Wake up your workout: 5 alternatives to the gym

If you're lucky enough to live in London, or any other big city across the UK, you've probably already tried some of the alternative fitness options out there. London in particular has plenty to offer active types, from dance classes to rock climbing and more. There's no need to slog away on the treadmill if the gym really isn't your thing and there are plenty of ways to get fit without joining a gym. The Expertrain team has been busy this morning putting together this kick-ass list of gym alternatives for you to try. Whilst these are all based in and around London, you're sure to find similar facilities in most cities. Ready to bust your workout boredom? Here we go!

Rock climbing

Great for adrenaline junkies and those who prefer a little unpredictability from their workouts, indoor rock climbing or bouldering is becoming more popular than ever. In London, you'll find climbing walls at Woolwich, Bermondsey, London Bridge and Stoke Newington (that's just a start). Book onto an induction/beginner's session to familiarise yourself with the equipment, then sign up for a block of classes. Once you know the basics you can attend open climbing sessions alone or with friends.

An hour of rock climbing could burn up to 800 calories, not to mention being great for toning your upper body. Head for the Arch Climbing Wall at London Bridge, one of the country's largest climbing walls. An introduction to climbing here is just £20 – that includes equipment hire. Single admission sessions (off-peak) are just £7, or buy a block of 10 to save money. We love that equipment is included, so you don't need to buy anything until you're sure this is for you!

Aerial fitness

Fancy yourself as an aerial acrobat? Whilst we're not recommending you run off with the circus, we are bowled over by these rather cool aerial fitness classes. Running regularly at Flying Fantastic in Battersea and Farringdon, these classes are a great way to work your core and your upper body and are the ideal alternative to that treadmill workout. Take an aerial yoga or pilates class, learn to spin on the aerial hoop or master twists and turns with an aerial silks class. Prices start from £22 and no specialist equipment is needed.

British Military Fitness

This is an Expertrain team favourite – get out of your stuffy office, escape the confines of the gym and head for your nearest British Military Fitness class at a park near you. You might expect a terrifying drill sergeant barking orders at you and forcing you to do a million push-ups, but don't be fooled by the word 'military.' You're given a coloured bib on arrival: red, blue or green, according to your fitness level.

The hour-long fitness class is spent playing team games, doing circuits and working on exercises in pairs and it's a great alternative to running. Expect to get a bit dirty and burn around 600 calories; it's great fun! Held at 25 parks across London, you can book a free class online – prices for subsequent classes vary depending on your location but average around £40 for 6 months of classes (one a week), plus the £25 joining fee.

Battodo Fudokan

If swashbuckling pirates and sword fights are your thing, learn the art of Japanese swordsmanship at Battodo Fudokan Training School in East London. Here, you'll get into the mindset of a Japanese swordsman whilst learning about stance and swinging moves, with a wooden sword, of course. This well-balanced workout is all about gaining control over your body and improving your concentration – you'll find your flexibility and strength increases as you get into it. Book classes in Bethnal Green, Hackney or Islington; a 5 week course costs £50.

Swing dancing

For a workout-that-doesn't-feel-like-a-workout, why not learn the Charleston with a 30's style swing dancing class? Don't be fooled by the fun, laidback vibe; these hour-long classes provide an intensive workout where you can burn up to 300 calories!

Swing dancing is done in pairs, but you don't need a partner to attend classes with Swing Patrol, which hosts classes across the city. Charleston kicks and Lindy Hop or blues dancing and Balboa are all on the menu – just make sure you wear some comfy flats. Classes start from £8 on a drop-in basis, or pick up a 10-class card to save money.

There's no excuse not to get fit this autumn; even if you dread the gym, try one of these options for a great workout!


Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 5th Sep 2014 at 10:21

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