Londoners are no longer resigned to slogging it out on a treadmill; the capital is hot on LA’s heels when it comes to inventing pioneering fitness classes and workout concepts. Gyms are as well designed as boutique hotels and timetables offer more classes than Netflix docuseries. Whether you’re a morning gym bunny or a studio-hopper, we’ve found the London workouts on which it’s actually worth spending your ClassPass credits.

Killer cardio, boxing raves and London’s best fitness classes

Disco Barre Studio

Disco Barre Studio is bringing back Madonna’s big hits, mirror balls and the original Lotte Berk technique. Based in The Factory – a community hub in Hackney – its classes focus on helping you achieve the body of a dancer while pumping out a playlist ripped straight from the decks of Studio 54. Expect a steady mix of traditional ballet movements – pliés and relevés – tiny pelvic pulses and booty-building holds that’ll leave your behinds burning. Try to engage your holds as long as possible as this is what sculpts your front/ back/side and insides of your legs. Committed to encouraging inclusivity and fluidity, Gay Barre has just launched for gay men in the community.

Sweat It

A self-proclaimed “no bullshit zone”, this Holborn gym combines intense treadmill work with functional training in its Pillar Killer class. Hate running? This one’s for you. There’s an even split of 50:50 running and floor work with less emphasis on sprinting and more on using your legs to power uphill on a steep incline. To push you harder, the teched-out-treadmills are set to “parachute” mode to stimulate the resistance of pulling a parachute behind you. Mix that with more Russian twists than we’ve had Moscow mules, plenty of planking and endless crunches and you’ve got an ab-and-cardio workout that’ll have you sculpted like a god in weeks.

The Foundry

For Crossfit-inspired workouts without the cult-like mentality, sign up to The Foundry’s City Strongman class. Using all the toys and equipment that you’d expect to see in the World’s Strongest Man and Woman competitions, this is hardcore strength training at its most brutal. Four-people teams make their way around stations consisting of tyre-flipping, sled-dragging, sandbag carries and atlas stones. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the tools, the aim isn’t on lifting big and then collapsing in a chicken-legged heap. Each week you’re encouraged to beat your PBs, so that your confidence builds as rapidly as your muscles. Former rugby star Ben Gotting is the brain behind the brawn – you’ll find him teaching on Saturdays at the Bank outpost.

BXR

Ideal for runners who want to cross train, people who are returning back to fitness following an injury or those who want to torture themselves on their lunch break, BXR’s Climb to the Beat class is a low-impact cardio workout taken entirely on the VersaClimber machine. Never heard of it? We hadn’t either until we were strapped into the machine and internally screaming (ok, occasionally out loud) at ourselves for eating a whole block of cheese the night before. Despite being kind on your joints, using the pedals and handles to mimic (faux) climbing blazes more calories than running or cycling does. Plus, the strobe-lit studio and killer sound system evoke serious nightclub vibes.

Kobox

Boxing is the undisputed supermodel workout of choice – from Charlie’s Angels to Victoria’s, they’ve all ditched their wings for hand wraps and washboard abs. Join them at Kobox, which has been king of the ring since it opened its first “fight club meets nightclub” space way back in 2015. Part boxing gym and part basement rave, it has knowledgeable trainers who will talk beginners through the basics and guide regulars on how to perfect their fighting stance. Complicated to-the-beat punching sequences ensure your mind is working as hard as your muscles, while killer floor work with medicine balls, cable ropes and dumbbells gives you a dynamic 360° workout.

1Rebel

This boutique gym set out to transform the fitness scene – and succeeded. Each of its six locations – including Angel, Bayswater, Broadgate, South Bank, St Marys Axe – are drop dead gorgeous with lots of copper piping, exposed brick and Scandi-tiling, but it’s Victoria’s world-first cycling amphitheatre that sets our pulses racing. Expect 80 bikes spread over multiple floors, a sound system that previewed at Glasto, smoke, lasers and a trainer that moves between the different levels like some sort of spin Messiah. The Ride class is a gruelling 45-minutes but the (mandatory) fist-pumping, singalong soundtrack helps it fly by. Book in on a Friday night and enjoy free post-workout prosecco.

Rowbots

Typically we’d gravitate to a yoga or pilates class to focus on our mindfulness, believing the Zen vibes were what we needed to de-stress. That was until Rowbots launched in Fitzrovia and introduced a cardio-centric workout that focuses on mental conditioning, torches up to 800 calories and works 85 per cent of muscles in the body. State-of-the-art rowing machines that mimic the feeling of rowing on open water take care of the core muscle building, while a team of instructors have tailored a regime to build mental strength. Instead of standing at the front of the class barking instructions, they work mental exercises into rowing routines. Power-based bursts are used to increase productivity; rows that require longer stamina improve focus and endurance-based rounds encourage resilience.

At Your Beat

Take your TikTok videos up a notch by learning the (correct) dance routines to some of the most iconic music videos. Fun, carefree and fairly intense, At Your Beat takes you through professionally choreographed routines that’ll actually look good on the dance floor. So much so, you’ll need to ditch your sneakers for your stilettos for its StrutBEAT Heels session, which takes you from dad-at-a-disco to Beyonce at Superbowl – and without the need for an espresso martini. With classes across London (Elephant Castle, Leicester Square, Marylebone) a range of music genres and an “anyone can dance” attitude, this place will be the most fun you’ll have getting sweaty while sober.

12x3 Gym

A boxing gym built for and led by boxers, this place is far more than a bunch of pretty posers hitting punch bags. Built around 12 x three-minute rounds – the same as world title fights – its circuits incorporate boxing drills such as bag work, pad work and skipping. Fact: skipping burns more calories than spinning and Gigi Hadid is a fan. Classes here are geared up to boost fitness levels – you’ll quickly hone your technique, fix your stance and stop lowering your hands under the expert guidance of world champion professionals such as co-founder Darren Barker. Think of the BoxCon workout as a grown-up version of Kobox; there’s less drum and bass, an emphasis on developing skills and you’ll come out feeling like a pound-for-pound pro.

F45

We bet you five burpees there’s an F45 within a mile radius of your office/ home/ coffee shop of choice – this Australian export has quickly taken hold of the capital. Fusing HIIT, circuits and functional training, you’ll work your way through 27 different stations that focus on agility, core and resistance movements. Rests are pretty much non-existent, meaning that a workout here will kick-start your metabolism and scorch hundreds of calories. As its name suggests, most classes are 45 minutes long, but weekend warriors will want to book onto the lengthier 60-minute Hollywood iteration. It’ll take you from red faced to red carpet quicker than you can say “Margot Robbie”.

You May Also Like

City Guides

You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.

Bundles

Curate your bookcase with the full SUITCASE library. From Volume 2 through 28, we've been around the world, explored uncharted landscapes and reexamined travel perceptions along the way. We invite you to do the same; grow your collection today.

Download Suitcase App
Learn More