Long gone are the days where fitness classes were confined to lifting weights, spotting your friends and trying your best to get through the all-important, and equally all-searingly painful, leg day.
Already, non-contact and even non-physically exertive classes are becoming a favourite at some of the City’s biggest gyms. From barre to yoga and through to boxercise, the options are endless.
Equally, if you’re someone who likes to get an uncontrollable sweat on and has the hardcore training time to show for it, whether it’s through spinning, core-training or intensive full-body workouts, there are a number of sought-after options to try.
Here are some of the City's best fitness classes to try out – or make it your resolution to try out in 2020.
BoxCon at 12x3, Whitechapel
Gloves On, Ringcraft, Conditioning – just a few of the names that revered boxing space 12x3 offers to newcomers or seasoned Rocky pros. Founded by former world champion Darren Barker and ex-England boxing captain Ryan Pickard, 12x3 gets its name from a signature workout of twelve three-minute rounds (the length of a title fight), a knockout formula that the Algate-based gym applies to its boxing and conditioning workout, BoxCon. Promising to burn calories, give you a full-body workout, up fitness levels, while being coached by two pros as you go, this class isn’t for the faint-hearted but leaves you feeling strong and steady – and a bit out of breath.
76 Alie St E1 8PZ, 12x3gym.co.uk
Full Body Reshape & Abs at 1Rebel, Broadgate
Rarely does a workout promise to provide “45 minutes of physical and mental intensity”, though rarely does a workout see results quite like 1Rebel’s Full Body Reshape & Abs. Using the chain’s high-end machinery, equipment and, of course, instructors, this class aims to target and resculpt specific muscle groups. Sure to have you pushing boundaries you didn’t know existed, this is a class perfect for before or after work, depending on whether you need to gear yourself up or wind yourself down. And down, and down.
31 Lower Circle, Broadgate EC2M 2QS, 1rebel.com/uk
HIIT Strength at Frame, Shoreditch
Since the FIIT app launched on Apple phones in 2018, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts have become hugely oversubscribed in the majority of the City’s gyms. At this one, which takes place in Shoreditch’s Frame, you’re sure to get the blood pumping with the advertised very sweaty, trainer-needing, high-intensity routine which is not for beginners. Working the body’s main muscle groups by using heavy weights and calisthenics to improve glute, shoulder and abs strength, this class leaves you wanting more of the same. If you’re a Frame member, check out the HIIT & Chill class in its King’s Cross branch, too, which is said to be a favourite for all who attend.
29 New Inn Yard EC2A 3EY, moveyourframe.com
Barry’s Bootcamp, Moorgate
Before you head home to Netflix and Chill, why not try a Barry’s and Chill first? The Moorgate-based branch of the world-renowned chain offers a Fuel bar, as well as a deck top kitted out with lounge chairs. But, before you enjoy some downtime it’s worth getting yourself booked into classes favoured by the likes of David Beckham, Isaac Carew and Harry Styles. Unashamedly exhausting, every class Barry’s offers combines 25 minutes of cardio with 25 minutes of weights and is said to burn 1,000 calories every time. Since launching in the UK in 2013, Barry’s has become one of the most sought-after boutique exercise classes around the world. If you’re not one to turn down a challenge, try the gym’s Hell Week which offers a seven-day regime, each day targeting a new part of the body, to set you up for summer or winter getaways – or just another week in the office.
2 Worship St EC2A 2AH, barrys.com
Hardcore at Gymbox, Bank/Cannon Street
They’re honest, Gymbox instructors, you’ve got to give them that. Dubbed one of the hardest workouts the City has to offer, Hardcore is described by its trainers as a “killer workout you have to crunch, twist and plank your way through in order to get to the six-pack appearance you’re looking for”. Turning up to a class prim and proper, and leaving in pain, drenched in sweat and promising you’ll never return, is all par for the course with this one. But its benefits are next to none, with your core getting the kind of workout other classes can only dream of promising.
71 Lombard St EC3V 9AY / Cannon Green, 1 Suffolk Ln EC4R 0AT, gymbox.com
Founded in the UK by Matt Miller, with the aim of ending the stigma around yoga being a women’s discipline, Broga is a fitness yoga haven that takes traditional meditative routines to new extremes. Said to be the no-nonsense route into intense stretching, Broga still uses moves such as the Downward Dog but does so at a much more physical level, focusing less on the mentality of its users and more on their physical capability. In Miller's own words: "Broga® fitness yoga is a mix of cardio, bodyweight strength and yoga stretching all in one class. Co-ed, for sure, but definitely more bootcamp than namaste." By the end of your first class, Miller asks everyone to attempt the Assisted Wheel with a partner: the signature arch position you move into from a supine one. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the name - many women (non-bros if you will) attend these classes, also in search of the City’s more gruelling yoga routines.
City Athletic, 6 Trump St EC2V 8AF, cityathletic.co.uk
HIIT Circuit Training, CIRQ
New-kid-on-the-block CIRQ has created workout spaces designed for intensive circuit training – with screens at every station to ensure us sweaty folk don't get lost in what it is we're supposed to be doing. And to save us having to deal with an annoying, over-intrusive coach telling (shouting at) us what it is we should be doing either. We reviewed the class last month and it was a sweaty but feel-good experience. With three programmes to choose from: CIRQ, LIFT and FLEX, the space is attempting to frame its niche as the gym for any time that suits you. This is most prevalent through the FLEX workout option, which allows users to walk into CIRQ at any time of day or evening and join in with a circuit class that's currently going on, for half the price. Go forth and sweat.
111 Fleet St EC4A 2AB, cirq.life
London City Runners, Bermondsey
According to fitness expert Natalie Morris, group exercise sessions will dominate the fitness circle in 2020. London’s biggest running club, London City Runners, is as good a place as any to work out with either a group of friends or total strangers. As well as organising runs across the City, from as little as 2K up to marathon training distances, the renowned brand owns London’s only running-themed cafe, bar and event space. Check them out if you want to spend weeknights, as well as weekends, taking on the Couch to 5K challenge or finessing your track record as a semi-professional runner.
130 Druid St SE1 2HH, londoncityrunners.com