by Emma Inkester
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”, according to poet Samuel Johnson. You know what, I think London must have been a bit different in 1777 when he said that, because I think I speak for many harried city workers when I say that sometimes our illustrious capital is just one big nightmare. The traffic, the tube strikes, the rain, the insane working hours… and then of course you better still have the energy to go to a colleague’s leaving party and two friends of friends’ birthday parties at the weekend. The constant rushing saps the energy of even the most ardent city dweller once in a while.
Then of course there’s the pressure that we Generation Y Londoners heap on ourselves not only to work hard and play hard, but to look good, feel good and be successful. All the time. It’s tough out there! And you might not expect a trip to the gym to be your one-stop solution to London’s tiresome eccentricities, but read on for 6 contenders for London’s worst traits and the surprising ways that Barry’s London is your antidote to them…
1. Londoners are moody. Really moody.
You stand on the tube or train at the same time, day in and day out. Silence. You probably see the same people every day. Still silence. Smile at someone? They think you’re going to kill them. Does anyone stand up for a pregnant lady or older person? Hell no. But get off at Euston, cross the road, down the stairs, and first stop is the land of smiles. Everyone wants to know your name, how you came to Barry’s, what’s your favourite shake and when you’re free to join them in a class. Run next to someone and sweat approximately your whole body weight during a dirty thirty on the treadmill (thirty minutes solid running) and you’re friends for life. In London that’s a real rarity. Welcome to the family.
2. City life is a never-ending stress fest.
Wake up in the morning and the rat race of anxiety begins- kids to feed, commute to suffer through, the never ending cycle of calls, meetings, and responsibilities that punctuate your work day. Sometimes it feels like your brain is never quiet. But walk into that studio and for just an hour nothing matters. You’re doing something for you, and it’s impossible to focus on anything other than the next exercise or sprint, and the trainer shouting at you to push that extra “point 5” on your speed. When your brain clicks back into gear afterwards and the endorphins are doing their job, you’re refreshed from the break and you wonder whether that problem was really so big after all. Perspective is a life saver, come get some.
3. We’re breathing in fumes and smog all day every day.
Let’s face it, London is not the healthiest place to live and breathe. Car fumes, bus fumes, huge chimney stacks and waste everywhere. We’re not doing our hearts and lungs any favours. Counteract it with that high intensity interval training workout beloved of the Barry’s enthusiast- get your heart rate up, your blood pumping and your lungs working. Your body will thank you. Oh, and London smells too, so breathe in that heady aroma of Malin+Goetz that pervades Barry’s as much as you can before you resurface into the smoggy real world.
4. Worked out? Great. Five Burger joints and a chippie beckoning you in on the way home? Not so great.
Not only has Barry’s given you the ultimate workout, they’ve sorted the post-workout binge temptation too. Fuel up after class in the company of your newfound buddies (remember point 1) with the most delicious protein shakes you have ever tasted with the freshest ingredients. None of that weird-tasting rubbish you find on the high street, just the perfect recovery snack with the ideal components to maximise your workout benefit. The greasy chips will be nothing but an unappetising blip on the horizon.
5. The addiction effect- nicotine, alcohol , chocolate and coffee.
Sometimes we just need a legal high to get us through the day in this city that never sleeps. Most people are partial to something for survival, whether it be a cigarette, glass of wine, a latte or a king-size Dairy Milk. Swap that addiction for the endorphins fix that comes from Barry’s, and you won’t look back. It may be physically impossible not to love it once you start. And once the results kick in, ain’t no-one going to sacrifice that sprint at 12.5mph for a post-bender hangover or smokers’ cough.
6. You people are crazy- LONDONERS DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THE GYM!
See points 1-5 above. Especially point 5. Once you see the benefits and you’re hooked, believe me, you don’t “have” time, you make it. When you really want to do something, there’s always time.
Don’t just take my word for it- give it a go and if you don’t walk out of those red lights more ready to take on the rest of your life than you were before you arrived, I’ll eat my hat. My fashion-conscious Made in Chelsea-style fedora obviously, because we are still in London after all.
Emma Inkester is a full-time lawyer, part-time fitness junkie and blogger. She is passionate about sharing the journey to a healthy and happy lifestyle with others, and would love to hear from you with comments, questions and article requests. She can also be found on Twitter: @emmaink