About Time: You Tried London’s Best Alternative WorkoutsBy Francesca Brooking
Do you instinctively recoil at the thought of going to the gym? Do you find going for a run mind-numbingly dull? Maybe it’s time to shake up your fitness routine and discover the fun side to exercising. From dance classes to virtual reality treadmill apps, we’ve got you covered with London’s best alternative workouts. Exercise will never be a chore again thanks to these alternative fitness classes and experiences in London:
The Facts: If you’re looking to do a marathon with a twist we suggest marking Sunday 8th September 2019 in your diaries because Run Bacchus is returning for another year. It’s a marathon like no other as you can run, jog, walk your way around Denbies Wine Estate (England’s largest vineyard) while tasting wines along the way. Exercise and wine, what’s not to love?
Why: Participants have the option to take part in either the Full-Marathon, Half-Marathon or the new 10km ‘Bacchus Lite’. The 26.2-mile two-loop course is dotted with five ‘refreshment’ stations where you can sample a selection of wines. Expect fancy dress, stunning vineyard views and fun activities for the whole family. Even better, it’s a great alternative way to get fit.
Details: Tickets for the Full and Half-Marathon are £50 and the new 10km Marathon is just £30. Entrance for the children’s event is free. Runners will also be greeted at the finish line by more wine and a post-race hog roast. Get your tickets here.
The Facts: At last, a fun fitness activity you can do from the comfort of your own home! All you need is the Zwift app and a Bluetooth treadmill or RunPod to enter into the world of running and virtual reality. Join marathons, races or even meet your friends for a run without even leaving the house.
Why: Formed in 2014, the Zwift app already has 1 million members and it’s taking the running world by storm through revolutionary global group runs, dynamic training plans and intense interval sessions. Join the future of treadmill running and race around the world from your home or at the gym.
Details: The virtual training app is free to download on Android and iOS systems and can be easily connected to a Bluetooth treadmill or Zwift’s own Bluetooth RunPod for just £29.99. You can buy it here.
The Facts: Electrical Muscle Stimulation training (EMS) is an intensive 20-minute whole body workout favoured by the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Alessandra Ambrosio and Georgia Toffalo. It’s designed to make your body fitter, leaner and stronger without demanding too much of your time.
Why: Ideal for those who are short on time and want fast results, a 20-minute EMS session is the equivalent of 2 hours at the gym. It works by providing an external stimulus via an EMS machine to help you target muscles you might otherwise struggle to affect during a normal exercise routine.
Details: Based in Hammersmith, Surge Fitness is the only bespoke EMS personal training studio in London. It costs £55 per session with a one-month membership or £49 per session with a three-month membership. You can also get a free trial session. Book or get your free trial here.
The Facts: Achieve ultimate peace at Fly LDN’s new Chill Yoga class. Set against cinematic visuals in a state-of-the-art yoga studio, this yoga class is guaranteed to cleanse your mind and body after a long day at work.
Why: This unique yoga experience takes place against a backdrop of dark candlelit scenes which complement a spine-tingling playlist to help you find your ultimate zen state. One of London’s best alternative workouts – it’s the after-work tonic you need.
Details: Based in Aldgate, Fly LDN’s Chill Yoga class takes place every Monday and Thursday evening. Prices at Fly LDN start at £10 for your first class. For more information visit their website here.
The Facts: Shake up your fitness routine with a ballet barre workout. Fun, fast-paced and deceptively challenging, these workouts strengthen your core, build cardiovascular stamina and help tone your muscles. Classes are open to anyone and you don’t need to have had previous dance experience to join in.
Why: This boutique exercise studio occupies the first floor of a beautiful red-brick building. Classes run 7 days a week and remain small ensure that you receive the perfect level of personal attention. It’s a completely different exercise experience and you will never want to return to a tedious gym again.
Details: Barreworks is the UK’s leading barre studio. Based in Richmond, it is run by expert Vicki Anstey. Book your barre session here.
The Facts: Ever wanted to bust some moves while getting fit? Step on down to Santhosh Dance to learn a whole host of Latin dances from the Cha-cha-cha to the Salsa and even the Rumba. From personal to social classes there’s something for everybody and any level. It’s a great way to pick up a new skill while exploring an alternative fitness routine.
Why: Dancing has been proven to make you happier and healthier. Founded by ex-barrister Samiya Noordeen, Santhosh Dance encourages you to have fun while burning off those calories. Be sure to check out their Cocktail and Conversation events which are held regularly throughout the year.
Details: Santhosh Dance offers a range of dance classes in their Mayfair and Notting Hill studios. Classes start from £15 or £150 for 10 weeks. Sign up to any two 1-2-1 and get 10% discount on term rates. For information on how to book visit their website here.
The Facts: Mont Blanc is the newest addition to F45’s sports-specific workouts. Designed to mimic particular movements a skier would practice for a high-level event, this workout will improve your cardiovascular endurance as well as strengthen your balance, coordination and flexibility.
Why: A challenge for all levels, F45 is a gym experience like no other. Step into a 45-minute session of sweat-dripping, heart-pumping fitness as you work your way around a mixture of circuit and high-intensity interval training exercises geared towards everyday movement. Music keeps you moving, F45TV keeps you motivated and instructors are on hand to guide you every step of the way.
Details: Find your local F45 Studio here and sign up for a membership or free trial. Hybrid workout classes take place on Saturdays so it’s advisable to check the schedule and sign up in advance to secure your place!
The Facts: Sweat It London’s newest fitness class PACE sets the standard for treadmill workouts. This 50-minute session will put your endurance to the test while strengthening your body and stamina. PACE is guaranteed to shock your foundations and build your mental toughness. Be prepared to sweat it.
Why: Hailed by Tatler and GQ as having the best fitness classes in London, Sweat It London promises to push the boundaries of your endurance to make you physically and mentally stronger. Their PACE classes ensure that you will never have to work out by yourself on a treadmill again.
Details: You don’t need a membership for Sweat It London in Holborn. Instead, you can book individual classes here. PACE classes usually start at 11:30 on Wednesdays and run for 50 minutes.
The facts: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is the fastest growing watersport and you can do it right here in London. Give your core and muscles a workout as you learn a fun new sport on the water. A great fitness activity for all ages, SUP gives you as much or as little workout as you want.
Why: Stand Up Paddleboarding offers a unique way to workout in the fresh air. If you find yourself getting a taste for exercising on the water then Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre does kayaking and windsurfing too. You can even try your hand at sailing!
Details: Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre has 1-day beginner SUP courses for £113. Courses run on Saturdays and Sundays. They also offer recreational sessions for £25. Book here to start your session.
The Facts: Socialise your fitness routine by joining your local Rabble session. Their immersive and adrenaline-fuelled games make you forget that you’re even working out at all. From Capture the Flag to British Bulldog their team games are open to all no matter what level of experience you have.
Why: Fancy playing a game in the park with your mates? Rabble makes that a reality. Exercise is disguised as social games so it’s an ideal activity for those who need a little encouragement to get fit. After your session, it’s often customary to get to know your teammates with a drink in the pub.
Details: Rabble class prices vary by location but they’re extremely affordable. You can even get your first Rabble session free by using the code ‘FREEPLAY’ when booking. Simply visit the Rabble website here to find your local session and book onto the game of your choice!