Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Best Fitness Classes in London (and Leeds)



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It’s no secret that I love working out, and as much as I love going to the gym and motivating myself, I really don’t think you can beat a fitness class. There’s something about fitness classes that motivates me so much and honestly makes me feel like I’ve never pushed so hard. I turn up, don’t even think about what I’m doing, let someone else guide me and within 45mins to 1 hour, I’m done and I can get on with my day as someone is doing the thinking and the planning for me. I just have to get myself there and then move. You know what they say, you never regret a workout. Today I wanted to write about my favourite gym classes in London (and some in Yorkshire for good measure, because I split my time between the two), there are SO many fitness classes in London I am yet to try but these are my top fitness classes in London so far.
Please note: some classes featured were/are gifted press events/PR classes 

Blaze - David Lloyd (clubs across the country, I like Leeds + Harbour Club best) - Blaze is the hardest but most amazing and rewarding class ever. Blaze was designed by David Lloyd and I’ve been doing it for over a year now. I try to do it at least 3x per week and honestly, it never gets easier which I love because a gym class should be challenging, every single time. Sometimes I dread doing it because I know it's going to burn but you cannot beat the endorphins afterwards. So what is a Blaze class? You can do a 45 minute or a 55 minute class, you then have 3 stations, strength, cardio and boxing and do either 3 or 4 minutes per station until you’ve done 9x stations in total. If you're doing a 45 minute workout, you'll do 9 minute rounds and if you're doing a 55 minute workout, you'll do 12 minute rounds. Each workout varies, so you could do lunges in the strength one round and then squat jumps the next. It never gets boring, it goes so quickly because there's so much going on and it’s a full body burner. One thing I'd say though is I love how organised the class is, I've been to some HIIT classes and they're a bit all over the place but there are large screens throughout the class which have count down timers on to keep you on track and the instructors are amazing at telling you what to do. I sweat so much from Blaze classes and I feel my whole body burning, it's the kind of stuff I would never push myself to do in the gym, unless a PT was watching over me. The good news? You can do Blaze all around the UK so I do my classes in London and then back at home in Leeds, I know they also have Blaze in Harrogate and York too now at David Lloyd clubs. I love Rachel, Mark, Becky and Lois' classes at the Leeds David Lloyd and Andy and Chloe's classes at Kensington Harbour Club. I am so loyal to these classes and so happy to hear they’re rolling out the Blaze studio at so many David Lloyd clubs. It’s such a great way to make your body burn all over and improve your fitness and strength. On a side note, I have to say, David Lloyd Leeds is such a phenomenal club with the most incredible instructors. I'm addicted to their classes! 
Kobox - (Chelsea and Baker Street) - I love Kobox, particularly the new Chelsea studio, it’s incredible. I started going to Kobox over a year ago and my love for it grows every time I do a class. I absolutely LOVE boxing and I love just standing and smashing the bag. Kobox classes are great if you love boxing and sweating, you basically do different boxing sequences and then mix it up with floor strength work too. I find Kobox classes so much fun and never boring plus the trainers are phenomenal and really know their stuff about boxing. I've done so many Kobox classes now and I've never had a bad instructor, they motivate you so much and you can tell they're the creme de la creme of boxing trainers. My boxing skills have gone from zero to 'wow, she can actually box' after practicing at Kobox classes. I feel so much more powerful. A Kobox class is broken up into boxing and then floor work (so it could be jump squats, push ups, lunges but it changes every session which means you get a great full body workout), it depends on the instructor but sometimes you can be on the bag for 4 minutes flat or sometimes longer but you change the sequences all the time meaning you're working on new skills and torching different body parts. I love Kobox because you get to do so much boxing, I also love the end when they let you do 'beast mode' or just your own thing, you can really empty the tank! I feel like Kobox is so good for your mental health because you can channel any negative energy or thoughts into the bag. There’s also a gym upstairs now in Kobox Chelsea called '13 Training', although I’m yet to try it, I’m desperate to book in for some 1-2-1 pad work after falling in love with Thai boxing on my recent trip to Koh Samui. I'd love to spend a solid hour just smashing some pads! I noticed Kobox now do a refer a friend scheme too (such a good way to reward their loyal customers!), you can sign up to Kobox here through my refer link.

Cardio Sculpt + Total Definition - One LDN (Fulham) - I have tried out these classes as my personal trainer, Chris leads them. I'm not a member of One LDN but wish I was so I could go to more of Chris' classes. If I did my David Lloyd Blaze class followed by a Chris class I'd be probably at my fittest! Firstly, Chris is an incredible personal trainer and his classes reflect this, so if you can't get in with him for private sessions, popping to one of his classes is an alternative (you can book classes as one offs so you don't need a full membership which is handy if you're in the area). I always leave feeling super sweaty and energised. You've probably seen me doing these classes on my Insta stories! I tend to do a Cardio Sculpt class followed by a Total Definition as they're both 30 minutes each and they compliment each other perfectly. The idea behind 'Total Definition' is to sculpt, tone and burn the body, it's a gentle, low impact workout and you feel the burn, think hardcore pilates with lots of pulses, squats and lunges... hello full body definition! With this one you don't need to be jumping up and down, the burn speaks for itself. I feel my glutes burn like never before as it really gets deep into the muscles. Cardio Sculpt is the sweaty class, with Tabata intervals, think high intensity reps with a short rest period. It's a good express workout with intense cardio and strength training if you can't fit in a full hour class.

Rowbots - (Fitzrovia) - I know if I lived closer I'd go to Rowbots every single day. I'm considering doing more meetings in Fitzrovia so I have the excuse to do a Rowbots before or after each one! Rowbots is a completely new kind of workout, if you didn't guess by the name, a water rower is heavily involved. Rowbots is such a different yet still equally brutal workout. It's arguably lower impact than treadmill workouts as you're doing the majority of it on a rower so you're not putting as much impact on your joints. It was only my second rowing workout and it's so different and sweaty. My body finds treadmill work hard, but I'm used to the pain, a rower is a totally different ball game for me fitness wise. It's something I want to get better at and apparently the rower is really good for toning. The classes work every major muscle group and you move between rowing intervals and floor intervals using weights. Another thing I love about Rowbots is the fact they massively push the idea of mental health when working out, this workout is designed to be for your body and mind, with both body and mental conditioning. If you are wanting to try Rowbots, you can currently get unlimited classes for one whole week for just £25, I might sign up myself haha!


Rhythm Cycle - David Lloyd - (Various clubs) - Rythhm Cycle is David Lloyd’s answer to Soul Cycle. As much as I love a hardcore spin, I also love anything pilates based too so for me, Rhythm cycle ticks those boxes. You walk into a dark room with two candles lit at the front of the bike, clip yourself in and you're good to go. The first 20 or so minutes are hard spinning but to a beat, you lose yourself in the music entirely and the structure is all in line with the music. Half way through, you do an arm toning track which provides the legs with a much needed rest bu actually is a great way to torch the arms, something I wouldn't ordinarily train. After this break, you're ready to lose yourself on the bike again. I find Rhythm is such a feel-good workout with great music, great vibes and I leave feeling really positive and ready to face the day ahead. It puts my mind in such a good space as the instructor I go to on a Monday always talks about gratitude. For me it's Rhythm is still intense but it's really different and more calming than doing an intense 45 minute spin and it really makes my mind feel great. 

Engine Circuit - One LDN (Fulham) - Another class Chris leads and I had to mention it separately because it's such a good one. I haven't been to an Engine Circuit for quite some time but wow, I need to go back. Engine is a full body, calorie-burning workout with minimum rest and maximum sweat. You push yourself through each circuit against a clock, including pushing, pulling, rowing, cycling, sprinting, jumping - you name it, it's there! It depends on the day but it can vary from 30 second rounds to 1 minute rounds and you basically just keep going until you've smashed the whole class! This is such a good full body burner and you can feel it torching your body. It's great for endurance and working every part of the body.

Versa Climber - BXR - (Marylebone) - This is the perfect class for any cardio bunnies. I was invited to an event here with a brand and have wanted to go back ever since. I'd never used a versa climber before and I absolutely loved the endurance and sweat of this class. This is incredibly high intensity and I'd describe it like running and climbing at the same time. It's the weirdest but quirkiest workout and it's so different to anything I've done before. 

Paola’s Body Barre - (Fulham) - My friend Tess introduced me to Paola’s Body Barre and I'm so grateful. It's definitely the best barre/pilates duo class I've ever done. I find these classes low impact but they have maximum burn and energise me so much. The method Paola and her trainers use just torches the tiny muscles you usually don't feel. I feel like my glutes and inner thighs are on fire and for me, it's really nice to mix up my HIIT with something like this as I know it's so good for my pelvic floor, my posture and my mind too. PBB is designed to elongate, isolate and target muscles in the entire body, for a lean, toned, aligned, strong body and trust me, I feel it. I've been to Danniella C, Georgie + Paola's classes and they've all been fantastic. Georgie's Monday morning class is amazing with the best energy and I leave with the best shaky legs because I've made my glutes shake so much. It's a very good burn. If you see the name Georgie Spurling on any barre class, you know it's going to be a good one! She teaches at Bamford too which I need to try (or you can sign up to the GS Method and do her workouts at home too, would highly recommend). I've tried a lot of barre classes and nothing makes me shake like a PBB class. I just wish I had PBB membership so I could go multiple times a week but I treat myself once in a while to classes here as they're worth every penny.

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Move - Market Halls - (Fulham) - I went to Move at Market Halls a lot when they first launched but I haven't had the time to go back for a while, nonetheless, the classes are really different and worth a try if you're after a completely different type of HIIT workout. I've been to Christian's classes and he's such a good instructor. These classes are intimate and for once, in a really gorgeous, bright studio rather than a busy, dark class. I've done the primal fit workout and it's designed to focus on breathing and movement to begin with (imagine an animalistic workout) then moves into a mix of kettlebells and cardio, so you use the ski machine (which is so good for getting a sweat on) and the bike. You can just let go and feel free. I feel like if you go full pelt on the cardio round of this you'll get maximum benefit, I think it's so important to be in tune with your body and to also minimise injury so the start of the class is a gentle way to get into your HIIT, you end up working out for a shorter period than other HIIT classes but if you max it out during the workout period, you're sure gonna be sweaty. If you're after a different kind of HIIT, this is for you (plus they do a great brunch downstairs afterwards!) 

Reformer Pilates - Pilates Squared - (South Kensington) - I was lucky enough to be invited to do a 1-2-1 session at Pilates Squared recently and it was incredible. I learnt from the master of reformer pilates. Reformer pilates is such a peaceful way to workout, incredibly low impact but you can feel your abs and glutes burning. I'd love to go back and do this more as I think it's such a good way to tone the body. 

Pilates In The Clouds - (Kensington) - If you get the chance to go to a Pilates In The Clouds class with Lauren, take it! It's the most beautiful studio I've ever been to (and by appointment only too), you literally do reformer pilates in the clouds and Lauren is an incredible instructor. These classes are super hard to get into though as Lauren is massively in demand so keep an eye out on her Instagram @pilatesintheclouds to see when she's open for new clients! You'll feel so calm after working out with the most incredible views! 

Sufferfest - David Lloyd - (Leeds) - I couldn't not mention Sufferfest. I'm writing this after just getting out of a class at David Lloyd Leeds and honestly, they have the best spin class instructors. I've been doing spin since I was at University so it's been a fair few years now and I find it is such a good workout. I can put myself on a bike, zone out, listen to the music and just cycle. Sufferfest is for keen cyclists, rather than a dancy, fun spin, it's just hardcore cycling but I'm mentioning it because if you're after a challenge, this is the spin class for you! I do also do normal spin classes at David Lloyd (they're called group cycling) if you're after something with good tracks and a good structure but Sufferfest is for you if you want to feel sweat like you've never felt before!

Phew, so there we have it. My top fitness classes in London and Leeds. One thing I'm always asked is about going to fitness classes alone, if I don't go with Matt, I'm usually alone! Going to the first one is the hardest then once you've got that out of the way, you'll feel like a regular so give yourself that push to go to the first class (or make someone come with you) and then you're good to go! Usually places do trials too so you can at least go for a week and get into the swing of it and then you'll be a pro in no time. Remember, it's really good if the classes continue to be challenging, even a year on like Blaze! You want your body to keep being challenged and not know what's coming!

Lots of love, Em x

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