The days of having only of a hand full of health clubs to choose from with mediocre facilities are thankfully over. But with more choice, and seemingly another new fitness trend every week, comes more deliberation over where best to break a sweat.
Luckily, personal trainer extraordinaire, Scott Ashley, is on hand to guide us through the smartest luxury gyms in the West (of London). The 30-year-old is one of the most revered trainers in the capital with appearances on national television and a few famous bodies that he’s transformed too.
“I’ve tried and tested almost everything London’s fitness scene has to offer,” says Scott. So who better to share the skinny on where best to invest in your health?
EQUINOX — High St Kensington, W8
Scott says: This American fitness chain offers the ultimate gym experience. They set up here back in 2012 and six years later it looks like it opened yesterday. The floors are spotless, the machines are well polished, and the vibe is buzzing.
Their class schedule is incredible, offering over 100 a week. Equinox have also partnered up with the fitness focused food brand, Munch Fit. Everything is super healthy, super tasty and the menu is vast. I highly recommend the Choc Lover protein shake after a good workout.”
The bill: £210 pm + £400 joining fee
KXU — Chelsea SW1
Scott says: Beautiful facilities, a fantastic timetable with over 100 classes a week, there’s always a super cool vibe at KXU. They have a studio which hosts running, boxing, TRX and circuit training, plus a yoga studio where they teach different styles of yoga and stretching.
My favourite is the spinning room, which is, without a doubt, the best one I’ve experienced. All the bikes are connected to a live results screen and every instructor I’ve met there has been top quality with real passion for what they are delivering.
The bill: £12 to £25 per class depending on how many classes you purchase upfront.
E BY EQUINOX —St James, Mayfair, SW1
Scott says: A super elite health club from Equinox, located in a former bank, and retaining many of the building’s grand architectural features. The emphasis is on keeping membership numbers low and the exclusivity high.
Fitness wise, the focus is ultimate personal training. Every member is thoroughly assessed with a 3D body scan, active and resting metabolic rate tests, blood pressure, functional movement screening and an in-body composition analysis. All carried out by Equinox’s Tier X trainers, who are some of the most highly trained PTs you’re going to meet.
To complete the first class experience, members have use of a complimentary gym laundry valet, and access to every other Equinox venue in the world.
The bill: £350pm + £500 joining fee
BXR — Chiltern St, Marylebone W1
Scott says: With heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, as a founder, this no nonsense-but-sophisticated club has become a real hot spot in the media. David Beckham and Naomi Campbell, amongst other big names, have been spotted training here, all of which adds to the buzz.
The decor is super slick and uber masculine with black gloss machines, stainless steel weights, and most strikingly, the impressive boxing ring sat in the centre of it all.
As to be expected, the calibre of the crowd is high-end and stylish, but this is not simply a place to see and be seen. The vibe is all about working hard and getting serious results.
The bill: £180 pm + £250 joining fee
AKASHA — Hotel Cafe Royal, Regent St, W1
Scott says: “What I love here is the level of traffic. It’s never too crowded and you can near enough always get the machine or space you want to use. It really has that ‘private members club’ feel, which some of the larger gyms can’t match.
AKASHA is at the other end of the spectrum to your high intensity, fast action clubs, branding itself as a wellness centre. Members have access to a great selection of classes, including circuit training, boxing, spinning, and Pilates. The gym is well equipped with top spec equipment, but most importantly lots of floor space for body and free weight training.
The centre point of the club though has to be the spa, with an 18m swimming pool, huge Hammam steam room and the largest sauna I’ve seen. A true hidden gem in the heart of Piccadilly.
The bill: £220 pm + £150 joining fee
House Gym — White City House, White City, W12
Scott says: When the Soho House Group opened their new members club in the former BBC Television Centre, the buzz was largely about the bars and restaurants, many people overlooking the seriously huge 22,000 sq ft gym!
There is so much equipment here, you’ll never have to compromise on what you want to use, and ample floor space so you won’t have to stretch next to someone you’d rather not. Having said that, if you’re single this is a great place to mix and mingle. It’s a very social and relaxed club and can be used from morning until night.
Come the evening, and post swim, you may want to swap your protein shake for a shaken Martini by the bar or the restaurant after your workout or swim. Speaking of swim, did I mention they also have a rooftop pool?
The bill: £1300 p.a, £700 p.a for applicants under 27 years old.
Or if you fancy working out in the peace and quiet of your own home, check out the best professionally designed home gyms…