Happy New Year porky pies! Did you all have an indulgent Christmas? Every year, despite our best intentions, we always manage to overdo it during the festive season. There are the parties, the mince pies, and plenty of bubbly... not to mention days worth of gluttonous dinners, cheese, wine and pudding. So it's pretty unsurprising that fitness and weight loss seem to top the New Year's resolution list each year. Along with quitting smoking, becoming less profligate with money and generally being a nicer person... but I'm afraid we can't help you with that!
So here is our local guide for getting yourself lean, fit and healthy in 2012. Whether you love to break a sweat, or gradually tease yourself into shape, the borough will have something for you.
Judging by the crowds itching to get into local nightspots, I'd hazard a guess that us Fulhamites are fairly fond of a boogie. Zumba is a really fun way to dance yourself lean and healthy, and classes with the amazingly enthusiastic Rebecca Rogoff of ZumbaFunk London are more fun than most. The classes are held at the studio at Eddie Catz, Putney in a small, friendly group, and I promise you'll leave with a grin on your face. Even if you can't get certain Shakira songs out of your head for days afterwards. Full review here.
ZumbaFunk @ Eddie Catz. Monday's 7pm
68-70 Putney High Street
London SW15 1SF
We've blogged about the gorgeous studios at Cupcake Mum before, but with the addition of Club C and the amazing personal training services of The Body Professionals, they've really upped their offering for young professionals (sans kiddies) too. Sarah and I were raving about our session with Gen of The Body Professionals for ages afterwards. She really took the time to get to know us, our goals, and -unfortunately- our wobbly bits, before creating a bespoke workout that is easily recreated wherever you happen to be working out. She's incredibly upbeat and her enthusiasm is infectious - she's even got me regularly using the rowing machine, previously my absolute nemesis. Full review here.
The Body Professionals @ Cupcake Mum
11 Heathmans Road
Parsons Green, London SW6 4TJ
You may associate boxing with burley men and black eyes, but I promise one session at the Sands End Ladies ABC will change that. Set up by two local ladies, and part of the Mayor of London's FREESPORT programme, classes are totally free and take place at the sports hall at Hurlingham and Chelsea School. The sessions are non-contact (the emphasis is on self-defence, awareness, fitness and being quick on your feet), the group incredibly friendly, and the coaches hugely encouraging. And my goodness - it is quite a workout. After learning the various types of jabs and blocks, you'll be put through your paces on a floor routine of crunches, squats and stretches that will make the muscles burn, but in a good way! Full review here.
Sands End Ladies ABC. 2-3:30pm Saturdays.
Hurlingham and Chelsea School
Peterborough Road, London SW6 3ED
*Please see Sands End Ladies ABC website for more session details, as some classes may take place at a different venue whilst refurbishment works take place at H&C School.
There are about one million variants of yoga, by my best estimates anyway, but for a strand that stretches both body and mind you should definitely check out Power Yoga. Luckily for us, Parsons Green plays host to London's first power yoga studio. Set in a beautiful old glass works on Lettice St - all exposed floorboards and brickwork, large victorian windows, candles and incense - this practice is fast moving and dynamic, and you'll definitely break a sweat. With emphasis on strength, balance, endurance and flexibility, Power Yoga is a great fusion between a traditional cardio workout and the more holistic benefits of yoga practice. Full review here.
The Power Yoga Company
The Glasshouse, 11-12 Lettice Street
London SW6 4EH
Safari Kickboxing will give you a hard-hitting work out that is both social, effective and educational. Men's and women's classes are held separately, so you can let you guard down and forget about how you look, and a whole range of levels are made really welcome. Not only will you punch your way to Mobama's triceps, and kick your thighs down a size, you'll learn some pretty useful lessons in self-defence and have a lot of fun.
Full review here.
347 North End Road
For those of you who prefer a bit of personal attention, and to work out in the lap of luxury, Karl of Williams ¦ De Vera may just be your man. Karl offers a bespoke personal training service that promises incredibly time-efficient results, as he places emphasis on correct technique and metabolic training methods to help you get the same results from half an hour as you would have done 60 minutes. His holistic approach means you'll go away armed with nutritional advice, and a between-class exercise regime to keep you on the straight and narrow. Since our last review Karl has expanded his business and set up his own gym in Brook Green, so keep an eye out as the service continues to get bigger and better. You can contact Karl via Twitter on @karlWDV
Full review here. Please note, Karl no longer trains at 37degrees and M.A.D.E PT is now registered as Williams ¦ De Vera.
Just because it's technically yoga, don't be fooled into thinking that Bikram is an easy way to get in shape. Much endorsed by celebrities and professional sportsmen alike, this 90 minute practice essentially takes place in a sauna, and you are guaranteed to sweat by the bucket load! The heated room really allows you to go deeper into the postures, meaning your flexibility is rapidly enhanced, whilst you strengthen, tone and detoxify and leave the room feeling awesome. Full review here.
Hot Bikram Yoga (Parsons Green studio)
25 Heathmans Road
London SW6 4TJ
If you're looking for a workout guaranteed to make the muscles burn, and an encouraging but uncompromising task master, Nick Finney will be the man to take you from squishy to svelte. With some celebrity clients and a hole host of flexible workout options, from individual to group sessions in SW6, weight lifting training and boot camp classes in Hyde Park, Nick's routines are simple and effective, so you'll definitely be able to train between sessions as well: willpower permitting. Full review and Nick's top tips here.
For the discerning yogi, a class at Manuka, with its elegant little studio and tiny class sizes, may be just the thing. Situated just underneath their Parsons Green store, where you can pick up some pretty stylish and comfortable workout gear, there is a full timetable of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. Our class comprised of just three people, meaning you get plenty of personal attention, and the studio is low lit and luxurious - you even get free green tea at the end! Full review here.
275 New Kings Road
London SW6 4RD
If pilates can be said to be responsible for P.Middy's bottom, it's definitely worth giving a go. And you might as well do it in surroundings fit for a princess (almost). Bootcamp Pilates boasts a small but incredibly sleek studio with top of the range Reformer machines and small class sizes. Based around strengthening and toning without putting too much pressure on the joints, the practice is perfect if you are going for the long and lean look. Classes at Bootcamp seem positively luxurious but you really feel the burn in your thighs and stomach afterwards, and judging by the svelte bodies surrounding me, it's a form of exercise that really gets results. Full review here.
Marvic House, 30 Bishops Road
London SW6 7AD
So there you have it - now there really is no excuse not to keep it healthy, and keep it local, in 2012. Let us know where you end up!