You know, after ten years living in London, it’s pretty weird that the first time we ever visit The Ministry of Sound is to do a HIIT class on a Friday night. That’s modern Britain for you though. Fitness is cool now. People who once spent their weekends dancing until 6am to house DJ are now heading to studios to do squat thrusts to, well, house DJ.
Ministry of Sound of one of the last remaining bastions of the London super club scene. Perhaps largely due to the fact the brand name is so engrained in London dance culture that people visiting the city want to find out why. Hell, they’ve had their own headphones, a clothing range, stereos and pretty much every dance music compilation we owned at university.
Their latest venture, nestled under the railway arches that sit behind the main club in Elephant and Castle, is a pretty damn impressive fitness studio. In half of the space sits a cool little bar, serving both healthy stuff like protein shakes and alcohol. In the other, a heftily kitted out HIIT studio, designed with the sort of colours and lighting you’d expect to see at the club itself.
The concept is pretty simple, and not one we haven’t seen before. A fitness studio that bangs out big dance tunes, sets of powerful neon lights and instructors that want to rile you up into a club-like frenzy. It’s a concept that’s proven to work though. People head over to similar studios, like 1Rebel and Barry’s bootcamp, for that exact thing, and they love it. The sheer overpowering stimulus somehow manages to detract from what is essentially a fitness class into an experience that becomes enjoyable.
If that’s your thing, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than heading to a place that have had one of the most successful clubs in the country for over two and a half decades. If anyone knows how to do lights, music and a party atmosphere, then it’s probably going to be The Ministry of Sound.
The weekly class structure is broken down into specific daily themes. Monday is cardio, Tuesday is strength, Wednesday endurance and Thursday is core. On Friday (when we went) and Saturday, the various exercises are combined in to a full body workout called Showcase. The format sees people working their way around different areas of kit. There’s TRX, steps, a frame with targets on top, self-powered treadmills, kettlebells, benches and a two sled tracks running all the way down (there’s other stuff as well, we just can’t remember it all).
The Showcase class format we went to sees people working their way round each section of the room for one minute intervals, each with a twenty-second rest. During the full 45-minute class we did four laps of the studio, the exercises changing slightly on subsequent repeats. If you miss the excited shouts of the trainer, there’s a massive digital screen on the wall to tell you when you need to move around again. We spent most of the class watching the numbers counting down.
As HIIT classes go, it was pretty damn good. The studio is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate a large class. Once you get into your interval area it’s yours for a minute, so there’s no pushing or confusion as people move around. It’s really nice as well. Clean, new kit and the trainers have the sort of bouncy, excitable attitude that pushes the whole club ethos thing to the next level.
In terms of fitness level, you basically get out what you put into it. Whereas many classes push the whole military drill sergeant mentality, that just wouldn’t work in a place that’s meant to be fun. They’ll shout at you, but only to keep you motivated. If you’re not comfortable with the effort level, or you’re struggling, you won’t feel bad slowing down a bit.
Individual sessions at Ministry Does Fitness cost £14, with bulk session purchases saving money. They also have an awesome introductory offer of £14 unlimited use for a week, which is ridiculously good value.
T0 find out more, head over to the website here.