Blok London | Clapton

My parents moved to London over 30 years ago – back when you wouldn’t be caught dead in Shoreditch after dark, and when Clapton was an elephant graveyard. But these days, it’s painfully hip.

Blok London is a workout studio which I’ve been dying to try out for some time now, and thanks to ClassPass, I finally managed to book myself into a session.  It’s housed in a converted Victorian tram depot in Clapton. It’s got two studios, and both of them retain the buildings original industrial features, with boxing bags hanging from the steel beams.

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Each studio has its own specialism – one decided to boxing and high-intensity interval training, and the second space is for yoga, barre and plates. Don’t expect to find any treadmills or fancy machines here, it’s all about the classes and stripping things back to basics.

I tried their signature class, BlokFit, which is strength and conditioning based. The workout was led by trainer Kenny, who started the session with a 5-minute warm-up of jump squats, lungees and burpees to get your heart rate going.

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BlokFit is a circuit-based class, and we worked our way around 9 stations, performing each exercise for a minute in total – the first round was focused on our lower body and the next, on our upper body. We used a range of equipment from battle ropes, TRXs, kettlebells, medicine balls, plus there were some bodyweight exercises thrown in.

Once we completed the lower body circuit, we were put into pairs – one of us skipped for 20 reps, whilst the other completed a plank shoulder tap for 20 and then we switched. Dropping it by 4 counts after we had both completed both exercises.

After the upper body circuit, we partnered up again and hit the same format, but this time performing mountain climbers and high-plank to low-plank pushups.

The class was pretty rammed packed for a Sunday, which meant the instructor spent most of his time reminding us what we were meant to do at each station, rather than correcting our form.

It’s definitely a hard class, and if you’re not used to lifting heavy weights (as their lightest kettlebell was 15kg), you might struggle. It definitely challenged me to do exercises I wouldn’t usually include in my circuits.

Each class is priced at £14, or you can invest in a pack, but they can also be found on Class Pass.

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Blok London, The Tram Depot, 38-40 Upper Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 8BQ

*Photos courtesy of  Blok

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3 Hacks for Fitting in your Workout into a Busy Schedule

“You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce”

Hands up, who’s sacked off a workout because a) you’re staying late at work to finish a deadline, b) you’re too tired, and c) you’re just lacking that kick up the bum and all motivation appears to have evaporated.

Work, in particular, can really get in the way of working out. The more challenging (and exciting) a job gets, the more we struggle to find time to work out. And when work becomes harder, we can’t afford not to exercise as it releases endorphins which helps to reduce stress.

I used to hit the gym after work and by the time I had worked out, sat on a tube back to North London, washed and cooked dinner and actually sat down to eat it was often around 9pm. These days I’m squeezing my sessions into my lunch hour (or if I’m planning a longer workout I try my best to squeeze it in before work).

Here are my top three tips for squeezing in a workout into a busy schedule…

Meal prep

The night before take a moment to pack a lunch as it means you can avoid waiting in line at Pret later. You’ll not only save time, but you’ll also save money. Plus you can guarantee that you’ll have a healthy lunch after your workout.

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Work out your workout

The key is to know exactly what you’re going to do the moment you hit the gym – don’t waste time trying to come up with something there and then. Interval or HIIT training are the perfect 30 minute exercise. There’s loads of research out there with show you can achieve much more progress is 15 minutes of HIIT training (done three times a week) than jogging on the treadmill for an hour.

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Streamline your shower

Cut down on the amount of products you use to get office-ready. Have a speedy shower and freshen your hair with dry shampoo. Use makeup that doubles up, think tinted moisturiser, perfect for hydration and coverage. This will save you so much time, meaning you’ll be able to do that little bit more at the gym.

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Women Who Lift | Shoulder Routine

I know the feeling of going into the weights section of the gym for the first time and bricking it. Thoughts racing through your head, “What will everyone think? Won’t I stand out? Am I going to make a fool out of myself?” A little over a year ago, I was that person.

The benefits of lighting weights are incredible: improved muscle tone, increased bone density, inner and outer strength. By stepping in there you will gain access to loads of equipment to sculpt your body and build your strength. So I thought I’d share you with my shoulder routine to help inspire you. So, what are you waiting for?

Alternating Military Press – 3 sets of 10 reps (10 per arm)

Cable Rear Delt Row – 3 sets of 10 reps

Alternating Arnold Press – 3 sets of 10 reps (10 per arm)

Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10 reps

Barbell Upright Row – 3 sets of 10 reps

Barbell Front Raise – 3 sets of 10 reps

If you’re not sure what the above exercise is then head over to YouTube. They’re a great resource for learning which means that it’s so much easier to get started if you know what to do.

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I’m wearing both leggings and sports bra from Active in Style, Lorna Jane.

 

 

 

Pilates with a View at Coq D’Argent

It’s a Wednesday morning and I’m stood in the roof top garden of the Coq D’Argent with some of the girls from Goodman Masson. It’s near Bank, and the views over the City of London are stunning.

Over the summer Coq D’Argent have teamed up with Exercise in the City and are bringing and their workplace Pilates classes out of the office and on to their roof top garden.  Pilates aims to strengthen your body with an particular emphasis on your core – and this type of workout is definitely something I don’t do enough of.

The class lasts an hour and was lead by Julia, who perfectly explained each move and gently moved our bodies into the correct position if we were doing it wrong. The moves used in Pilates may look simple, but they take a lot of control – it’s more then just doing a brunch of crunches, there’s a strong emphasis on technique.

It was a really nice change to my usual routine, and it’s the perfect place to soak up the morning sun.

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How I Stay Motivated

I know I’m not the only one who has started a new workout regimen only to get a little bit into it and then suddenly loose all interest. But at the same time, really wanting to improve your health, appearance and fitness. As this most things, you only succeed when the going gets tough.

Do not throw the towel in…

Workout Early 

I now have a job that I love, I pour all my energy into it. By the end of the day I’m completely exhausted and don’t fancy hitting the gym. Starting next week I’m going to try and incorporate some sessions in before the working day starts. I know those 5am alarms are going to be rough, but hopefully I’ll be able to get a little bit more out of my workouts as I’ll be more alert and focused.

Prepare

On a Sunday, I prep all my meals for the week. The weeks were I haven’t meal preped I completely fallen off the wagon. It’s a brilliant way of keeping costs down too. You can see a couple of the things I like to eat here and snack on here.

Create a Log

I try my best to keep track of what I’m eating and what workouts I’m doing. My Fitbit and My Fitness Pal and the two things I swear by – it’s so easy to keep track of everything with these two apps.

Active Wear

I always feel more excited to get up and get to the gym when I have something nice to wear. I love Active in Style and Lululemon for my gym wear – treat yourself. Don’t be put off by their prices because their stuff lasts!

Classes

Most gyms these days offer classes but I swear by using boutique gym classes as a treat. Now they are quite expensive, but it guarantees you’ll show up and that you stick it out for the full 45 minutes. My gym is near work and nowhere near where I live so booking myself into a class from 1Rebel or Another Space is the perfect way to get my arse moving on the weekend.

What are your top tips for staying motivated?

How often should you replace your gym kit?

I usually try and go to the gym everyday on my way home from work – so this means lugging trainers, a water bottle, gym clothes, a padlock and makeup remover to and from work every single day.

Last Monday I got to work and realised I had left all my workout clothes at home, nightmare. Quality kit can be expensive and being the gym-freak I am, I couldn’t bear to miss a workout.

I hadn’t brought new sportswear since Christmas so during my lunch hour I quickly popped into Runners World, and purchased myself a new sports bra, vest and leggings.

Trying on loads of new lycra really got me thinking – how often should I replace my gym kit?

You need to start replacing your clothes when..

  • they start to feel loose,
  • when the moisture-wicking material just isn’t working like it used to,
  • and when the fabric thins too much.

Not replacing your kit can cause chafing or muscle strain (especially if you’re sports bra is worn and it’s not doing it’s job properly).

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, I really need to go through the majority of my kit and replace it!

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Sports Bar, Lululemon

Leggings, Nike

Vest, Active in Style

HIIT at Another Space

June has been definitely been my month for trying out new gyms and shaking up my routine. This week, I finally got round to checking out Another Space and it’s stunning. I was so impressed with how clean and white the space was – it’s got a smoothie bar and cafe, with spacious changing rooms equipped with fluffy towels and cowshed skin and hair products, plus ghd straighteners and dryers.

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It’s the new pay-as-you go concept gym from Third Space and it’s located on Tower Street, Covent Garden. They offer Cycle, HIIT and Yoga and the idea is that you should do all three in balance.

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I tried the HIIT class with Naomi on Saturday morning and it was amazing! It was super intense and our trainer really pushed us and demonstrated all the moves before hand, so there’s no getting lost. It’s a boxing / circuit training class and you’ll spend your time between the bags or doing resistance training. You’ll do a 5 minute warm up, then alternative between the bags and the floor for a total of 3 rounds on each.

Their HIIT class only started this week, so no doubt they’ll be some tweaks – the gloves were rubbish and remove quite alot of skin from my knuckles but they’re being replaced asap.

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I’m yet to the the Cycle and Yoga classes, but both the studios look fab. If you’re ever in the area I’d definitely recommend checking out at least a couple of classes. It’s a great place to kickstart your weekend on a Saturday morning before feasting on some of the many brunch spots nearby.

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Another Space, 4-10 Tower St, London WC2H 9NP

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