I like going to the gym and lately, I love doing group training classes. So it’s only natural that when I find a gym I love or when I experience a class that is “the best I’ve ever done”, I think, this is “Happiness On Earth”. The gym that I love is called KXU and it’s located on a charming street/mews called Pavilion Road in Chelsea.
To add some quick context, Pavilion Road is a beautiful alley lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, fish- and cheese-mongers, to name a few places (full list of shops). When living in London, it wasn’t uncommon that we’d start our day at The Roasting Party grabbing flat whites and either do a workout right after (in the morning) or end our day with a workout and protein shakes at KXU.
Morning classes were good, but the best classes were Thursday nights with Will McLaren. Booking either The GAMES (their signature class) or Dumbbell Strength at 7pm or 7:30pm was when the classes were at their most energetic. From their website, The GAMES is described as “no ordinary class where physical and mental fitness collide in a class that will throw everything at you”. The GAMES brings out the competitor in you as you wield a sledgehammer, flip a tyre, push a sled, run on the treadmill in Dynamic mode and lift heavy weights in timed intervals.
There were a few Thursday night classes when the music was blaring, the lights were flashing and you were working in your team of three to beat all the other teams, that I realized how adrenaline-pumping and fun these classes were. Thursday nights were a scene. Everyone showed up looking good, the class was packed and there was a good ratio of male/female athletes. There were moments in the class when the lights would completely go out and you’d be running or doing deadlifts in pitch black while the music pumped. The workout was intense and yet, these classes were the closest I’ve ever experienced to a rave-like gym session—there was no better place to be than right there in that room.
The last thing about Will’s classes is that he’d sometimes show up in casualwear (not gym gear) and have two volunteers (regular attendees) demonstrate the exercises. He’d walk around with this debonair nonchalance while we all worked our butts off in the class. The classes were always a battle to do more reps, sets and get more points than the other teams and it was a hilarious juxtaposition the training style that Will had (but it obviously worked).
Overall, when I think about what constitutes a great work day or weekend, it often involves a group training class and there are few places like Pavilion Road and KXU. I’d move back to London for those 1–2 hours of my day that made my daily living and routine lifestyle that much more enjoyable.
If you’re thinking of trying KXU, my favourite classes were The GAMES, Dumbbell Strength and HIIT & Run. And the two instructors that I enjoyed were Will McLaren and Ali McKenzie. Check out the KXU schedule!