In this gym series, I try out a range of London classes to find you the very best around the city, starting off with Covent Garden. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about my top three gym classes in the area.
This week: Library
T H E G Y M
The Library is a wellness hub in the heart of London where you’ll not only find books (as the name suggests) but food, drinks, gym classes, health coaching and overnight rooms. They’ve taken a holistic approach to wellness tailor made for busy city dwellers who want to improve their lifestyle.
The wellness hub has recently launched several intense fitness programs that incorporate additional lifestyle elements such as nutrition, mindfulness and health coaching. The classes are designed to get you working in 45 high intensity minutes and include pilates, kung fu, boxercise, dance fit and yoga. Each class has no more than eight people to ensure everyone gets one-on-one personal instruction from the trainers. This is complemented by nutrition advice and body composition tests.
The hub is open to both members and non-members, offering a range of options to suit all. To get involved with one of Library’s programs simply buy a package which ranges from 6 to 24 classes. Naturally, the prices are higher for non-members.
Also available is a hair and make-up salon in collaboration with The Bardou. And every Saturday, they host a wellness workshop followed by brunch, hair and make-up.
Library is clearly an all rounder!
T H E C L A S S : K U N G F U
I’d never tried or even considered doing Kung Fu before I was offered the chance to take a class at Library’s new wellness hub. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! It was actually a lot of fun and really eye-opening as the instructor taught us a few simple moves that made a bigger impact than you’d imagine.
We tried two versions of the class – Kung Focus and Kung Fit. Kung Focus combines dynamic movements and Kung Fu mentality to improve both mental and physical health. A mix of breathing exercises and visualisation techniques are used to help increase blood flow, de-stress and promote inner strength. I was genuinely shocked at how focusing my mind gave me almost double the strength I had before and I was really intrigued to know more.
Kung Fit is a workout that incorporates Kung Fu strikes and kicks for a full cardio workout. It strengthens your connective tissues and muscles by alternating between high intensity and slow targeted movements.
Out of the two, I really enjoyed Kung Focus the most as it taught me so much that I didn’t know. It can never be a bad thing to know how to get yourself out of trouble even when you’re faced with someone a lot stronger than you are. Kung Focus teaches you how to overcome that power and defend yourself with a range of easy to do moves that just need your mind to be acutely trained to. I’m definitely going to go back to continue my lessons!
M E E T T H E I N S T R U C T O R
When did your interest in Kung Fu begin?
When I was 12 at a lunchtime club at school. I saw a poster for Kung Fu and thought it could be a way to escape bullying, so I went to my first lesson and never looked back.
In what ways can Kung Fu benefit you?
Kung Fu can be translated as ‘a goal achieved through hard work’, therefore it has endless applications. Kung Fu can be used for fitness, confidence, focus, stress relief and for a better sense of general wellbeing.
What are some of your other passions?
I really enjoy watching American football, and I’d love to go to a game over in the States. I also like learning anything new, I’m known for always having a useless fact handy!
What are your top tips to staying fit and healthy?
Find enjoyable ways to be healthy! If you’re grinding away in the gym, eating flavourless food and hating every second of it, then it isn’t sustainable. Find an activity that you love and remember that fitness is more than just physical, you have to feel healthy too!
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m very ambitious so I won’t be satisfied until I reach my goals. Whenever I have a morning where I don’t feel motivated, I just have to look back at how far I’ve come, then where I’m going doesn’t seem so far away.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Cheese! If there’s any in the fridge, it doesn’t last long with me around.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry so much! As a teenager I was anxious about absolutely everything, so it would have been a relief for someone to just reassure me that it was all going to be OK.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go?
Cuba. I’m not one for lying on the same beach for two weeks so I like going to places that have interesting things to explore. It just seems so different to anywhere I’ve ever been.
Defining moment of your career so far?
When I received a thank you card from a school I had worked with. It represented a massive achievement for me; I’d beaten the issues I had faced as a teenager and helped the next generation do the same.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Those who speak do not know. Those who know do not speak.” It taught me the difference between confidence and arrogance, and to look at people in a different light.
In a couple of sentences, how would you convince readers to join your classes?
My classes are for people who want something a bit different, and want a more personalised approach to fitness and wellbeing. I’ve faced issues such as anxiety and depression, and I am living proof that Kung Fu can help with these! I would just say come and see what Kung Fu can do for you, because if I had never gone to my first session, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to live a normal life.
If you liked this post, check out: Best London Gym Classes: Gymbox
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