Abs-olutely fabulous

News & Stories Assistant Editor Tom Hagues takes part in a high-intensity workout at White Room Fitness, Belgravia, that gives every muscle in his body a good seeing to.

“This is Tom, he’s going to be taking part today,” says Personal Trainer Jack Dilley to his devoted class on a wintry Wednesday evening. We’re in St Peter’s School hall on Ebury Street in Belgravia for a Fitness in The Community group training session run by White Room Fitness, and begin by warming up with some star-jumps and stretching – nothing out of the ordinary.

But what happens next is a lot more vigorous. Jack talks the class through the various stations and what is required at each one; there are three parts in total and two of them focus on high-intensity exercises that work each and every muscle in the body, with the third being a rapid, sweat-inducing bout of boxing exercises.

This is the great thing about White Room Fitness. Each of their trainers makes sure they work closely with you to provide a totally tailored training session. They understand that everyone is different, and know exactly how to offer coaching to improve every aspect of your individual body shape and overall fitness.

Their luxury private gym on Ebury Street is the perfect place to receive one-to-one fitness guidance – all in a quiet, immaculate environment, with all the state-of-the-art equipment you could ask for. But, for those who want a more inclusive experience, they run a series of weekly group exercise sessions in Mayfair and Belgravia, as part of a community project in conjunction with Grosvenor. These fun, sociable fitness classes offer genuine health benefits for every level of ability – all at just £5 a pop.

The fastest and the fittest

Jack explains that each set will be done for nine minutes and, after sorting people into pairs, he gives the order to begin. Both of the two high-intensity stations instruct the participants to begin on reps of five on a certain exercise, before moving on to do six of the next, then seven, eight and nine, before beginning again as many times as possible in the nine-minute window. Being in pairs, it’s generally easier to take it in turns, but as long as a whole set is completed, Jack doesn’t mind too much.

However, despite him being very busy trying to entice one of the other attendees’ inner Rocky Balboa, Jack still finds time to watch to ensure everyone else is doing things properly, and a few times I’m reminded to spread my legs more or go down lower on the press-ups. It’s a much-needed reminder and helps me to make the most out of the exercises.

After 18 minutes of push-ups, jump squats, leg raises, inchworms, rollouts and other very effective core workouts, it’s time for my partner and me to face Jack with our boxing gloves on. Hitting rapidly in streams of 10, or punching twice and ducking down to avoid Jack’s pad swinging over your head, it is intense but fun work.

A personal approach

Eventually, as my punches get more faint with each blow, the class draws to a close and everyone gratefully stretches their aches and pains away. Discussing the concentrated repertoire of exercises we’ve just done, Jack tells me: “It works your whole body – from explosive lower body exercises to slower upper body movements, your heart rate changes and you hit all the different categories for a good workout.”

Jack continues and sings the praises of working with a partner, explaining: “If a stronger individual works with someone slightly weaker, they’ll push that person to work harder. Plus it brings people together in a social way.”

With the class over, my limbs stretched and recovering, I stagger along Ebury Street feeling like I’ve had an exceptionally thorough workout.

Jack’s fitness in the community classes cost just £5 each, and start at the convenient time of 6pm. For more information and online booking, visit www.fitnessinthecommunity.com