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London’s best gyms and workout spaces

Choosing which gym to become a member of is like choosing which takeaway to get when you're hungover (pardon the irony) – it’s near impossible with the amount of choice on offer and requires a lot of serious thought. Hopefully our guide helps...

New year, new me. One of the most annoying phrases in the English language, and yet it's one most of us will find ourselves prescribing to come January. So what better way to start the year off right than with a new gym membership?

The fitness market is a very saturated one nowadays, with new gyms seemingly opening every week.

Gyms and workout spaces can be intimidating places for first-timers, but we're here to tell you that there's a light at the end of the red wine and camembert-filled tunnel.

All of the gyms we've listed are known for their impeccable facilities, encouraging trainers, and for being the absolute best in the business.

So sit back and have a gander, but then get up and get down to the space that takes your fancy…

Equinox gym

Having cemented itself as one of London's most sought after gyms, Equinox recently launched its first-ever City branch in Bishopsgate. The new club gives members an unmatched experience including the likes of science-fuelled personal training, private pilates, more than 100 group fitness classes a week, spa services and a luxury lounge. With state-of-the-art facilities, and a pledge to stay ahead of the curve with innovative, results-oriented training techniques, the Equinox experience is a real fitness education. A top of the range one at that. 

8 Clerks Place, EC3A 8AQ. For more, see equinox.com/bishopsgate

Canary Wharf's pay to train studio offers boutique-sized conceptual classes and a revolutionary boxing-orientated workout. With classes developed alongside pro-boxers, sports professionals, osteopaths and physios, Sweat by BXR means it when it tells you its classes and services will allow you to train like a real-life athlete. BXR has been recognised for its efforts for years now, particularly when it comes to educating the masses on how accessible boxing is – regardless of a user's age or ability. Not convinced? Balance, expertise and care are the three pillars it promises to provide members with. What more could you want? 

Unit 46, Minus Level, 2 Crossrail Pl, E14 5AR. For more, see sweatbybxr.com

Third Space isn't for the faint-hearted. Period. But, boy, does it give a gruellingly satisfying workout. It’s also very cool, with its luxury warehouse feel, and its locations – Tower Bridge, Soho, the City, Marylebone and Canary Wharf – are handy for the working day. The Yard in particular, its newest and Canary Wharf-based branch, boasts a group of leading instructors, a great range of classes and a cafe serving nutritious post-workout food (cooked up in collaboration with a sports nutritionist). Worth the money and sure to set you a challenge. Be warned, though, these guys and girls mean business and if you sign up to a class – you're entering the ring and will be expected to bring it. 

16-19 Canada Square, E14 5ER. For more, see thirdspace.london

Safe to say, walking into Lanserhof at the Arts Club is like walking into what we all imagine James Bond's basement looks like. Refined, tasteful, world-class gym and fitness settings that make almost every other space seem somewhat obsolete. With a team of personal trainers, nutritionists, life coaches and rehabilitation specialists at your disposal, and a lounge that will genuinely leave you wondering if going home is really worth it – the Lanserhof is a gym for Kings (and Queens) that simply can't, and won't, disappoint. And if you're not in the mood to workout, there's a spa of genuine wonders that will set you up for the day, week, month and year.

17-18 Dover St, W1S 4LT. For more, see lanserhof.com

That infamous Marks & Spencer saying could well be applied here, because this is not just a hotel gym – it's a five-star Corinthia Hotel gym. Kitted out with free weights, rowing machines and private training pods, as well as complimentary post-workout snacks that ensure you leave with a smile on your face, ESPA Life has it all. And houses it within potentially one of the most sumptuous settings a gym has ever seen. Goers will be granted access to the hotel's spa and health club, which the workout space is attached to, and so can use its premium features like the thermal suite, saunas, heated marble loungers, robes and a slew of ESPA products. Whether you're beginning or ending your day, it's hard to do it in a better way than this. 

Whitehall Pl, Westminster, SW1A 2BD. For more, see espalifeatcorinthia.com

1Rebel is known for many things: its intense but feel-good classes; its sleek and futuristic interior – no matter the branch you're in. But, in this instance, there's one class that really goes that extra mile for us (which means it hurts a hell of a lot more than some others, but you actually see results). Rarely does a workout promise to provide “45 minutes of physical and mental intensity”, though rarely does a workout see results quite like 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. And if you're not sure, there's a whole host of others to choose from.

31 Lower Circle, Broadgate, EC2M 2QS. For more, see 1rebel.com/uk

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 at a time. Since launching in the UK in 2013, Barry’s has become one of the most subscribed-to boutique exercise communities 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. For more, see barrysbootcamp.com

CIRQ city of london

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. With three programmes to choose from: CIRQ, LIFT and FLEX, the gym 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. It's to help people whose stressful working lives might mean their lunch hour is reduced to a random 30-minute window at 4.15pm, founder Rob Burstein tells me. We reviewed CIRQ's revolutionary HIIT workout last week, and can safely say it's a sweaty but feel-good-for-the-rest-of-the-week affair. 

11 Fleet St, EC4A 2AB. For more, see cirq.life

If you go to GymBox's website and click Our Story, this is what you'll find: "Ok imagine this. It’s 2003, there is only one style of gym. A one size fits all kinda gym. OK for everyone kinda gym. ‘It's fine I guess’ kinda gym. When uninspiring becomes normal, there is a problem. There was only one option. Apple was born in a garage, we were born in a car park in the heart of the West End. We replaced cars, bikes and vans with nightly resident DJs, neon lights and dancers. We reset the industry. Exercise blended perfectly with pleasure. It was just pure freedom to play and train in a way never seen before. It was simply just, serious fun. Now, 2019. We are home to the most unique and diverse classes in London. Olympic sized boxing rings, combat cages, world-class free weights sections, live DJs and larger-than-life personal trainers." We couldn't really say it much better – oh, and there's branches in Bank, Cannon Street and Holborn so it's handy for anyone working in or visiting the City. 

71 Lombard Street, EC3V 9AY / Cannon Green, 1 Suffolk Lane, EC4R 0AT / 100 High Holborn, WC1V 6RD. For more, see gymbox.com

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