Fitness. It’s a love/hate thing. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. Whatever camp you’re in, I think we can all agree that it’s necessary and an essential part of both our physical and mental wellbeing.
I started ballet when I was four years old and by age 17 I was training 6-7 days per week, finally finishing up just before my 18th birthday. So you’d think based on that, I would’ve been a natural lover of fitness. Wrong. I hated PE class at school, I hated running, I pretty much hated anything that wasn’t dance based.
As soon as I finished ballet, I gained five kg in the space of about six months, a decent amount for someone who’s only 5ft 2. I didn’t exercise again until I joined a gym aged 22, and shortly after I moved to London. Once in London I belonged to various gyms, but my motivation was low, and my eating was terrible. At my heaviest, I weighed 12 kg more than I currently do. I went on diets, I even paid a clinic one time because I was desperate to lose some weight that definitely needed to be lost. I didn’t like the skin I was in, I didn’t feel good about myself, physically or mentally, and I would think about it day in, day out.
The turning point for me was joining a local gym in Fulham. The least fancy gym you could find, full of the least fancy members you could come across (except for Daniel Radcliffes parents, which made me love them even more, working out in a council run gym). I knew how to work out properly, I had good technique, I just needed to be consistent, and most importantly watch my diet. The members are what kept me going at this gym, I loved how down to earth it was, how I knew everyone there, and thankfully this was what kept me on track and got me back into a good space physically and mentally.
Over the years, cleaning up my diet helped any hard work I put in at the gym. Once I saw the improvements, and I grew stronger with time, fitness became a regular part of my life. I enjoy weight training the most, the results always spur me on to lift more, do more rep’s and in turn see the changes in my body. I find the process fascinating. For three years, I changed things up and did the ever popular Kayla Itsines workouts, six days per week. I have never been more fit in my life, but it came at a price, and I ended up with a lot of hip and pelvis issues, which meant having X-rays and MRI’s to figure out what was going on. Those issues really caused me to become slack with my gym training, and I lost a lot of motivation and determination. It’s only been over the past six months that I’ve tried to dedicate more time to keeping my mind and body in a good place.
I knew I couldn’t go back to my Kayla workouts on a permanent basis, and whilst I love weight training, I’ve also felt lately that I wanted to try some other types of fitness training, so alongside some classes at my gym, I was recently given the opportunity to try the Esquared Fitness App.
The Esquared app allows its users to find premium two-hour gym sessions and one-off classes in London. What this means is you can try out a gym or one of their featured classes without taking up a membership. I downloaded the app, which you can do via Google or Apple, and was able to search gyms by location, class type, date, time etc. I decided to try three different classes, which I’m sharing with you below, all were great in their own way, and I can honestly say I love the Esquared app, as it’s given me the opportunity to try new classes, in different locations, at a really great rate.
I’d love for you to try the Esquared Fitness app too, and let me know what you think. Perhaps we can do a class together sometime! And good news, if you sign up to the app and use the code ‘AB19531’ you’ll get £20 to do a workout or a class, yay!
My final word on fitness: Don’t overthink it, don’t wait for motivation, just get up, show up and move your body. You’ll never regret it.
Please note: Whilst this was a collaborative post with Esquared, all views are 100% my own and 100% honest. I highly recommend the app.
My first class booked through Esquared was a power plate class at Power Tone on Kings Road in Chelsea. I’d done power plate classes 10 years ago, and I remember leaving the studio after my very first class, which last 30 minutes, and my legs were like jelly. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about my putting myself through a class again.
A maximum of four people are in each class, and on the day I booked, I was on my own, so it was like a PT session, which meant all eyes were on me from the trainer, and therefore zero cheating/resting! Power plates provide multi-directional vibration through its platform, which gives your muscles an extremely intense workout! Due to the high vibration on the base of the plate your body works 20-50% harder to perform an exercise – one squat on the power plate is almost equivalent to nine regular squats.
I was sweating within five minutes, which is always a good sign you’re working out properly, and my poor wee quads were hating on me as I pulsed in squat position with a kettle bell, whilst silently praying to move on to the upper body section before my legs gave way underneath me. Don’t let that put you off though! The trainer was encouraging and positive the whole way through, and the 30 minutes goes pretty quickly, leaving you feeling like you’ve really worked out your body in the best way.
My second class was a 30 minutes Quickie Abs class taken by a Frame fitness instructor at the underground studio in Sweaty Betty on Carnaby Street. I was really looking forward to this class, because I love ab workouts, or more precisely, the results from working out your abs.
For those unfamiliar with Frame, it was started by two friends (one is a kiwi! #proud) and they’re motivation behind their classes is to make sure keeping fit and healthy never feels like a chore. With studios dotted around London you can do anything from pilates to learning Beyonce’s Single Ladies dance routine. For those unfamiliar with Sweaty Betty, opening in London as a women’s activewear store in 1998, the brand has grown globally, and alongside offering classes in-store, they also opened a studio at their Carnaby Street location, where fitness companies like Frame come and take classes.
So yeah, back to the studio and the class. Firstly, the studio. OMG, I thought I wasn’t that fussed about ‘nice gym spaces’, but I was SOLD as soon as I walked down the stairs at Sweaty Betty’s studio. Every tiny detail has been thought out so carefully, from the lockers named after famous females, to all the fun neon signs. The class was all-female, and again I was sweating within five minutes, as our high energy instructor put us through our paces and pushed us to do more and do better. I really enjoyed this class, it was tough but also energising and I’d recommend trying this one, even if it’s just for the sneak peek around the studio!
My third class was a 45 minute Dance Fitness class at Chelsea Health Club and Spa, on Fulham Road, situated behind Chelsea Football Club. The club itself is stunning, with facilities including exercise studios, a 25 metre ozone treated pool, an award-winning spa as well as cardio and weight training equipment. There’s a club lounge and restaurant, you can even make use of a dry cleaning concierge service!
The dance fitness class took place in a large studio, and our male instructor was full of energy and amazing dance moves! The class on that day focused on a lot of salsa, rumba and cha-cha moves, that got the heart rate moving and the legs working at double speed.
I love dance, it’s my favourite thing to do, give me a dance floor and I’m happy, and this class was no exception. I found it a challenge, as those dance styles are so different to ballet, but I laughed my way through the majority of the class, and had so much fun. The class consisted of women of all ages, which I found fantastic to see, and it felt warm and inclusive. Definitely one I’d return to again, and I’d leave more space in my diary to enjoy all the facilities on my next visit.