Unusually Fit
Community / Culture / Inspiration

Unusually Fit

Words: Elliott Lewis-George Images: Quentin Monge

It’s time to get off the treadmill and try something new. Discover a whole host of original and invigorating sports to get you fighting fit this season; now is as good a time as any to get into the studio, embrace the unusual, and get that blood pumping.

Don’t forget: The Redmond Community Centre also offers sports on your doorstep, including dance, yoga, zumba and meditation

Battodo Fudokan

Battodo Fudokan London, Haggerston School, Weymouth Terrace, London E2 8LS

‘Batto’ means to draw and strike with the sword in Japanese. ‘Do’ translates to the training you must undertake to become complete at the art of Japanese swordsmanship. That certainly sounds more majestic than swinging a pair of dumbells up and down, right? With entry-level courses taking place in London’s Buddhist Arts Centre, you can learn two styles of traditional swordmanship – Nakamura Ryu Battodo and Kurikara Ryu Hei Ho – from 7th Dan Battodo specialist John Evans. “On the first day of training, sword and human meet as alien objects; over time they become one living thing. Eventually the blade will magnify and project the actions of the body, reflect mood and mind set, and ultimately point the way to the core of being,” explains the sword master himself in his book Kurikara –The Sword and the Serpent.

Visit website

Hula Fit

London Fields Fitness Studio, 379 Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PH

If you think hula-hoops are enjoyed only in school playgrounds you’re very much mistaken. HulaFit is a fun way of toning that troublesome tummy, keeping those calories out of the loop and developing your co-ordination, posture and balance. Try keeping the hoop spinning around your waist whilst keeping a straight face – impossible. If the fun factor is not enough and you need the facts then hooping has been proven to burn anything from seven calories a minute. At HulaFit, weighted hoops and high-intensity cardio workouts will mean you could burn between 400 and 600 calories in one hour long session. Get off that cross trainer and get hooping at HulaFit classes in Kings Cross and Hackney.

Visit website

Flying Fantastic

Gymbox, 201A Old St, London EC1V 9NP

Ever wondered what it would be like to fly? Now is your chance to try. Get a complete body workout with Flying Fantastic’s team of qualified aerial instructors at their Old Street venue. Based on exercises discovered in Buenos Aires, a typical class involves a combination of climbs, tricks, drops and conditioning as well as floor work. This combination of high intensity exercise is acknowledged as one of the best ways to burn fat and drastically improve your fitness. “Out of all the workouts I’ve done over the years (spin, yoga, swimming and hiking to name but a few) Flying Fantastic has been far and away the most effective at improving my strength, balance, cardio fitness and immune system, not to mention dress size…” says one Flying Fitness cadet Jenny Anderson.

Visit website

Lee Valley VeloPark Indoor Velodrome

Lee Valley VeloPark, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3AB

London’s roads can be pretty treacherous but if you fancy yourself as the next Chris Hoy then why not take a spin on the Olympic velodrome track? Located in the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the iconic indoor velodrome at the Lee Valley VeloPark is the fastest track in the world and open for all to enjoy. Track taster sessions are available to get budding bikers started, whilst more serious speed freaks can complete a four-stage accreditation process. From muscle growth to great cardio-vascular training, the health benefits of getting on a bike are endless. It’s also pretty fun pretending you’re an Olympic athlete as you peddle like mad around this famous race track.

Visit website

Swing Patrol

Swing Patrol Harringay, The Langham Club, 600 Green Lanes, London N8 0RY

It’s hip to wear vintage so why not train vintage too? From the Charleston to the Lindy Hop, Swing Patrol is all about dancing away those calories. From humble beginnings dancing outside tube stations, founder Scott Cupit has danced on Trafalgar Square’s iconic fourth plinth with hundreds of dancers following his steps. Now him and his team run classes all over the world, including London spots in Archway, Victoria Park, Finsbury Park and Angel. Grabbing a pair of flats and hitting the floor will see you burn a considerable amount of calories, improve your co-ordination and rid yourself of those two left feet.

Visit website

Hotpod Yoga’s Dynamic Flow

Hotpod Yoga HQ, Arch 406, Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PH

Hotpod Yoga is aimed at anyone and everyone. Classes take traditional yoga teachings and pare them down to their most powerful and effective elements. Don’t expect chanting but do expect to train in futuristic-looking portable pods that are heated to exactly 37 degrees, allowing for your muscles to achieve optimum flexibility. The temperature also helps regulate your heart rate to reduce stress and aid the removal of unwanted bodily toxins. Taking the Vinyasa yoga style, Dynamic Flow will leave you exhausted but physically and mentally satisfied, as your body stretches and tones itself.

Visit website