If lack of motivation or just plain boredom become all too familiar feelings when it comes to your fitness regimen, it might be time to switch up your workouts. The trick is finding the right gym, studio, or class that can do both: help you hit your PBs and keep you coming back for more.
With an overwhelming amount of options, London is truly spoilt for choice. To give you a helping hand, we've gathered the best hot spots across the capital to get you started. Whether money is no object (lucky you) or if you’re after no-frills, faff-free gains — we can guarantee there’s a place for you. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your kit and go get ’em.
Equinox Kensington and St James are the type of gyms that could easily become your hub for living your best healthy lifestyle. You can train, eat, and pitch up by a plug socket without even leaving the building. On the gym floor, if you can’t find a certain type of equipment, it’s likely you don’t need it; Equinox has pretty much everything you can think of. Around the perimeter are boxing, yoga, and Pilates studios, and qualified personal trainers are on hand to help you through your individual goals. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a member’s lounge, steam room, spa, and a gym kit shop.
Founded by celebrity trainer Jess Schuring, the ethos at Heartcore is all about living a balanced life of positivity and well-being, which echoes throughout their 10 studios across London. Their power yoga sessions cater to all levels and involve a combination of mobility, strength, and breath work — perfect for improving balance, flexibility, and stamina. With airy interiors and a spa-like atmosphere, their studio spaces are guaranteed to instill ALL the zen.
Ten Health & Fitness is where you go to get toned, long, and lean. It’s not a quick-fix, but a long-term commitment to improving your overall fitness and strength. They have eight studios across London, including Notting Hill, Mayfair, and St James’s, and they all practice Dynamic Pilates, which is basically like traditional Pilates, but with a twist. The concept is designed to engage and strengthen your core, waist, and lower back muscles, while also helping to improve overall posture and prevent injury. And all workouts are centred around a patented Reformer, which allows for movement-based exercises with the added resistance. Sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled — although the exercises may look simple, the muscle groups are so isolated that in just a short period of time, you really start to feel the burn.
At Method you can overhaul your body and mind thanks to their fitness classes, personal training, meditation, yoga, and nutrition advice. Opt for the Bondi Method, where you’ll race around circuits; or take on the Brazilian Method, which includes glute-punishing pulses that integrate resistance bands. Their airy studio is based in Chelsea (complete with heated yoga terrace) and is welcoming for newbies and fitness veterans alike. Fitt Tip: their Mindful Garden is the only space in London where you can practice al fresco yoga and soak up all that fresh Prana energy.
Occupying a converted Victorian tram depot in Clapton and a trendy art gallery-inspired space in Shoreditch, Blok is the place to be if you’re looking for a large selection of carefully-curated classes. These sweet sessions range from traditional HIIT or yoga to more unique methods such as primal movement and Methodology X — the workout for women created by Dan Roberts (aka the trainer to a plethora of international Victoria’s Secret models).
This is a class you can get through with a workout buddy. It’s a 45-minute, high-intensity circuit and relies on you completing your required round of weight and cardio reps per exercise before you can tag in your partner (and catch your breath). Just so you know, it’s around 50 reps per exercise shared between the two of you — and with four exercises per circuit as part of four circuits, well, you do the math. Needless to say, you’ll want to pick your more motivational friend or the most hyped-up-looking stranger in the room. Just get through the session at their London Bridge site; you can share a well-earned drink and a pat on the back afterwards.
Third Space is about training for posterity, not just for aesthetic. That’s why they’ve got every element of your training covered: recovery, injury prevention, and form. Before you dive into your workout at any one of their six spaces, members are taken through a detailed movement screen to highlight any imbalances, back problems, weak knees, and posture alignments. This ensures your fitness plan is totally bespoke and you’re clued-up on how to train independently. Combine that with unrivalled equipment and luxury facilities and you can see why this is one of London’s most reputable fitness studios.
This spot is considered the heavyweight of boxing gyms — that should be obvious, seeing as BXR is the Anthony Joshua-endorsed space in Marylebone. BXR will have you moving and training like a champion, and you'll be in good hands, because if head boxing coach Gary Logan can’t teach you how to deliver a punch of professional standards, no one can. While perfecting your jab and uppercut is the focus, the gym also comes fully-equipped with all the strength and conditioning equipment you’ll ever need. And when you want to switch things up, head over to Anthony Joshua's "passion project", Sweat by BXR (also in Marylebone), which offers a series of high-energy classes including on that integrates the muscle-torching VersaClimber.
KXU (aka the little sister of luxury private member’s club KX) is a no-membership, pay-as-you-go boutique fitness hub in Chelsea. They offer everything from cycling to sparring, deadlifts to detoxes; you can train how you want and on your own terms. You can still train with a PT, but it’s really about the classes at KXU. They’ve created an integrated approach to group fitness that’s centred around strength, stretching, and cardio disciplines (each offers resistance and interval training). And that idea extends to everything from Vinyasa and gravity yoga to Paola’s Body Barre classes and interval cycling. Fitt Tip: check out their Nutrition Bar for a gourmet take on post-workout refuelling.
Oh, you don’t know Barry? If you don’t, you soon will. Barry’s Bootcamp’s signature hour-long workouts involve 25–30 minutes of intense cardio treadmill routines mixed in with 25–30 minutes of strength-training intervals. The classes are known to burn up to 1,000 calories (the more you put in, the more you get out) and cater equally to fitness fanatics and complete beginners. You choose your speed and weight, but the energy in the room—and from the ripped bootcamp instructor—will be enough motivation to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Sweat-drenching, fat-burning, and highly-addictive, Barry’s studios can be found in Euston, Hackney, Queensway, Belgravia, and Canary Wharf.
Born in Australia, this group training concept has swept our shores with studio franchises all over London, and they’ve got more in the pipeline. As a class-based studio, they keep it interesting by switching up their themes every day with a focus on either strength or cardio exercises. A class can involve up to 27 stations, each exercise lasts 40 seconds (with a 10-second break for change-over), and then you’ll get a minute break before doing it all over again. These training sessions are no joke, but because you’re moving so often between stations, it feels achievable and it definitely never gets boring.
These classes are seriously effective. Whether you’re pounding the treadmill or pedalling to get your heart pumping, their range of classes are accompanied by amazing playlists, live MCs, and even the occasional jazz band that will have you feeling pumped, sweaty, and accomplished. Their luxury boutique gyms are based in St Mary Axe, Broadgate Circle, Southbank, and Bayswater. And if you want to see what the world’s first cycling amphitheatre looks like, visit 1Rebel Victoria — it’s spread over three floors! All five studios feature modern, spacious changing rooms that are stocked with the best high-end beauty products. You can also refuel at their Roots & Bulbs smoothie bar for a post-workout pick-me-up. Fitt Tip: go on Fridays; there’s prosecco for anyone at the last class of the day.
All three of this fitness concept's locations specialise in something different. At their flagship in Couch End off Coleridge Rd. it's all about adding a little extra heat to your workout — literally. Here, you can sweat it out in their yoga and Pilates classes set in a cozy space with the thermostat cranked all the way up to 40ºC. Then there's their sister studio, also in Crouch End, which includes three specialised boutique environments in one: a high-intensity interval training space that goes by the name of Warrior; a state-of-the-art indoor cycling arena named Rider; and a zen-inspired, mind-body studio that focuses on lengthening, toning, and strengthening. And you can think of their Borough space as a combination of their first two studios, offering hot yoga and yoga barre fusion classes, plus the opportunity to relax and unwind via a float tank session.
If you’re looking for a fitness class in luxurious surroundings that will push you to your limits, then make your way to Core Collective. Their studios High Street Kensington and Knightsbridge are spacious and feature classes that are super-challenging but equally as fun. Plus, this pay-as-you-go class-based gym focuses on three main class themes: Velocity (HIIT), Resistance (TRX), and Accelerate (cycling), so you get to choose exactly how you’d like to fatigue your muscles.
Going the distance in Chelsea, Marylebone, and the City, Kobox is a studio that offers high-intensity, boxing-based classes that will get your heart racing. They provide the gloves — you just need to buy your wraps and bring your A-game. Workouts involve alternating between exercises both on and off the punching bag. Around the room are mats, dumbbells, and weight plates that are used at different times throughout depending on the focus of each class. Every day is different, though. In 60 minutes you’ll move from punching the bag to a gruelling interval session at your corresponding wall (think burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, squats with weight plates) before switching back to do it all over again. Rounds can last anywhere from three to seven minutes, so needless to say, you’re left soaked in sweat by the end of it.
If you have a serious love affair with indoor cycling, Psycle needs to be part of your fitness routine. With studios in Canary Wharf, Mortimer Street, Shoreditch, and Clapham, Psycle is the place to be if you like your workout hard, fast, and fun. Their state-of-the art music system and club-style lights will keep you in the zone, making sure you finish the full 45-minute class strong. Not a cycling fan? Don’t worry. Despite their name, Psycle isn’t just about sweating it out on bikes. Barre, strength, and yoga sessions are also on offer at all of their sites — perfect for switching up your workout! And don’t forget about their Energy Kitchen. No visit to Psycle is complete unless you grab one of their legendary smoothies on your way out.
**Updated April 2019.