If you thought pay-as-you-go gyms were a little rough around the edges, think again. 1Rebel is the latest high-end gym to hit London’s workout scene, and it doesn’t come with hefty membership costs. So we had to check it out…
The Concept: The brainchild of James Balfour (son of Fitness First founder Mike Balfour) and his business partner, ex-lawyer Giles Dean, 1Rebel is a boutique gym with no contracts or hidden clauses. Working on the concept that ‘no customer comes into a fitness club wanting to sign a 12 month contract,’ the club offers just two dynamic classes daily on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The Gym: Set in the shadow of The Gherkin, the open glass windows at the front of the gym were fitted by the same team as the Regent Street Apple store, so a light space and no scrimping when it comes to style. Luxury oozes at all areas, with modern interiors, a juice bar at the entrance and the best changing rooms we’ve ever seen - complete with three types of towel (chilled, medium and warm), salon chairs to do your makeup at, GHD straighteners and free cosmetics.
The Classes: Focusing on HIIT (high intensity interval training) the most efficient form of exercise, the two anaerobic classes, Rebel Reshape and Rebel Ride, offer all the benefits of a personal trainer in a group setting.
The high-intensity Rebel Ride has evolved spinning into a full-body workout, combining weights and resistance bands with high-tech bikes to create a lean, toned figure. Set in a dark studio that is more nightclub than gym, expect flashing lights, a live DJ and energetic instructors encouraging you to pedal to the beat. Plus, try Rebel Live three evenings a week complete with a live band as you spin.
Rebel Reshape is along the lines of Barry’s Bootcamp as you switch between the treadmill and a workout station every four minutes. Four minutes may not sound like a long time, but expect to be counting down the seconds as you switch between jogs and sprints on the treadmill and frog jumps, burpees and other body-busting moves on the floor. In short, prepare for serious calorie burn.
Why’s It Different? Everything has been meticulously thought out with busy Londoners in mind; the gym is more efficient than any other we’ve encountered – a towel and water on arrival, all classes are bookable on an easy-to-use app and even the work stations have weights and resistance bands already attached, saving you valuable time.
Plus the trainers really are on another level, enthusiastic and intense they will push you to the max, Pierre who ran our Reshape class, trains Keira Knightley.
The Extras: Cold-pressed juice bar Roots & Bulbs meets you on arrival offering juices, salads and virtuous snacks. Lunchtime exercisers can even do a 30 minute class and leave with a free lunch. And fitness wear designer, Charli Cohen has designed an exclusive range for the club.
The Future: 1Rebel plans to open up studios across the city, with another branch due to open in Broadgate Circle later in the spring. Every first session is free for new members, classes are £25 each and drop-in, but bulk packages are available too should you want a little more commitment.