Week 38: Maximus at GymClass

This week’s new find was a gym aimed at the female market (although I’m sure guys go too!). It epitomises the “strong is the new skinny” movement and I wanted to see what it was all about.

What They Say:
“Our mission is to help our clients become the best version of themselves and to help get them fitter, leaner and healthier than they’ve ever been before!”

Their website cites testimonials from publications such as Vogue, Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar and is squarely aimed at ladies who wanna look and feel hot, as embodied by their founder, Helle Hammonds, tiny frame with washboard abs and big blonde hair.

My Experience:
The morning I headed off to GymClass was one one those classic October days… bright blue sunshine, the crisp smell of chill in the air and golden leaves blanketing the pavements. GymClass is nestled in a basement on Holland Park Avenue and has a welcoming, slightly boho feel from the moment you head down the steps into a small courtyard garden.

I was shown around by a friendly girl on reception; the studio itself is pretty small but well equipped, with the overwhelming feature being an awesome pink rig with monkey bars along the top! Mirrors filled two walls, with the bright morning sunshine casting long shadows on the floor through a large basement window. The room was dark with neon lighting… it reminded me of nights out in Bath where all the clubs are underground!

The studio is definitely geared towards the female market, with upmarket products in the showers and a fully equipped dressing room with more toiletries and hair products that I’ve ever owned!

GymClass sessions focus on a different body part each day, and I went on a Thursday: booty day! “Maximus” promised a glute and leg workout like no other.

The class was small with 4 other girls taking part, one of which was the gym’s founder – it’s always nice to see people practicing what they preach! We started off with a general warm up and then moved onto a circuit incorporating things like dumbbell step ups, strict toes to bar, TRX squat jumps (yowch) and ski erg, with 3 x 30 second intervals on each before rotating. The movements were as tough as you chose to make them and weights/intensity could easily be scaled.

Next we moved onto the focus for the class, being a series of kettlebell deadlifts, lunges and squats. We finished off with a 7 minute AMRAP of dumbbell thrusters, kettlebell swings and burpees.

I finished feeling happily sweaty – I’d got my heart rate up and felt like I’d got a good whole-body workout. There’s only so heavy you can go with a kettlebell so it was more a burner than a booty builder, but effective nonetheless. As we lay on the floor stretching it was lovely to feel the sun shining on my face through the window as the post-workout endorphins kicked in; I felt ready to crack on with the day!

I think I’d picked the quietest time of day and there wasn’t much interaction from the other girls in the class. Chatting to the instructor afterwards she said it’s normally much busier and I can imagine it would have a real buzz with more people in class – I guess lots of people just like to get into the gym, workout and get out too, especially in the morning, which is totally fair enough!

The staff were really friendly and the gym had a nice, homely feel. They also have a studio in the City.

I headed off into the autumn sunshine kicking up leaves and strolling through beautiful Holland Park with rosy cheeks and a big smile!

In Summary:
Lovely boutique gym space and a workout which is scaleable for everyone, if you put the effort in you’ll get a great workout, but beginners would easily be able to get through it too. Doing this kind of workout daily would definitely get you in good shape.

Because the class was small and we were each on our own stations it felt a bit like doing circuits alone in a gym, but I imagine there’s a more communal environment in the busier classes.

Cost: £27 drop in, monthly membership £250

How to book: http://www.gym-class.co.uk

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