A guest post by Laura Kettle
I moved to Richmond in early January and was keen to find out what the area had to offer in terms of health and fitness. Exercise plays a large part in my life and is often the first thing I turn to when I’m stressed, need a burst of creativity or just simply a top up of endorphins!
So I wasted no more time and chose six different exercise classes on offer in the Richmond area, this is how I got on…
Located on Red Lion Street, I couldn’t miss the bright green door of the Bootcamp Pilates studio. The class consisted of eight individuals plus a trainer who would guide us through a 55-minute reformer Pilates class.
Reformer you ask? That is the name of the machine that is a system of springs, straps and pulleys which all work together to provide an effective, non-impact stretching and toning workout. Focusing on correct breathing technique and instructions from the trainer, allowed me to lose track of time and concentrate on the task in hand.
I left the studio feeling fantastic, like I had taken part in a full body workout with no muscle untouched! Bootcamp Pilates are running an offer of two free classes for £12. Visit the website for more information.
Next, I would try a more ‘personal’ touch. Paul Kenny is a local personal trainer with a difference, he specialises in body transformation and High Intensity Interval Training (otherwise known as HIIT).
My first session involved key body measurements and an in-depth talk about what my goals were, as he said, “it’s good to make goals but you must be willing to commit to change.” Once we had set my goals, we hit the road with my gym being the view of the river and Richmond Bridge… what more could you ask for? After squatting, sidestepping and swinging kettlebells along the river we reached ‘the hill’ at Terrace Field, which I’m pleased to say by the end of the session, was ‘my friend.’
PK Fitness builds bespoke packages for all clients and more information can be found at his website.
Based in Richmond, the Barreworks website stated that the studio was dedicated to barre and ballet-based workouts which sounded fabulous and something very different to anything I had tried before. I was ready to discover my ballet body!
Arriving at the studio and meeting Vicki Anstey who owns Barreworks (and may I add, has a dancer’s body to die for), I realised that this wasn’t going to be as ‘fluffy’ as I first thought. The class started with a warm-up, moving onto isometric holds, core-strengthening exercises and lots of ‘pulsing’ movements that I must admit worked and toned areas of the body I didn’t realise existed!
Regular attendance of these classes would definitely, without doubt, result in toning and shaping of the body. Barreworks offer a trial class for £12 and more information can be found on the website.
Set-up in 2004, parkrun UK is a not-for-profit organisation and originated in Bushy Park. It now runs over 200 runs each weekend in parks across the UK and the best thing about it…it’s free!
I have tried parkrun before however I heard on the grapevine that Richmond Park was a different league. So after registering online and downloading my barcode, I made my way to the 5km route in the park for a 9am start. I was shell-shocked, over 300 runners turned up to Richmond Park to take part in the event and the atmosphere was amazing. Friends were meeting up to run together, young children taking part with their parents and the volunteers cheering you on throughout, made for a wonderful start to a Saturday morning.
More information on parkrun and their venues can be found on their website.
I stumbled across Njinga Cycling due to their partnership with Wholefoods, offering social rides twice a month from the store in Richmond. All I had to do was register online and turn-up to ride at 8:30am…my reward a free juice from Wholefoods after the ride. This sounded like a great deal! What I got from the ride was so much more.
Leigh and Togo from Njinga Cycling were so welcoming, as were the others who had shown up. We ventured twice around the park and during that time Togo gave me some 1-2-1 tuition and advice on how to handle the bike, gear changes and how to cycle more efficiently. By the second lap I was beginning to ‘fall in love’ with my road bike.
The Njinga Cycling offer cycling training from April to August and more information can be found on their website.
Set up in 1999, British Military Fitness (BMF) has grown rapidly over the years offering military style fitness classes in parks throughout the UK. Richmond is lucky to have two parks that run these classes: Old Deer Park and Richmond Park.
I decided to try out the classes in Richmond Park, which meet four times a week at the café at Roehampton Gate. The ex-military instructor Chris Preston made me feel very welcome and advised me to put a ‘blue’ beginner bib on and join the other crazy people taking part in the class.
I’m not going to lie these classes are hard-core and be prepared to get down on the floor and get muddy. All that aside, I loved the class, the interaction with other members working out, instruction from the trainer and most of all being outside! A breath of fresh air, literally!
BMF offer a free first class and more information about classes and membership can be found on their website.
All of the classes and fitness instructors were so welcoming at all of the venues above which I think is very important when people try out new fitness regimes. Let’s be honest it makes it a more enjoyable experience to know you are all in it together!
My advice to you on the above would be, if you are all for the outdoors then try your hand at Njinga cycling, parkrun UK and BMF, if you are more about toning then Bootcamp Pilates and Barreworks are for you and if you want a personal ‘bespoke’ fitness workout then give PK Fitness a call.
All-in-all I can firmly say that Richmond is a great place to live and exercise and I’m looking forward to finding more classes to try out in the future…