Alexandra Delf hits the gym in London and works out with the capital’s toughest
Going to the gym in London has never been easier.
And just as the capital’s fitness industry has transformed into a multi-million pound industry, there are now state of the art gyms, lavish fitness centers and ingenious personal trainers galore.
The plus side is that in every corner of the city there are classes available morning, noon and night – and in all shapes and sizes. The instructors here are doing their part for modern-day fitness and helping Londoners work out however and whenever they chose.
I’ve even heard recently that where you work out and with whom in London has become ‘tribal’. And unfortunately this is a likely marker that fitness has succumbed to ‘fashion’ and may have lost it’s way.
In this ever-expanding jungle of gyms, the fashionable London fitness bunny never has a shortage of options.
But what about the gym-goer who wants to get back to basics and enjoy the way this city used to work out? Or those traveling here on business who prefer to experience authenticity when they work out in a new city? If they want friendliness and efficiency in their fitness, finding a no-frills gym in London is tricky.
Enter Manor and this new contender on the capital’s gym scene feels like a breath of fresh air.
Following a simple mantra of ‘Train. Fight. Recover‘ and any business traveler who wants to get the job done in the gym London-style could have struck gold.
Launched in March 2018 and Manor certainly does means business.
Stripping back fitness to its basics, there’s no false or empty promises here. The cornerstones at this place is a type of training and an experience that feels gritty.
There’s real boxing taught by proper fighters, strongmen yardwork followed by yoga. Everything here is based around strength and conditioning without neglecting injury avoidance.
Clients can also chose to workout out where they can best save time and can focus their energy, which means either in Victoria, Old Street, Oxford Circus or in Vauxhall.
Taking their inspiration from their training as professional athletes and the Manor founders raw approach ensures there are no egos or LA trends at any of these locations.
This team of ex-professional fighters and athletes sought to reinstall a genuine work ethic in fitness enthusiasts of all abilities. In fact, theirs is a system for those who want to train hard and train well – and in the founders own words, ‘More London less LALA.’
Ex MMA pro Charlie Watts and former undefeated pro boxer Chris Baugh are a no nonsense bunch who really know their stuff – plus they have serious credentials under their respective belts (boxing and otherwise!).
This could be intimidating to those who are used to more ballet barre than boxing, but my first impression of their SW1 location was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with a great energy from both trainers and class members alike.
The place is clean and bright and has an open plan layout which includes a training area, bespoke boxing ring and of course – punch bags which creates an interactive, high-octane environment to train in.
Products and essentials in the changing rooms allows for the right level of comfort – but still without those unnecessary frills.
For those who visit London and like to train hard, signature sessions at SW1 include Box Con, where pro-fighters take you through old- school bag workouts.
My personal favorite is ‘Yard Work’ which is a strongman (or strongwoman) session which takes place in the modified underground space connected to the main gym.
This is a space where you can really get your hands dirty and its unlike anything I’ve ever tried before in London.
It takes you back to basics with heavy lifting and with a back-to-back duo available on a Saturday featuring Box Con and Yard Work, Manor delivers here on time-sensitive, impactful fitness.
Another appealing aspect which brings Manor closer to London’s true pulse is its willingness to give back.
The company is supporting the athletic community by helping up and coming, underprivileged athletes with their Manor Sponsored Athletes Programme.
They’re also looking out for the wider community including CW4S Homeless Project and Ourmala supporting refugee women in London.
Key charity boxing events are also held here throughout the year with the proceeds going to chosen London charities.
(The next one will be “Fight For Your Manor” a charity event with all proceeds going to the charity Ourmala.)
This altruistic approach adds to Manor’s appeal as an authentic gym player with its roots firmly grounded in London and its original communities.
For business travelers who are time stretched and results focused, this could be an ideal workout experience, where there are no airs and graces, they can feel at home in London where everyone’s welcoming and knows exactly how to train.
Manor SW1 offers memberships from £85 a month for 2 classes per week, but prices vary depending on the location of the gym.
Photography courtesy of Manor.