Founder of boutique studio Terra Hale and all-round eco-warrior, Michal Homola, grew up in the Slovakian mountains, a snow-laden idyll place worlds away from London’s frenzy. Somehow, though, he’s managed to bring some of Slovakia’s appreciation for nature and serenity to our capital and is being hailed as the champion of eco-friendly fitness in London.
All three Terra Hale gyms—in Shepherd’s Bush, Fulham, and a private personal training studio in Notting Hill—embrace the idea of eco-fitness wholeheartedly. From studios made almost entirely from recycled materials to cycling classes that use the electricity generated by the bikes to power the lights and scoreboard to selling excess electricity generated during sweat sessions back to the grid — they take the environment (and your workout) very seriously!
In their Shepherd’s Bush gym, cycling classes are much the same as you’d expect anywhere else: competitive, sweaty, and fueled by disco beats. But the main, and most important, difference is that your progress isn’t counted in calories burnt, it’s calculated in watts generated.
So don’t be alarmed when the instructors start shouting for you to amp up the wattage! It’s all very beneficial for both you and the Earth—each session generates up to 3300 watts—that’s proportionate to a medium-sized generator, people! Plus, there are monthly prizes for the people generating the most wattage.
But don’t worry, you won’t be lost in a crowd of 20+ fitness enthusiasts cycling, boxing, and blasting muscles in the name of wellness. All classes are capped at a maximum of six people, so you’ll get all the individual attention you need to hit those performance goals. And no two are alike, meaning no matter how many times you take their BURN class, it’ll always be different.
This is the principle behind the gym as well as being the literal translation of Terra Hale. Their focus on Mother Nature and protecting the environment is evident in everything from the plants happily making their home in the reclaimed wood walls to the beauty of the workout equipment, all of which is sourced ethically. The rowing machines are even constructed at a carbon neutral factory!
The beauty of Terra Hale, though, isn’t in the ethics or even the aesthetics, it’s in the fact that, despite the holistic and founding ethos behind these studios, all three locations still function practically and efficiently as great gyms — proving being green is not at the cost of your workout, or anything else for that matter.
By way of his Terra Hale studios, Michal manages to make you feel as though you’re not quite trying hard enough to live your best life on this planet, and then he shows you how to.