Did you look in the mirror on New Year’s Day, only to be met by something you didn’t recognise? Not the ‘you’ you remembered, but a puffier person that resembled the stuffed turkey you scoffed for three whole days after Christmas? I certainly did. I used the 1st (and maybe the 2nd…) of January to ween myself off the chocolate (one Quality Street at a time), but now I’ve got those ‘New Year, *kind of* new me’ vibes (and when I say ‘new’, I mean the same, only less full of cheese). The high-levels of motivation won’t necessarily last long, but while they’re here, we might as well put them to good use. These workouts aren’t easy (I’ve tried and tested them all), but they’ll certainly make you feel incredible – afterwards. Not during. During, you might cry.
When you walk into Psycle (there are studios in both Canary Wharf and on Mortimer Street) you’re instantly impressed, because it’s just so cool. Think bright white walls, high ceilings and lots of space. The Energy Kitchen was cooking up a nutritious storm when I arrived, so it even smelt delicious. A big neon sign reading “Let’s Do This’ lures you towards the spin studios. Before the class started I got into my spin shoes (if you haven’t walked in them on the ground before, it ain’t easy) and waited around outside for the earlier group to finish. Now I know exercise releases endorphins, but everyone left that studio with the biggest grins – they were throwing high fives; some were dancing; they were all dripping with sweat, but they’d all clearly had a great time in there. Prior to this, I don’t think I could ever imagine myself leaving a spin class quite so happy. But then I hadn’t been the Psycle before. They’ve have discovered a magic recipe for exercise; the lights were low, the music was blaring, the playlist was exactly right and the instructor, Kevin, was extremely motivational. He made you feel like you were the only person in the class – focusing on the ‘self’ and your own goals – but at the same time made everyone feel as though we were working together. Euphoric sounds a bit dramatic, but I might have to use it. The workout was tough – it worked out the entire body, using weights and other moves to work your arms and core – but I was somehow smiling through the entire thing! I’d definitely recommend to everyone – especially if you don’t think you like spinning.
2. Barry’s Bootcamp
The concept behind Barry’s Bootcamp is high-intensity intervals, incorporating sprints and climbs on the treadmill and teaming them with body-focused floor and bench work (I took the Arms and Abs class). The group is split in two, so while one half is running, the other is on the floor and then you switch each round. A little word to the wise – don’t wear light grey leggings. I left Barry’s looking like I’d wet myself. I hadn’t (not that I knew of, at least…), but it was a combination of the choice of activewear and sweating profusely. I’d also unknowingly stumbled into ‘Hell Week’, which meant it was even tougher than usual. The class was full and there was a varied mixture of guys and girls with different athletic abilities – which was great! Connor, the instructor, was fab. He made it extremely personal, knew everyone’s name (even mine, the newb) and encouraged everyone to push themselves to their individual limits. And I mean personal; there’s no one difficulty fits all – everyone’s given a choice of difficulty level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) while running and lifting weights. The environment makes you want to seriously challenge yourself – and you feel bloody invincible once it’s over. If you give Barry’s a try, just think of the tasty smoothie at the end (they whizz up a nutritious menu at the bar in the lobby).
P.S. Barry’s have a fab January membership offer, starting at £192 for 12 classes in 30 days. You can find out more here.
3. BOOM Cycle
Similarly to Psycle, BOOM Cycle offers a full-body work out on a bike, which incorporates weights. And, sweet lord, didn’t I know it. At one point I was pumping those weights so hard that I thought my arms would drop off (in a good way?). The class was different to Pyscle in that it was less ‘euphoric’, more ‘let’s kick some serious ass’. The music boomed, the candles were lit and there was a focused buzz around the room. It was fast-paced throughout and the surges were intense, but the instructor, Sophia, was with you every step of the way. She’d sometimes sing along with the track, which, at first, make me want to sing along too… But I swiftly realised I had no breath to sing along, because, ya know, my lungs were otherwise occupied with helping me spin the life out of my legs. BOOM Cycle felt like a more female-focused class (this could have just been the session I went to), but there was lots of girl power in the room. The class I went to was in their Shoreditch studios, but they also have them in Holborn. For London, BOOM’s prices are also affordable. 1 Ride is £16 if you buy on its own, but if you buy in bulk, the cost reduces.
In a similar vein to Barry’s, 1Rebel’s RESHAPE pushes your body to its limits through a combination of treadmill sprint intervals and climbs, along with floor work and weights. My body was screaming. It’s pretty dark in the studio (you can see what you’re doing), which is a slight relief. Not only does this allow you to focus on yourself, but it means no one else can see you squirm (although you can definitely sense that everyone’s suffering just as much as you are). I went to the St Mary’s Axe studio, which was amazing – the interiors had uber-cool industrial warehouse vibes and the changing rooms were decked out with all of the toiletries you could ever wish for. St Mary’s Axe is also home to the Blow Bar, so you can book yourself in to get your hair done and leave looking even more fabulous than when you went in. What I love about 1Rebel is their work hard, play hard attitude – I mean, they opened a Bellini Bar in the gym! Yep. Exactly what you deserve after 45 minutes of pain. 1Rebel also run other classes – RIDE (spinning) and RUMBLE (held in Broadgate), which has a boxing focus.
5. Metabolic LDN
Absolutely smashed it!!! Amazing first session of the guys @interchangeldn – well done to all who came and worked their butts off!! #fitness #fitfam #fitbod #fitnessaddict #health #boxing #healthychoices #gym #strongnotskinny #fitnessblogger #eatclean #training #fitblog #nutrition #protein #fitnessgoals #fitnessmotivation #metabolicldn #fitlife #hiit #squats #blogger #ripped #strong #bootcamp #calisthenics #streetworkout #workout
A photo posted by METABOLIC LONDON (@metabolicldn) on
The man behind Metabolic London, Lawrence, specialises in bodyweight HIIT training. Burning more calories than a long run, the magic of HIIT workouts is the ‘afterburn’ – your body will keep burning fat long after the workout has ended. You have to keep this is mind during the workout, so you push yourself even harder. Metabolic London’s HIIT classes are designed for all fitness levels – although the intensity may differ, everyone does the same exercises. It creates a seriously great energy in the group and helps everyone dig deeper for a little more. For more information check out Metabolic London’s website. Secret London are teaming up with Metabolic to bring give you a little push in January… Stay tuned!!
6. Centric: 3Tribes – WARRIOR
This sweat den in Crouch End opened up in July 2016 and has since been busting some serious North London arse. The studio has 3 rooms specifically designed for the types of classes they run: Warrior (HIIT), Rider (spinning with an optional 50/50 split with yoga) and Peloton (spinning in a race format). I tried my luck at Warrior. Like both Barry’s and 1Rebel Reshape, it involves treadmills, sprints and hill climbs and floor work, but it also incorporates TRX. This type of intensity and variation proves to be extremely effective – you’re meant to burn 1000 calories in an hour – and it certainly felt like I did the job! At 3Tribes, I also felt like I had a bit more space in comparison to the others. The instructor, Melissa, was everything you’d want to keep you going – upbeat, positive and clearly a machine herself. She wasn’t afraid to push the class to their limits (which is why you go there, right?). If you’re up for a real challenge, they also hold Tribathon classes, which incorporate a bit of each class in 90 minutes. Check out the website here for more info.