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Barry’s Bootcamp (East)
If you are at all into the body beautiful thing, then you’ve probably heard of Barry’s. Well he’s here in London in Euston and in Old Street. They say that you burn up to 1000 calories per session: we haven’t done the maths but we can safely say that this class will kick your ass (into shape). Luckily, you can opt to stick to ‘double floor’ and avoid the Marine-ready treadmills if you want to. Our favourite branch is Barry’s East just a few minutes from Old Street tube: it’s majestic, it’s serious and it’s where we came to get fit in preparation for our Sub-Saharan Marathon. Amenities offered: male/female changing rooms with showers, complimentary MALIN+GOETZ products, Digilock® combination lockers, complimentary towel service, Fuel Bar…the usual stuff.
We loved training with these guys in particular…
Taylor’s physical strength might be a bit daunting on meeting him but he’s a big softie under all that muscle. He has been a personal trainer for many years working with well-known actors in preparation for upcoming projects, fitness models preparing for competitions and any other dream-chaser. An actor himself, James has worked extensively in London theatre and film for the last eight years and brings a dash of performance to every class. He’s a stickler for class structure and offers a mean playlist. Be warned: while a lovely guy, James IS tough. He’ll scream, he’ll shout, he’ll even swear occasionally. But we loved him for his motivational style and no-nonsense attitude. Remember: it doesn’t get easier, you just get better!
Fitness has always played a big role in Anya’s life. Having enjoyed a prolific and successful career in acting, modelling and music (she was scouted by top London modelling agency, Select, at the age of 15), she discovered Barry’s by chance in 2006 when she first arrived in LA: her flat mate, a Barry’s desker, convinced her to try a ‘Butt and Legs’ class and the rest is history. She fell in love and quickly set about becoming a Barry’s trainer, teaching in the LA locations before moving back to London.
Celebrity trainer Faisal’s previous career in acting sparked his passion for keeping fit (you can catch him in Inception, Clash Of The Titans and Get Him To The Greek). However, being part of the Barry’s Bootcamp London crew is, by his own admission, his biggest achievement. Faisal’s infectious energy ensured we left the studio buzzing.
Embody Fitness (Body Transformation)
We tried Embody during spring/summer 2016 as part of an experiment to see if it really did live up to its hype. To be absolutely clear, we paid our own way – we wanted our findings to be based strictly on results.
Put simply: if what you’re hankering for is a complete body and mind transformation of the highest quality and you’re prepared to put in the time, effort and commitment then this is HANDS DOWN the best body transformation gym in London! We can’t shout about it loudly enough. At around £3k it doesn’t come cheap, but it does change your whole perception on what is truly possible when you put your mind to something. It’s based in the basement of a grand office block opposite the Bank of England and as soon as you walk through those doors you sense that something big is about to happen.
In a nutshell: Embody Fitness is a luxury establishment, an Olympic-standard personal training facility located in the heart of the City. They provide personal training facilities and personal training services, coupled with tailored nutrition and physical rehabilitation plans, all aimed at ensuring that their clients achieve the best physical results possible.
These are the trainers that really stood out for us…
Mark was our regular trainer and we loved every second of training with him. He’s a real find and a definite asset to Embody. Mark is an ex-professional rugby player of 14 years, playing premiership rugby for the likes of London Irish before spending four years playing in ProD2 for Montauban and Dax. He recently retired after making a successful transition over to personal trainer, concentrating all his time and effort into passing on his knowledge accumulated in professional sport to clients. This man is awesome and gets on with the job at hand. he’s the BEST personal trainer we’ve ever had the privilege to work with and reckon if you’re in London and you want the best. Mark’s your man.
Greg’s huge enthusiasm for life – health and fitness, in particular – rubs off on anybody he comes into contact with. He has dedicated his life to the health and fitness field and has become something of a specialist in nutrition. We remember our sessions with him when our regular (Mark) wasn’t around: put it this way, he knows how to make you sweat (all jokes aside). This guy’s extremely good and a fitness model to boot (not that that matters but, y’know, it’s not a bad thing…). We got to work with Greg a couple of times and he kicks your booty and biceps into touch. There’s no room for brain fog with this one. He’s on it!
Sarah was our go-to for all fitness and health related questions, this lady just knows her stuff. Sarah is Embody’s resident Olympian, having competed in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 (even making the 100m hurdles final). It’s almost impossible to meet someone who smiles more than Sarah and she also knows what it takes to reach the top.
This is one of London’s answer to SoulCycle (one of our favourite activities), a class that’s covered extensively in our New York and LA Guides. The Psycle workout is specifically designed to strengthen your core and tone key body parts whilst burning maximum calories. Light hand weights are used to tone the upper body whilst movement out of the saddle increases the engagement of core muscles and raises the heart rate.
Cleated shoes are worn by everyone, increasing the connection between the leg and the bike, engaging the hamstrings and glute muscles resulting in lean, toned legs (and keeps thighs from getting too huge!). The high-energy classes are set to playlists that charge your workout with positivity and emotion. The music helps to push your body and metabolism out of its’ comfort zone in short sharp sessions and tracks are chosen for their strong lyrical content and energy level, not just for the beats per minute.
The mission is simple: to help you forget about how hard you’re working, allowing you to lose yourself and enjoy the session. Our favourite Psycle studio is the one on Mortimer Street: it’s got lots of space and a lovely energy to it. If you’re over from the States and want your SoulCycle fix, then this is a great substitute. Alternatively, if you just love getting fit whilst listening to some great playlists with a bunch of like-minded people, then we highly recommend Psycle, especially in the winter when the lights go low early and you’re in need of an endorphin rush or a dopamine fix.
Ride is at it says on the tin, exactly that. Rumble is their boxing concept and Reshape is their signature high intensity workout. Phew so that’s out of the way, no truly we’ve been fans of 1Rebel since they opened their doors in St. Mary’s Axe and even more so now we’ve been to their Broadgate studio. They’ve changed the game in fitness. It’s very industrial chic and in our opinion feels quite similar in vibe to Barry’s, athough they do refrigerated towels!! Oh yes they do. Their trainers are awesome and our favourite class here is ‘Rumble’.
British Military Fitness
British Military Fitness was founded in April 1999 by Major Robin Cope and Sergeant Harry Sowerby as an alternative form of group fitness training to gyms. The idea was, and still is, to get people of all fitness abilities outdoors training in parks with motivation provided by military trained instructors. While many people refer to BMF as a boot camp, it was never the intention to make BMF in any way intimidating. Instead, the aim was always to give everyone a fun and effective form of training using the highly professional skills learnt in the military. And it’s exactly that.
What’s great about it is that wherever you might be in London, we can pretty much guarantee that BMF do sessions in the nearby park, common or heath. The focus is on fun, despite the hard pace they set and what’s more, it’s suitable for ALL levels of fitness. With over 35 locations in London, we’re partial to a bit of BMF when we need a kick up the backside on a cold winter’s day. It’s a brilliant group work out in London’s great outdoors.
‘She flies through the air, with the greatest of ease…‘ With locations in Union Street, Battersea and Old Street, Flying Fantastic was set up in 2011 with the aim of getting London flying. Kiss goodbye to long, inflexible and expensive courses with punchy sign-up fees and onward payments required. Instead, say hello to flexible class schedules built around busy Londoners’ timetables. If it’s flexibility you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. It’s part of their DNA.
With courses in Ariel Silks, Aerial Hoops, Static Trapeze, Aerial Slings, Aerial Straps, Corde Lisse, Aerial Yoga & Wellbeing, Conditioning & Flexibility, we couldn’t help but go try it out and now we’re hooked. In the past four years, we’ve trained in aerial silks, aerial yoga (of course) and Aerial Hoops. It’s a different kind of training: incredibly hard work and yet it feels like child’s play. A truly freeing experience.
Best’s Bootcamp #BeYourBest
A newbie on the block, Best’s are building the friendliest fitness community in the capital. Their resident DJ mixes new music every day to ensure the tunes are as good as the workout, and their studio is kitted out with full disco lighting so you can party while you sweat. Whilst not exclusive, they do offer the best of the best, from lavender-scented iced sweat towels to high-end beauty products in the changing areas, all included in the price of your class. It’s a luxe fitness experience for everyone.
They’re the only studio in the UK to have ‘FreeMotion Treadmills’ (the same ones used by Orange Theory in the US) with pre-set speeds and inclines to save time and ensure you get more from your time on the tread. They also have a full range of strength equipment, including kettlebells which we love for their versatility. Their workouts also incorporate medicine balls, dumbbells, power bands and the unique ‘Best’s Box’ which is designed to give you the best possible workout experience. Their focus is on correct form and effective effort over beast mode.
Our favourite bit was ‘Best’s Blast Shower’ – a cooling airstream shower which ensures that you’ve stopped sweating before you got dressed (pure genius!). The class was pretty good too, whichever floor space you use, you were able to reach out and touch every single piece of equipment you need for the duration of the class. Handy and efficient.
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