White Room Fitness Belgravia
"My jeans are falling off!" I wailed as I held them up to waddle around the room. Secretly, of course, I'm beyond pleased. Let's get one thing straight. I've never been a sporty girl neither am I any sort of gym bunny. I would so much rather be flopped on the sofa with a packet of crisps watching an episode of New Girl than 'out for a quick jog'. Fully aware of my own reluctance and hesitation towards exerting myself, I jumped on the opportunity to be pushed by a personal trainer to get myself in gear. If I'm honest, I had countless worries before my first session. Would the trainer judge me for not being fit? Would he make me run until I pass out? What if I hated every minute of it?
Turns out, my trainer Alex Hannaford is so much more than a professional. He becomes your new best friend. After a firm handshake and a little tour of the space, he asked the dreaded question: 'So, do you do any exercise?' I truly believe in good vibes and first impressions, so when Alex was immediately warm, approachable and encouraging, I chose to respond with the honest truth: 'Actually, no. I'm here to challenge you…' The jovial laugh I got back told me I was in safe hands.
Named 'Best Gym for Privacy' by the Tatler Gym Awards, the concept of White Room Fitness is remarkable in itself. At any given time, there are a maximum of three people in the whole bi-level gym: you, the trainer and the cleaner, who meticulously maintains the spotlessness of the sweet-smelling space. Never will a client have to suffer the bustle and sweat of other exercisers, and they'll be able to retreat into their very own spacious luxury shower room before and after the session. I personally spend far too much time in this room dousing myself in Hermes and Valmont products, but that's what it's there for; to reward yourself post-workout with a long, hot shower whilst bopping to your favourite songs using the interior touch control CD and radio system.
From the moment I change into my gym get-up (a rather chic pink and black combo that I had never used) and get ready to start the session, Alex's enthusiasm is contagious. When he first exclaimed 'let's exercise shall we!' I'll admit I snuck a quick glance at the door to plot my immediate escape, but he then proceeded to enquire about what I enjoy doing and what I loathe. The great thing about White Room's exercise program is that is entirely tailored to the client's preferences and level of comfort; the process of overcoming challenges is so subtle that you barely even notice that you've pushed yourself. Alex doesn't make me run solely because I had said that I hate running. Apparently, there are other ways to tackle cardio. Interval training is pretty revolutionary for someone like me who can't think of anything worse than running on a treadmill for twenty minutes straight. Whether you are on the cross-trainer, hill walking on the treadmill, or on the (very professional) Wattbike, you smoothly alternate between short bursts of exertion and recovery periods, all the while chit-chatting with Alex and not actively realising how much work you're doing.
The great thing about White Room's exercise program is that is entirely tailored to the client's preferences and level of comfort..
The thought of weights used to be a rather frightening concept and, for me, possessed inherent associations with overtly muscly men. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised that there are a plethora of exercises incorporating weights that are really rewarding, for example the Nordic ski exercise, which has you swinging those weights in a fluid movement that has the whole body working. Throughout my determined effort to rise to every challenge he sets, Alex has me engrossed in conversation, which wavers from telling me about how his clients range from post-natal mummies getting their bodies in shape and the over-80s keeping themselves active, to the benefits of kale and bulletproof coffee. 'No more croissants!' he teasingly scolds as I confess my usual breakfast option.
What he doesn't know is that his light-hearted words actually stuck with me. When you feel that bittersweet soreness the day after a session, there is an accompanied feeling that repels you from anything that may counteract the hard work. I feel energetic all the time and have a spring in my step when I get off the train at Victoria and walk to White Room with my gym backpack coolly slung around my right shoulder. So, thank you Alex. And thank you White Room Fitness. I am so proud of the fact that I am now compelled to go shopping for a really great pair of size 8 jeans. After all, a beautiful London summer is so close now we can almost taste it.
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