This post isn’t technically about food. But the more I exercise the more I can eat, right?
And in fact I do occasionally take a break from eating to exercise. I´m a big fan of running, especially when I travel as it’s a great way to see more of the place you´re in and all you need is a pair of trainers.
When I´m in London though, I like to mix things up a little and it´s not hard because a new fitness craze seems to launch every other week. Here are some of the most original and fun ways I like to sweat it all out.
Michael Jackson dance class
You have to love a dance studio that offers classes like Cheerleading and Waacking in its timetable.
But the class I´ve always loved at the Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden is the one dedicated to the greatest pop star of our time. Run by the super taletented Anthony King , it’s an hour of pure poptastic MJ choreography to a selection of his classic tracks.
The class is a combination of street, commercial pop and modern jazz… with plenty of crotch thrusting. £11 for the baddest dance workout around.
Who would you expect to be running a hula hoop class? Why Anna the Hulagan of course! She´s been at the forefront of the hoop scene for years (that´s right, there´s a scene) and it shows. I´ve never seen such toned abs before.
Hula Fit classes emphasise toning and coordination and use special weighted hoops. Two kilos doesn’t feel like much to start with but your middle will be aching by the end of the one hour class (and possibly be covered in bruises like mine was).
It’s fun and fast paced, a mix of cardio routines and core abdominal work, all to a bouncing playlist. If you´ve got the hips, they´ve got the hoops…. £6 in advance or £8 drop in.
The Sunday Stroll
I was innocently cycling through the back streets of Chelsea one day when suddenly a flock of roller skaters (hundreds of them!) appeared from nowhere and thundered past me, followed by a guy with a boombox playing funky tunes. What the… ??
Turns out this is a regular ritual known as The Sunday Stroll – a weekly marshalled street skate in Central London. It starts in Hyde Park at 2pm every Sunday and the route changes each week. It´s open to all skaters who can stop, turn and control their speed on hills, which unfortunately does not include me.
It´s free and run by volunteers and I aspire to one day give it a crack. If I´m good enough by Christmas I will definitely join the London Santa Skate (but don´t hold your breath!).
While my limited roller skating skills are not quite ready for the streets of London, they are good enough for my all-time favourite London activity… roller disco! You have to hand it to London for having a dedicated Roller Disco, which is tucked down an alley in Vauxhall and open Thursday to Saturday nights.
There are two inter-connected skating rooms so you can switch between funky disco tunes and deep house. The surrounding area is for drinking and lounging when you need to take a breather. It´s so retro kitsch you´ll feel like an extra in Boogie Nights.
Remember that roller disco is always best undertaken while wearing an afro and hot pants… or at least spangly tights, leg warmers and sequins. £10 -£15 which includes skate hire.
Imagine a spin class on speed. With dance music, hand weights and strobe lights.
That´s GrooveCycle, a ´dance-cycle session´ that will leave you weak at the knees. Each routine is choreographed to a specific dance track and keeps your entire body moving, all while sitting on a bike in Europe´s largest spin room (100 bikes!) at Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf.
I have my dear friend Emily to thank for introducing me to this unsuspecting form of torture. Every time I go my thighs swear I´ll never return but I always go back for more. I did love the Halloween themed class though, lots of spooky tracks and witches hats to keep us distracted! £10 a class.
Do you know of any other fun ways to get fit in London or any other city for that matter?