High-intensity | Circuits | Uses weights | Full body | Sweaty
Class - Trooper
Instructor - Alex Rennie (he now teaches at ONE LDN)
Suitable for - Anyone, though I’d steer clear if you’ve never done weight training
Fitness/Workout level - Intermediate/Advanced
Length - 45 minutes
Equipment - All provided
Perks - Great facilities. Chance to win a free smoothie!
Drawbacks – Studio is inconveniently located. Navigating your way round the circuit feels a little chaotic at times
Cost - £20
Location - 132 Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6 2UL
Website - http://un1t.com/
A ‘trooper’ is defined as “somebody who does something strenuous for a long period of time without complaining,” according to the urban dictionary. It’s also the name of UN1T’s signature class which takes place every Saturday. Not only is forty minutes of this gruelling circuit-based team workout quite enough, but I can also vouch for the fact that you won’t be complaining. Because you’re enjoying yourself? Not quite. Because you barely have time to breathe? More likely.
Nestled in a quiet pocket of leafy Fulham, UN1T’s sleek, monochrome fitness studio is anything but tranquil. You’ll be welcomed with a cacophony of thumping bass and motivating instructors; enough to inspire even the most exercise-averse individuals.
As a friendly receptionist ushered me towards the changing room via the gym floor, I was met with a throng of red-faced, riled up fitness enthusiasts who were throwing themselves and their weights against the floor with relentless vigour. The energy in the room was palpable. If I was in any doubt about exactly what I was letting myself in for, the cat was now officially out of the bag. Unluckily my astute timekeeping coupled with an overenthusiastic route plan from Citymapper did me a disservice as I rocked up twenty minutes early, forcing me to bide my time in the changing room to the accompaniment of a raucous din and an internal dialogue of self-doubt.
Trooper is a circuit class consisting of 16 different stations with the aim of completing, as a team, as many possible rounds in the 40-minute time frame. The twist, however, is that the timing on each station is not fixed – rather you move onto the next section at the sound of the whistle, signalling that your teammates have completed 4 sled pushes down the track at the front of the studio. If there’s ever an incentive to move fast, there you have it. You don’t want to be responsible for some poor soul toppling off the Assault Bike due to oxygen deprivation.
The expert coaches, Alex Rennie and Georgie, gave a brief introduction to the class and a clear, visual demo of every station. If, like me, you’re too busy worrying you might not make it out alive rather than memorising 16 different exercises, fret not – there are screens at the front of the studio indicating the elapsed time and the order of the circuit. What’s more, the stations are clearly numbered, though you might not have time to mop the sweat from your eyes to read them…
While some of the exercises are bodyweight only, the majority incorporate some form of resistance. I’m talking standing landmine presses, one-arm burpees, battle ropes, single-arm snatches, medicine ball slams and ladder runs – a real mixture of cardio, strength and agility to exhaust every muscle group. Admittedly, I didn’t think I could loathe anything more than the Assault AirBike, however the sled push easily takes the biscuit. It’s a mental challenge just as much as a physical one, though the cheering and encouragement from the energetic coaches and your fellow classmates goes a long way, resulting in a true team effort. My group managed to complete three circuits by the end of the class and the hardest working participant was awarded ‘Super Trooper’ status and gifted a free smoothie.
Conclusion: Trooper is a whole lot of fun, sweat and yelling. Although this is a fast-paced, full-body workout, the coaches were great at modifying exercises to suit individual needs, and there’s always the option of lighter weights. The benefits of team-based, high-intensity circuit training are plentiful, though you only get out what you put in, so bring all the energy you can muster. This class is very similar to F45’s ‘Hollywood’, though slightly more chaotic and less well-structured in my opinion. That said, I find that overall class experience boils down to the quality of the instructor, and I’m struggling to pick fault with Alex Rennie (he now teaches at ONE LDN - so get over there soon). The other drawback is that the Fulham studio is a country mile away from relative civilisation.
Details: UN1T is owned by former Rugby league player, Rob Smyth, and they have two studios: Fulham and London Bridge. The former is located on Wandsworth Bridge Road, a 12-minute walk from both Parson’s Green and Fulham Broadway Underground. “We train as one” is both UN1T’s strapline and a philosophy which resonates through their classes, which are either strength, endurance or mobility-based. Bringing back team conditioning workouts, UN1T aim to motivate individuals of all abilities, pushing you outside your comfort zone to improve both mental and physical well-being. They treat everyone as an athlete, whether you’re a fitness expert or total novice, training the body to move more dynamically to increase your lean muscle mass and achieve astonishing transformations.
Classes are pay-as-go and cost £20 a pop, with discounts available if you buy a bundle of 5 or 10. They have a great introductory offer of unlimited classes over 7 days for just £20, and are also on ClassPass.
To find out more about UN1T and book your class, visit the website here.
Picture Credits: UN1T & Kate I'Anson