The Skinny Rebel workout is loved by celebrities and corporate city types alike, having rapidly gained in momentum since its conception in 2008. Its USP? You work out in an altitude mask, which restricts your intake of oxygen and forces the muscles to work harder. We gave it a go… 

Words: Rachel Mantock 

With an altitude mask covering your face, looking like something out of The Purge film, your body works twice as hard as you make your way through five stages of gruelling exercises. For the first couple of rounds, you do timed sets of forwards and backwards bear crawls, battle ropes, push ups and squats, without the mask, which is hard enough. Then you go through the whole process again with the addition of an altitude training mask. Essentially, you are breathing out of a tiny hole and feel like you are struggling for air the entire time.

We wanted people to tell their friends it was the toughest workout they’ve ever done

After my real fitness level slapped me in the face and I died five times over, the session was complete and Dean of Train Dirty London – who is one third of the brain behind the Skinny Rebel Workout – explains the science behind the riot gear-esque, ‘mask of doom’ (I’m coining this term, it’s only appropriate). He says that due to the lack of oxygen coming into your body, because of the hindrance of the altitude training mask – much like being high up on top of a mountain – your muscles are forced to work harder. This produces better results in a shorter time frame, because your muscles have no choice but to work twice as hard.

The second third of the brain behind this brilliant concept is Richard, who tells me that all three of the founders behind this workout are ex athletes, including himself. This allowed them to bring expertise, speciality and experience to their personal training services, producing a high end, bespoke package that is tailored to each client specifically. They work closely with FTSE 500 companies and luxury hotels, having become a god-send for those who are time poor but crave the results that usually require hours of effort in the gym. Their workout is so renowned that even professional athletes within boxing, the rugby league, football and MMA come to them to step up their fitness game.

Several ‘first timers’, including athletes and personal trainers, have said “this is so embarrassing, I thought I was fitter than this”

Richard says: ‘Skinny Rebel was borne out of our desire to extend our ‘Train Dirty London’ offering and create a unique workout with an edge; a workout that would have people wondering why they signed up for it in the first place and if they would have the stamina to return. We wanted people to tell their friends it was the toughest workout they’ve ever done and that they would have to return again and again to redeem themselves. Several ‘first timers’, including athletes and personal trainers, have said “this is so embarrassing, I thought I was fitter than this”.’

There are five stages to the Skinny Rebel Workout


I’m obviously no professional athlete, but ironically, this is exactly what I kept saying for the duration of my Skinny Rebel workout experience with Dean. Delving deeper into the science behind their specially created workout, Richard says: ‘Our clients have to re-train their breathing whilst enduring a full body, high intensity, functional workout. The main benefit of altitude training is an increase in lung capacity, energy production, anaerobic threshold, mental focus as well as re-training the way you breathe. The overall experience our clients will receive is a vigorous intense full body workout in a controlled indoor environment.’

In a bid to truly train each client in a way that is best for them, Train Dirty London offer complex DNA testing that will flag up food intolerances and identify the best exercises for your specific DNA make-up, again meaning that you get better results in a shorter space of time. They’ll be holding a pop up studio in Highbury Fields this July because it’s where they founded the company and there is high demand in the area for their services already, as long as the weather cooperates (fingers crossed). Everyone should experience this torture workout at least once, you’ll be better for it, leaving motivated to push yourself harder, even if your body does go into shock (which it most definitely will).

Richard’s Training Tips
1. Stick to it, no matter what. Getting into a daily routine can drastically change your mood, attitude, and of course your health.

2. Become comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable. You will be tired, sore and sweaty, but true change doesn’t come unless you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

3. Don’t focus on cutting foods or calories out of your daily intake, but start to focus on putting good things into your body.