Whether you’re a runner or a downward dogger, a budding cyclist or have a penchant for parkour, it’s more than likely there’s a class in the capital for you. London’s fitness scene has made some serious gains (sorry) in the last six years, with gyms like 1Rebel and Barry’s Bootcamp leading the takeover of luxury fitness spaces doubling as slick industrial units promising to whip your buttocks into shape.
Post-Covid the choice is greater than ever; if burpees aren’t your cup of tea there is a plethora of low-intensity workouts to choose from, from thrashing around in a pool doing “aqua aerobics” to 15-minute belly breathing. So without further ado, put down your toffee apple and head on over to some of these shiny new classes ready for your September reset.
Lagree at MAD Lagree Studios
Despite being named the top workout on ClassPass last year and boasting a list of celebrity fans that include Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian and the Duchess of Sussex, there’s been no licensed Lagree studio in London — until now. In June, entrepreneurs and fitness gurus Mona Halawi and Nour Abu Hamdan opened MAD Lagree Studios, bringing Hollywood’s favourite workout to Chelsea’s King’s Road. Revolving around a similar machine to pilates, it relies on the bodybuilding method of time under tension which removes all time-outs from the workout. Don’t worry though, even though you’ll spend most of the high-intensity workout shaking and sweating, its low impact nature has made it a popular alternative to workouts like HIIT.
Introductory offer of three classes for £60, and a £340-a-month fee for unlimited classes, letsgomad.com
Aerial Loops at GYMBOX
Undoubtedly one of London’s trendiest gym chains, this year GYMBOX has upped the ante with its class offerings. The newest addition, currently available at their Farringdon, Old Street and Victoria gyms, offers a unique conditioning session, working with two long cotton-covered straps hanging from a single point to make wrist locks to hang from, pull up or wrap around. The class offers a unique conditioning session, combining flows, spins and aerial skills with a savage upper body and core workout, making for an entertaining way to build strength using just your bodyweight.
Monthly membership starts from £40 a month, gymbox.com
Sanctum at St John’s Church
If you’re looking for a truly unique fitness experience, look no further than Sanctum. A Dutch “mindful movement” recently imported to London, the classes are mixture of a therapy session and a regular workout. In a cavernous, candle-lit chapel, participants don noise-cancelling headphones blaring music and encouraging words from the instructor. A session sees a combination of the familar – sit-ups, mountain climbers, burpees – and the unconventional – interpretive dance and spiritual chanting, intersperesed with snippets of speeches by Alan Watts, the man credited with bringing the tenets of Zen Buddhism to Western audiences. Designed to “unlock human potential” and reach “physical edge and mindful euphoria”, the classes apparently often move people to tears.
Prices from £38.51 per session, wearesanctum.com
Karve (Transformer Pilates) at Karve
The latest string in High Street Kensington’s ample fitness bow, Karve is the place to go for Pilates fans looking to up the ante. The Transformer Pilates studio is a vision of slick black equipment, glossy mirrors and exposed brick, inspired by a downtown New York loft. Karve’s first signature 50-minute class is essentially a reformer Pilates class but taken to the next level: expect to sweat and tremble through isometric holds, pulses and core work designed to “karve” and elongate muscles. Every class ends with a meditation to fire up the mind-body connection and get you into a state of high-functioning zen.
Prices start at £35 for one session, karve.club
Full Body Circuit at Circuit Society
Circuit Society is the latest brainchild of Shane Collins, the mastermind behind KOBOX and former Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp. After 15 years of expertise in the industry Collins devised his Full Body Circuit class, a body-conditioning “micro class”, with a focus on small groups and intimate instruction (that sounds saucier than it is). The 45-minute class is perfect for anyone looking for an intense full-body workout, burning up to 850 calories doing a mix of cardio and HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training). It might sound gruelling but each class is tailored to individual abilities and designed to be up to 80 per cent lower impact than traditional HIIT classes.
Prices start at £20 for a monthly membership, circuitSociety.fit
Bodyism Sculpt at Bodyism
West London fitness mecca Bodyism has long been the go-to haunt of matcha-sipping yummy mummies and perfectly coiffed Instagrammers — for good reason. If you’re in the market for a perky derriere their new Sculpt class is just the ticket. It focuses on smaller muscle groups and strengthening your core through a mixture of isometric pulsing, dance and weight training. The class has been designed by a former Tracy Anderson Method coach (Gwyneth Paltrow’s superstar trainer) of 12 years, psychology graduate Deanna Brash, aimed to bridge the gap between science, spirituality and the arts.
Monthly membership starts at £130 a month, bodyism.com
Powerride 2.0 at Third Space
The behemoth of luxe gyms, Third Space recently launched a new spin class to add to its already overflowing menu. Essentially spinning on steroids, the Powerride 2.0 class sees everyone is put into teams that compete with each other to win “the race” and perform strength challenges, including cranking your resistance up and pedalling as fast as you can to a backing track of some seriously hefty beats. You can track your position in the race on a virtual leaderboard, but luckily no one can tell who’s who so you can channel your repressed inner Bradley Wiggins (or not) in relative anonymity. This is the perfect class for spinning aficionados who want an extra challenge or to push through their PB.
Prices start from £210 membership fee for a month, thirdspace.london
Evolve at KXU
The crème de la crème of Chelsea’s gym circuit and beloved by Made in Chelsea castmates, KXU recently added a new 50-minute full body workout class called Evolve to its menu. The mixed intensity class gives the signature HIIT class, The Games, a run for its money. But unlike The Games, Evolve is more focused on body conditioning, fusing a mixture of strength training, stretching and stints on the airbike to create lean muscles and burn serious calories. But be warned, there’s always a cardio finisher, so we recommend visualising your post-workout protein shake to help get through that final round of burpees.
Prices start at £26 for one class, kxu.co.uk
Versaclimbing at BXR
As you can probably tell from the name, BXR is all about boxing, but they also have a few other snazzy classes. One has become particularly popular in the last few years - the Versaclimber. This high-intensity cardio workout uses state-of-the-art machines which mimic the feeling of climbing: expect to burn hundreds of calories and feel it everywhere. And this autumn, BXR are letting you get competitive with it, launching The Vertical Mile challenge - challenging members to climb a mile in 40 minutes. Each climber is equipped with a Bluetooth touch screen meaning you can record and save workouts, and watch how you progress week on week. Surround sound and LED strip lighting, plus a killer playlist, gives the class a fun, immersive feel too (and helps distract from the pain).
Prices start at £30 for non-members, bxrlondon.com
Reformer at Psycle
The boutique London spin and barre studio, which has just opened its fifth location in Victoria, has become a cult favourite among the Reformer Pilates set. Currently only available at the Oxford Circus studio, the super-charismatic Psycle instructors lead you through 55-minutes of honing and toning on state-of-the-art reformer beds to a sound track of infectious pop music. Expect to shake dramatically as you are guided through a litany of high intensity holds and weight bearing designed to strengthen your core, back glutes and legs muscles. Head of Reformer Pilates at Psycle, Matt McElligott, describes the session as “an opportunity to build mental resilience”.
Prices start at £25 for one class, psyclelondon.com
Hybrid at Foundry
Since opening the first outpost in Vauxhall, Foundry has inspired cult-like devotion thanks to its hardcore classes and community-first approach. With Hybrid, which recently launched in all outposts (as well as Vauxhall, they’re in Bank, North Kensington, Richmond and Old Street), they’re dialling the intensity up even further. Expect a circuit of short intervals where you will work at peak intensity, switching between bikes, rowers and gym tools like kettlebells and dumbbells. It’s not for the faint-hearted, though the trainers go in for a fun and friendly approach, rather than a military style drill. You’ll burn calories but leave smiling (and possibly trembling).
Prices start at £20 per class for non-members; foundryfit.com
Climbing at Parthian
The last few years has seen interest in climbing skyrocket, and with around one million people in the UK now taking it up regularly, it’s certainly here to stay. Parthian Climbing have just opened their first centre in London, with a range of classes for all ages and skill levels. From newbie sessions and private tuition to social clubs, the new state-of-the-art facility has it all, as well as being the only site in the UK to feature an exact replica of the Olympic bouldering wall which will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Matt Page, PT and climbing instructor at Parthian, says: “Climbing is full-body, and you don’t have to come up with a long list of fancy exercises that target them all, just climb.”
Monthly membership starts from £60, parthianclimbing.com