London – the Wellness City
London's mindset as a health-conscious city has changed immeasurably over the past year. It has become in vogue to want to pursue a healthy lifestyle, both physically through nutrition and training as well as a cerebrally through yoga, meditation and an extensive reading list of healthy publications. Londoners want to be fit and think fit, too. Super-trending phrases such as "fitspo", "fitfam", and "Strong is the new skinny" are now established cliché; this is proof that socially, amongst friends, on Instagram / Facebook / blogs, people discuss their training and health finds more than ever before. Friends try new fitness classes together each week until they find their favorite place; this place often becomes a community, a place to motivate and inspire each other to reach common goals of physical betterment. Also, the general public are staying ever more current and informed when it comes to the latest health research thanks to the viral impact of social media, so that there's an equal thirst for health knowledge. London has utterly embraced all of the above, and is the UK's core of the social revolution in fitness; "active" has become totally integrated into so many of our lives.
To help keep abreast of all the "fitness choices" that are constantly opening up, I've curated a list of my top 10 healthy activities in London. The classes available are endless, but I've listed some of London's most popular classes, hidden gems, and juice bars around:
1) Healthy Juice Bar?
Roots and Bulbs on Marylebone high street is exceptional. The juices are cold-pressed, organic, and freshly made and it's located in the heart of trendy Marylebone! http://www.rootsandbulbs.com
2) Royal Parks
London has some of the most fantastic Royal Parks (https://www.royalparks.org.uk) offered to everyone, covering almost 5000 acres of lush land, and they are totally free of charge; think Regent's Park, Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Richmond Park etc. One great way to discover a new Royal Park each time is with British Military Fitness. https://www.britmilfit.com
3) Outdoor Running
Hampstead Heath—expect vast fields, untouched woodland areas, enchanted gardens and the most spectacular, sweeping panoramas overlooking London! If you want to stop you can grab a tea at the majestic Kenwood house. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/hampstead-heath/Pages/default.aspx
4) More Running?
Green space not striking your fancy? Regents Canal is one of London's best-kept secrets. Pick a start and finish point anywhere along the canal depending on the distance you want to run. It will take you along some of the most beautiful places in London – Maida Vale, Little Venice, Camden Lock, Islington... Tip: certain parts can get very busy; especially Camden and Islington, so if you're running on the weekend, do try to avoid peak times! https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/canals-and-rivers/regents-canal
Tri Yoga is one of my favorites, has some exceptional teachers, and is an institution for many a London yogi. They're scattered all over London – find them here: http://www.triyoga.co.uk
6) Barry's Bootcamp
Not strictly a London find so much as an import from LA, it's been around for almost 2 years in London, but it’s no less of a fantastic system to try now! Based in Euston, the class lasts 1 hour and blends high intensity sprint bursts on the treadmill with strength training on the floor. It's absolutely exhausting and you'll leave the class feeling satisfied that you've burned your 1,000 calories! Afterwards there's also a delicious "fuel bar" to grab a shake and socialize with other classmates. Keep an eye out for the new City location, due to launch early 2015... http://www.barrysbootcamp.com/london/location
7) Pineapple Dance Classes
Pop into a dance class in the heart of beautiful Covent Garden—tap, ballet, street, or a bit of jazz? Choices are endless, and it's all fabulous calorie burn! http://www.pineapple.uk.com
8) Spinning Fan?
Check out Psycle near Picadilly. The classes feature nightclub-style blue, pink, and orange lights, uplifting music, and even more excited instructors! It's all quite infectious and motivational! http://psyclelondon.com
9) Healthy Lunch?
The Good Life Eatery in Chelsea on Sloane Avenue has a wonderful menu, which is healthy, interesting and delicious! Expect healthy waffles, colorful salads and exciting smoothies! Also expect to be rubbing elbows with the sloany-chic set, who are also taken by the London fitness drive :) http://www.goodlifeeatery.com
10) Gym-based Functional Training?
Virgin Active in Mayfair runs some super-exciting functional fitness classes called GEAR3D on the Technogym OMNIA rig – definitely worth checking out! http://www.virginactive.co.uk/active-matters/articles/how-to/24-gear3d-the-ultimate-high-intensity-workout
11) Energy Infusion & Relaxation in One Place?!
Coworth Park, located just 35 minutes outside of London, offers a tranquil spa (winner of the Condé Nast Johansens Best Hotel Spa 2014 award), including a beautifully lit indoor heated pool, a gym with the latest equipment including the stunning Technogym Personal-line treadmills designed by Antonio Citterio, personal training, and wonderfully relaxing treatments. An awesome city escape. http://www.dorchestercollection.com/ascot/coworth-park/spa-hotel-ascot/spa-membership
12) Sunbathing by a pool in central London!!
Shoreditch House (by the Soho House group) is an awesome place to be. Whether you're enjoying spectacular views of The City of London high atop the building or bathing by the outdoor rooftop pool, you'll have to earn your view first at their fully loaded gym, decked out with the super high-end Technogym’s ARTIS range. https://www.shoreditchhouse.com/the-gym