28/11/2014 09:49 GMT | Updated 27/01/2015 05:59 GMT

Group Exercise, What Does It Mean To You?


*Image credits to Getty Images

So we are all familiar with the gym and gym classes, but what do gym classes mean to you? Legs bums and tums, spinning and maybe a bit of body pump if you're lucky. Now talk to many people and this is still what their perception of gyms and group exercising is. I was one of these people up until I discovered the new types of classes making an appearance in London, which changed the way I saw group exercising.

The classes I'm talking about are the likes of Barrecore, Psycle, Barry's Bootcamp, Boomcycle and many more that have single handedly changed the fitness scene in London. I categorise these as 'classes' very loosely because they are much more. Instead of just going in and doing a class at the gym, these classes are more like exclusive clubs, it's a lifestyle. These classes offer it all, the clothing, the healthy food and drinks, the social life. They partner with healthy eateries to make sure they offer the healthiest tastiest food in town. They often offer talks, nutrition sessions, one on one training. You name it these classes will probably offer it.

It's like buying your way into an exclusive members club and choosing your crowd, whether you're a hardcore fitness being who loves nothing more than pounding the treadmills and working up a sweat. Or maybe you are a green juice yoga bunny who has incorporated 'Namaste' into your everyday vocabulary. Or maybe you want to go to a spinning class which resembles a nightclub, flashing strobe lights and all and release your inner disco diva. Whichever category you fall into there is a club for you. These classes are doing something clever, they aren't offering all kinds of exercise like the gym does. They are choosing a specialism and focusing on that and that only. This means that the classes they offer are taught by the very best professionals who are trained in that particular discipline.

These classes go above and beyond the normal gym class. They have loyal followings and their popularity is increasing everyday, and you can see why. This isn't just exercising, this is so much more, these classes make you feel like your part of a movement. A movement which is health and wellness lead, surrounding yourselves with like-minded people. I can see why they are doing so well, it almost makes the often outrageous price tag which comes with these memberships acceptable, almost.

But where does that leave the normal gym? With these new specialism exercise classes taking over London how does your everyday gym compete? Maybe they can't, or perhaps they shouldn't? Because let's face it, not everyone can afford these elite classes. Or maybe some people don't want to be part of them and are happy enough sticking with the local Fitness First. Or just maybe they like myself try and attempt to find a happy medium, I can't afford to go to a new 'specialist' class every week, so I stick with my trusty gym membership where I attend most days and then when I can I treat myself to one or two exclusive classes. For me this is due to finances, if they weren't in the picture, would I stick with my normal gym? In truth, I would probably say goodbye to my gym and go to as many of these classes as possible, a mixture no doubt as I like to mix up my exercise.

This isn't possible for me right now, so I stick to my gym/ specialist class balance as far as my bank balance allows. For now this keeps me, my bank and my body happy. But I will say this, once I have attended the likes of Barry's, Boomcycle or Barrecore when I return to my trusty gym I feel like I'm going back in time, the gym floor looks old fashioned and dated. Does this mean specialist classes are the future? And where does that leave normal gym classes?

For more on my exercise class reviews go to The Nutritionista