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London’s best alternative fitness classes

From wrestling and circus skills to litter-picking and disco yoga, shake up your exercise regime at one of London’s best alternative fitness classes

By Isabelle Aron, Kate Lloyd and Ellie Walker-Arnott
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Pounding the treadmill in the gym isn't for everyone and it’s definitely not the only way to keep active. In fact, raising your heartrate and getting a sweat on doesn't have to be boring or repetitive, especially when there are so many unique ways of working out in London. Whether you fancy wrestling, hula-hooping, trampolining, kayaking, pole-dancing or disco-yoga, we’ve rounded up some of the best alternative fitness in London.

RECOMMENDED: Your guide to the best ways to get fit in London

Alternative fitness in London

London's alternative fitness classes, british military fitness
London's alternative fitness classes, british military fitness

11. Work out with Bear Grylls

Atteeennn-tion! You’ll need your wits about you at the Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls high-intensity bootcamp sessions. The classes are a ‘civilian-friendly’ version of the regimes used by the British Army, Navy and RAF, which involve bodyweight exercises including press-ups, squats and star jumps, interspersed with running and competitive games. Be prepared to sweat. A lot.

Various locations. Membership from £40 per month.

London's alternative fitness classes, float fit
London's alternative fitness classes, float fit

12. Wobble on water

Can’t decide between going for a swim or hitting the gym? Combine the two at FloatFit, where you’ll perform high intensity interval training moves on an inflatable bed, floating in water. The beds are anchored, but they’re designed to wobble a bit to make the workout more challenging. The 30-minute workout involves burpees, lunges and squats, all while trying your damn hardest not to fall into the water. But you almost definitely will, so don’t forget to bring a change of clothes.

Various locations. Times and prices vary.

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London's alternative fitness classes, hulafit
London's alternative fitness classes, hulafit

13. Grab a hula-hoop

Thought hula-hooping was just for kids? Think again. Have hip-swinging, butt-shaking, waist-twisting fun at a weighted hula-hooping fitness class. HulaFit runs sessions in Kennington and King's Cross, with HulaFit-trained instructors hosting classes throughout the city. Soundtracked with bangers from Britney and Beyoncé, they’re suitable for beginners, but will soon have newbies doing hoop tricks like pros – while toning up abs, legs and arms.

Multiple locations. £10.

London's alternative fitness classes, seen on screen
London's alternative fitness classes, seen on screen

14. Let out your inner diva

Whether you’re a self-confessed diva or you’ve got two left feet, Seen on Screen will get you dancing like your favourite pop artists. It runs tons of classes every month, including hip hop, ballet barre and the excellently named ‘sass sessions’. Plus, there’s a changing rota of weekend classes, themed on the latest releases from the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna.

Various locations. From £20.

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London's alternative fitness classes, voga
London's alternative fitness classes, voga

15. Do yoga with sass

Bored of sun salutations and doing the downward dog? You need to try Voga, which brings together the unlikely combination of yoga and vogueing. House of Voga’s classes are billed as ‘yoga with sass’, but it’s not all style and no substance. You’ll be put through your paces with routines that involve vogueing while performing various yoga stretches, all to the sound of an ’80s beat.

Various locations, From £5-12

Balates Gym Box
Balates Gym Box

16. Get ready to pirouette

Ballet isn’t all about being poised in leggings. It takes core strength and flexibility – things that Blok helps you build in its 60-minute Ballet Fit class. Suitable for beginners with no dance experience, the workout incorporates classical ballet techniques to provide toning, core training and flexibility without bulking up muscle mass. It's almost tutu good to be true.

Various locations. £17.

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Aquatics Centre
Aquatics Centre

17. Swim like an Olympian

Swim in the pool of champions and perhaps become one yourself. You can go for a splash at the Olympic Park’s London Aquatics Centre, in a pool where records were broken and gold medals were won. If you’re less than confident in the water, sign up for adult swimming or diving lessons and you’ll be making like Tom Daley in no time.

Olympic Park, E20 2ZQ. Swim from £5.10. Swim only membership £32.50.

London's alternative fitness classes, frame
London's alternative fitness classes, frame

18. Channel Jane Fonda

Take it back to the ’80s with Frame's Jane Fonda-inspired aerobics class, which promises a total body workout that will tone up your arms, work your abs and get you working up a sweat. Learn the routines from 'Grease' and Madonna's 'Vogue' for fitness and fun. Leotards and legwarmers are optional, but encouraged.

Various locations and times. From £15.

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19. Master parkour

Ready to tap into your destiny as a parkour specialist? Learn acrobatics, jumping, balancing, and climbing at the Parkour Generations Academy. With promises of helping to make you stronger, faster, and more agile, you'll be scaling buildings in no time. 

The Chainstore Gym, E14. Times vary. From £20.

20. Find your inner drag queen

Things to do Classes and workshops Multiple venues

If you're looking for aerobics with a RuPaul twist then Drag Diva Fit is the way to go. Attendees will be led on their fitness journey by drag queens Bella U Voyáge, Mary Poppers, and Mayowa Monaé. With exercises moves such as ‘Spicy Slut Squats’, ‘Giving Face Lunges’, and ‘Bitch out of My Way Fast Feet’ you would be hard-pressed to find a more fabulous way to work up a sweat.

Various locations, £12.

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