Deciding on which gyms and fitness classes to go to in London is a pretty weighty task, especially if you’ve never actually been to any before. We’ve tried out a fair few over the years, with mixed results. That’s why we’ve picked our favourite of the bunch. Think of it as a our late Christmas present to you. Don’t worry about getting us anything… maybe just some Matchmakers or a pack of After Eights.
Oh, and let us know if we’ve missed anything.
The Fitting Rooms
What is it: Small group training in a dedicated fitness space
Where is it: London bridge
Why would you go: If you’re looking for PT sessions without the pressure of a busy commercial gym, this is the place to go. With sessions tailored towards different fitness levels, from beginner to really focussed muscle-building classes, it’s one of the best choices you can make for a dedicated training plan. The small group training style puts you in with people at the same level as you, so you get almost the same attention to form and development you’d get in a dedicated PT session. The gym is also only open to people undergoing training, so you never have to worry about it being busy. Ruddy nice team there as well.
Cost: A single shared PT session (up to four people) will set you back £40, with a ten session pack coming in at £325. Private personal training is also available.
What is it: Boxing, personal training and yoga in a friendly environment
Where is it: Bethnal Green
Why would you go: Unlike so many classes in the capital these days, Fighter Fit is designed for small groups. Which means you get a hell of a lot more attention from the trainers – kind of useful if you want to get better at boxing. Although boxing is the main focus, the classes cover everything from yoga to general fitness. Ruddy nice studio as well.
Cost: A single drop-in class will set you back £14, with a ten session pack coming in at £130. You can also pay for unlimited sessions for £99a month. Seriously good value.
What is it: A studio designed for raw, focused and tough training sessions
Where is it: Old Street and Vauxhall
Why would you go: If you’re looking for the kind of class that’ll push you to your limits without the need for flashy lighting, in-house DJs or gimmicks, The Foundry is the place to be. Although there are a range of classes covering everything from city strongman to more conventional high intensity workouts, the underlying theme here is training hard and training properly. They have massive tyres, enormous sandbags, prowlers, kettlebells, and pretty much anything else that’s going to make you train to your max, and all under the guidance of some of London’s most knowledgeable (and friendly) trainers.
Cost: A single drop-in class will set you back £20, with a ten session pack coming in at £179. You can also pay for unlimited sessions for £179 a month.
What is it: A club style studio predominantly focused on boxing
Where is it: Chelsea and Liverpool Street
Why would you go: If it’s a loud music, neon lights, lots of jumping and loads of sweating you want, then look no further. Alternating between punch bag combinations and floor exercises for 45 minutes will make sure you burn those calories without getting bored.
Cost: A single drop-in class will set you back £20, with a ridiculous number of bulk options available ranging from a 5 class pack (£95) to a 50 class pack for £900.
Sweat by BXR
What is it: A range rather nice HIIT classes in a super cool location
Where is it: Marleybone
Why would you go: As studios go, Sweat by BXR is one of the nicest looking in London. Which is what you’d probably expect from a brand working with Anthony Joshua. The classes range from strength and conditioning to the increasingly popular VersaClimber sessions, which is probably one of the toughest classes you’re ever likely to try. The major plus for Sweat by BXR is the focus on performance improving, instead of just trying to make you feel sick.
Cost: A single drop-in class for a non-BXR gym member will set you back £30 (£20 at lunch), with a twelve session pack coming in at £240. You can also pay for unlimited sessions for £300 a month. Check the website for introductory offers.
What is it: Fast-paced, high intensity, fun and ridiculously tough classes with loads of variety
Where is it: London Bridge, Fulham
Why would you go: We’ll level with you here, UN1T classes are a going to hurt. 45-minutes of relentless circuits with very little rest. Prowlers, shoulder presses, rowing, SkiErgs, Assault bikes, burpees – none of it screams “easy”. Somehow it seems to go quickly though, perhaps due to the sheer energy from the trainers. If it’s a full body workout you want with a load of cardio, you’ll struggle to find better.
Cost: A single drop-in class will set you back £20, with a ten session pack coming in at £185. You can also pay for unlimited sessions for £210 a month. The currently have a 7-day introductory pass for £20, which is you basically need to sign up to. Instantly.
What is it: A HIIT studio that combine floor and weight exercises and treadmill work
Where is it: Bank
Why would you go: The combination of intense cardio with strength and conditioning work makes for an amazing total workout. Not only will you burn loads of calories but you’ll also be working muscles all over the body. The mixture of running and floor work means that you move around so much, you tend to forget how much work you’re actually doing. Read about when we tried seven consecutive days of it here.
Cost: A single drop-in class for Project Fit will set you back £20, with credits for multiple sessions making it cheaper. You can also pay for unlimited sessions for £69 a week (cheaper if you pay for bulk deals) or take them up on a pretty sweet 50% off trial week.
What is it: A beautiful little studio covering small group classes and individual personal training
Where is it: Fulham
Why would you go: By the end of the session we were covered in sweat, as usual, but it wasn’t because we’d just been made to do burpees for 45-minutes. We’d carried out a pretty exhaustive full body workout, and been corrected on form a fair few times (yeah okay, we hate that… but we know it’s for our own good). Read our full review here.
Cost: Memberships start from £189 for unlimited sessions.
CENTRIC: 3TRIBES TRIBATHON
What is it: A state-of-the-art indoor cycling arena named Rider, and a Zen inspired, mind-body studio that focuses on lengthening, toning and strengthening.
Where is it: Crouch End
Why would you go: A well-executed transition from treadmill to gym floor to spin bike to yoga mat… by which point we were practically crawling into the hyper-cooled Zen room, sweat steaming off our backs. We finished our visit propped up at the in-house juice bar, which serves up an array of smoothies & shakes to weary tribespeople in need of refreshment. Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: Class packages range from a pay-per-class rate at £15 to an unlimited pass costing £95 a month (with a 6-month contract).
British Military Fitness
What is it: A park based HIIT and running workout
Where is it: All over the city
Why would you go: A perfect all-round training for people who want to get fitter and healthier. It ticks a lot of boxes, managing to pack in strength, cardio, mobility and speed all into one carefully planned session. Being outdoors is a massive bonus as well, not to mention the social aspect of the whole thing (everyone is friendly, they do social events, that sort of thing). Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: £40 per month for one class a week or £54 for unlimited classes (becomes cheaper with longer contracts). You can also pay per session, with 10 coming in at £120.
What is it: A park based HIIT and running workout
Where is it: Green Park
Why would you go: With five GB athletes, covering sprinting, triple jumping, bobsled and kayaking, the sessions focus on different exercises and body parts, with more general personal trainers covering parts of the class to ensure an all-round workout. A pretty simple concept that makes for an interesting hour of exercise and marks a novel development in the London outdoor fitness scene. Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: Prices for GB active include £15 for a one-off session, £65 for 5, or a £45 monthly fee for unlimited use. You can also sign up for a free trial session,
What is it: A swanky two-floor studio covering Yoga, Spin and HIIT
Where is it: Covent Garden
Why would you go: A boutique sister club to the ever-growing Third Space brand, Another_Space’s Seven Dials site is perfectly situated to serve the fitness needs of Midtown’s predominantly media & creative types. Mixing strength exercises with high-energy punchbag work. It promises to fire your metabolism and have you burning extra calories for hours. Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: Class credits are normally £20 a class, or you can make a decent saving by taking a block of 10 (£180) or 20 (£325).
What is it: An awesome studio covering small group classes and individual personal training
Where is it: Old Street
Why would you go: A studio set up by Matt Lo, a fitness expert in strength and conditioning who aims to make fitness more accessible to people wanting to get fit. By running a series of structured fitness classes, and not just general circuit classes, Outrivals is working towards making classes a bit more like having an actual PT – only quite a bit cheaper.
Cost: The team have set up a nice range of pricing options ranging from on e class for £22 to £200 for a month of unlimited classes. There’s also a couple of introductory offer: 1 week for £25 or two for £50. Well worth doing to see how nice this place is on the cheap.
Best’s Bootcamp/ Best Cycle
What is it: A HIIT studio that combine floor and weight exercises and treadmill work along with the Best Cycle spin studio
Where is it: Charing Cross
Why would you go: The exercise format is designed to give people an all-round workout in a short period of time. You get a bit of strength work, some muscle endurance (depending on which weights you choose), and a hell of a lot of speed work on the treadmill. The also have cameras on the class so that the trainer can always see you via big screens. Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: Sessions cost £20 for a single class with bulk offers available ranging from 10 to 20 class packages. You can also pay £215 for unlimited access per month.
What is it: A HIIT studio that’s apparently pretty damn popular in Australia.
Where is it: Loads, all over London, a whole bundle opening up soon as well. Take a look here.
Why would you go: As HIIT classes go it’s one of the best we’ve tried. The facility is packed out with all the latest kit and they have some nicely planned out sessions focussing on different fitness goals as well as some nice heart rate software. Friendly bunch as well. Read about when we tried it out here.
Cost: A single drop-in class for F45 Training will set you back £25, a drop in bundle of ten sessions, £175 and unlimited classes £195 a month. There’s also a trial offer with 7 sessions costing £20. Unlimited monthly access will set you back £220.
What is it: It’s basically Pilates ramped up to the next level to include an intensive full-body workout.
Where is it: Near the Barbican, Canary Wharf and White City
Why would you go: If you want a workout that trains pretty much everything during one intense (and really tough) session, then this may be what you’re after. The method uses a machine called a Megaformer that looks like some sort of futuristic space weapon. A single trip combines core, endurance, cardio, balance, strength and flexibility training, and you’ll know you’ve worked hard by the time you leave. Read more about our experience here.
Cost: A stand-alone pass costs £30 for one session. It gets cheaper if you buy in bulk though with a 10 class pass costing £240. An introductory class costs £15 – worth taking advantage of just to see the machines.
What is it: Imagine a massive room almost entirely made up of trampolines. That.
Where is it: Acton and Croydon
Why would you go: Because fitness can be fun as well as good for you. You can do freestyle sessions or take part in planned fitness classes that focus on cardio and toning. Hell, you can even rent it out for a party or join the trampolining school. Low impact as well.
Cost: £12.50 a free jump session. £8 for a class. There are also off-peak prices available that are slightly cheaper.
London Fields Fitness
What is it: Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Circuits, HIIT, Boxing, Booty Camp, Warriors, Rebounding, HulaFit, Karate, Urban Escrima and Spin classes.
Where is it: Near London Fields station.
Why would you go: An affordable, friendly studio offering a ridiculous amount of classes.
Cost: A class pass for January is currently £35. Spin classes cost £10 a session, £40 for 5 or £75 for 10.
Picture Credits: F45 Training, Studio Lagree, Oxygen Freejumping, London Fields Fitness, Project Fit, Evolve 353, Centric3: Tribes, British Military Fitness, GB Active, Another Space, Outrivals, Best’s Bootcamp, The Foundry, Fighter Fit, Sweat by BXR, Kobox