Week 30: The Viking Method at Metabolic London

Metabolic London is the city’s latest functional fitness gym, opening last month. They offer back to basics group classes including HIIT, power and strength training.

There are four classes on offer: signature HIIT, rowing intervals, classic circuits and something called the “Viking Method”. I didn’t have to read any further – this was the one for me!

What They Say:
Build strength, strip fat, and burn up to 1000 calories.

Viking Method is a full body workout focusing on increasing power, speed, strength and agility, the class pairs cardio functional exercises with resistance-based functional exercises in a very specific way, which forces you to utilise more oxygen and energy whilst promoting lean tissue forming, resulting in fat burning berserkness!

My Experience:
As often with my trips to new fitness finds, I took the opportunity to do a little London tourist activity en route and stopped at the Natural History Museum to see the new whale skeleton that’s replaced Dippy the diplodocus in the main hall. Wowzers, it’s ginormous… it would have taken one seriously ferocious clan of Vikings to hunt a whale that size!

I emerged from the tube at Mornington Crescent and spotted three black flags endorsed with the Metabolic logo waving gently in the distance; a welcoming beacon. As I stepped down to the entrance I was warmly greeted by the owner “you must be Holly!” and immediately felt welcomed. This gym opened just over a month ago and has quickly made its presence felt. Unlike most fitness spaces in London, it has natural light pouring in from two sides and looked super sleek with high monochrome walls and brand spanking new equipment. I always like to take a peek at the kit as soon as I arrive in a new gym, and this one had lots of toys: rings, ropes, a rig, barbells, dumbells, boxes, slam balls and a neat row of Concept2 rowers… it looked kinda like a well stocked CrossFit gym and I felt at home! Not so fast though… a few minutes into the workout I realised this was different to what I normally do and was most certainly not going to be a breeze!

It was a sunny Friday evening. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend than with a workout, but 99% of Londoners understandably disagree and were in the pub! As such it was a small class – 4 girls – and a nice vibe. Our coach Svava, a lithe Icelander – hence the Viking connection -took us through a gentle warm up and then instructed us to get a light kettlebell each from a neat row in the corner. I’ve made the mistake many times of over-egging it on the weights in a new class, so I went very light. Thank God. The first movement was a broad jump and sots press with the kettlebell – down the room and then back backwards. Backwards weighted broad jumps…OMG, I was regretting a squat heavy workout that morning. After the jumps and presses we did some weighted oblique twists and then repeated.

The rest of the class followed a similar format of couplets and triplets, working for 30-45 seconds on each movement, having a short rest, and repeating. I consider myself to be pretty fit, but some of these movements were TOUGH! Holding an iron chair whilst repeatedly moving a slam ball from lap to overhead – tough! Donkey kick burpees where you kick your feet up on to the wall each rep – tough! Jumping into a split kick from kneeling – tough! It was hard but just when you thought you couldn’t do any more you’d move onto something else. There were four portions in total and we had a couple of minutes relaxed break between each one, where everyone chatted. It was a really friendly environment, but we knew to get our heads down and get on with the workout when the time came! The coach did a great job of demoing every movement and giving points to focus on whilst cueing individuals as we were working.

We ended with a descending rep scheme of dumbbell thrusters and burpees – there wasn’t a flashing red clock and it wasn’t a race, but this was my comfort zone and once I knew we were nearing the end I blasted through that at a decent pace.

We finished off with a good stretch and I felt happily tired. It wasn’t a go-go-go sweat fest, but it was a great workout – perfectly summed up by the description of a combination of power, speed, strength and agility.

The gym’s other classes are probably closer to what I normally do, with high intensity, functional movement and specified rep schemes – similar to CrossFit but without weightlifting and some of the more complex movements. Their aim is that anyone can drop in and get a great workout. They’re also going to start offering boxing and BBJ classes soon in a purpose built (and very cool) boxing cellar.

In Summary:
This independent gym has only been open for a few weeks, but it already has a strong sense of identity and will no doubt quickly become a gem in London’s boutique gym crown. It has been set up by authentic, passionate people who want to teach others to move well and get fitter whilst having a great time – spot on.

I’ll definitely be heading back soon to try one of their other classes.

Where: Metabolic London, Camden NW1

Cost: £20 per class, or unlimited classes for £100 per month

How to book: http://www.metaboliclondon.com

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