Hi there. Its Wednesday. We are half way through this week. Which is great. And this week has already had so much happen in it.
I mean, did you look outside Monday? The crazy Saharan sand red sky. Like in that weird Las Vegas scene in the new Blade Runner (see it, honestly. Do that this week).
So, Wednesday, there are still 5 full days of this week left. And I am going to suggest that you spend them exercising.
I know, I know, EXERCISING? And the exercise I am going to suggest you do is hardcore.
Now, I know that I’m not in London on a week-long holiday or for a boozy weekend (week-start?) but there are few things that make me feel as good as exercise. I know that probably sounds a bit lame. But it’s true. Not in a smug or self-important way, more in a sort of oh my god, that was hard and fun and I feel great and got to socialize a little bit way. I like getting sweaty and hot and feeling tired and energized at the same time. And the endorphins! So many endorphins. Which helps if you’ve had a big weekend, are totally exhausted and maybe a little homesick.
To be serious for just a second, I started properly exercising as research for a show I was making with my theatre company but I carried on exercising because it’s the only thing I’ve ever done that has solidly helped my depression. I’m not a doctor and I don’t think it’s a cure or a stand-in for medical attention – and everyone is different – but for me, its managed to raise my neutral position. This doesn’t mean I don’t still get depressed or anxious, for me it’s meant that I don’t slip down to the place I feel like I can’t get out of. When I went backpacking and when I moved here, I sometimes found it hard, lonely, exhausting – never in one place for too long, constantly meeting new people, drinking a lot, away from family – and I wish I had known that going out for a run or popping to a class or a long swim would have helped. Your body is fucking amazing and totally looks after you if you let it. Have a look at this brilliant Guardian article, which quotes a study saying that even 1-2 hours a week can help with your mental health. Also check out ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ by Haruki Murakami.
My totally most favourite place to take classes is a place called Gym-Class. There is one at Liverpool St and one in beautiful, leafy, Holland Park. It is run and conceived by an excellent woman named Helle Hammonds. She is super hardcore and the friendliness, nicest person I’ve ever met. As are all of her trainers (try a class with former England hockey player Kate or former pro-footballer Alex). Her concept is HIIT mixed with strength. You work as hard as you can for 50 minutes white the lighting in her studio maxes you look awesome when you get redfaced and sweaty, which you will. And you work as a team with the other people in your class, which makes it so much fun, even if you also want to throw up. This week, she is doing something called Redemption Week, £30 unlimited classes. I know that Monday and Tuesday have passed but you can still go to 5 classes, or 4 or 3 or 2 even. It’s a great deal. Try it. It will be hard. But you’ll also feel really high after because of all of the endorphins, so there’s that.
Gym-Class London, Liverpool St & Holland Park, £30 unlimited classes this week only. There is also a £10 class offer for new clients and a £30 for 3 classes for new clients if you want to go next week instead.
I’m sure I’ll write more about Helle, exercise and all that, but in case you want something a little different, try these places:
London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. £4.95 for a swim – 50m pool in a Zaha Hadid designed building to look like the belly of a whale.
Barry’s Bootcamp – various locations, classes range in price depending on package. The original hardcore workout from LA. 30 minutes on a treadmill mixed up with 30 minutes of weight. I love it here too. Try a class with Shannon for his amazing playlist or Anya because she’s brilliant and motivating.
Psycle – various locations, class range in price depending on package. Psycle is spinning, but upbeat, club spinning. Lots of choreography, lots of good lights! Lemon and Kaya are the best.
The Foundry – Vauxhall, £12 off peak classes. No nonensense functional training. You leave feeling like you can literally do anything. Brilliant and informative instructors and a huge warehouse space with all sorts of cool things to pick up, push and throw.
Regents Canal – free. Go for a walk or a run. Its really pretty. End in beautiful Victoria Park.