I was recently interviewed by the fabulous London lifestyle magazine, Indigo Memoirs about a wide range of fitness-related matters, from my key workouts to my favourite gyms in and around London. It’s a focussed little interview, but I thought it might be a bit of help for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the sprawling choice of fitness systems, and for Londoners who may be looking for new and exciting fitness spots in London! (Fear not, non-Londoners, more Italian tales coming soon…). Click MORE to get my top insights into London’s fitness landscape Faya x
1. What is the best work out in London- a must try for anyone savvy to experience the fitness lifestyle scene in London?
– Barry’s Bootcamp, originally an American franchise, is a relatively recent additional to London’s fitness scene, and for my money, is exceptional. The classes combine bouts of high intensity interval training on a very high-end treadmill, with strength training on the floor. Jumping between the two (strength and HIIT) is gruelling, metabolism-raising, and ensures that you leave the class soaking wet. Afterwards there’s a really social little ‘fuel bar’ where you can mingle and take in some tasty protein concoctions whilst recovering.
– TriYoga is an oldie but very much a goodie, to my mind! It’s located in Primrose Hill, and is for the relaxed, trendy folk of North West London. After any manner of yoga class (expertly taught) you can unwind in their restaurant over an organic healthy salad or grab a juice and power walk to the top of Primrose hill to enjoy the beautiful views of London.
– Also, the BMF classes (British Military Fitness) located on Hampstead Heath or indeed any of the Royal Parks in London, are a wonderful way to meet people and discover different parts of the city, whilst toasting calories and toning up!
2. Which place in London provides the nicest environment for people to work out in?
To me, a ‘nice workout environment’ should be ultra clean, modern, have choice, space and availability, as well as ‘top Spa’-like facilities. The rest is detail.
– Equinoxwould be one of these for me; it’s another American franchise and a recent addition To London as well. Situated on high street Kensington, it’s gorgeous inside, is very well invested such that it has all the latest equipment, and perhaps best of all, is utterly flooded with natural daylight, which is surely unique amongst London gyms.
– KX is one of the most aspirational, upmarket places to work out, ‘darling’. It’s also fabulously spa-like and exceptionally glamourous. The prices are unjustifiably exorbitant, which ensures an elite clientele; a clientele who demand the best of everything, whatever they do. KX delivers exactly this.
3. What do you think is the most social fitness place in London – where Londoners can meet other Londoners and get motivated to live, train and eat better?
– BMF is outdoorsy and super social, as well as being located all around London.
– CrossFit hasn’t been in the UK for that long but people seem to either liove it or hate it.
– The bottom line is that there are any number of systems in London’s sprawling fitness landscape, all of which profess their own unique social vibe, none of which have proven exclusive and unwelcoming in my experience (and I’ve tried pretty much all of them in the course of blogging!).
– The real place for motivation in London is your palm; Instagram has it all!
4. If there is one word that defines fitness in 2014- which word would it be?
It’s difficult to concentrate an entire ethos into a single word, but my best attempt for 2014 would be ATHLETIC. London (and indeed the world outside) is becoming ever more health-conscious, through better education and more inspiration (think Olympics, Commonwealth Games etc). People are inspired by athletes, and want to be athletically fit themselves. Gone are the days of just wanting to be thin; in 2014, memes such as ‘Strong is the new skinny’ are total cliches, which is testament to how well-understood that sentiment is, and how ‘lifting weights’ is shedding the ‘bodybuilder’ stigma. Also, fitness and fashion continue to converge, and people want to buy into the healthy fitness world all the time!
5. Where should people go for a pre workout and re fuel post healthy snack workout in London?
You can never go wrong with a heathy home cooked meal including ‘good’ fats, lean protein, complex carbs etc after a workout. I recently visited Marylebones “Roots and Bulbs” and ennjoyed a delicious raw juice and protein shake! Whole foods is a little (well, not so little) paradise for the health conscious too!
6. What are the Fitness fads in London people should avoid?
I’d say any fad-diets, beware!! They all have one thing in common; they will always be unsustainable and give unrealistic goals. FitnessOnToast.com focusses on pursuing long term, sustainable healthy lifestyle choices which should stand us all in better stead through our existence.
7. What recent healthy lifestyle innovations do you think will make London a better place?
The Olympic Park of course is a fantastic venue. Furthermore, Councils are increasingly constructing more outdoor gyms within their park space, which is fabulously convenient.
Cycle routes are being extended to encourage more cycling and to make London a safer place to ride, and obviously the advent of the ‘Boris Bike‘ was a big boost to this too!
8. Apart from your blog, where else can people get the best source of fitness inspiration in London?
It’s pretty hard to avoid really. There are gym chains on every corner, pictures of beautiful people on every billboard, phones in every pocket preloaded with ‘fitspo’ software like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc… These days, you have to try pretty hard to switch off from all fitness inspiration in London
9. Pick one life-changing moment or situation in your life that has made you more driven, determined and pro-active about your attitude to food, fitness and life.
My journey has not been a drastic one. Growing up Southern Swedish countryside, we had our own vegetable garden. I would plant my own potatoes, watch them grow and finally pull them out of the ground to see them land on my plate. I also used to ride horses and participate in literally any sport I came across. It was only when I went to university where I drank too much alcohol, ate poor food, and sacrificed sleep that I saw my body and mind deteriorate. I gained weight, felt lethargic and was uninspired; that’s when it dawned on me how much I valued a balanced, active life. I still favour organic foods and love to be active. Health is a lifestyle and itcan be an easy and enjoyable one. FitnessOnToast is literally devoted to precisely that.
10. What is your opinion on global fitness fashion brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty getting directly involved with fitness experiences?
I’ve worked with both Sweaty Betty and LuluLemon in the course of blogging. I love that they make the practise of yoga freely available to their communities, and are willing to put their clothes to the ultimate tests right in their shop-space. It’s to be encouraged in my view, because incrementally, it just gets people more involved in an active, healthy lifestyle. Not enough brands follow that route, to my mind.
11. Which fitness product can’t you live without
An exceptional pair of trainers! Catering to your unique feet isn’t a luxury reserved for athletes; it’s an obligation which will see your skeleton well into old age. I suggest everyone undergo a scientific run assessment (I recently visited Asics on Oxford Street for mine – see my blog post entitled ‘Run Smarter‘)! Wearing the right shoes is often tragically underestimated, and these days, the shoes all look so wonderfully appealing too