You’ve got to give it to the 1Rebel lot. Launching in 2015 to much fanfare, their high-intensity fitness concept quickly earned the reputation of being ‘the gym for people who hate gyms’. It’s fair to say that innovation is 1R’s thing, even if one or two of their ideas never did quite, ahem, take off. Who remembers the intriguing commuter gym? We’re still waiting for our bus, guys… But, moving on, we’re pleased to report that their other [genius] idea of an on-site blow-dry bar & barber shop made the cut (pardon the pun). Competitors are no doubt kicking themselves not to have got there first.
On completion of a gruelling Ride, Rumble or Reshape class, style-conscious Rebels can now reward their efforts with an express post-workout coiffure, handily ticking two boxes in one: workout and blow out. Perfect for the cash-rich, time-poor fitness fanatic who wants to sweat in style. Considering how intertwined fitness and lifestyle activities are these days, it’s a wonder something like this didn’t come around sooner.
We can’t say we’re accustomed to gym-based grooming services over here at TheAllRounder (not unless you count forking out the occasional 20p on Easygym’s lacklustre hairdryers). Barber + Blow is a whole new level of fitness pampering – and we were eager to see if it would be as slick as 1R’s workouts. But before we could indulge, first we had to earn our stripes in a Reshape class with Lisa Moore ‘The Boxer’, whose workouts are every bit as formidable as the name suggests.
Reshape is a 45 minute class of extreme physical and mental intensity designed to blast your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. You switch repeatedly between the treadmill and circuits-type floor work using dumbbells and bodyweight exercises, with each round focusing on speed, power and strength.
On the floor, individual workstations are stocked with a full range of weights to cater for every ability and, this being 1Rebel, the treadmills aren’t just any old treadmills – they’re Woodway 4Front next-generation treadmills. Special shock-absorbing slats made of vulcanized rubber reduce the impact on joints and mimic the feeling of running outdoors. This also means pushing that extra bit harder as we crank up the incline on Lisa’s orders.
We’re not usually ones to succumb to weakness, but we’re not going to lie: we almost puked in this class. Round three of the treadmill sprints pushed us to our limits. Admittedly, this was not helped by the heart-pumping triple espresso which had seemed such a good idea twenty minutes ago! By the time the caffeine hit, Reshape was in full flow and Lisa was taking no prisoners. As we dashed relentlessly from floor to treadmill and back again, the intensity increasing with each round, our weary legs began to buckle. The lights flashed brighter, the music blared louder, and Lisa’s voice grew distant… We were certain of an imminent face-plant. Right there on the vulcanized treadmill. Thankfully, it was all over just in time to save our dignity (and teeth).
The blowdry bar and barber are conveniently situated right outside the changing rooms. Studio to shower to salon with minimal effort. And after getting through that class, just sitting down felt like a treat. (Semi-)recovered, cocktail in hand, we settled into the retro leather chair and began our transformation from beetroot to beauty.
We can happily testify that 1R’s grooming credentials are as faultless as their workouts. By the time our ‘do was fixed, we felt positively perky again. We even bonded with our stylist, Sophie, over a shared love of golden retrievers. All credit to Sophie for sustaining conversation over the din of progressive-tech-house muzak, still sprightly despite this being her tenth blow-dry of the evening. No wonder hairdressers always have killer biceps.
Transformation complete, we swished out into the night feeling decidedly glamorous. Certainly not the way we usually feel following a trip to the gym. And what’s more, we felt like we’d earned it.
If you’re after the full package before a big night out or just want to set the tone/get toned for the week ahead, this is the service for you. You can thank us later.
Picture Credits: 1Rebel, Barber+Blow