pressure on joints and muscles.
Its programme includes immersive Vinyasa yoga classes complete with a giant screen displaying cinematic visuals, (think Himalayan mountain ranges one minute and crashing ocean swells the next), as well as five-person workouts designed by a physiotherapist and CrossFit coach, to help participants build muscle tone through the use of weights and TRX-suspension stretching.
Another low impact find in its schedule includes a Pilates, barre class which incorporates balls and resistance bands to help improve posture, balance and flexibility.
A visit here looks like the perfect way to relieve stress from both body and mind.
flyldn.co.uk. A £10 first time introductory offer is available.
If you’re time-short, Third Space has the ideal option for you - it’s called Formula3 and is set to launch later on this month at its new energy efficient City club.
Designed to get you fit, fast, the 45-minute high intensity class consists of three targeted blocks to provide a full body workout. First, cardio on Concept2 rowing machines; secondly, strength using kettlebells and dumbbells; and lastly, athletic power and speed with bodyweight exercises.
The new club also has some great features to make your experience all the more environmentally-friendly including: an advanced water filtration system to reduce the need for plastic bottles, a heat recovery system that reuses 75 per cent of the heat produced elsewhere in the club and heat pumps that are auto-regulated and react to demand rather than always being on.
thirdspace.london. Memberships available from £96 per month.
The new trampolining
Take your workout to new heights with Kangoo Jumps, a high-flying 45-minute all-over body cardio workout that combines dancing, running and jumping Tigger-style on a pair of ‘Kangoos.’
What are ‘Kangoos’ exactly? They’re ski-like boots connected to egg-shaped springs designed by Canadian physiotherapists for rebound exercise. They’re more than just a style statement though, they reportedly also help you burn up to 1,500 calories per session too.
gosweat.com. Classes cost from £10 via GoSweat.
Pilates meets Coachella courtesy of Equinox’s new music-led Pilates Remix class designed to help keep sunny festival vibes going a little bit longer. Don’t be fooled by its summer soundtrack though, it’ll definitely make you sweat thanks to its grounding in the six key principles of of Pilates (centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow) and introduction of a new piece of core-strengthening equipment called the lo-ball.
As the sole prop used in the class, it’s hugely versatile - you’re able to stand, lie and prop yourself against it. So far-reaching is its appeal, that it’s even being used in the club’s barre classes moving forward too.
“All exercises flow seamlessly with the music and are choreographed to a unique mix of genres and artists - expect a euphoric festival-style playlist,” comments Nicole Petitto, Senior Manager of Group Fitness at Equinox and creator of Pilates Remix. “You'll feel enhanced concentration, mindful movement and body awareness during this unique Pilates format.”
Launches at the end of September at Equinox Kensington and E by Equinox. Memberships start from £210 per month.
To reap the full spectrum of boxing benefits, book into the new SweatBox class at boutique club, Sweat by BXR.
The workout consists of a two-part format addressing strength and stamina: on one side of the room, you’ll be able to improve your boxing technique by hitting a punch bag. On the other side, you’ll boost fitness levels by using plyometrics and conditioning drills using repetitive sets of familiar, simple and effective exercises on the floor and on boxes.
“Sweatbox has many benefits over some of the standard circuit-based workouts out there as we spend as much time as possible focusing on just a few exercises and doing sets of each, trying to get the most out of each movement,” says James Pisano, Fitness Director at BXR London. “Without any repetition or progression, there aren’t many physical benefits of exercise, which is where circuit style workouts can often fail. The new SweatBox class at Sweat by BXR, like everything we do at the studio, is based around developmental workouts and a progressive weekly schedule.”
bxrlondon.com. Four Sweatbox sessions are available for £40.
Activating ‘Parachute Mode’
This new treadmill based HIIT concept is guaranteed to kick your cardio up a notch (and then some).
Newly incorporated into all sessions at functional training studio, Sweat It London, it’s a step up from a bog standard run. “The Parachute Mode on our treadmills pushes users harder, encouraging them to use their legs to power the treadmill and also engage their core for the ultimate strength and cardio workout,” says Melissa Weldon, Head Trainer at Sweat It London. “It’s a game-changer, it can be used by anyone from athlete to novice and forces users to power the treadmill themselves, rather than rely on the treadmill belt, which can be programmed to certain speeds.”
It cleverly merges resistance with running in the same piece of equipment. “Working in Parachute Mode creates power and speed, allowing the user to work at their highest intensity and take them right out of their comfort zone,” highlights Melissa. Whether you’re looking to tone, gain strength, build lean muscle mass or train for a specific sporting challenge, it feeds a variety of fitness needs.
sweat-it.com. Classes start from £16 a session and there’s an introductory offer of £30 for three classes too.