Nordic Balance
It started with an Instagram*.

A little over one month ago I agreed to join a beloved friend at next April’s Tough Mudder when we ventured out on a muddy run in the woods. Because 12-mile obstacle courses are a sensible challenge to accept for someone who primarily dances and shops for exercise.

A week after ‘training’ started (read: running myself exhausted and berating myself for doing lady pushups), I bit the bullet and signed up for the Summer Body Blast at Nordic Balance.

Located in the luxurious side-streets of Piccadilly Circus, Nordic Balance was not only an unavoidable stop for my Soho-based meeting days but a beautiful one. The building used to be home to the Earl of Kent but now hosts fully equipped weights and cardio rooms, a swimming pool with jet-stream technology, a jacuzzi, sauna, treatment room, stretching area, and the oldest squash court in London.

For Summer Body Blast, my initial 360 degree assessment used medical grade testing equipment to measure key metrics like hydration, water retention, muscle mass, fat mass, metabolism, and stress levels to assist in personalised goal-setting.

The next three weeks of training – with the scrupulous but delightful Alessandro – were a muscle-flinching blur. For the first time ever, I knew I was being pushed to my physical limits; the high intensity sessions (45 minutes, three times a week) were challenging in the most literal sense.

Then again, I got out what I was forced to put in. With the programme’s added bonus of a weekly sports massage, I started to feel fit. Really fit. Fit enough to jump a rope without a bounce jump, fit enough to run up the stairs at Leicester Square, and fit enough to crush a set of proper pushups.

This may only be the beginning but I imagine I’ll look back at this blog come Tough Mudder with extreme gratitude towards Nordic Balance’s expert building blocks.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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ten pilates
When you eat enough food to feed a family of ten, you can’t fit into the best of the Autumn/Winter collections without a little bit of exercise. Thankfully, this week London’s leader in Dynamic Pilates – Ten Pilates – invited me to their studio in Notting Hill for a Pilates class and a much-needed sports massage.

For those who have yet to try Dynamic Pilates, you will be interested to learn that unlike ‘normal’ Pilates, Dynamic Pilates is based around the use a reformer bed which exponentially increases strength and tone of the body. In addition to this, Ten Pilates also offer Cardiolates (which is spinning combined with Dynamic Pilates – great for calorie burning) and physio (each of their four studios have their own TenPhysio department offering physio, osteopathy, sports massage, etc).

With a maximum of ten participants per class and daily availability from early ’til late, the setting is much more affordable than personal training but offers a very similar level of attention and assistance which is suitable for any schedule. My class – led by Daz Bokhari – kicked my ass. While years of dance training means I can rely on an above-average level of flexibility, the intensity and continuous flow of the class was challenging, dynamic, and certainly left my muscles feeling fatigued (in that endorphin-popping way) the following day. I could very easily become addicted.

Because Dynamic Pilates is designed to readdress the body’s natural balance through a series of exact and controlled movements, it is also an incredible tool to prevent or reduce injury. Combined with their physio and sports massage therapists (BUPA recognised), this makes Ten Pilates a fantastic ‘home away from home’ for anyone – beginner to athlete. To trial the full breadth of their offerings, I surrendered to the powerful and expert hands of sports massage therapist Evelyn after my class. With injuries in my neck and back that have niggled and annoyed for ten years plus, she had a lot to work with (and boy, did she work). Stretching and manipulating my muscles with the ease of a baker kneading bread, the tension that was released in one session alone was remarkable. Mellencamp would have a thing or two to say about it, I’m sure.

And don’t worry, East Londoners, a very fit birdy tells us that Ten Pilates is coming your way very soon!