Week 22: blokparty @ blok

Partying in in the east end till 6.30……


…pm. Guaranteed hangover free. Sign me up!

I’ve been wanting to go to blok for months and finally got around to it this weekend.

Opening last year, it’s one of the hottest gyms on the block (soz!) in ultra trendy Clapton. Offering a wide variety of classes including yoga, boxing, calisthenics and hiit, I opted for the renowned blokparty, which is always fully booked and has recently expanded from two to four nights per week to meet demand.

What They Say:

blok is a fitness space in clapton e5. located in a refurbished victorian tram depot – we have 3 studios, full of original features such as bare brick walls, vaulted concrete ceilings and cast iron pillars. the design concept also encompasses a gallery space and the blok cafe.

at blok we believe that training is about more than just breaking a sweat.  all our classes focus on building skills, improving technique and achieving constant progression.  

join us for our dance cardio burnout – an intense hour of non-stop beats. rave your way to fitness!

My Experience:

This trip was another to a part of London I’ve never been to before. I like to wander, so got off a couple of miles from the gym and strolled in the sunshine towards blok. Going to East London is like going on holiday for me; the buildings look different, people dress differently, even the corner shops sell different things! Who needs to jump on a plane to a foreign city when you can just hop on the overland from Richmond and come out somewhere altogether new an hour later?!

Clapton used to be proper rough (known as ‘murder mile’ back in the early noughties) but is currently smack bang in the middle of gentrification… an array of independent coffee houses, vegan restaurants and health bars are spattered amidst multiple bookies, pawnbrokers and payday loan shops, and the cleaned up Victorian terraces sit in the shadows of many council highrises. I didn’t at any time feel unsafe, but I did witness a handcuffing on my stroll… I’m sure in 5 years the whole area will be luxe.

Anyway… the gym. Google maps told me I was there but I couldn’t see it. Then I spotted a girl in leggings headed my direction and tentatively asked if she knew where blok was. She pointed to a rusty metal sign partially masked by barbed wire and showed me into a depot where the gym was housed in the back corner. She told me she comes to this session three times a week, absolutely loves it and never goes to any other classes. She said it was an opportunity to “sweat, let go and not give a shit what anyone else thinks” – this was exactly what I’d been hoping for!

Stepping into the fitness space (it actually is more than a gym) I was struck by the calm yet energetic feel. Part gym, part art gallery, with a cafe serving bone broth of the day alongside a smorgasbord of juices, coffees and handmade paleo treats.

I was warmly welcomed and shown around, and waited outside the designated studio to be called in. Our instructor Joel emerged like he’d just stepped from the set of a Lady Gaga video shoot. Wearing white-on-white air force ones and a fishnet tank he meant business…. I felt a bit like a mum at a disco in my lulu gear!

Joel was incredibly welcoming and friendly, and within seconds I knew we were in for a blast. Before we started he explained “the next hour is about music, lights and SMOKE”… right on cue a smoke machine puffed from the corner! YES!

The studio was small, mirrored on one wall, and there were about 10 of us, all girls, in the class. As Joel played a selection of amazing 90s tunes which transported me right back to the days I actually went out partying, we danced with him, following his slick, but easy to follow, moves. This man has SASS. The girl I met on the way in (who was a great mover – maybe testament to this class?) was right – it was a chance to let go, enjoy the music and have fun! The songs went in threes… high tempo, mid tempo, low tempo… and the moves followed suit. It was high energy, whole body movement but – apart from a vogueing section which was surprisingly tough on the shoulders – it didn’t feel like exercise at all, it just felt fun! After 9 absolute belters we were nearly done… nooooo! I wanted to stay all night! We finished off with 5 minutes of challenging core exercises on mats on the floor, and one last stretchy dance. Joel was BRILLIANT! After an hour dancing with him I felt sassy, sweaty and on an all-round high!

I skipped off into the evening sunshine, ginormous can of coconut water in one hand, Lucy Pearl playing on Spotify, and smiled the whole way home. I have absolutely no desire to go clubbing these days… blokparty however… I want to go every weekend!

In Summary:

This really was like partying without the hangover. No egos, no fretting about your make up running, just dancing your heart out to some great tunes! I’d challenge anyone not to have fun here and it was well worth the trip across town.

Where: blok E5

Cost: £14 single drop in, packs available and monthly membership from £95-£145 per month.

How to book: www.bloklondon.com

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