Everyone Active: The Lowdown
I’ve had a recent and on-going gripe about the price of fitness in London, and have written about whether or not we are being priced out of the fitness scene. It seems I’m not the only one balking at spending £20 on a 45 minute studio workout and there’s been a surge of people looking for, and gyms responding to a harp back to more accessible exercise.
I had a nosy around two branches of Everyone Active gyms and tried out a hot yoga class (Marshall Street, Soho), and climbing at Seymour Street (Marylebone).
I’ve always had a slightly love-hate relationship with hot yoga. I have a genuine love for yoga and can always see a real difference in my strength and flexibility when I practice regularly. However, as someone who gets their motivation to workout by having a challenge in mind, I’ve always had to prioritise over yoga/strength training for running, and more recently swimming, so I don’t get on my mat anywhere near enough as I’d like to. On honeymoon I practiced yoga every day for a week and felt like a different person! That brings me onto hot yoga – I’m definitely blessed more with strength than flexibility and in the past have found hot yoga a positive experience in terms of pushing flexibility. However, I’ve also found it challenging because I’m not a sweater at all (I really don’t ever sweat in exercise, it’s weird) so to be drenched in sweat in a class is quite alien for me and I find myself distracted by constantly wiping and feeling prickly and uncomfortable. Also it’s hard to hold poses when slipping around all over the shop. To take it even further, one of the first times I practiced yoga I used to go to this hot yoga joint in Covent Garden (naming no names!) where the mats and room were proper stinky and it just made me feel gross.
I was invited to try Everyone Active’s hot yoga class so took Sam to their Soho branch just off Carnaby Street (who knew that was there?!) boasting a massive dedicated hot yoga studio. There were only two other people in the class when we went so we had loads of space, and the studio felt clean and I loved the dimly lit atmos. The instructor was great and took us through a slow and strong practice and as the studio got SUPER hot, she opened the door for some well needed breeze (is that cheating?! It’s ok in my books if so!). Towels were also provided on arrival which is a good perk for a community gym.
The only downside was the heating mechanism in the room was so noisy when it was kicking in. I’m not sure if that was a minor blip but it took away some of the zen having that whirring in the background. Also as a super minor gripe, the nearest changing rooms are the wet changing rooms, which (although may be more apt after hot yoga) I would avoid unless you don’t mind getting changed in a puddle of water.
I can’t tell you how much trepidation I had about taking part in this session. As lame as this might sound, I actually do pride myself on trying different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone (hello, recent open water swimming antics, from the person who doesn’t like getting wet?!) yet I entered into this nervously. Flashbacks pricked at my memory to school trips at Redridge in Wales and abseiling, a few years back, 150 metres down my old office in the City with tears in my eyes. Luckily I was with the anti-stress that is Tatiana (who ended up scaling walls like she was auditioning for spiderman) and we were in very good hands with Everyone Active’s Mike who clearly is a total pro. I can’t stress enough how much the instructor makes a difference in situations where you are learning something new as an adult and you are finding that process a pressure on the nerves.
Considering I went in there cautious about climbing even a metre off the floor, to end up scaling 13 metres (with relative ease and without breakdown I might add), it’s a testament to Mike’s instruction. We started small and worked our way up. Mike explained safety, rope knots, how climbing trails worked and their varying difficulty whilst at the same time encouraging us to push ourselves and climb efficiently (effectively from the legs and through shifting body weight, rather than relying on the arms). Moments when I might have frozen on the wall and panicked, Mike was there shouting ‘left foot up, right hand there’s a blue above you’ – literally this left no time at all to even think about fear. By the end, I was full of pride for Tats and myself overcoming something majorly out of the comfort zone and would thoroughly recommend the mental and physical workout!
Everyone Active is a great alternative to the chain of Better gyms which you might already know about, and you can PAYG for these classes. Everyone Active gave me the chance to try these classes for free but all views are my own and honest – believe me, I hate stuff like climbing so I would not hold back if I thought it was crap!