Islington has a new fitness hub and it’s called Studio One! Situated on Caledonian Road, a short walk from Kings Cross and Highbury & Islington, and a mere few minutes from Caledonian Road overground, it provides a welcome addition with its well thought out facilities and range of fitness sessions.
Studio One is compact, bright and light; it’s ideal for Instagrammers. But more importantly, it has substance to it. Set up by 2 sisters, Alison and Sarah, both have transformational stories whereby they transitioned from a word hard, party hard lifestyle with long hours and nutritional neglect to realising how diet and exercise can greatly improve health, mind and happiness. Their aim for Studio One is to build a community around a shared pursuit of an accessible healthy lifestyle. Their range of classes are wide and varied, employing only the best teachers and covering many styles of yoga, barre, boxing, pilates and meditation. And with accessibility being at the heart of their ethos, expect to see crèched mums and babies fitness sessions on their timetable soon.
And it that wasn’t good enough, Studio One’s motto is FEEL GOOD, DO GOOD. And that’s because 10% of all their profits are donated to health charities so whilst you work out, you’re also helping those who need it, whether that’s providing water and sanitation for children or food for the homeless.
Alison invited me down to try out a few sessions and after much deliberation, I chose Power Hour Yoga and The Body Method.
As the name suggests, this is an hour of fast-paced dynamic yoga. Don’t expect any cobwebs to be left once your session is over! Taken by Shaun Mercier every Sunday morning, my body was aching after the first fifteen minutes. Shaun likes to push his students so expect to find yourself playing a yoga version of Twister with feet and legs in crazy positions. Throughout the hour, Shaun constantly chatters. It’s helpful and fun, and makes you feel like you’re doing a yoga class with a mate. It also helps distract from the trembling muscles you’ll undoubtedly experience.
Part-yogi, part-acrobat and part-graphic designer, Shaun is an interesting character and passionate about what he does. He works hard and so he expects the same of his students. With the small numbers in the classes, Shaun can keep an eye on everyone and will tweak your position as he goes.
I can only describe this as fun, frenetic and utterly wonderful! It feels like a proper workout and all before Sunday brunch too…
The Body Method is inspired by models! Most models are required to be toned and sculpted with have a level of overall fitness and The Body Method works on this philosophy. And now it’s available for everyone, not just the leggy and beauty-blessed. This class is a fusion of the core elements of Studio One – Yoga, Reformer Pilates, Boxing and Suspension Training. There’s an underlying principle that all the exercises work on shaping the body for a lean look but each teacher puts their own signature twist on them.
Rosie and I went to Simon Collins’ session on a Sunday morning. As a boxer, Simon employs a mix of bodyweight exercises that increase in progression with each round. At the beginning he states clearly what parts of the body we’ll be working on (we worked on chest and arms, then legs and glutes) giving clear examples of the exercises. During this 45 minute class, I was less sweaty and more face-grimacingly strained, working hard to keep my pulsing squats going. As a new mum, this class was perfect for me – there’s no HIIT, no direct core work and yet I definitely felt like I was being worked. In all the right places. Similarly, Rosie, more of a weights fan and obstacle racer, felt that the arms session especially pushed her hard in ways that her normal workout wouldn’t.
The Body Method is a great way to build essential fitness and strength, suitable for every type of person, including post-pregnancy mums. The exercises can be modified to suit the different fitness levels too. And with each trainer adding their own signature moves, there’s a version of the Body Method for everyone.
Part of Studio One’s allure is that since they’re new, they’re open to suggestions, although I feel that with the friendly nature of the team, this will continue even once they’re properly established. It can be a bit squished in the reception especially when several classes start at once but that’s also down to the fact people want to hang out and chat in the reception – something you don’t often see at other studios.
If you’re after intimate quality classes, which feature a wide range of disciplines for all sorts of levels then you can’t go wrong with membership here.
Who it’s for: Those with all levels of fitness who are looking for a range of sessions to stretch, strengthen and tone bodies.
How much: Drop-in classes start from £13 for 30 minute Quickie Classes, monthly membership from £150.
Where: 237 Caledonian Road, London N1 1ED