Featured, Group Fitness Review, Lawrence Price, Motivation

London’s best group fitness venues series… Local Motion Studios

April 22, 2016
Local Motion Group Classes London Fitness

How far have we been taken from our Homo sapiens origins?

In a recent chat with Simon from Local Motion Studios he raised the point that present day humans rarely touch the ground. He has a point. We tend to roll out of bed, pop the work shoes on and ‘on with the day’…the day being spent locked into a peculiar position in the shape of an office chair that is. Which makes me think of another saying from another fitness guru…’sitting is the new smoking!’.

They might be onto something here…

Being ahead of the curve can be both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing in that you are paving the way for the future, a curse in that not everyone gets you. In an ever evolving fitness industry it is important to identify and destinguish between the needles fads and much needed trend developments. Local Motion Studios believe they are a part of the latter, I feel inclined to agree.

There is certainly a lot of change occurring in the fitness industry nowadays.

Gym floors are being cleared out of heavy bulk machinery to be replaced with free weights and functional kit. The present day goal of many fitness clubs is leaning more and more towards breaking down the rigidity of modern working life and separating man from machine…not plucking him or her straight from the work desk computer only to pop them onto another treadmill or chest press juggernaut in the gym during their free time.

Quite right too…rigidity is the enemy, movement the goal.

Therefore this current trend fits in line with creating space and encouraging us humans to move more freely as nature intended. Local Motion Studios have taken this to the next level with a series of classes on Calisthenics, Animal Flow, FloFit, Parkour, Broga…and much more. ‘The aim is to create awesome human beings who can adapt physically to complex environments at a moments notice. Isn’t this ultimately what we should be training for?!’ Asks Local Motion Studios founder Simon Stratton.

Reception at Local Motion Studios

Reception at Local Motion Studios

It is here where Local Motion Studios sit slightly ahead of that curve.

They are not only seeking to mobilise their clients but to also provide strength and adaptability at a moments notice as a tool for day-to-day existence. In today’s modern world how far have we been taken from our Homo sapiens origins? Should focussing inwardly on ourselves be the prime goal when considering our fitness development? Or…do the biceps on that creatine tub look too good to resist focussing your goals on?

For my experience of Local Motion I popped along to their Animal Flow class coached by Rachel Thompson.

Let me talk you through it…

Fitness Studio Wandsworth, London - Local Motion

Fitness Studio Wandsworth, London – Local Motion

First thing was to get those pesky modern age shoes off and to start getting intimate with the floor. In a low crouched squat position we started to warm and prepare our bodies for the ensuing class – with so much ground contact on all fours we paid a lot of attention to mobilising our wrists and preparing them for weight bearing. As a coach myself I’ve learnt how under-prepared the wrists of so many can be. Sitting at a desk all day lightly tapping a keyboard with limp wrists doesn’t lend itself to our evolutionary design intentions; surprise, surprise. So if you fall into this category I recommend that you start strengthening those wrists…you’re gonna need it for this class!

Animal Flow has been designed around 2 main elements – adoption of set positions, with allocated animal names, and the ‘flow’ of movement between achieving each position.

The animal names are more than just a branding tool, they enable clear instruction from the trainer to the group whilst the flow of movement creates a class with constant weight bearing through ever changing planes of movement. The end result is very energy sapping I can assure you.

Once the warm up finished it was time to learn some of the animal positions. Some clear and concise coaching points from Rachel enabled me to achieve positions I would have been unconfident with before the class.

From the starter ‘beast’ and ‘crab’ positions right up to the more complex ‘scorpion’ poses I was already challenging my joints and muscles in ways that are worlds apart from most gym routines.

Fitness and wellbeing classes - Membership options

Fitness and wellbeing classes – Membership options

Then the tricky stuff started…

Having become familiar with a handful of animal positions it was time to link each one up in a sequence of continuous flowing movement…hence the name ‘Animal Flow’.

After 5 minutes I had moved confidently from steady warm up to sweaty brow and looking around me I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat.

After 10 minutes of constant movement a ricochet of groans developed in the roam followed by an outpouring of relief at the first water break.

The class continued like this for its duration – ever more complex patterns of movement from ‘beast’ to ‘crab’, from ‘crab’ to ‘scorpion’, from ‘scorpion’ to ‘travelling ape’ and much more. With the end of each sequence I noticed how a huge sense of satisfaction washed away any muscle burn and kept me enthused and excited about what I was achieving. These flow-patterns challenge the mind as well as the body and I found myself emerging from deep concentration each time we finished a segment of the session.

Due to the enjoyment of the unique movements involved and focus on all the learning that takes place in this class the hour flies by … then it hits you. This class is extremely energy sapping. Surprisingly so. I’ve now done a few Animal Flow classes and each one has left me completely wiped out – which is great!!!

Local Motions Above Planet Organic

Local Motions Above Planet Organic

*To keep some consistency within my series of reviews on London’s top group fitness venues I have devised a rating system that I will apply to every experience I have – hopefully this will help you to decide what venues would best suit you. I love being a ‘fitness tourist’ myself and would encourage you to have a little exercise roaming in your life too…

1: Training Environment/Atmosphere: A world away from strobe lights and heavy bass-lines. This is a smart environment that lends itself to the development and practicing of ones individual skills by ‘exploring the awesome potential of the human body through movement’. With few places like this in existence (ahead of that curve remember…) you get the feeling that this is a real hub for gifted coaches and practitioners of natural human movement. PLUS…LM Studios is perched right above Planet Organic – what better environment for some pre training goodness or post training recovery!?

2: Coaching Style: A relaxed and knowledgeable style that allows you to feel at ease enough to try some new moves whilst gaining insight from people who clearly live and breathe ‘natural movement’.

3: Equipment: There is a Personal Training suite adjacent to the group fitness studio with all the kit one might need including a bespoke training frame. BUT this is about group fitness…for these classes all the equipment you need is YOU…which means the equipment is pretty frickin awesome right?!

4: Bedside Manner/Customer Service: Ok ok…so I know this is another venue where I happen to be besties with the head honcho, Simon Stratton. So let me be honest…its hugs on arrival…not sure if this is company policy but I lap it up every time.

5: My ‘Knack Factor’ – how knackering was it? It’s hard to explain this one…as mentioned before, every Animal Flow session I do completely drains me. Its an hour of constant weight bearing in every position imaginable! Sure it’s not aerobically punishing like some group workouts, but this one WILL get ya. Mark my words. A knack factor of 8/10 with an aftermath that should be enjoyed firstly in the Planet Organic café downstairs re-energising over a super greens juice followed by your sofa (recommended).

In summary – a unique place to up-skill your unique human abilities. If you want to experience a new dimension to the fitness industry and improve the way you move in the process then this is for you. A sneaky peak at the future of gyms perhaps?!

All, Featured, Group Fitness Review, Lawrence Price, Motivation, Music

London’s best group fitness venues… 1REBEL

March 4, 2016
1 Rebel London Group Fitness Review Series

As many of my PT clients will know..

..I love a good fitness analogy. I invent quite a few and steal plenty off other good coaches too. Allow me to introduce my ‘fitness coin’ analogy; it’s a simple one; imagine your training consisting of 2 sides of the same fitness coin. On one side there is ‘energy output’ whilst on the other side there is ‘controlled environment’.

Ideally you want your fitness coin to be nice and balanced.

Your ‘controlled environment’ training often takes place in the gym (but not necessarily). It is based around a series of particular movements, at calculated loads, to achieve a particular desired outcome that often revolves around improving physiology and/or targeting the growth of specific muscles.

Your ‘energy output’ training focuses on just what it says on the tin…expending energy (for various goals e.g training for an event, improving endurance, increasing aerobic capacity, burning fat, etc). The intensity can vary – it may be something as simple as taking the dog for a walk or using the stairs at work instead of the lift. Moving up the scale the middle ground may be enjoying a countryside cycle or doing some hill runs. The higher end of the scale is your high intensity training that sits near the top of the pyramid. This is where 1Rebel proudly sit as they get participants to do the hard work that is SO hard to do alone.

Finding the motivation, the direction and the energy to train the top end of your energy output is not easy.

1Rebel have pieced together the puzzle and have presented it in the form of what feels like a party…my kinda party.

IMG_5476I popped along to their RUMBLE class that focuses on boxing. With just the bag and my boxing mitts in the way of equipment I wondered how much variety there would be during the session…it turns out a lot!

The session started with a quick warm up and a few pointers on boxing technique. Very soon the heart rate was up…along with the sound system. Relentless punching, kicking and even slapping variations on the bag were offset with floor work. Just when the arms and shoulders were giving up, in came the squat jumps, mountain climbers and more…too much to mention. Awesome.

Wave after wave of clever boxing and bodyweight combinations surged onwards under a veil of strobe lights and deep dark beats.

Half way through..

..things started to get really tough but the atmosphere both inspired and motivated. Looking around at everyone else working so hard in the shadows whilst punching to the relentless beats, I found myself enjoying the pain. If I were to try and achieve the same levels of energy output alone in some quiet room it would be tricky, maybe impossible – it’s easy to see why so many people keep flocking back to 1Rebel for more punchy portions and to get their kicks.

* To keep some consistency within my series of reviews on London’s top group fitness venues I have devised a rating system that I will apply to every experience I have – hopefully this will help you to decide what venues would best suit you. I love being a ‘fitness tourist’ myself and would encourage you to have a little exercise roaming in your life too…

With that in mind, here is my rating system being applied to 1Rebel:

1 Rebel Training Atmosphere

1 Rebel Training Atmosphere

1: Training Environment/Atmosphere: I hope I painted a clear picture on this one – this is what 1Rebel do!!!! A very cool place to get sweaty (if you’re hip and down with the kids like me of course), you could turn up feeling like the last thing on earth you want to do is exercise…pretty soon you’ll be high wired and smashing it like a goodun!

 2: Coaching Style: These trainers are highly energetic and motivating, they must sleep well at night that’s for sure. Coaching is done at a fast pace to keep the momentum of the class up so make sure you’re on your tippy toes and reeeeeady to RUUUUUUUMBLE from the start!

3: Equipment: You get your own inner glove wraps upon arrival for your first session, which is a nice touch. The boxing mitts themselves are high quality and comfy…they make you feel pretty invincible too. It is clear 1Rebel have put an emphasis on high quality spec throughout their gyms and this is clearly evident in the quality of all the equipment on show.

The details go right down to the towels – if you want a chilled towel sure, just help yourself from the towel fridge! Again, nice touch.

 4: Bedside Manner/Customer Service: One word springs to mind…’ONNIT’!!! Clearly taking their cues from the highly regarded gyms of New York you can expect customer service with a smile…before you then have your ass served to you. With a smile.

My Knack Factor

My Knack Factor

5: My ‘Knack Factor’ – how knackering was it? My Instagram video shows me crawling out of the session, quite literally. Was I exaggerating???? Well you’ll just have to get your pretty self down there to find out won’t you! If you like working hard expect a knack factor of 8/10…with room to push up to a 9 if you’re feeling particularly beastly (boss being a dick? Get down to RUMBLE. Simples).

In summary – One of ‘THE’ London atmospheres to train in. Feeling punchy? Get swept away into a high-energy workout in a cool environment with cool people…just like me (I keep saying that even though its unfounded). Go hard!

Ps – There is also the option of the RIDE class, which is designed around spinning.

All, Featured, Group Fitness Review, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle, Motivation

London’s best group fitness venues… W10 Performance

February 24, 2016

 

W10 Performance Review:

W10 Performance pride themselves on their signature ‘semi private’ group class…having been a Personal Trainer myself for 10 years I was keen to check it out and see how they juggle the quality of content and coaching with participant numbers that average around a handful at a time.

What I discovered was…

…a series of systems that enable the trainer to coach more than one person at a time a structured session whilst also diversifying the session to suit the individual where appropriate. With this combination of group energy and bespoke consideration where relevant it is easy to see why people are touting this formula as the future of PT.

Tom Eastham-W10-Performance2

Trainer Tom Eastham reviews the W10 Performance system that allows individual coaching elements to take place during group classes

The content of the session is very similar to that of a Personal Training session in that it builds up to the main exercises/working-sets via a series of progressively more challenging prep sets. For me these prep sets revolved around a kettlebell complex of Romanian deadlifts, goblet squats and kettlebell swings. Integrated into this was a sequence of mobility moves that focussed on a long serving problem area of mine…my adductors.

Once my groin was mobilised, my glutes were firing and my core nice and tight we moved onto the main working sets…some heavy lifts on the trap bar. A massively energy sapping compound movement that challenged me within a strength rep range of 4-6 for 4 sets.

I’m not ashamed to say I was feeling slightly wobbly by the time this was over. Just as intended.

 

 

Moving forward…

…the session took me into some shoulder exercises that were completely new to me. Using a battle rope I had to press both ends above my head without the rope touching the floor as it looped around the base of a power rack and back towards to me. This had the effect of working my posterior shoulder muscles as I had to pull backwards whilst pressing above my head using the regular shoulder press muscles. To add a third dimension the pressure was always on as I had to keep the rope off the floor throughout the rep. Being a W10 Performance workout there was another twist. Counting down from 10 rep sets to 1 rep sets I had to perform 5 pull ups as ‘recovery time’ for my shoulders between every shoulder press set. Or was it the other way round and my shoulder sets were a rest from my pull ups?

It was hard to tell at this point as everything felt like it was working in overtime as each muscle group screamed at me for a little more rest.

It’s a little bit easier to dig deep when you know you’re onto the finisher exercises but equally likely that pure fatigue will have the final say as I repeatedly hit failure on my last 2 rounds. I was coached and encouraged through this. Tom would suggest 3 deep breaths before another attempt and each endeavour only counted if it was a full rep displaying complete range of movement. Needles to say I collapsed over the finish line with that heady mix of emptied-tank disorientation combined with deep satisfaction at what I had just achieved.

As for the quality of coaching…

…okay I may be a little biased with this one. Some of you may know that I am a good friend of lead trainer Tom Eastham, in fact we were housemates at university and have played rugby together since we were 19. I haven’t allowed our tight bond to distort my admiration for his work…it is impossible to deny the facts when you see a man in his prime delivering coaching sessions in the top 10% of what you will find in London. If you think I am exaggerating then become one of his clients…you will soon thank me.

To keep some consistency within my series of reviews on London’s top group fitness venues I have devised a rating system that I will apply to every experience I have – hopefully this will help you to decide what venues would best suit you. I love being a ‘fitness tourist’ myself and would encourage you to have a little exercise roaming in your life too…

Lawrence-And-Tom-W10-Performance

With that in mind, here is my rating system being applied to W10 Performance.

1: Training Environment/Atmosphere:

The environment is an honest one with a raw but clean feel to it. The proactive atmosphere is achieved by gritty rock beats on the sound system coupled with purposeful body language from members and staff.

2: Coaching Style:

The first thing I noticed when I attended my class was the manner in which members started going through their prep exercises prior to kick off. They weren’t simply going through the ‘warm up’ motions you see in so many gyms but were in fact performing varying movements specific to their personal requirements. For instance, I had a lovely chat with the lady next to me as she got to work on the foam roller. To me these are all clear signs of a well coached and well informed group of people. When the session itself started it was clear that there were eyes on my every move and yet I had plenty of space and freedom of practice. When I needed direction it was there, when I needed encouragement it was there, when I needed space in which to work it was granted. As a PT myself I understand the requirement for the appropriate doses of each, it was a delight to receive such attention and consideration in a group training environment.

3: Equipment:

W10 kit their gym out in a style not too dissimilar to a good Crossfit Box although that’s where the comparison should stop (It’s a lot cleaner than most Crossfit Boxes for a start). Appearances can be deceiving and while they make the most of the benefits that can be found from training with Olympic bars, power racks, kettlebells, gymnastic rings, SkiErgs, etc, there is a very different feel at W10 to that of a Crossfit Box.

4: Bedside Manner/Customer Service:

These guys are seriously welcoming and warm. You really get the sense that they want everyone, of all levels of ability, to feel at home and comfortable in their training environment. If you’re starting out you will be guided with respect and encouragement, likewise if you are an old hand you will find an open atmosphere to develop strength and hone your skills.

5: My ‘Knack Factor’:

How knackering was it? As you can see on my Instagram video I was taken to full fatigue with my pull ups on my ‘finisher exercises’ (just the casual 50 pull ups in this instance) this was of course done via some heavy sets around 150kg on the Trap Bar…you do the math! Knack Factor was a deep anaerobic 9/10. (ie lifting or pulling anything else would have been rather impossible when it was finally over. I left just about enough in the tank to walk to the tube and refuel).

In summary – Quality coaching combined with efficient programing systems in a clean and honest training environment. You WILL make progress with W10 both in terms of physical development and training knowledge.

All, Featured, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle, Product Review

Electrolyte Infused Water… I’m ‘Overly’ Excited!

February 10, 2016

As you know, I’m a great believer in keeping fitness simple.

I like products that perform well, and are easy to incorporate into your exercise schedule – with no messing around or additional hassle.

Overly water caught my attention, because it’s exactly that. It might look like another appealingly no-nonsense bottle of water, but actually, this product contains something that’s really valuable when you’re working out – electrolytes.

Hydration Matters

If you’re familiar with my way of working, you’ll know I’m a big advocate for hydration. It’s only through staying properly hydrated that your body can perform on optimum – yet it’s shocking just how many people forget to drink enough water each day.

It’s so important to stay hydrated. If you don’t know it already, here’s a few reasons why:

  • Removing toxins. Water helps your body to flush toxins out of your body, leaving you feeling (and looking) far healthier.
  • Temperature control. It also ensures your body maintains a healthy temperature, without overheating.
  • Joint lubrication. Additionally, (and this is a key one to all gym-fans), water keeps your joints well lubricated, ensuring greater range of motion and reduced chance of injury.

Obviously, it goes without saying that you should be drinking plenty of water each day. However, sometimes the body can do with a little extra assistance – which is where electrolytes can help.

Why Electrolytes?

Now, here’s the science bit. Your body functions on electrical impulses. All your cells, tissues and fluids ‘communicate’ via these impulses, and if they’re not conducting electricity well enough, they won’t function properly. Simple as that.

Electrolytes are essentially super-charged salts, that when dissolved in the body, help those electrical impulses to travel round more effectively. They also ensure that your body retains water better – which is a major plus when you’re working out. If you’re taking Creatine, then this is especially important.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just chug down some table salt and enjoy the same results. Hell no. Electrolytes are all different types of salt, including chloride, potassium, magnesium and phosphate. You won’t get that from your salt and pepper set at home, folks.

Improving Performance

When I put Overly water to the test, I was impressed. It provided an easy, hassle-free way for me to ensure I remained hydrated and in top form when working out. And I’ll be honest, I liked its straightforward, authentic ethos too. This is a product that focuses on delivering what it says ‘on the tin’ – the right level of electrolytes in a pleasant range of flavours.

I’ll be taking a bottle of Overly along to my next work-out – best part is, I can literally throw it in my gym bag and I’m good to go. That’s how I like it!

Get Fit for Summer

If you’re about to embark on a fitness regime or you want to work on your existing one, check out my range of exercise programmes online. You can find out more about my online training programmes right here.

All, Featured, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle, Motivation, Workouts & Routines

Cardio or Weights – Which Gets You Better Results?

January 27, 2016

You’re in the gym fired up and ready to start working out. But where to start?

Should you hit the cross-trainer to get your heart pumping, or work on resistance training on the bench?

It’s actually the most common dilemma that people are faced with when they begin their fitness training. You’ve probably got a good idea of what you want to achieve – improved muscle tone, a slimmer physique or better endurance – but you’re not quite sure how to work towards it effectively. 

Know Your Goals

The way to determine whether cardio, weights or a mix of both is best for you is to firstly, identify what your priorities are. Do you want to develop a leaner, sexier figure…basically to look better naked? Are you keen to develop more muscle size? Are you training for a marathon? Your aims will determine what type of work out you need. 

You also need to recognise how often you can train. Are you going for maximum commitment – for example, around 5 sessions a week? Or are you more of a 2-3 work-outs a week kind of person? Working out how many hours you can devote to your fitness regime will help you identify how best to spend your time. 

Which Type Are You?

I want to gain muscle

If your priority is to gain muscle, you’ll need to predominantly focus on weight training. The classic ‘fuller muscle’ look is only achievable through pumping some serious iron, with varying intensity, loads, tempos and rep/set ranges. My advice is to vary training weeks between focussing on volume i.e. 4-5 sets of 10-12reps per muscle group and also focussing on pure strength i.e lower heavier sets of 4-6 reps. In addition to this throw in plenty of drop sets and often look to exhaust the eccentric strength of a muscle group as part of your ‘finisher’ routine at the end of a session. To accompany training you will also have to get your nutrition spot on… as always. In this case you want to fuel the muscles and help them recover without going overboard on the carbs and potentially increasing body fat. Therefore why not try experimenting with some carb cycling i.e save your quality carb intake for the 2 hour window post training. Don’t forget to keep your protein intake on par as well with regular top up snacks and meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day. As they say…’eat clean, train dirty’!

I want to look slimmer/tone up

If you’ve got some fat to lose, combining resistance training with HIIT and LISS cardio is often an effective way to achieve this – get your heart-rate going and get some tension into your muscles. This is a great way of training as there is plenty of variety and you can to enjoy a wide spectrum of training styles. Perhaps try focussing on resistance supersets when in the gym – train opposite muscle groups back to back with rep ranges of 3 sets of 10-15 whilst keeping rest times down to 60-90 seconds. Also integrate some high intensity cardio into proceedings. I find the rower is great for this – 30 seconds at maximum effort followed by 60 seconds recovery at 50% effort, repeat this for 5-10 sets. In addition to your gym work, get outside and enjoy some low intensity steady state training – I like to do this in the morning with my favourite tunes on and in a beautiful setting. 

I want to build my endurance.

Some people might just want to feel fitter – to be able to run a mile without breaking too much of a sweat, or play football with their friends without feeling breathless after five minutes! To build endurance, a mix of cardio and weight training works wonders – with a focus on gradually building intensity and duration of your exercise. I rarely advise people to focus on cardio alone, even if they are training for an endurance event such as a marathon. Balancing their training with some controlled environment work is essential to improve movement/performance and reduce the chance of injury. Therefore set yourself a steady cardio plan that increases your endurance week by week but accompany it with some quality resistance training that strengthens your lower body as well as your upper body…and don’t forget your recovery sessions for those long attritional runs! 

Time to Get On It?

If you’re ready to get the body you want, and are looking for training sessions that help you achieve your goals as efficiently as possible, check out my online fitness programmes and personal training solutions.