With so many drop-in fitness studios all over London, could you commit to just one for the whole month? We challenged DOSE writer Sam Lewis to spend 30 days training at BLOK London to see if gym monogamy was for her…
(This article was written prior to Covid-19)
30 days at BLOK London
I’m a bit of a gym commitment-phobe and regularly flit from studio to studio, partly because the nature of my work means I am never in one place but also because I’m still searching for somewhere that has everything I love under one roof.
Sure, the drop-in fitness culture is great because of the flexibility it offers but it means instructors rarely know my name, my body or my abilities – and, more importantly, I never really feel part of the studio’s community. So, when I was challenged to work out at BLOK for 30 days I was keen to give it a go and see if I could finally get on first-name basis with the front of house staff and maybe even make some regular workout buddies.
I’d never actually trained at BLOK in London before and oh boy had I been missing out. I mainly based myself at the Shoreditch site (there’s also the original studio in Clapton), which looks more like a trendy art gallery than a gym with its stylish scandi-esque interiors. The timetable features 32 different types of classes from circuit training to ballet barre run by specialists in their field, many of whom are boxing champions, professional dancers and yoga ambassadors.
I got in a bit of a rut with my yoga practice last year, so I knew I wanted to use this time to get to as many classes as I could. I dabbled with a bit of yin and vinyasa but it was Ahmed’s power yoga class that quickly became my favourite time of the week. I’d describe it as a sort of yoga bootcamp, so if you’re an intermediate or advanced yogi looking to progress your practice you will love this strong yet playful class. The whole session is taught in Sanskrit and expect to be jumping into handstands (with his expert help if needed) from day one.
I also went to my first Tibetan sound bath (BLOKsound), which I would recommend to those who struggle with meditation. We laid in savasana under a cosy blanket while our instructor Koral guided us into a deep meditative state using singing bowls. I found myself in this sort of lucid dream and went on a bit of a trippy journey. Expect to float all the way home.
In terms of fitness classes, I was a big fan of Paul’s boxing class which focuses on technique and partner work. Paul is a pro (he’s been boxing for over 20 years) and his energy is infectious. He will teach you how to get comfortable holding pads, working combos and perfecting footwork. Plus, he plays some filthy garage anthems.
BLOKstrength with Jermaine J is another must if you want to be worked really, really hard. The class focuses on a range of strengthening and toning exercises which work to make you stronger, fitter and leaner, whilst developing your balance, coordination and posture. Incorporating both isometric and isotonic exercises, each movement is set to a tempo, designed to make you perform to your optimum ability. During rest periods we focussed on stretching, to lengthen muscles.
So was gym monogamy for me?
I really enjoyed getting to know the trainers and seeing familiar faces each week – and it was definitely handy having the staff know my smoothie order (“The Blockbuster”, if you’re wondering). I made friends with my boxing partner and am now a regular at Ahmed’s classes where I’m enjoying seeing progression. But I’m still not sure I can stay faithful to just one gym.
To try it for yourself, sign up for an unlimited 30 day trial for £100.
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