What I learned from trying all the most popular workouts in London this year

Keeping fit has never been easier. Long gone are the days when exercising meant forcing yourself to slog it out on a running machine for 45 minutes or do a stale aerobics class. With boutique studios and creative fitness classes popping up across the UK with impressive regularity, we’re inundated with fun, sociable and exciting ways to workout.

But with so much choice, how do you know where to start? Which classes are actually good and which ones are just passing fads?

We’ve made it our mission to try out as many of the trendiest workouts on offer in London, and here’s our verdict.

Flykick

Flykick is an innovative new workout class that fuses an intense HIIT workout with kickboxing. The workout is split into several sections, speeding up the tempo in some parts and slowing it down in others so that you can make it to the end of the class feeling like you’ve worked yourself as hard as humanly possible.

The instructors at Flykick are all experts in their field and will keep you motivated until the very end. Most importantly, this class is an absolute blast. We loved putting our bodies to the test and picking up a new skill at the same time.

Prices for classes at Flykick start from GBP21.

To book, click here.

Hot yoga

It’s yoga, only in an insanely hot room. And yes, it’s very sweaty. The idea is that the temperature increases your flexibility, helps the body release toxins and helps promote mindfulness.

In practice, however, it’s a struggle to hold a downward dog when your hands and feet are sliding down the mat thanks to all the sweat. In my opinion, you’re better off with a standard vinyasa flow – at a normal temperature.

Prices for classes at Hotpod Yoga start from GBP12. To book, click here.

F45

Australian import F45 is one of the fastest growing fitness chains in the UK.

The F stands for ‘functional training’ and the premise is simple – there’s a different 45-minute workout each day of the week, some strength and others cardio-based. It’s supposed to be an efficient workout, but in reality there’s not a long enough warm-up, absolutely no cool-down, very little instruction on technique and you end up jumping from exercise to exercise so quickly you can’t really get into any of them.

Prices for classes at F45 start from GBP20 for a trial week. To book, click here.

Seen on Screen

Seen on Screen run dance classes – but not as you know them.

Led by celebrity instructors who work with the world’s top stars, you can expect to learn the actual routines to hits by the likes of Beyonce, Britney and J.Lo. You get a brilliant workout without it feeling like exercise, and you’ll leave feeling entirely empowered and awesome.

Prices for classes at Seen on Screen start from GBP15. To book, click here.

Aerial fitness

If you’re bored of working out on the ground, why not take to the sky with an aerial fitness class?

At studios such as Flying Fantastic in Borough you can learn the ropes and develop all sorts of new skills, while building strength and improving flexibility. Be warned though – whether you choose to try hoops, silks or trapeze, prepare for your workout to be harder than expected. As well as being challenging, it’s a lot of fun.

Prices for classes at Flying Fantastic start from GBP25.

To book, click here.

Classical pilates

You might think you know pilates, but prepare to think again at Exhale Pilates in Chalk Farm. Instructor Gaby Noble teaches pilates in its most true form with the classical pilates class, with clientele including Sadie Frost, Jools Oliver and Harry Styles. Classical pilates uses not just the reformer machines that most people know, but various other scary-looking pieces of equipment incorporating springs and resistance to work the muscles to their peak.

Gaby absolutely knows her stuff and I loved learning new ways to engage my muscles.

Prices for classes at Exhale Pilates start from GBP50. To book, click here.

Barry’s Bootcamp

With studios across the capital, Barry’s Bootcamp has cemented itself as a favourite of celebrities such as, yet again, Harry Styles. Workouts are running-based, with people spending half their time on treadmills and the other half doing resistance work on the floor.

It’s divisive though – some fitness fans are obsessed with the gruelling workouts, others find it unpleasant, brutal and overpriced – a single class is GBP20. If you like running, you might enjoy it. If you don’t, you’ll probably hate it.

But at least you can console yourself with a peanut butter shake afterwards. Some people rave about it, but it wasn’t for me.

Prices for classes at Barry’s Bootcamp start from GBP22. To book, click here.

Barre

Barre is an entirely unique ballet-inspired workout, but it’s probably most similar to pilates if anything.

While some of the workout will take place at the barre, there’ll also be resistance work, often involving small dumbbells, resistance bands and squeezy balls. The moves might look simple, but be prepared for the burn to kick in after 50 pulses. However if you spent your childhood prancing around in ballet shoes, you’ll probably love reliving your youth while helping sculpt your body at the same time – two of the toughest but best barre studios in London are Define and Xtend.

Prices for classes at Define start from GBP28.

To book, click here.

Kobox

Kobox combines the best of boxing with the most intense cardio exercises that leave you literally gasping for air after just 45 minutes. The trainers are very helpful, so it’s definitely a good place to try if you’re new to boxing and the idea of stepping into the ring fills you with dread. Each day focuses on a different body part, so you’re not just always working your arms.

They also do delicious smoothies to soothe your soul post-workout. It’s strangely addictive and makes you feel awesome.

Prices for classes at Kobox start from GBP20. To book, click here.

Reach Fitness

Reach Fitness in Clapham is unlike other gyms in London – Rich Tidmarsh, trainer to the stars and top athletes alike, and his team put people through their paces in group training sessions.

There are various different workouts, and each one is different every time. It’s totally unfussy and doesn’t have the focus on aesthetics and vanity that you find in so many gyms. The best thing about Reach?

The sense of camaraderie. It’s incredibly supportive, welcoming and you truly feel part of a team all working to get stronger.

Prices for classes at Reach Fitness start from GBP14. To book, click here.

Meta-Row

In today’s fitness-crazed day and age, original workout classes are hard to come by.

However, Metabolic London has created a fresh new workout by merging rowing and HIIT in its Meta-Row class. The format of the workout is simple: four rounds of rowing and strenuous full-body exercises. Watch as your competitive side is unleashed as you strive to row further than your fellow class-goers in just a matter of minutes.

Your entire body will probably be in pain by the end of the class, but you’ll feel all the more stronger for it.

Prices for classes at Metabolic London start from GBP20. To book, click here.

Spin

Spin classes are a dime a dozen these days, but finding good ones isn’t as easy – our favourites are Boom Cycle, Another_Space and Psycle, where you’ll find stylish interiors and spinning studios that feel more like clubs than gyms. You don’t just work the legs either – light dumbbells ensure your upper body gets a workout too.

It’s impossible to leave not on a high.

Prices for classes at Psycle start from GBP20.

To book, click here.

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