2017 sees us launch our brand new, technical, performance-ready sportswear range so we’ve embraced the world of wellbeing and fitness more wholeheartedly than we usually do in January. By this we mean adopting an approach championed by the Ancient Greeks, and by that we mean – everything in moderation. One or two at the pub on a Friday is as important as buying that block of Pilates classes. The 10k training matters, of course, but so does your bestie’s 25th. Essentially, slogging away at the six-pack just won’t cut protein-rich peanut butter anymore; you should demand more from less gym time and we found a space that can help you do just that.
Enter BLOK. East London’s revolutionary new workout space with a unique approach that co-founder (and established photographer) Max Oppenhiem puts down to ‘combining fitness and art’. Working out amongst the water lilies, you ask? No. Max explains that at BLOK they ‘see the experience as very personal’ and all of their trainers ‘are unique’ (peruse their credentials here – you’re welcome). By following this mantra you should enjoy getting fit while appreciating your surroundings – in BLOK’s case these would be a refurbished tram shed complete with a work out studio, a yoga studio, a café and an art gallery – now that we can get on board with.
We’d heard rumours that BLOK offers a vast range of classes, some of which are found nowhere else in the city (maybe even the world). One class that caught our eye was the rather interestingly named ‘Primal Movement’. To stop our imaginations from running away with us (no fitness-related pun intended), Max assures us that the class is ‘designed to improve strength, flexibility and balance by drawing on the basics of animal motion’, the class, he notes, ‘is probably the most unexpected and challenging on offer’. Another class exclusive to BLOK is called BLOKflow which Max describes as a ‘fusion of dynamic vinyasa yoga, HIIT and Primal Movement’ that he goes on to describe as being ‘invigorating’ – well quite!
His favourite class and popular with their customers too is BLOKfit – ‘a very well timed, challenging strength and conditioning class’ that ‘every trainer brings their own flavour to, and all are equally brutal!’ He explains how important it is ‘to cross train and challenge the body in new ways. It keeps the process of getting (and staying) fit interesting. If you do a lot of strength and cardio training, like BLOKfit or boxing, it pays to balance this with yoga, to release the body and keep it flexible, and also for the benefits of deep breathing. When we designed the 2 studios at BLOK the idea of cross training between classes offered in studio 1 (boxing/BLOKfit/BLOKcore etc.) and studio 2 (yoga/Pilates/barre) was very important to us.’
‘We can’t get to Clapton!’ you cry. So we asked Max for some general tips on where to begin when getting in shape and he suggested HIIT classes – ‘a good way of getting fit fast because they are short and effective. Combine those with BLOKfit classes [or equivalent], some boxing, and yoga and you will be on a good path. It’s best to think of the year as a whole, not to over-train, work on consistently building your fitness and keeping an eye on diet, and enjoy the journey rather than putting yourself under unrealistic pressure.’
If you were also wondering what Max’s New Year’s resolution was (because being a fit, gym-owning, photographer-extraordinaire isn’t enough #lifegoals for this man) his was to ‘read more and drink a bit less!’ So there you have it. That’s BLOK’s approach; now it’s over to you to make 2017 the year your body becomes the healthiest it can be.