High-intensity | Uses weights | Full body | Sweaty | Explosive
Class - Metabolic Signature
Instructor - Alex Rennie
Suitable for - Those who want results fast! If you’re not used to weight training, it might not be for you
Fitness/Workout level - Intermediate/Advanced
Length - 55 minutes
Equipment - All provided
Perks - High calorie burner and great instructors; a perfect one-off class if you need a good sweat
Drawbacks – All of the classes are high-intensity, so a monthly membership might be overkill. Slightly inconvenient location if you don’t live in NW…
Cost - £20 (though 50% off your first class and bulk packages available) or £100 for a monthly membership
Location - Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London NW1 7QX
Website - www.metaboliclondon.com
Feeling brave? One of the newer kids on the block, Metabolic, is a refreshing change from the usual boutique London gyms, but it’s not for the faint hearted…
The no-frills studio in Camden opened for business in May 2017 and became the new home of PUMA Training last October, offering back-to-basics functional group training classes that claim to “torch fat, improve your strength and build lean muscle fast”. Their timetable boasts six different class variations; from interval rowing, to boxing conditioning, to HIIT and strength combinations.
A friend and I headed for the Metabolic Signature class – HIIT combined with strength exercises – one Saturday afternoon, which was free of charge in celebration of their new partnership with PUMA. Everyone loves a freebie, not to mention a gift in the form of a PUMA training vest. Kitted out in our matching dark green tops, we huddled around the whiteboard like a group of uniformed PE students where our coach, Alex Rennie, sealed our fate. Judging by the facial expressions of the group, it appeared that we had collectively arrived at the safe conclusion that we were moments away from succumbing our minds and our bodies to 55 minutes of sheer torture in what Metabolic’s owner, Lawrence Hannah, terms “the pain room.”
We duly assembled into two rows each facing a partner and began the Tabata-style  warm-up consisting of incessant rounds of jumping lunges, squat jumps and overhead high knees. 9 minutes, 3 rounds, a million jumps and a distinct lack of rest periods later, it was safe to say I was well and truly ‘warm’ verging on bien cuit. Cue announcement from Alex that “the real workout begins now” and an introduction to the 8-minute AMRAP  circuits. I feel tired even typing this out…
 Tabata is a high intensity style interval workout, comprised of short bursts of intense training followed by a brief rest periods
 AMRAP is an abbreviation of "as many reps as possible," i.e. an exercise repeated as many times as possible in a specific time frame
We split into three groups and each began at a different station; a mixture of explosive bodyweight exercises and weights – think 180° burpees, box jumps, wall balls and mountain climbers for starters. Alex changed up the exercises after we’d completed three rounds of the circuit, and the time on each station increased incrementally, from 30 seconds to 45 to 60 in the final round. If you haven’t killed yourself off after the final 60-second lap, never fear, there’s a 4-minute AMRAP bonus round of kettlebell high pulls and Russian twists still to go. If, unlike me, you’ve selected your weights wisely you should just about make it through. Alternatively, attempt AMRAP Russian twists with a 16kg kettlebell and tell me that your abs don’t feel like a wrung out wet cloth.
Just when we thought it was all over, an ascending ladder burpee finisher alternated with squats jumps was thrown into the mix (1 burpee, 1 squat jump; 2 burpees, 2 squat jumps – all the way up to 10), in case there was any danger that the floor hadn’t seen enough sweat. A cursory glance at my heart-rate monitor before cool down indicated a whopping 635 calories burned, which made complete sense when I looked at myself in the mirror upon leaving.
Conclusion: Circuits are all about how hard you push yourself. The exercises are too easy? Go faster. You can’t get your heart rate up? Lift heavier. There’ll be days when you feel strong and up for the challenge and others where you feel like you’re pushing against a massive brick wall. Take motivation and encouragement from those around you; these are the training days that I love – when a bad session transforms into something memorable. One thing of which I’m certain is Alex’s passion and enthusiasm. Not only was the workout was carefully thought out and expertly executed, there was real sense of energy and teamwork bouncing off the studio walls. He motivated everyone individually, and as there’s nowhere to hide, you can be sure of a hardcore workout.
Details: Metabolic is situated in Camden, a 3-minute walk from Mornington Crescent Underground or 10 minutes from Camden Town. Their classes cost £20 a pop, or opt for a 5-class bundle for £95 or 10 for £180. If you can’t get enough, their monthly membership is £100. They are currently offering 50% off your first class; even more reason to give it a go.
To find out more about Metabolic and book your class, visit the website here.