Summer body

Summer bodies are made in spring (or so the sign outside the Heartcore/Blue Cow Yoga studio tells me).

With that in mind, I have been making the most (relatively) of my amazing new ClassPass membership – for all the dirty deets on this amazing fitness extravaganza and my overwhelmingly positive review, click here. BRAND NEW: you can now use ClassPass on your travels to cities with ClassPass – so I may be trying my ClassPass out in Chicago/DC over the coming months!

I am six weeks in and average 2-3 classes a week… which I am quite happy with. I would obviously get more for my money if I made it to more classes but the pass is still paying for itself quite easily considering the classes I have been taking. Here’s a mini-review of some of my faves:

Lower Body Reshape at 1Rebel (Liverpool Street)

Holy shiitake. This place is amazing. Not only are the classes so fantastic but also the facilities are to die for. There are two types of classes: Ride or Reshape. Ride classes are indoor cycling to amazing music and super up-beat teachers (haven’t done one of these yet) and the Reshape classes are a mix of cardio/weights to sweat and tone the most needed areas of your body. They have total body, upper body or lower body Reshape classes – I tried the lower body Reshape class and I literally had trouble sitting down for a few days afterwards – clearly my thighs and butt could use some serious reshaping.

No pain, no gain - or something like that.

No pain, no gain – or something like that.

The one hour lower body reshape class was based on 4 minute intervals of cardio (running on the treadmill) and 4 minutes of squats, burpees, lunges, crunches – all with medicine balls or weights. When our super-skinny, uber-fit instructor told us to grab the 18kg weight (40 lbs) for squats, I thought I was going to die.  But because it is only for a short period of time, you power through and I actually surprised myself quite a bit! I can do it! I can run on treadmills and do crazy lunges with giant weights… if only for a few minutes. My fitness buddy equated the experience to a fitness prison camp with disco lighting and loud music… I would have to agree. But we both loved it (and she has since gone back – twice!).

Chic prison camp.

Chic prison camp.

So the classes are fabulous – so what? Well let me tell you – the facilities are amazing. Like over the top amazing. Heated benches in the locker rooms, GHD straighteners/hairdryers, big fancy lockers, plush giant towels, cool refrigerated towelettes for when you get out of class all sweaty, hair spray, bobby pins, combs, q-tips, make-up remover, literally everything you could every dream of in one fancy schmancy locker room.

1r-ladies-changing-room

Oh, and they have a Roots and Bulbs smoothie/juice bar #diedandgonetoheaven – Bonus – if you take one of their shorter lunchtime classes, your juice/smoothie is included in your class – they have it ready and waiting for you after you get out of the locker room (if you can ever bring yourself to leave that heavenly place). Life changing.

Each class at 1Rebel is pay as you go and will set you back £20. With ClassPass you can take up to 3 classes per month… so there is already £60 of the £79 membership fee paying for itself. If you don’t want to pay for ClassPass and just want to give 1Rebel a go – your first class is £10 as a special introductory offer. Totally worth it.

Barre at Bootcamp Pilates (Old Street)

Have been dying to try barre classes for a while now because everyone in the fitness world has been raving of late about how fabulous it is – and I am a sucker convert. I tried two barre classes at Bootcamp Pilates’ City of London location near Old Street station and the two classes were not quite the same. The first (with instructor Judit) was very good – felt the burn and went home happy after prancing around, bending and crunching. Didn’t really feel anything the next day despite expecting to – was overall a happy bunny.

Pretty accurate depiction of that barre class.

Pretty accurate depiction of that barre class.

Then I went to Lucy’s barre class – totally different. She had us up on our tip toes with one leg in the air bending our leg in ways I didn’t know possible and squeezing our glutes as much as possible. That is the way to buns of steel my friends, I was feeling some serious burn.

This but harder.

This but harder.

Definitely recommend the barre classes – it is a wonderful mix of pilates and ballet with a focus on building long lean strong muscles. The team at Bootcamp Pilates is really great and although their facilities are nothing like 1Rebel (nothing will ever meet that level of amazing), the showers/changing room are just what you need to get ready for work. I am trying out one of their reformer bootcamp pilates classes this weekend so will let you know how that goes!

Beginner Reformer Pilates – TenPilates – City (Liverpool Street)

I had never tried a reformer pilates class before this one and I loved it. I have always enjoyed mat pilates but never really liked laying on a hard floor. This is the perfect alternative. The machines themselves are a bit daunting at first but the great teachers over at TenPilates really put me at ease.

Pulleys and levers and springs - oh my!

Pulleys and levers and springs – oh my!

We worked on abs, upper body, lower body – a bit of everything and I could definitely feel it the next day. I was surprised at how easy it was to catch on to some of the movements and can definitely see how people get hooked on reformer pilates. It is all the wonderful things about pilates (toning, shaping, strength) without any of the pain of laying on the ground. I will definitely be taking more classes here. The class size is quite small (no more than 8 people in a class) and they have classes 7 days a week from early in the morning to late at night – perfect to fit into any schedule.

The facilities are really nice – big mirrors and natural light with high-end products (including GHD blow-dryers and straighteners). And the location is great – right by Liverpool Street station.

Those are just a few of my new faves – I have tried out a few more but these have been the most outstanding ones of the bunch so far. What’s next on the fitness agenda, you might wonder? This week I have another reformer pilates class booked at a new studio near Liverpool Street, dynamic stretch yoga at Frame in Shoreditch, a class at Bootcamp Pilates and Cardio-Lates at Frame.

Also, check out my previously published review of Fierce Grace and my review of Frame (classes at both available through ClassPass – woop).

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss a class I did not enjoy. at. all: anti-gravity yoga. This class was not part of the ClassPass family but rather a complimentary day pass we received from the firm at Virgin Active (Aldersgate location). We took advantage of the spa facilities for the day (Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, pool) which were fabulous (but definitely not worth the super expensive monthly membership fee). But before that, we decided to try our luck in the anti-gravity yoga class. On a Saturday morning…. after a night out… drinking.

Heaven help us.

Heaven help us.

We had a super intense instructor who was making the class difficult as there were very experienced aerial practitioners in our presence. So my fit bud and I were left struggling through the hard stuff… not fun. Also, I imagined it to be very flying and graceful and basically lying in a hammock for an hour. It was not like that at all. We spent the first 15 minutes upside down hanging from our legs…. I could feel the prosecco from the night before gurgling around as all the blood rushed to my head. The instructor had us flipping around and doing all sorts of crazy things – by the end of the class we were so happy it was over. Off to the jacuzzi we went!

I have read amazing reviews about aerial yoga from other fitty mcfittersons around London so I don’t think I would write this off just yet – if you are interested, Carly over at Project Hot Bitch wrote an excellent review just recently, check it out here!

3 responses to “Summer body

  1. I have done ClassPass in Chicago for a few months so let me know if you want recs for when you are passing through. (It’s been amazing, I’m only getting off it now because I want to focus on running more.) Also, Virgin gyms??? Amazing.

    • Yep – Virgin does everything here – cell phones, gyms, vacations, travel insurance. Will check in with you closer to my time in Chicago (mid-October) – would love some recommendations! Also – we should catch up then too!!

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