Over the past few years an interesting thing has happened in fitness (and by fitness I mean exercising to get fit, not doing sports or athletics training). No longer is it solely the begrudged pastime of people struggling to lose weight or trying to justify a Friday night of heavy drinking. Yeah sure, there were always people that enjoyed it; people who were actually into fitness, but they were never mainstream. Now it’s actually a thing that people do because they want to.
Whether it’s a response to a shift in a collective mindset that caused it or the result of media and marketing campaigns, the fact is people are actively seeking out new and interesting classes to try out. People are walking down the street in their gym clothes, and not just because they’re going to the gym but because gym clothes actually look pretty nice these days. New ranges designed by the likes of Stella McCartney mean that people are spending their salaries on looking good whilst exercising. It’s no longer a place to hide away in a baggy T-shirt. People want to look good, they want to show off. Gyms are fast becoming the new clubs.
This is where classes like 1Rebel come in. With marketing campaigns that look more like a promotion for a new super club than a sweaty gym, they offer suggestive statements of debauchery and illicit activity. And it works. Ten years ago the best advert you’d ever see for a spin class would probably be a woman sat on a spin bike with a soulless smile on her face. Now they make spin classes look like a Prince after party.
So where does 1Rebel fit into this movement? Well, they’ve essentially taken styles from places like Barry’s Bootcamp, Gymbox and Equinox and combined them to create a venue akin to a New York basement club. The marketing campaign shows a selection of super cool, tattooed models, the kind of people you’d expect to see advertising high-end perfume on Parisian billboards. And it works, if you’re going to go and exercise somewhere you’d want to see these kind of people there as you do it. It’s as aspirational as it is alluring.
But that’s enough about modern fitness culture. What about the actual classes? Well, the venue itself host two separate formats. The first is a spin class located on the ground floor sexily called “Ride”, the second a treadmill and weights area titled “Reshape”.
The Ride area, like everything else in the space, looks ridiculously impressive. It’s one of the larger spin rooms in London and is decked out with some pretty smooth design. On the wall behind the trainer are two screens showing ambient moving images as the class commence. The soundtracks to the classes are carefully chosen with cool new music (no 1998 Europop playlists heard in your local gym) and are undoubtedly scrutinised frequently.
Like Boom Cycle the class utilises weights for some of the sessions to incorporate some additional upper body work. Personally I’ve never really been very keen on this as it always distracts me from pedalling, however I do weights at the gym so it’s fairly pointless. For someone who doesn’t then it’s probably a more effective addition.
The Reshape area is more like Barry’s Bootcamp, making people jump between sprint sessions on the treadmill and conditioning work using dumbells or bodyweight. This was by far my favourite of the two options. Quickly jumping between the two workouts is a popular technique to keep people from becoming bored or losing interest in a monotonous class, it also means people gain some form of relief from the exercises they perform better in. For me the treadmill work is an enjoyable break from the HIIT segments on the floor.
Like the majority of these sorts of classes you get out of it what you put in. You’re in control of the weights and the treadmill speed, or the resistance in case of the Ride classes. If you push yourself you’ll reap the benefits as this kind of HIIT training has a massive impact on both calories burned and strength and toning.
At £25 a session it isn’t cheap though and comes in at the high end of these sorts of classes. But you’re paying for the experience as well as the fitness. The rest of the space is kitted out with headphones positioned around sofas, a pretty nice looking juice and snack bar and the changing rooms even greet you with a selection of hot and cold towels if that takes your fancy.
There are cheaper pricing options if you’re buying in bulk and if you follow them on social media you’e likely to find the odd complementary introductory offer. It’s located just next to the Gherkin which may give you some idea towards the target demographic for the classes.