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The best gyms in London

Discover the best fitness centres across the whole of the capital

From state-of-the-art gyms with heavenly swimming pools to local, dynamic dance studios, we round up the best places to get fit in the capital. So no more excuses, London: it's time to get in shape.

Best gyms in central London

Central YMCA

A perennial favourite with those working in the West End due to low membership rates, a fully equipped Pilates studio, large cardio theatre and up-to-date resistance training equipment. It isn't glamorous but that's not the point here; Central YMCA provides every possible type of workout and activity from boxing to bellydancing, taught to a very high standard (YMCA Fitness Industry Training is an industry leader and many of its graduates instruct here). A good 25-metre pool is divided for lane swimming; there's also a chapel, therapies and a decent café to boot.

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Holborn

Gymbox

This centrally located gym offers some of London's wittiest workouts from its 'Tour de Holborn' spinning class to the 80s-flavoured 'Voga' class. Located underneath High Holborn, this compact space combines the atmosphere of a nightclub with state-of-the-art facilities. A full-size boxing ring dominates the main space, along with a large movie screen. There's also an impressive free weights area, spinning studio and two exercise studios. While the boxing theme might suggest a macho environment, more than 50 per cent of members are women. A newer branch in Covent Garden (at 42-49 St Martins Lane, WC2) boasts a vast studio and Olympic-sized boxing ring. Further branches in Bank, Farringdon and Westfield London.

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Midtown

Speedflex

It’s easy to see why City types love Speedflex. The gym is plush and expensive-feeling (think marble fittings in changing rooms), and its workouts brutal and efficient. Less than ten minutes in, you can expect a face redder than a baboon’s bottom. The workout room is dominated by seven intimidating machines which calculate resistance based on your own force. The point is high intensity training without next-day soreness. Speedflex is about leanness rather than muscle building, so you won’t end up with Madonna’s arms.

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City

Jubilee Hall Sports Centre

Affordable membership and an unpretentious community atmosphere means this London stalwart attracts a healthy mix of people from well-honed blokes bulking up to more average-shaped folk who just want to keep fit. There's no pool but there is a huge open gym and exercise studios which more than make up for the absence of dipping facilities. A variety of classes are offered, including hatha yoga, burlesque and flamenco. The cardio and weights machines are hi-tech, and the café has wi-fi access.

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Covent Garden

Aegis Training Ltd

Founder Greg Smith and partner Zack Cahill have put together a high-calibre team of specialist trainers and therapists. Their 3,000 sq ft gym near Liverpool Street station offers ample workout space, plus rooms for a range of treatments. There's no joining fee; you simply pay for as many sessions as you want. Aegis also provides one-one-one, semi-private and bootcamp training.

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Spitalfields

The Third Space

Spread across four levels and connected by open steel staircases, the club's facilities include a skylit climbing wall, boxing ring and even a table tennis table set on a glass floor above the pool. The gym is kitted out with the latest cardio and free weights equipment, and those about to compete at high altitude can prepare by working out in a hypoxic chamber with reduced levels of oxygen to simulate conditions at 8,500 feet. There is also a Pilates and Gyrotonic studio and 130 free classes every week as well as a gym kit laundry service, wi-fi access, integrated medical centre offering complementary therapies and a live DJ. The Third Space has a second gym in Marylebone, which opened in 2011 and offers reciprocal access for members.

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Soho

The Place

A beautiful glass-fronted building, The Place lifts an otherwise barren spot just off Euston Road. Inside you’ll find a clean modern space catering for both dance students (as young as five) and visitors to the excellent Robin Howard Dance Theatre. The large studio has 300 seats raked to a stage 15m by 12m and affording a truly electrifying visual experience. It’s the perfect host to the annual ‘Resolution!’ season that acts as a platform for fresh contemporary choreography. Founded in 1990, ‘Resolution!’ is a must for those looking for genuinely emerging dance talent, though any night at The Place is a safe bet, as the venue prides itself on being a leader in modern and inventive physical performance. There are also classes and courses for adults and children of all standards in ballet and contemporary techniques.

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Euston

Danceworks

Since 1982, Danceworks has offered Europe's largest selection of classes in six well-appointed studios. You can choose from more than 160 dance, fitness, martial arts and yoga workouts each week. New trends include belly dance, poledancing and singing classes.

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Mayfair

Pineapple Dance Studios

Debbie Moore named her studio after the pineapple warehouse in which her studio was founded in 1979. It still retains its ‘Fame’-era charm and there are more than 30 dance classes each day.

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Leicester Square

Barry's Bootcamp

If Baywatch were a gym, this LA import would be it. Barry's Bootcamp became famous a few years ago for helping to cultivate the infamous size zero physiques of Hollywood starlets. Take a class at the Euston branch, and you can see how the weight fell off. Or, rather, how the weight was sweated, dumbell-lifted and sprinted into oblivion. A class at Barry's sweat dungeon - a basement gym with just one room, fitted out with a long run of state-of-the-art treadmills and lit like the Ministry of Sound - is said to expend 1000 calories.

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Euston

Best gyms in north London

Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre

From the dazzling 25-metre main pool and 20-metre teaching pool on one side, to the impressive climbing wall on the other, this is a gem in both sporting and architectural terms. It reopened in 2006 as part of the wider Swiss Cottage regeneration project and really does offer something for everyone. The massive sports hall caters for most court and racket sports, and there's a wide range of group exercise classes in two bright, light studios. The gym is stuffed with state-of-the-art gear, including Power Plate machines, and its lower level can be programmed for specific group needs such as women-only, 50-plus and GP referrals. There’s also a Rascals adventure zone to keep the under-12s active.

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Swiss Cottage

Triyoga

Triyoga is the biggest yoga studio in London with more than 50 teachers and 250 yoga and Pilates classes a week covering every form, with beginners particularly well catered for. Its flagship Primrose Hill studio is beautiful: an ex-factory refitted with stained glass windows, a spacious reception with excellent café and chill-out area and four therapy rooms. There are branches in Neal's Yard and Soho plus a centre that opened in Chelsea in 2011.

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Chalk Farm

The Factory Gym and Dance

There’s a range of dance classes available at this small but lovingly formed centre, from ballet and street dance to aerial hoop and pole dancing (with classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced). The gym boasts Kinesis stations and Cardio Wave equipment, while The Factory also offers fitness classes like Insanity and aerobics and a full personal training programme.

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North East London

The Laboratory

Sitting in the shadow of Alexandra Palace, this former British Rail laboratory has been transformed into a beautiful and sophisticated gym. There is an underground swimming pool as well as an exercise room with the most up-to-date strength and cardio equipment which faces out on to pretty tree-lined views. There is also a well-spaced weights room and functional zone, beauty and holistic treatment rooms and a poolside day spa and relaxation area with dedicated manicure and pedicure spaces. There's also a wide range of yoga classes on offer.

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London

Yoga Junction

Set up in 2004 and approved by the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY), teachers guided by the BWY and other professional qualifications are trained here, which means it's suited for experts as well as beginners. The range of around 50 classes includes Astanga, Iyengar, Hatha and pregnancy.

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Stroud Green

Fierce Grace North

Michele Pernetta was the first teacher to bring Bikram 'hot' yoga to the UK, having trained under the technique's founder, Bikram Choudhury, at his LA school. She now has six schools across London specialising in 'Fierce Grace', a fusion of Bikram, Hatha and Astanga yoga, the most recent of which opened in Brixton in December 2014.

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Central London

Shaolin Temple UK

It's not every day you get the chance to train with a genuine Shaolin, but Shi Yanzi is a thirty-fourth generation fighting monk sent by the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple in China's Henan province to spread the word in the UK. Archway is where he pitched up, running a busy programme of kung fu, tai chi and sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) classes for all ages and standards – plus, for those wanting to learn more about the culture, occasional workshops in Mandarin, calligraphy and Buddhism. The Temple also has an offshoot in Lewisham.

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Tufnell Park

Special Yoga

Alongside classes for adults, this centre operates as a charity providing yoga therapy for children with special needs. This can have a hugely positive effect on respiratory patterning, physiology and muscle tension among other things. The centre offers a wide range of classes including Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Yin, therapeutic, gentle and pregnancy yoga plus the widest range of classes for children in London.

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Kensal Rise

NY Pilates Studio

Daphne Pena-Higgs’ studio follows the teachings of Joseph Pilates as espoused by Romana Kryzanowska’s New York studio. The studio offers the full repertoire of Gratz equipment built to the specifications of the man himself.

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Queen's Park

Yogahome

Small enough to be friendly and approachable but with a good sense of space, Yogahome has a wide range of yoga styles to choose from, with nearly 20 teachers covering ashtanga, Iyengar, hatha fusion, vinyasa flow and pregnancy yoga.

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Newington Green
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Best gyms in east London

Reebok Sports Club

Spanning three floors, this modern sports club takes gym membership to a chic new level complete with a bar and deli and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Canada Square. For now, there's plenty to keep you busy from golf to boxing and indoor football as well as a range of classes. Swimmers are well catered-for with a stunning 23-metre pool and those who like to unwind after a workout can relax in the sauna and steam rooms. In all, about as stylish and serene as a gym gets.

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Docklands

Frame

Critics' choice

When former advertising execs Pip Black and Joan Murphy launched Frame in a Shoreditch converted railway arch in 2009, they did things a little differently. They ditched everything that was irritating about the conventional gym experience and reinvented the whole business of working out. So Frame has no membership fees – instead you get a Frame card, like an oyster that you top-up with credit when you're ready to rock the treadmill. 

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Brick Lane

Fit4Less Bethnal Green

Part of the énergie chain, Fit4less Bethnal Green cuts out frills in order to offer a high-quality gym at very affordable prices. Precor cardio machines, resistance machines and a free weights area are all part of the deal, plus regular classes ranging from 'Abs Express' to the terrifying-sounding 'Cardio Blast'.

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Bethnal Green

Boxing London

The bags may be well punched and the weights worn here, but the tuition with former super-middleweight contender Enzo Giordano is excellent and the atmosphere good-humoured and empowering. The classes – two each weekday and a couple at the weekend - attract both sexes and all standards.

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Tower Hamlets

BOOM Cycle

Fast-paced and fun spinning classes at BOOM Cycle's flagship Shoreditch studio combine the cycling craze with the kind of quality electronic music you'd expect to find in London clubs. The group cycling classes are sweaty, high energy affairs ideal for exercise junkies and fans of keep fit.  

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Old Street

Redbridge Sports & Leisure Centre

Developed over nine phases since 1972 by a charitable trust, this extensive centre caters for fitness fans and sports players of all ages and ambitions – right up to international standard. The gym (with Technogym equipment) is light and spacious, the dance studio operates a wide-ranging timetable, there's an outdoor sports arena and the tennis centre is among the best in the country. A new building opened in 2011 added an extra 12 badminton courts, plus indoor netball.

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London

Wu's Tai Chi Academy

The London Academy of Wu's Tai Chi Chuan is one of 13 worldwide with direct connections to the Wu family. It's run by Gary Wragg, a founder member and former chairman of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain, whose aim is to provide the most authentic tai chi classes anywhere. A five-session beginners' course (£65) offers an introduction to the basic techniques; there are ten classes per week to choose from. You can also learn self-defence applications, meditation or chi kung.

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Bethnal Green

Integra Training

As the name suggests, an integrated approach to fitness and injury rehab is the aim of Michael Goulden and his team, who combine muscle activation techniques, resistance training and nutrition when working with clients in their small, bright studio.

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Brick Lane

Master Ding Academy

John Ding is a genuine master who can trace his lineage back six generations to Yang Lu Chan, founder of the Yang style. Classes for all standards run five days a week at this attractive centre. Instructors also teach in South Woodford.

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Limehouse

Best gyms in south London

Studio 74

On the ground floor of a characterful eighteenth-century building, this calm, friendly centre offers tuition on Pilates machines and a Gyrotonic pulley tower.

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Southwark

Southbank Club

An old cinema has been converted into a three-tier temple to fitness which houses a raft of excellent facilities. On the ground floor there is a bleep-test running track for interval training – with built-in synchronised light show, and a small free-weights and resistance machine area overlooked by three enormous TV screens. Then, as you progress upwards, you’ll find Life Fitness cardiovascular equipment and state-of-the-art Summit Trainers overlooked by a recently refurbished weights room. There are also seven smart squash courts, three good-size exercise studios, with classes ranging from spinning to self defence to 'Self Love' hot yoga, as well as relaxing saunas and steam rooms.

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South London

Shala Yoga Centre

Formerly in Clapham and now in a refurbished Victorian warehouse in West Norwood, The Shala has been running for over 17 years and has a long-standing reputation for its excellent teaching and welcoming vibe. The yoga studio offers daily ashtanga yoga classes (traditional Mysore style, beginners and intermediate) as well as workshops and yoga for pregnancy. Classes are small with an emphasis on spiritual as well as physical wellbeing.

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South East London

Thirty Seven Degrees

Although almost entirely underground, this fitness club on the banks of the Thames has such great facilities that you can easily forgive the lack of riverside views. Five studios offer classes ranging from yoga to circuit training, a boxing ring and a state-of-the-art gym with TRX suspension training equipment. There's also a spa offering treatments, a steam room, sauna and solarium. In addition, the club caters to the corporate market with classes and treatments aimed at the time-poor (do a 22-minute exercise class at lunch) and lucrative company rates. There's another branch in Kensington's Olympia.

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Tower Bridge

The Gym Stockwell

If you're looking for luxurious extras, this isn't your place – The Gym has no pool, spa or holistic juice bar. What it does offer, however, is 24-hour access to excellent fitness equipment at rock-bottom prices (one-day membership is £5; monthly membership comes in at just under £20, no contract required). The modern basement space is accessed via a personal pincode and a futuristic space pod entry system, and it can get busy at times (the weights section is regularly taken over by men apparently competing for strongest man of the year). That said, there are perks aplenty – including a range of free classes, from circuit training to boot camp. The Gym has several other branches across London, some of which have monthly memberships starting at a mere £12.99.

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South East London

Queen Mother Sports Centre

The 25-metre main pool (that runs Tom Daley Diving Academy classes) plus separate leisure and teaching pools are undeniable attractions at this large centre. The sports hall caters for basketball, volleyball, badminton and five-a-side football, the fitness timetable features more than 50 classes each week in two studios, and the gym has a huge cardiovascular (CV) room. The QM is also home to Cobra Gym (07836 236108/www.cobra-gym.co.uk), run for more than 20 years by two-times world kickboxing champion Tim Izli.

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Victoria

Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre

Bright, cheerful and located next to the central square and library, this Fusion-run centre combines a holistic approach to well-being with pioneering community work. The 100-station gym is airy and well maintained, while the busy class timetable ranges from Box Fit to kundalini yoga.

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Peckham

Best gyms in west London

Iyengar Yoga Institute

A light and airy design characterises the two studios at this leafy Maida Vale venue. Around 50 classes take place weekly with a maximum of 35 people in each class. All teachers are certified by the BKS Iyengar Yoga Teachers’ Association.

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Kilburn

Alan Herdman Pilates

A former dancer and teacher with the London School of Contemporary Dance, Herdman set up Britain’s first Pilates studio in 1970 and continues to be one of the key figures in the development of the discipline.

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Marble Arch

Body Conditioning Studio

Ex-Rambert dancer Dreas Reyneke has long been one of London's most highly regarded Pilates teachers and he is joined at this luminous studio by an extra instructor, Jane Burn – an ex-ballet dancer.

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Westbourne Grove

Westway Sports & Fitness Centre

The main attraction here is Britain's largest climbing centre, which extends up inside the White City roundabout. However, Westway is also home to eight indoor tennis courts plus London's only public clay courts, while the eight artificial football pitches are heavily used. If you fancy something different try Eton Fives, an arcane game played on a three-walled court (there are four here, again the only ones in London), in which you strike a small ball with gloved hands. The courts have various hazards and the unpredictable bounce demands quick reactions. Members get access to both sport and fitness facilities, with over 50 classes and activities available.

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Outer London

The Life Centre

This is one of London's original yoga centres, having occupied a former church on a quiet street near Notting Hill Gate for more than 20 years. Elizabeth Stanley and Christine Letter have ensured that this smart, welcoming centre remains at the top of its game with over 60 classes a week including mother-and-baby yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and yoga for teens. A second branch opened in Islington in 2011.

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Kensington

Westway Sports & Fitness Club

The Westway Trust owns this friendly, bustling place, which has retained a strong community-focused feel in the face of the bland corporate image of the chains. Capoeira and zumba are popular, as are the likes of 'Strictly Dance' and crosstraining. Members get access to both sport and fitness facilities, with over 50 classes and activities to choose from.

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Ladbroke Grove

Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti is ashtanga-based yoga which incorporates spiritual elements such as chanting. The centre has a smart feel with a hippy edge – represented by altars in each of the two studios complete with photos of Indian gurus.

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Outer London

Physique Warehouse Gym

This award-winning strength training gym numbers world-class bodybuilders amongst its clientele, who come for the hi-tech Hammer strength equipment and energetic vibe. But despite its prowess, Physique Warehouse is a friendly place to train, that welcomes people of all abilities. The gym offers regular abs, spinning and core classes, plus a bodybuilding club. Congenial owner Don McDuff and his team also sell supplements and technical workout clothing from the gym's shop, and you can also book physio, personal training and sports nutrition services.

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London

Seymour Leisure Centre

The main hall at Seymour used to house one of the most attractive swimming pools in London which measured, bizarrely, 44 yards. Now a floor seems destined to cover it permanently, giving over the space to racquet sports and five-a-side football. Swimmers are still catered for in a bright but narrow 30-metre pool that's also used for sub-aqua. There's a large gym here, an extensive programme of classes, a physio practice and a beauty salon in the basement. Good value considering its location.

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Baker Street

Comments

12 comments
James M
James M

Just starting training at www.embodyfitness.com in the city if london. After 20 years of using gyms i think i have found some where that actually does what it promises. The results they deliver are the best i have ever seen in london and the personal trainers are cutting edge versus what i have paid for in the past. You need to commit on your side which i am doing and i am 4 weeks in but i already feel so much better and the results are really starting to show. I cant recommend it highly enough to anyone who really wants to make a proper change.

Ross D
Ross D

I'm currently studing abroad and I have my classes and internship at Piccadily and Holborn. What would be the best option for me? Also trying to save money kinda

M de Cr
M de Cr

I love to be a regular member of Reebok Sports Club, It is an amazing gym in the East London (Middle of Canary Wharf). I needed a place to have great salon treatment. I have tried a Sun undone infusion facial at the Reebok Sports Club. It is a huge gym with swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa including all ranges of treatments from laser and pedicures to massages and facials. During my facial (of 50 minutes) my face is infused with Vitamin C and steaming, extraction, cleansing, masks and a gentle massage. I just feel so relaxed & super cool.


Afterwards, my skin looked SO AMAZING, glowing & clear! I was so impressed by their facial treatments. Simple advice gets a swim in their pool - about 20 meters long before your treatment! I had clicked amazing pictures of Reebok Sports Club - Spa!

Peter T
Peter T

The muscle Works Gym on Bethnal Green London is my favourite gym in London, it's a muscle factory dedicated to building every muscle in your body loosing weight and keeping you fit, the head of personal training is fitness guru Nash Jocic of NashFit training, Nash keep an eye on your work outs and also offers great advice to new students.http://muscleworksgym.com  and NashFit Training can be found here :  http://nashfittraining.com  

Sam Oxby
Sam Oxby

Rather than just a gym, I recommend working with a professional but affordable personal trainer through CoreFit London (http://corefitlondon.co.uk/). By doing that you don't have to work up the motivation to go - they'll come to you, so you have to be ready. And you don't have to buy into an annual membership, you can buy a set of sessions and be done in a month, three months or continue it for as long, or as little, as you like! Highly recommended!

Glenn Ljunggren
Glenn Ljunggren

We are looking for distributors throughout Europe We are a Swedish company that has European rights to a world-class product. We are looking for dealers throughout europe. The product has been developed since 1954 and is now comparable with human hands. Fuji Cyber Relax massage chairs from Japan is medically certifed and together with Fuji Cyber Relax Europe and Friskonomens concept, we have created a market for both sites, teurapeuter, individuals, hotels, gyms and other sports facilities. Because of the high standard product also fits in well with the elite among both sports men and sports women. Being in a concept called senses relax room also emphasize the possibility of helping people to recovery is also unique because stress is a major problem in Europe today. As a reseller, you will have access to training and technical support. You get access to your own website where you can customize your concept as reseller. CONTACT Friskonomen - AB Utängarna 25 417 48 Göteborg Tel. 070-3667418 Call us directly Glenn Öfverström + 46 (0) 31-352 93 80 +46 (0)703-667418 Email: info@friskonomen.se http://www.friskonomen.se/resellers.html http://massagestol.wordpress.com/ http://www.fujiiryoki.com/eng/

Randy
Randy

If you are looking for a super cool, state of the art gym, check out 200 Aldersgate by Virgin Active Classic. This has to be the best gym in London! Here is a review.www.rolllikeboss.com/2013/04/londons-best-gyms-work-out-like-boss.html

jig s
jig s

@Randy Totally agree- I was a member of Virgin Active Classic and found this to be one of the best clubs I'd visited, always clean and front of house and gym floor staff were excellent and always welcoming. Ladies changing room was also immaculate but OMG the ladies cleaning staff member was a right cow! Was always starting a row with someone (who would rarely fight back) and would moan and lay blame on anything left around to the nearest person to the "damage".

One woman left a towel behind and I got such a load of verbal I nearly didn't return. It would appear as though someone had a word with her at one point because there was one week where she would say something out of order then as soon as another member of staff came in would make a beeline for them and confess her actions. But it all went back to normal a few weeks after and again I was watching anything from someone being shouted at to muttering under her breath at another member. Best advice is to stick your headphones in and try to carry on regardless.


Gym floor is very clean and constantly being cleaned. Free Costa coffee and Twinnings tea, free multi-channel TV on the screens (I think about 15 or 20?) and machines. Free use of Mac computers, free charging point lockers, classrooms were a little on the chilly side but nothing a jumper wouldn't solve.


Only issue was with the toilets which would constantly flush whilst being erm, used. It would be really disconcerting to be halfway through ...something, for the toilet to suddenly flush. It was also just as disconcerting to go to leave and find the toilet had not flushed! If they could fix this and change the ladies changing room staff (or train her in customer relations) I'd give it the full 5 stars. Still the best of all the gyms I've tried for facilities though.

VANITY PLAS
VANITY PLAS

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VANITY PLAS
VANITY PLAS

Hi, we are a beauty company and seek a place to work as a hairdresser and makeup artist in, let's also nails. We are glad to know what you think and if it is possible to collaborate with you.www.vanityplas.com Kind regards Sara & Andrea VANITY PLAS