If London Fashion Week’s svelte supermodels or buff film stars parading about shirtless have inspired you to renew your fitness vows, then read on. Get lean, flexible and strong the way the LA set do with the London gyms and fitness programs behind the beautiful bodies of the A-list…
Words: Amelia Duggan
The expansive BodyWorksWest health and fitness club in Notting Hill has state-of-the-art gym equipment, a huge range of fitness classes, swimming pool and spa areas, as well as a private member’s lounge where, if you’re lucky, you might just bump into one of their A-list clientele. These famous bodies of beauty are, sadly, kept tightly under wraps, but let’s just say you might bump into a superhero… And what class does the Notting Hill set flock to? Aqua Barre, of course, which takes all the flowing, ballet-inspired movements to the water, reducing the harsh weight-bearing movements but adding the resistance of the water to create a great workout for all fitness levels.
11 Lambton Place, Notting Hill W11 2SH; 020 7229 2291; bodyworkswest.co.uk
2 SBC, location on request
The brainchild of fitness-trainer-come-lifestyle-guru Russell Bateman, SBC (Skinny Bitch Collective) has been described as offering the ‘secret class for supermodels’. The gruelling classes and personal training offered by the one-man brand aim to build strength by “bringing out the human in you”: think jumping, crawling, pushing and pulling exercises. Nab a highly sought-after spot on Bateman’s roster and join the ranks of SBC faithfuls, which include models Suki Waterhouse, Daisy Lowe and Millie Mackintosh. The location and price of classes are available upon request.
3 Equinox, Kensington
Luxury American gym chain Equinox has been welcoming celebrities and fashionistas through its doors since its London launch in the architecturally stunning Derry and Toms building on High Street Kensington in 2012. Equinox aspires to be the final word in workout luxury, offering its hip clientele state-of-the art equipment, a range of science-based, high-octane group classes and world-class trainers. Work out on the anti-gravity treadmill, freshen-up with a chilled eucalyptus-infused towel and complimentary Kiehl’s toiletries and then grab a juice at the smoothie bar. (Afterwards you could head to next floor to peek at the flamingos at Kensington Roof Gardens bar and restaurant.) The prices for Equinox’s five-star gym experience are available upon request.
99 Kensington High Street W8 5SA; equinox.com
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4 Barrecore, Chelsea
A favourite with Victoria’s Secret models such as Jourdan Dunn, Eva Herzigova and Arizona Mews, Barrecore classes fuse yoga, Pilates and ballet techniques with gentle weight-training exercises to elongate muscles and create toned physiques. Barrecore has studios in Mayfair, Chelsea, Chiswick, Wimbledon and Kensington, and their one-hour classes are precision-timed to make the most of every minute. Engage your core and get model-fit at Barrecore, with the first class costing £20.
Atlantic Court, 77 Kings Road, SW3 4NX; barrecore.co.uk
5 Psycle, Oxford Circus & Canary Wharf
Until State-side celebrity-endorsed spinning craze SoulCycle graces our shores later this year, London has Psycle. The 45-minute indoor-cycling classes at Psycle fuse scientific research, nightclub lighting, a great soundtrack and motivational instructors (including a GB gymnast and one of Rihanna’s dancers) to give clients a full-body workout without leaving the saddle. Set in the heart of London, psyclers can exercise, shower in the plush changing rooms and get back on the street with renewed energy (and aching muscles!) within an hour. Move to a beat on a bicycle seat for £20 per session, of buy in bulk and save money.
6 Barry’s Bootcamp, Euston
Imported from Hollywood to east London, the punishing cardio classes offered by Barry’s Bootcamp claim to burn as many as 1000 calories per 60-minute session. Intense cardio sprints on Woodway treadmills (kit used by the US Navy Seals) are broken up with mat-work sessions involving weights. The enviable physiques of Jessicas Alba and Biel, Kim Kardashian and Amanda Seyfried are said to have been cultivated in Barry’s red-lit, basement gyms to an inspiring soundtrack of dance beats. The sessions are fiendish, fun and not for the faint of heart. Push your body to the limit at Barry’s, with individual classes from £20.
163 Euston Road NW1 2BH; barrysbootcamp.com
7 Sangyé Yoga, Notting Hill
Kate Moss credits her lithe, youthful physique to Jivamukti Yoga: a vigorous, fluid physical practice that also includes chanting, relaxation and philosophical teachings. Jivamukti means ‘liberation while living’ and has been building a devoted following (including actress Thandie Newton) at the Sangyé Yoga studio (formerly Jivamukti Yoga) in Notting Hill school since its opening in 2005. A 60-minute class is £14 for non-members and is open to all levels.
300 Kensal Road W10 5BE; sangyeyoga.com
8 Bodyism, Knightsbridge
What do models Lara Stone, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Elle Macpherson have in common? They all swear by Australian-born Bodyism guru James Duigan, the author of the bestselling Clean and Lean Diet book, to help burnish their beautiful bodies. Duigan’s holistic teachings on nutrition and fitness have been described as the blueprint for long, lean, athletic figures. After a successful stint at the impossibly swanky Bulgari Hotel gym, Bodyism relaunched in Notting Hill in September 2015.
222-224 Westbourne Grove W11 2RH; bodyism.com
— Bodyism (@bodyism) January 27, 2015
9 KX, South Kensington
Oozing elegance and ambience, and boasting top-of-the-range gym facilities, it’s not surprising that the deluxe KX gym (pronounced ‘Kicks’) has a burgeoning celebrity patronage. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue are members, and so are a host of models including Laura Bailey and Lisa B. As well as fantastic Pilates and Conditioning classes and expert personal trainers who can create bespoke fitness and nutrition plans, guests come for the spa. Saunas, steam rooms, saline flotation tanks, plunge pools, relaxation lounges and some of the most powerful showers in London make KX a low-lit, teak-panelled haven of fitness and wellbeing. Prices are, understandably, lofty and can be ascertained on enquiry.
151 Draycott Avenue, South Kensington SW3 3AL; kxlife.co.uk
10 Frame, Shoreditch
Style is of the essence at this East End gym, a favourite with hipsters, dancers and celebrity songstresses such as Alison Goldfrapp and Florence Welch. Funky, fun and aimed predominantly at fashionable young women, Frame offers an impressive timetable of varied fitness, dance and yoga sessions, as well as pre and post-natal exercise classes. So successful Frame’s formula that there are now studios in Queen’s Park, King’s Cross and Victoria (as well as an additional yoga only studio in King’s Cross). Learn to dance like a diva with classes from £6.50. No membership needed.
29 New Inn Yard EC2A 3EY; moveyourframe.com
11 Virgin Active, Kensington
When news reached Richard Branson of Equinox’s arrival in London, he pulled out all the stops to make the Kensington branch of his Virgin Active gyms extra-special in order to compete for the area’s fitness-conscious clientele. Facilities now include a crèche, a rotating climbing wall, anti-gravity yoga and a tagging system that monitors your training. The serene 18m chlorine-free pool is a real draw, as are the 200 plus classes. Local celebrities and models love the gym, and Gary Barlow and Keanu Reeves are know to work out here. Membership is £130 per month for a year, which also permits the use of the 122 Virgin Active gyms in the UK, and the further 142 clubs across the world.
3rd floor, 17A Old Court Place W8 4PL; virginactive.co.uk
This post is sponsored by BodyWorksWest