30 April 2015

LOMAX Chelsea // Grill Market

Living in London, it can feel like there are just too many options sometimes. No matter what you're into, there are myriad possibilities. Yet with neither time nor money being limitless for most, your list of things to do and places to visit never seems to get any shorter. During London Health Week, I was determined to cross at least a few things off my ever-expanding list!

LOMAX Chelsea is a lovely little studio on Fulham Road. I've been hearing good things about it for a while, but as the list of fitness studios I want to check out is longer than my arm, I hadn't gotten around to it yet. I saw that they were involved in London Health Week and decided to use it as an excuse to go. What really appealed to me about The Lomax Way is its holistic approach to fitness - it's a space that encompasses group fitness classes, personal training, nutritional advice, and wellbeing (sports massage and physiotherapy) and even a healthy cafe. Everything for your health and fitness needs under one roof basically.

The studio offers free trial sessions for first timers. As spin is my go-to group fitness class (I really do need to start getting more adventurous and trying something new!), I signed up for their signature class Cycle Blast.

When I arrived for the lunchtime class, I checked in at the reception desk downstairs, and then went to have a nose around the changing rooms upstairs (a great changing room is the hallmark of a good gym after all). Small but perfectly formed, they were replete with lockers, private showers and small vanity desks. Unfortunately the lockers required a padlock, so I just took my things into the studio with me. Also, I noticed that the gym charges for the use of shower towels, which I always think is a bit tight. We were given a complimentary bottle of water for the class, but frankly I would have preferred a free shower towel instead as I always take water to the gym with me anyway (who doesn't?).

Spacious, private shower rooms

Bring your own padlock!

Making full use of every bit of the studio's rather petite dimensions, the stairway leading up to the first floor is currently playing host to a pop up of Catalyst Active Wear. They're a brand I'd heard of as it's fairly local to me (based in Peckham, and they've had some events at Victor's Lab), but had never seen in the flesh, so it was nice to have a little flick through some of their lycra. The tights looked and felt like a really high quality technical fabric, and like they'd fit really well. I also loved the bold colour choices. Definitely a brand I'll be keeping my eye on and trying in the future.

Colourful tights from Catalyst Active Wear

The Grill Market, the studio's healthy eating cafe, acted as a waiting room for those waiting for the class to start, and after a few minutes we were told that the location of the class had been changed at the last minute. Cycle Blast usually takes place in the basement of the studio, in a darkened space, in what I imagine to be the club like vibes we've all grown to love and expect of spin studios in London these days. However, technicians had arrived to do some work on the room at this inopportune moment, so the spin class was moved upstairs. We ended up walking through the main gym area upstairs, which I think is used for other group classes, and also for personal training. There was some great technical equipment in there, but it's all tucked into quite a small space, so I imagine it must feel quite busy if there's more than a handful of people in there.

The spin class was in a small, bright room, separated from the rest of the studio by a curtain - and most of us agreed it was actually a nice change from the usual dimmed lights. There were only six of us in the class so it had a really nice intimate feel to it, and I ended up chatting to more people than I usually would. The ladies who own Bella Kinesis were in the class with me - it was nice to put a couple of faces to the name of a brand I knew! The girls were of course modelling their range, and looked very stylish: I really like the signature blue of the Bella Kinesis range and the designs are really flattering. I on the other hand, had once again turned up to a class wearing a free race t-shirt, which is just how I roll. But maybe I should treat myself to a lovely Bella Kinesis top and mix it up a bit?!

The work out was intense, and despite the air-con being switched on, both the small room and I got sweaty very quickly. The success of spin classes relies so much on the charisma of the instructor - and luckily our instructor Mikey had buckets of it, and also knew how to push us hard. At one point we used weight plates to do some upper body work. Using weights during spin has become quite popular recently, but I'm not sure if I like it. If I want to do an upper body work out, I don't go to a spin studio. When I come to a spin class I just wanna ride! I think it can work when the weights are integrated into the class more thoroughly, but I don't really see the point of using weights for about 5 minutes of a one hour class. The spin itself was great though: really varied and challenging.

After the last song played out and we'd done some stretches, I was more than ready to head back down to the Grill Market and have some lunch. The concept is very simple: they serve grilled meats, fish and veggie options, accompanied by salads that are dressed healthily, without using added sugars or bad fats. They also make a selection of fresh juices, smoothies and shakes and some relatively 'guilt-free' desserts. With a London Health Week wristband I knew I could get a free drink with my meal, so I opted for an apple, lime and ginger juice. It certainly packed a punch! It tasted really good, and I reckon that combination of vitamin c and ginger could knock just about any ailment you may feel approaching on the head.

Some of the lovely things you can have in your juice or smoothie

For lunch, you could choose from a range of grilled items, ranging from halloumi to salmon and pork. All the meat and fish is free range or sustainably sourced and good quality. I opted for the pomegranate glazed grilled chicken, and then chose three different scoops of salad to go with it.

The meal was a really generous portion. Sometimes places can scrimp on the salads, but this plate really was the perfect ratio of protein to veg for me! The chicken was really delicious and succulent, with the pomegranate giving it a sweet edge that complimented the grilled flavour really well. The crisp salads were the perfect accompaniment. One salad was kale, which had obviously been massaged with love as it wasn't at all tough; another salad was a bitter radicchio with tomatoes, cucumbers and dill; and the last salad was a kind of red cabbage slaw with radishes. I think if the salads on offer varied daily, I could happily eat here all the time and not get bored! It's the sort of thing I would eat at home, and exactly the sort of thing you should eat after a work out, with the protein of course helping repair your muscles and the carbs replenishing your glycogen stores. More gyms should have cafes like this.

Pomegranate glazed chicken with three salads

All in all, I had a really great experience at LOMAX Chelsea. I think that their fusion of fitness, nutrition and wellness is the angle more and more studios will take in the future, as people realise that training alone can't create a healthy, happy body. A holistic approach is needed and The Lomax Way aims to deliver this.

LOMAX Chelsea
293 Fulham Road
SW10 9PZ

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