I’m regularly asked what classes I love in and around London, and we’re totally spoilt for choice here! Given that variety is one of life’s multiple spices (and also keeps the attitude towards training fun and fresh), I’ll typically try a couple of new classes on a monthly basis, which I thought I’d start to share with you here. I’m kicking it off with a session at Heartcore, a 55-minute dynamic pilates class which I tried this weekend in the heart of St Johns Wood. I’m wearing all Kate Spade New York in these pictures, a couple of super cute pieces from of their Beyond Yoga activewear collaboration! Click MORE to see my full take on the class, the clothes and the rest of these images!
Having just powered out a big upper body ‘back & abs’ session in the gym the day before, I was feeling fairly sore and mildly apprehensive about being able to do everything properly. After the class, I realised this was the perfect sequence to do the next day to help speed up recovery and offset muscle soreness. To boot, this space is possibly the most beautiful studio I’ve seen in London, so I was super excited about shooting my brand new Kate Spade New York look…
ACTIVE RECOVERY, POST WORKOUT – WHY?
On ‘rest’ or ‘recovery’ days, very often we’ll sit for hours on end at our desks or ‘rest’ on a sofa. To my mind, that’s totally suboptimal as it can prolong muscular tightness and allow DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) to really take hold. Instead, I like to implement fairly light exercise on my rest days to promote recovery (this can include walking, mobility drills, some light body weight exercises and a little stretching). This “active” recovery after a heavy weight training session can help soreness by stimulating blood flow and improving circulation to the muscles.
AND WHAT IF I DON’T?
Failing to recover properly can lead to all sorts of problems, but most concerningly, it can really put the body at a far greater risk of injury. For example, muscles becoming tighter and causing imbalances in your body can compromise how well you later perform an exercise; compound that ‘error of form’ up over multiple sessions and you have an injury waiting to happen, especially if you’re weakened anywhere in particular. Take the squat for example, if you don’t deal with tight hip flexors or Achilles tendons, this may compromise how well you perform your squat and your more likely to incur an injury. Always do your post workout stretches! I also recommend foam rollers and the occasional sports massage. And try and stay active/mobile the next day!
This class was indeed a superb post-workout ‘active recovery’ class. The perception your body gets from Heartcore is one of toning, rather than the brutal muscle-tearing sensation of a bench press; it’s a little more gentle but no less pacey and very tough! Here, based predominantly on the reformer machine, it logically focused on lengthening the muscles, on alignment and on core strength. The system complements this machine with a few light weights, intended for high repetition exercises – shoulder press, triceps and biceps drills. The upshot is an effective workout for those small, stabilising muscles that help us perform functional movements every day.
The class is fast paced, which I love in many respects as the energy is fantastic, but with so much going on (music, coordination, balance, instruction), the directions can be quite ambiguous to the newcomer. Given the class involves so many components, I’m always a believer that more specific instruction and focus on form is crucial, and complements an explanation of ‘the why’.
This studio, a former church in St. John’s Wood, NW8, is by far one of the most stunning I’ve seen in London. The entrance corridor is softly lit and punctuated with aromatherapeutic scents, setting the gentle scene for a relaxed arrival. Then, your emergence into the functional space is quite an incredible experience; you’re overwhelmed by high, vaulted and whitewashed ceilings, with huge windows showering the space in a deluge of natural light. Everything smells fresh, the floors are clean and light, and the equipment is super well maintained.
PRICE: The price is £27 for a single, which is a premium to many classes I take. 10 sessions for £220, i.e. £22/class in bulk.
LOCATIONS: 8 throughout London. (Kensington, Notting Hill, Hampstead, Chelsea, Fulham, City, Park Lane, St John’s Wood)
To give this a go and try something different in a beautiful space, book in HERE.
As mentioned, I’m wearing Kate Spade New York‘s latest Activewear line, created in collaboration with ‘Beyond Yoga‘. It’s a luxurious-feeling and comfortable collection that’s fun, light-hearted and feels quite free-spirited with cute dotted patterns! It works just as well in the gym or outside of it, as you can see from the images here, where I’ve dressed it up with some elevating accessories. I discovered a little more about the brand’s activewear style credentials in a little more detail after our session with Royal Ballet Soloist Eric Underwood last week, which was awesome fun!