In an effort to help get you back on the wagon, we’ve done some legwork and found the eight best places to sweat it out in London. So, skip the pub and hit the barre. No more excuses.
We've done the downward-facing dog at many a spot, and it's clear that this is London’s best hot yoga franchise. With branches in Clapham, Islington, Birmingham, and Brighton, they offer “Leela yoga” (leela meaning “play”), a unique style suitable for beginners and veterans alike. After one of Yogahaven’s detoxifying Hot Yoga Fusion or Hot Flow classes you’ll feel stretched to your limit, but oh-so refreshed. If you’re short on time, there are “express” variations on both. For those looking to take their practice to the next level, consider joining yogahaven’s annual surf and yoga retreat in Taghazout, Morocco.
For locations visit yogahaven.co.uk
Pineapple Dance Studios
Founded by English model Debbie Moore in 1979, and made famous by a Sky documentary, Covent Garden’s Pineapple Dance Studios is arguably the best place in London to get your groove on. Offering a wide selection of drop-in classes ranging from tap to Latin, a class at Pineapple will make you feel like Jodi Sawyer in Center Stage when she wants to dance, "anything that’s not ballet." When you’re finished indulging your Flashdance fantasy, Pineapple is also a great place to expand your workout wardrobe with their in-studio or online boutiques.
Pineapple Dance Studios, 7 Langley Street, WC2H 9JA; 020 7836 4004
If you’re on the hunt for a new and different fitness class in London, look no further than Frame. Run by Kiwis Pip Black and Joan Murphy, Frame opened its original Shoreditch location in 2009, which was so successful that the ladies opened up a Queen's Park branch in West London last year. The studio is known for its quirky offerings like Jane Fonda Tribute and Bend it Like Barbie. In our opinion, Frame’s best classes are its 'signatures", the Frame Method, Frame Work, and Frame Barre. But it's the enthusiastic instructors that really make Frame stand out. This energetic and knowledgeable bunch are the only folks we can stomach when saddled with a monstrous hangover.
For locations visit www.moveyourframe.com
Photo: Courtesy of Yoga Haven; Pineapple Dance Studios; Frame One
Perfect for indulging those Wonder Woman delusions of grandeur, Flying Fantastic is London’s only aerial gym. Flyers (whether fledgling or fanatic) can pick from classes in Aerial Silks, Aerial Pilates, Aerial Hoop, or Aerial Yoga. Taking inspiration from circus and interval training, the classes at Flying Fantastic focus on the core and upper-body strength (and offer an excellent excuse for adults to act like they’re still on the playground). For beginners, we’d recommend a session of Aerial Silks, structured to be suitable for all levels of aerialists.
The Flying Fantastic, The Wilditch Centre, 48 Culbert Road, SW11 5BB; 07801 075 488
Whipped At Equinox Kensington
Whipped, one of the latest offerings at brand spanking new gym Equinox Kensington, is a high-energy class ideal for doing with a friend. Teams of two run from one exercise station to the next, and the central exercise station is two large strength ropes that you “whip” up and down. Besides the ropes, the class incorporates kettle balls and natural resistance. Couch potatoes be warned: Whipped isn’t for the exercise novice or the faint of heart. Be prepared to work hard, but also be prepared to see results.
Equinox Kensignton, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA; 20 7666 6000
Photo: Courtesy of Flying Fanatics; Equinox
With locations in Primrose Hill, Soho, Covent Garden, and Chelsea, Triyoga has been a mecca for London-based yoga enthusiasts for over a decade. Perfect for those who are looking to either begin or continue their yoga practice, triyoga offers Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and hot yoga as well as both mat and equipment pilates. We’re perennial fans of their Open classes, as well as their Yoga for Runners offering, but have also heard rave reviews about triyoga’s pre- and post-natal workshops (from our friends, Mom, don’t worry). To top it off, triyoga also offers an impressive range of auryvedic, massage, and acupuncture treatments.
For locations visit www.triyoga.co.uk
Gymbox's various London locations are a good choice if you don’t mind shelling out a pretty penny to work out amongst the capitol’s fit young things. Besides providing its members with access to standard cardio equipment, Gymbox has a great selection of group classes. Their specialty is, of course, variants on boxing. If you’re looking to work out some pent-up aggression against Bob Co-worker who-thinks-he-knows-everything, a few sessions of Beat Box, Muay Thai, or Jiu Jitsu should sort you right out. And if sparring doesn’t appeal, then you can always try out Balates (ballet + pilates) or Tour de Holborn, an indoor cycling class designed to recreate the benefits of outdoor cycling.
For locations, vist www.gymbox.com
Photo: Courtesy of Triyoga; Gymbox