About Time: You Left Your Comfort ZoneBy George Pearse
Ultimately we’re all creatures of habit; the same meals crop up on our plates time and time again, we meet our friends in that old familiar pub, and the same mentality can easily creep into a fitness routine. And once the boredom sets in, the results – together with the engagement – tend to swiftly bail out. Leaving our comfort zones, by its very definition, isn’t an easy thing to do. But good things lie in wait once you’ve managed to unshackle yourself from the monotony. Help is on hand from these 4 organisations, who want to free you from the ties of those bad habits, and offer you and your fitness a new lease of life in the process. Do you dare?!…
The Lowdown: One of London’s freshest concepts finds itself located in a old church just next to Regent’s Park. It’s rowing, but probably never as you’ve experienced it before. You’ll be brought fully up to speed on rowing technique courtesy of some passionate and attentive instructors. And then you’ll get one hell of a workout. It’s a whole body approach that will call upon both strength and cardio power – expect the sweat to pour. And then there’s the med-ball slams to contend with. It’s very much in the Barrys or Rebel mould, but The Engine Room have developed methods of working together with your classmates to row together, against other rowers in the class. Those of you with a competitive edge should step right this way.
Where: St Bedes Hall, Off Albany Street, London NW1 4EE
The Lowdown: Full disclaimer: This is the hardest session I’ve done ever. We spoke about comfort zones at the outset. You won’t remember what yours ever was once the Track Life head honchos are done with you. This is the perfect session for shaking up your routine – how often are you going to sprint 5km by yourself in a mix of different interval blocks? Not often, right? Great locations in Battersea and Mile end tracks, community feel and brilliant athletic instruction, this class is more than just a hard workout. It’s developmental. And as the fastest group come tearing past you screaming “TRACK” – your cue to move out of the inside lane – you’ll feel transported to an American high school movie. Your hamstrings can thank me later.
Where: See locations here
Photo Credit: Track Life LDN
The Lowdown: For most people, 90 minutes of yoga in 40 degree heat isn’t their idea of a good time. Which is why you’ve got to get yourself over to Fierce Grace. They’ve got a big variety of classes, which will take you through a classic balance sequence to getting your inversions up to scratch. I’ve found that the heat enables me to sink deeper into the poses and, actually, it provides a proper break from it all – even more so than a regular yoga class. The breath has never been more important as you try to keep your cool as the sweat drips from places you could have never anticipated. If you’re already into yoga, why not try their 30 day challenge? 30 classes. 30 days. Bye bye comfort, hello flexibility.
Where: Locations here
Photo Credit: Fierce Grace
The Lowdown: Braving the elements is a theme of this list. And outdoor swimming is no exception. Hot temperatures inside a luxury studio are one thing; cold ones, soaking wet, outdoors are quite another. London Fields and Brockwell Lidos are two of the finest outdoor swimming spaces that London has to offer. It’s an incredible low impact exercise, which has the potential to build upper body strength, solidify your core and increase lung capacity all within a 30 minute session. Lessons are available for beginners, and there are clubs with lanes which are wide open and ready for those able to swim but looking to really push themselves. I would go as far to say that headspace doesn’t come much better than 30 minutes of swimming. No distractions, just you and the elements. Come on in, the water’s fine!
Where: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Rd, London SE24 0PA and London Fields Lido, London Fields West Side, Hackney, London E8 3EU