Tried and tested: London's 'toughest' workout class

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It’s the workout that promises to take you to a dark place and torch up to 1,000 calories. Sam steps into the concrete jungle that is MCP Manor

I’ve got the fear, big time. I’m standing outside a huge iron gate waiting to be let down to an underground car park where I’m about to try London’s ‘toughest’ workout. It’s called MCP. A new concept by gym chain Manor that offers the antithesis to boutique fitness. Raw and very rough around the edges, the focus is on the mental aspect of training. “A little off the hook, a touch nuts, pretty intense and slightly unhinged,” the website reads.

There are three strength and conditioning classes: StrongMan is all about throwing heavy weights around, Gas Tank is the ultimate cardio blast (think air bike, SkiErg and Skillmill), and Yard Work is a gruelling combination of the two. I’m trying out the latter with trainer Kate, who despite breaking her nose and wrist in a bike accident two days ago is back instructing. These guys are clearly as tough as nails.

I quickly cotton on to the fact you must play by the rules here or pay the price: phones are confiscated, moaning is banned (dare to let out a whimper and you’ll be punished) and there’s absolutely no bullshit. We’re divided into teams and assigned a station on the 9-minute circuits, which include everything from laps around the car park to barbell walking lunges. The aim is simple: stay at your station for as long as possible or relieve yourself by ringing the bell. However, of course, this comes with nasty consequences (burpees, plank etc) for you and your group.

I end up doing what feels like a million laps around the car park but consider myself lucky I’m not my poor teammate who is in a kettlebell farmer’s hold. I look over at one point and can see the beads of sweat pouring down his face but there’s no way he’s giving up. It’s inspiring stuff.

Do I think it’s London’s toughest workout? Mentally, yes. You have to be an exercise masochist to put yourself through this kind of challenge but as the saying goes great things never came from comfort zones.

You can find MCP at Manor SW1 (entrance on 84 Gillingham Street). To book a session visit the website.

By Sam

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