One of the biggest perks of working at Active in Style is being invited to the hottest workout zones opening up around town, and mostly getting access before the general public. When you are a fitness fanatic like me, it makes for a fun way to fill your week between deadlines and designing. This also goes hand in hand with my desire to uncover unique ways to move my body and have fun, and being based in London, I am blessed with the opportunity to try out a new workout every week if I chose.
When I heard murmurings around the office of a hot new hybrid yoga, spin and active studio opening in the East, I leapt at the chance to head over one evening last week to try my luck at one of their classes.
Ethos promises a ‘unique mind/body workout combination to achieve deep transformation’, and they ever so cleverly weave this philosophy into the heart of each class on offer, from Tabata, TRX, Spin, Yoga and Barre.
With the original Ethos opening in Cambridge some years ago by a husband and wife duo, the concept was formed on the basis of creating a sacred space without pretence for people to explore their own authenticity through movement of all shades for people of all ages and levels. Both Cambridge graduates (PhD in Biotechnology/Neuroscience and MPhil in Indian Philosophy/Sanskrit), they have spent more than 30 years in professional sports, dance, science and academia. With such knowledge, you instantly get the sense that Ethos isn’t any ordinary gym. Taking the model that worked ever so effectively in Cambridge, and edging it up for London, the new studio is located in the heart of Spitafields Markets, and brings with it a completely new approach to getting, and living, active in the country’s capital.
Found on the upper deck over looking the iconic yet busy market space, the entrance to Ethos is formed by The Alpine Terrace Health Cafe Bar, which has that whole fresh yet urban vibe down pat with custom-made wooden tables ideal for communal meetings. Featuring cosy rugs and beautiful plants, heaters and moody lighting, the concept delivers a collaborative space ideal for post-barre juices, or pre-dinner cocktails (yes, they believe in balance and accept that sometimes you just need a stiff drink).
The class we took was known as TRX Annihilator. Real talk, I was (prior to this class) not a fan of TRX. I like my progress to be measurable. In climbing, when I got better, I go up a colour, and in yoga when I make improvements I can push myself into a new position or hold a pose for a little longer. TRX just never seemed to do that for me because if I instantly felt I wasn’t capable of doing the move effectively or efficiently, I would just give up. But with this being said, I still went in with an open mind and attitude in the hope I could re-discover a liking to the workout again.
We were welcomed into the studio by fitness instructor and boss babe of Ethos, Amalia Steele. Standard class start: set up the TRX straps and roll out mats, ask for any injuries, told to prepare bodies for muscle destruction (gulp). The session was in a Tabata format, twenty seconds on, ten off, and we were lead through sets of four movements, each designed to target different parts of the body. We were seriously put through our paces. While some of the movements really took a few reps to get used to, when my form was on point, I REALLY felt the burn. Note, the calve raises were a serious killer. Amalia reconfirmed that a slight cramp sensation was normal, as believe it or not, we rarely give our calves the workout they deserve.
Amalia kept our motivation levels high with fast paced counting and adjustments to ensure we were getting the most out of the 45-minute session. The general vibe of the class was fierce, with a great soundtrack and sound providing the much-needed boost of motivation need to push through. The studio was dimly lit and the slightly-opened door offered a fresh breathe of fresh air between sets (Ethos don’t believe in air-conditioning, so one could be mistaken to think it was a heated TRX class). Sure it was hot, and stuffy, but the feeling of having worked out that hardcore makes up for it. Lying on my mat for a good stretch at the end, I was a sweaty, achy mess. Success!
Summary: TRX is tough stuff. Two days later, the muscles are aching, and I am excited to try out any other hybrid workout on offer from Ethos…but next time, let’s follow it up with happy hour because one active girl seriously deserves a cocktail after that workout. Let me know if you give it a go – I hope to see you at the ‘barre’ soon.
Ethos Spitafields officially opens in May, but they are running a limited class schedule for anyone wanting to test it out (highly recommended). You can stay up-to-date on the movement on their website, and be inspired daily on Instagram.