Monday, September 24The Voice of London

Banging Body On A Budget? How To Try London’s Top Fitness Classes For Free

When it comes to working out, many of us are full of excuses as to why we can’t. Whether it’s money or time, trying to figure out an exercise plan can make you sweat more than a 5-mile run. With the average London fitness class costing around £30 a session and the price of gym memberships on the rise, it’s easy to see why young Londoners are finding it harder to exercise.

Words: Isabella Sullivan, Subeditor: Gemma Smith

I can’t lie, after the Victoria’s Secret fashion show spectacular I’ve had major body envy. After a weekend of brunching, boozing and more munching, I knew I had to pull it back together fast. London is bursting with hot new fitness classes and trends, but most come with a hefty price tag. However, it’s a little-known fact that many of these super-chic workouts come with a free trial. So with a lot of free evenings and not a lot of money I gave myself the challenge: how many free sessions could I find in a week?

Monday: Heartcore

Want to get everything toned and sexy in the least amount of time? Then Barre Pilates is just what you need. Combining choreography, barre and floor work with resistance training, it’s the most efficient way to get you as toned as possible in the shortest amount of time. Operating out of seven locations around London, Heartcore fitness runs cycle, kettle bell, barre, Pilates and TRX classes. The class incorporates weights and exercise balls to give a ‘natural corset effect’ around the core, making you ‘sexy, long, lean and zipped in’, said the instructors.

Calling all Londoners. Heartcore Barre operates in seven locations so you’ll never be too far from a class. Source: Rebecca Abigail PR

Barre Pilates makes you work muscles you didn’t even know you could work. I do an arm workout most days and even I woke up with my muscles aching in places they’ve never ached before. We focused on each section individually, covering  legs, arms, glutes, and stomach. Just looking at the super fit Barre bodylicious instructor is enough to keep you on track.

Heartcore is the dreamiest of all workout studios, and you can try any of their classes at any location for free. It may be wishful thinking, but I even think my butt looked firmer the next morning…

Tuesday: CorpãoX – Angel

Corpãox is a Brazilian-inspired booty building workout designed for people who can’t afford the gym. It’s a sexy dance and resistance-inspired workout and combines dance, Barre and lower body sculpting exercises commonly found in Brazilian gyms. This fun class works on flexibility, endurance and strength and even uses a martial art style of training. It really is everything all in one.

Coppão literally means amazing body, and that’s something you will have after doing just a few of these. There’s booty shaking and twerking, and you’ll laugh just as hard as you work your muscles. Mention their Google ad and you’ll get your first class for free.

Wednesday: Sadly I was coerced into going for cocktails…Happy hour at least, so still thrifty.

Thursday: Metcore at Form Fitness – Notting Hill

MetCore is the latest killer exercise class incorporating movements from Pilates, ballet, cardio, kettle bells, resistance training and TRX.  It is a mega hit of calorie burning and body conditioning. Metcore is also designed to push the release of the hormone, Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

Metcore is proven to challenge the core muscles more intensely than any other form of pilates. Source:

This is a class unlike any I’ve done before. It keeps you engaged, mentally and physically, during every minute. Legs and core are constantly switched on so that you don’t fall off the foam roller. For the same reason, most moves are done with full focus so there’s no chance of your mind wandering.

Find yourself slacking at the gym classes? Then MetCore is definitely the antidote for you.

Friday: Speedflex – Monument

Speedflex takes heart rate training to a whole new level. You’re given a heart monitor belt that you wear throughout the session and a complimentary fitness assessment by a Speedflex trainer to help you adjust your lifestyle to hit your goals.

The session is high intensity, high impact and short in duration, so it’s perfect for a busy bee on the go.  Your total calories burnt are shown on the television screen throughout the workout, along with the percentage you are working at, and you really are left dripping in sweat. You are encouraged to sustain your heart rate in a high-intensity zone of above 85 per cent so there is no room for slacking here…Go on, book your sneaky free trial now.

Saturday: Fitness First

Did you know Fitness First gyms give you a free trial day pass? They’re everywhere in London so you’ll always be able to get to one. You can use the gym, saunas, steam rooms, and even try one of their fabulous classes. I spent the morning using everything I could find. Running, cycling, kettlebelling, and I even tried a yoga class. If the total cost is free, it’s a win for me…

Sunday: British Military Fitness

This is my all time favourite workout. Fancy being trained by a marine? BMF is an all-year, all-weather, outdoor boot camp that operates out of practically every major park in London, both morning and evening. BMF is the social, challenging, and ridiculously fun way to stay fit, and let me just start with saying it’s not scary. You don’t get shouted at, and you don’t have to be already fit to take part.

With forfeits such as squats, burpees and sprinting, you are always kept on your toes. Source: Manifest Communications

I went with expectations of being forced to do 100 press ups while an instructor shouted in my face. Luckily I was so wrong. BMF have developed a ‘civilian friendly’ version of the physical exercise used to get military folks fit, and while it was extremely tiring and full on (burning an average of 600 calories a session) it does not feel like hardcore fitness training at all. Just the one class managed to turn a gym advocate like me into an al-fresco exercise lover.

Yes I know this fantastically free, nifty fitness journey only lasts a week, but combined with eating clean I actually noticed a difference. You also might find something you really love, works for your body and are totally okay with splurging a little money on. Many do student discounts and buy in bulk deals, so the damage won’t be as bad as you think.