When did the term “boutique gym” become a thing? I love it! It kinda makes me think of a trip to the cotswolds with a little perspiration thrown in (surely people don’t ‘sweat’ in boutique gyms). It’s all about boutique in 2017, and ONE LDN is the capital’s latest offering. With studios in Imperial Wharf and Tower Hill, they claim to have widest range of studio classes with no contract, and they certainly offer variety: yoga, spin, barre, boxing, S&C and ‘WOD’ … presumably for people who like to do CrossFit workouts without being labelled CrossFitters 😉
I’ve been meaning to get down to ONE and noticed they have a Muay Thai class, which has long been on my list of things to try; double win. Here’s what I know about Muay Thai:
- Friends who’ve gone on fitness holidays to Thailand rave about it
- People who do it like to wear satin shorts emblazoned with images of tigers (ok, maybe that’s just one guy I know)
- Proper Muay Thai fighters are hard as nails
With this limited knowledge I booked into a class in the Imperial Wharf studio in the hope of getting a sweat on and maybe learning a couple of kick ass moves…
What They Say:
Bringing the authenticity of Thailand fight scene to London. ONE LDN has worked tirelessly with professional fighters to bring you the ultimate workout. These classes will embody what it means to be fighting fit. Coaches will guide you through fight technique and blend it with a fun, inclusive, high intensity and sweat filled fight conditioning class. Participants will experience a frantic high intensity session with minimal rest.
Muay Thai and Boxing is open to all levels, and can be used to fulfil a range of fitness goals. This class is ideal for anyone looking for some intense cardio and mental focus.
Your fastest way to six pack!
Intense cardio + mental focus + six pack…. sign me up!
I’d booked in to ONE LDN’s Imperial Wharf studio. This little pocket of London is a funny spot… it’s a massive St George’s development in a prime location smack bang on the river, but somehow it feels a little devoid of personality. It’s a hop on the overland from Clapham and neighbours Fulham on the other side, but with its restaurant studded Boulevard and shiny buildings, it feels a bit more like being in Dubai than London (albeit slightly chillier). Not that the surroundings matter when you’re there to work out…
The studio itself is pretty massive. The whole of the second floor is dedicated to changing rooms, which are as airy, spacious and product laden as you would expect from a boutique gym. In addition, there was a sauna in the changing room. If I’d have known I’d have come prepared (it’s not ok to sauna naked in the UK, right?) but I did stick my head around the door to take in a big breath of that hot air… I love the smell of sauna!
Back down on the ground floor was a large space filled with hundreds of typical gym machines… treadmills, ergs, weights machines and so on. Keep going and you come to a few squat racks and lifting platforms, and a matted area with punch bags where the Muay Thai class would take place. The first person I saw was a fit looking Thai girl, busy strapping her hands with bright orange wraps… er…. I started to feel out of my depth. Should I have wraps? Was this an advanced class? Would we actually be fighting? It was her first class here too although she has done a lot of Muay Thai. She told me she lives in London and doesn’t normally do it over here because it’s hard to find a Muay Thai gym where you can just drop in without paying a full membership, but she’d heard the classes here were good.
A few more people arrived (5 guys, 3 girls… male dominance for once!) and everyone took their shoes off so I copied. All of a sudden our instructor appeared and told us to do star jumps. “OK!”, I thought, “here we go!”. The warm up comprised star jumps, push ups, squats and sit ups. So far, so good.
After a few minutes we were told to get into pairs. I was paired up with a lady with talon-like pink nails and bright lipstick – she looked about as experienced as me, phew.
I started off holding the pads, while my partner got her gloves on (she had brought her own pink pair). The instructor demo’d a sequence of punches and kicks which were then practised non-stop for the next few minutes. I quickly realised my assumption on my partner’s experience was far from the mark when she nearly knocked my teeth out with her first kick… firmer grip on the pads, this was not going to be easy. Holding the pads was no joke – hello forearms and abs!
Two further sequences followed before we switched places. Everyone else had brought their own gloves, while I grabbed a pair from the corner of the room. They smelled like socks which had been sitting at the bottom of a teenage boy’s gym bag all term; punchy in more ways than one!
As I started the sequence, trying to get as much power as possible, the instructor came over and showed me how to make things roll fluidly. Focusing on form rather than power meant it wasn’t the most killer workout (intensity wise I got a sweat on but was never gasping for air). With a wide range of experience in the room, the instructor did a great job of giving one on one attention without making me feel like the total newb I clearly was! My partner gave me a few tips too; she does Muay Thai 4 or 5 times each week and does individual sessions as well as group.
To finish off we each did a series of kicking intervals and then ended as we started with some squats and sit ups. The class was a quick 45 minutes and over in a flash.
This was a really brief glimpse into Muay Thai and I loved it. It is completely different to what I normally do and I’d love to have a go at more of it. Although the intensity wasn’t mega for me, it most definitely would be once you have mastered the basics.
It wasn’t a faddy class – the instructor David was an authentic Muay Thai fighter, not a gym instructor who does a bit of everything. You would quickly learn the basics coming here and I kind of liked just getting thrown in. Expect the tops of your feet and shins to get a bit of a bashing and, if you’re not totally comfortable in a gym environment or wanted a softer entry point, a couple of one-on-one sessions would probably be a good place to start. I muay try some PT myself!
A great intro to Muay Thai; this is not a faddy gym class, be prepared to just get stuck in.
This would be a great way to learn a new skill, get fit and blow off steam! As an added benefit, do it enough and you’d be ninja tough.
Where: ONE LDN Imperial Wharf, they also have a brand spanking new studio in Tower Bridge.
Cost: £20 for the first two sessions, then £20 drop in – packages available
How to book: http://www.oneldn.com