Pioneering class concepts such as Glow Motion, Rebounce, SwingTrain and even lessons in the art of burlesque are on offer at the new Off the Rails studio in Clapham Junction…
If those oh-so well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions are already falling by the wayside, you might be in need of an extra kick. Luckily, there’s a dynamic new studio in Battersea ready and waiting to do just that, and it couldn’t be more conveniently located. Beneath Clapham Junction, nestled next to Crossfit Shapesmiths, is the aptly named Off the Rails, the brainchild of former professional dancer and instructor Missie Frank.
Decked with fairy lights and mirrors, it’s a fun space for those who prefer their fitness a little rough and ready. ‘It’s not swanky,’ explains Frank, ‘I wanted it to be a bit industrial around the edges.’
The girl’s changing room is decked out almost like a teenage bedroom, with Friends posters on the walls, while the men’s changing room is decorated with vinyl records and cover art. Stuffy it is not – but that’s not to say the classes themselves aren’t top-notch and cutting-edge. Frank herself teaches the pioneering Glow Motion and Rebounce, mega energetic classes of her own devising that are sure to see you work up a sweat and come back for more.
The fact that the classes she offers encourage people to dance and to keep fit in a fun way makes Off the Rails stand out from the crowd. ‘The music is really important,’ she explains. ‘Everything has a dance element to it, but if you’re not a dancer it doesn’t matter, because you don’t really even realise you’re dancing.’
Of her more unusual offerings, Highland Hustle (‘hip hop and Scottish-infused fitness – bagpipes with beats’) and Swing Train (inspired by the sounds of the Charleston, gospel, electro swing and jazz) are high on my list of new favourite ways to work out. For Frank, it’s crucial that teachers are passionate, and always encouraging and pushing participants.
‘It’s really important that their personality shines through,’ she explains. ‘You could have a fantastic class, but if the teacher isn’t any good it kind of brings the whole thing down.’
Everything has a dance element to it, but if you’re not a dancer it doesn’t matter, because you don’t really even realise you’re dancing
One of her own favourite classes is the popular burlesque. ‘The routines aren’t particularly aerobic, but because you’re tensing everything it’s really good for posture, and for toning absolutely everything.’ It’s also a great way to build confidence and embrace your inner sass.
‘You just forget where you are,’ enthuses Frank. ‘The freestyle section is a moment to yourself where you can dance like nobody’s watching.’ All the classes are open to all levels, except hip hop on Tuesdays and Sundays, which is intermediate. ‘It can be daunting to walk into a studio and get stuck in, so the whole idea is to have a community feel.’
As well as the high-octane classes, there’s also both yin yoga and flow yoga on offer. The 7.30am flow class is also surprisingly popular with commuters as a way to wake themselves up for the day. Sign us up…