Working Out With Esquared

This post is sponsored by Esquared, all words and photos my own.

With an abundance of fitness studios and classes available in London if can sometimes be hard to keep track of what’s around, what you’re booked into, what class package you’ve bought, and when it expires. Different apps and booking systems have been popping up in recent years to consolidate bookings into one handy location. Among these is Esquared, and I’ve been giving it a go for the last month!Esquared, fitness, app, london

Designed to give people access to premium gyms and classes without having to be a member, Esquared has a variety of partner studios across London. You can see in real time what classes are available, and book for the same day, next day, or even a week ahead. You get an access code, so all you have to do is rock up, give your code, and get your sweat on!

Esquared, fitness, app, london

In terms of classes, you can find anything from bootcamp in the park, barre, spinning and more. Get your cardio fix with Dime or Best’s Bootcamp, sculpt your muscles with Lomax or Define London, or simply zen it out with yoga at Fierce Grace, or Good Vibes. There really is something for everyone.

Esquared, fitness, app, london

Something that really stands out with Esquared for me is that not only can you book in for classes at boutique studios around London, but you can also book gym time. I found this super useful as while I’m working on my knee rehab, I’ve needed to use gym equipment that I don’t have access to at home. Joining a gym just to use the occasional leg press machine or bosu ball is borderline pointless, so having the opportunity to check on the app what gyms are nearby, and book for a couple of hours access is such a useful option. From basic gyms which are £5 to pop into, to luxury gyms at a higher premium, there’s lots to choose from.

Esquared, fitness, app, london

What’s different about Esquared from some other studio booking apps is that there’s no monthly membership fee, just a pay as you go top up system. Simply load money onto your Esquared account and each class or gym session you book takes the credit off. It makes it much easier for those who can’t afford a costly monthly membership, or if you’re often out of town and unable to take class. It’s true freedom, the chance to take a variety of different classes with no monthly commitment – perfect if you’re a bit of a commitment-phobe!

Thanks to Esquared for letting me try the app! It’s super handy for when I want to try something different, or simply have a good old gym session. Why not download it, give it a go yourself, let me know what classes you try and maybe I’ll see you there!

This post is sponsored by Esquared, all words and photos my own.

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Fit Find | Best’s Bootcamp

From Barry’s to 1Rebel and now Best’s Bootcamp, a new high intensity studio seems to open up in London every other week these days! That’s not a bad thing, demand is obviously high and people love to have a choice and to try new things along their fitness journey. What makes these studios great is that each one has a team of specialist instructors primed and ready to kick Londoners’ butts, not to mention to increasing importance of having luxury changing facilities, making the pre-work, or lunchtime session more accessible to city workers.

bests bootcamp, bootcamp, fitness, london

The newest member of the bootcamp tribe is Best’s Bootcamp, nestled behind Charing Cross station. Being an area of London not known for having an array boutique fitness studios, Best’s have struck gold here with a great location and a fabulous studio space. Although I missed the blogger event, I had a chance to check it out for myself not long after it first opened. I not only had a quiet class….but there was just me and one other guy (incidentally, a personal trainer) in there! Talk about pressure. Did I push myself that bit further? Undoubtedly. Let’s just say it brought out my slightly competitive side.

bests bootcamp, bootcamp, fitness, london

The Workout

In a format becoming familiar in the London fitness scene, Best’s classes consist of combining floor drills with treadmill work; a double hit for strength training and cardio. If you know me as a blogger, you’ll know running is not something I can do, so I chose a double-floor option, more about that later. Best’s uses state of the art FreeMotion treadmills with preset speeds, so no faffing around with settings, just push a number and go. Not only that, but once you hit the floor, Instructor Cam streams what the trainer is asking of the group to various screens around the room. No more straining your neck to see what’s next, or trying to hear over the music, just gaze at a nearby screen, 3-2-1 and GO! Team that with music from their in-house DJ and high energy instructors, and you’ve got everything you need to hit your fitness goals.

bests bootcamp, bootcamp, fitness, london

As I mentioned, I did a double-floor class with just one other guy. My trainer was Rusty (in name, not in nature) who, after checking that I knew what I was getting in to with double-floor, happily put us through our paces, with no let up. Each day, although still a full body workout, has a certain focus, either Push & Abs, Pull & Abs, or Full Body. I went on a Pull & Abs day, and with this focus, we combined kettlebell drills, with weights, leg work and a killer ab series. 50 minutes later, I was spent, and looking forward to my pre-booked protein shake and cool, lavender scented towel.

The Space

Darkened room, flashing lights and thumping music, Best’s is no different from any other bootcamp studio. The changing area is equipped with everything you need to return to the world outside looking not too dishevelled, although nothing could help the bright red face of mine! A welcoming reception area greets you as you walk in, with friendly staff and some fitness apparel to nose through. Shakes and smoothies are available on request, and can be ready and waiting for when you emerge, jelly-legged, from the studio. It’s a great space and classes are filling up fast!

bests bootcamp, bootcamp, fitness, london

So if you fancy shaking up your week and getting some decent cardio in, give Best’s a try! There are various class packs to choose from, and you can take your first class for just £10 (normally £20). Give it a go, and let me know how you get on!

I tried a Best’s Bootcamp class for free thanks to Action PR. All photos courtesy of Action PR. All words my own, please see Disclaimer for more information.

The London Coffee Festival

OK, not strictly a fitness post, but I make it no secret that I love a good cup of coffee, and a lot of my workouts are fuelled by coconut milk lattes. So when Joe Blogs Network had a VIP ticket to The London Coffee Festival up for grabs, I couldn’t resist popping along to Shoreditch on my afternoon off to see what it’s all about!

London Coffee Festival

Simply head to the Old Truman Brewery this weekend, and see for yourself the delights of the coffee world. You’ll find everything from tiny local coffee roasters, to larger brands, individual filter cups, to huge commercial espresso machines, and even some teas thrown in for good measure. Honestly, it was rather overwhelming to begin with, I didn’t know where to start. But with a show guide in hand, I slowly navigated my way around, admittedly getting a little tanked up on free samples of coffee!

Other than sampling every coffee you come across, there are plenty of other things to see and do. Book a spot at the coffee and food pairing table, have a cheeky espresso martini, watch the masters at work in a coffee workshop, or try your hand at latte art. The latter is a lot harder than it looks, I just about managed a wonky heart.

latte art, london coffee festival

Left: Not my art. Right: My attempt at art!

It’s not all about roasting and brewing however, you can sample the delights of Alpro Plant Power, Rachel’s Organic Milk, Rebel Kitchen and many more. Tasty snacks from Propercorn, Doisy & Dam and Hotel Chocolat, to name but a few, are also on hand to help absorb all that caffeine, as well as brunch or lunch from Gather+Gather.

london coffee festival

london coffee festival

Whether you’re a newly formed cafe, boutique retailer or simply a coffee connoisseur, the range of brands showing their coffee makers is so vast, there’s bound to be something up your street. At DeLonghi, I was treated to a macchiato made using their newest espresso machine, where your coffee is prepared using an app from up to 10 metres away. The thought of ordering my coffee from my bed is too exciting, all I’d need to do is train the cat to bring it from the kitchen.

london coffee festival

Next up I checked out what Sage Appliances had on offer, their state of the art range includes a milk frothing jug with a built in temperature gauge. Perfect for getting your cappuccino to the correct drinking temperature, and I’m looking forward to testing mine out tomorrow morning.

london coffee festival

I also chatted to tea brands T2 and Suki Tea, frozen yogurt company Bee Me, MOJU Juices and cold brew coffee company Minor Figures. So many lovely conversations over a coffee or tea!

SukiTea T2

Love coffee? Get yourself down to Shoreditch this weekend! Book your tickets here, and enjoy an afternoon fuelled by caffeine. Couldn’t make it? Check out Curry’s 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Coffee and get sipping away at that cuppa Joe!

CoffeeFest

Joe’s Blogs gifted me with a VIP ticket in exchange for a blog post. See Disclaimer for more information.

Escape The Crowds At Thistle Holborn

Every so often, we all feel the need to escape from the hustle and bustle of London and step into a place where you can relax, indulge in some good food, and not leave Zone 1. A little while ago, I had the chance to take a tour around The Kingsley, Thistle Holborn, where you can do just that.

thistle holborn, hotel

Thistle Holborn – The Kingsley

A beautiful Edwardian building in the heart of Bloomsbury, The Kingsley offers 4-star accommodation and is close to multiple London attractions. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, this hotel can provide all the facilities you need, from standard bedrooms, to deluxe suites, and from meeting rooms to a 100 seater conference theatre.

thistle holborn

On our tour, organised by the fabulous people at Joe’s Bloggers, we started at the Kingsley Two Brasserie, serving a range of British and European cuisines in a spacious, modern dining room. Into the bar we went where we found a cosy roaring fire, and a long drinks menu to suit every taste, as well as the chance to enjoy Afternoon Tea, a must for anyone celebrating a special occasion. In the rooms, en suites, internet access and a super comfy bed as standard.

ThistleHotel

Whatever the occasion, the staff at The Kingsley are on hand to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. We were there for an awesome Halloween make-up class, and found the hotel to be decorated perfectly with Halloween cupcakes at each check-in desk. I’ve no doubt that with the festive season upon us, the hotel will be transformed into a classy, Christmas delight.

halloween, christmas, thistle holborn

So whether you’re travelling to London for the holidays, treating your significant other to a celebratory night away, or simply wanting a cosy retreat for your afternoon tea, The Kinglsey can cater to your every whim. And…unless it’s Halloween…there’ll be no scary ghouls around like there were for our tour!

halloween, thistle holborn

10 Things I Love About London’s Fitness Scene

London is loving fitness right now, and I’m loving London. Why? Here’s why…

london, big ben, fitness

Enthusiasm – The attendance in my early morning classes never ceases to amaze me! When I’m up at the crack of dawn and on the tube at 5am, the only other people around me are bleary eyed builders and people in sportswear.

Spotting Yoga Mats Around Town – One thing that struck me in New York is that you see women (and men) with yoga mats everywhere! This is partly due to the fact that most studios charge to hire a mat in NYC, something that, thankfully doesn’t happen here. I like to use my own so whenever I spot a fellow mat-carrier in London, it always makes me smile, you know someone has scheduled some ‘mat time’ into their day.

So Stylish – London style has always been up there in terms of fashion stakes, but fit fashion is starting to make a statement too! With trusty Nike, Sweaty Betty, Reebok and Adidas raising their game in terms of style and appeal, and relative newbies Lululemon and Fabletics upping the stakes significantly, it’s no wonder women are feeling empowered to get into the gym. Call it cliché, or vain, but I always think that good kit makes for a better workout!

Free Classes – Talking of fabulous kit, most of these brands have free in-store workouts too! Shopping and sweating? Sounds like my cuppa tea. Simply pop into Lulu, SB, Nike or Reebok and staff will happily tell you about their clubs. I teach one of the free SB classes, and it has such a great community feel to it.

Architecture for Running – I’m not a runner. At all. But even I can appreciate that London must be awesome to run in. I ogle the instagram accounts of bloggers like Charlie (The Runner Beans), Zoe (London & Me) and many others as they snap the sights on their runs. I’ve lived in London 10 years, but the sights still have the awe factor for me.

london, fitness

Event Variety – London is waking up to the fact that, right now, wellness sells. Events, launches and fashion shows don’t need to be about wellness to incorporate it, giving Londoners more chances to become fitter and healthier, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Not to mention London’s very own fitness festival Be:Fit London!

Exciting British Brands – Aside from the usual you all know (nothing wrong with them, I wear them regularly), I love discovering new British sportswear brands. From Lexie Sport to Striders Edge, Bella Kinesis to Lucas Hugh, Brits are leading the way in stylish, functional and desirable kit…and that’s just naming a few!

There’s Always Something New – Yoga in the Shard, doga, Voga, bounce, aerial, pole, hoop, barre, crossfit – you name it, London probably has it, or it will soon. Never get bored with your training, there’s always something new to discover.

aerial yoga, fitness, london

Inspiration from Londoners – I think the London Olympics started this, but it continues. Picture this: it’s 5am, I’m waiting for a bus, and it’s cold. In a flash of fluro, a runner skips past me, notching up their pre-work miles. During my classes I see women of all shapes and sizes sweating it out. A quick hop onto social media, and I’ll find bloggers, friends and strangers achieving PBs, handstands, balances, medals and goals. It doesn’t get more inspiring than that.

ClassPass – Finally, my favourite new toy. ClassPass! Having only just launched here, this has Londoners talking. With more than 100 studios to choose from, so many different types of class, and special introductory offers, there’s no excuse not to work on that summer body right now!

classpass, classpasslondon, fitness, london

So there you have it, my love affair with the London fitness scene is definitely in full swing. Did I miss anything?

Tour de France In London

The Tour de France? Isn’t that….erm…in France? Well, the answer is yes of course, but it’s not unusual for another country to host the opening stages. In fact, just recently, both Northern and the Republic of Ireland hosted the Giro d’Italia’s opening stages, in a rain-soaked few days of cycling.

Image: www.tfl.gov.uk

This weekend, the UK is hosting the first three stages of one of the world’s most important cycling races, with the well publicised ‘Le Grand Depart’ happening in Yorkshire today. I must admit to being a little excited that it’s coming to my ‘little’ town of London!

On Monday, I imagine, most of the capital will grind to a halt as the third and final UK hosted stage in the race for the infamous yellow jersey begins in Cambridge and works its way through 155km of English countryside, arriving in North East London, passing through the capital and finishing on The Mall. Roads will be closed, transport will be affected, we’ll all moan and groan about the delays, but I’m sure the buzz in London will be contagious too. Information on watching stage 3 can be found here.

tour de france, London, cambridge

Image: www.letour.com

tour de france, london, cambridge

Image: www.letour.com

All this cycling promotion and Tour de France Fever has got me looking at my little bike with more interest recently. I have a lovely bike, named Rose, who served me wonderfully well when I was rather poor, cycling to Waterloo every day to commute to Guildford during my Masters. Using the bike kept me super fit and saved me money. As time’s gone by and working as a fitness instructor is so physical, I use the bike a lot less…well not at all to be honest (backwards logic, I know).

bike

Maybe this summer I’ll get back in the saddle, as they say. It needs a little TLC, and sadly I’m no longer with the partner who built it for me, but I’ll find a way!

  • Will you be watching the Tour de France across the UK?
  • Has cycling fever prompted you to get on your bike?
  • Will the UK hosting this event encourage a fitter, healthier, more active country?
  • Do you think London is ready for the influx of newbie cyclists on the road after this weekend?

In my opinion, the answer to all the questions should be YES! Apart from the last one, which is a resounding NO (sorry London)!