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Move, B! Top local online workouts

Hoping to stay fit at home during lockdown but not sure where to start? We scoured the live streams to gather a few ideas for you…

Hotpod Yoga
Ordinarily operating from an otherworldly cocoon of glowing purple lights, heady aromas and enveloping soundscapes on Fairfax Street, Hotpod Yoga is doing donation-based classes whose profits will go towards supporting their self-employed teachers. Each week they will also be running a charity class with all profits donated to different charities. Last Saturday The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of UK food banks providing meals to those most in need, was the first to benefit. As you can imagine, the service is currently super-stretched due to the COVID crisis – it’s receiving far fewer donations at the moment despite being needed more than ever before.

Classes are rooted in vinyasa flow – a style of yoga that synchronises movement and breath, to work the body and calm the mind. Those with memberships can either join co-founder and instructor Frances Good’s class through their membership and Hotpod will donate a day’s worth of the membership, or purchase a separate class pass if they are keen to give more.⁠ “We have chosen to do donation classes to allow for everyone, no matter what financial situation you are in, as we know this time will have hit a lot of us,” says Frances. “Therefore please only pay what you can afford to pay, and, if this is nothing, please do join us for free – you joining us for some yoga is so much more important to us as we need to social contact at this time!”

The Fairfax Street pod is usually heated to 37 degrees, so to recreate the full and authentic experience at home, perhaps you might want to crank up the heating a little to warm the muscles and help the body melt into the practice. Book via the website or app – class pass options of £0, £2, £5 and £8 mean you can choose whether or how much you contribute to support the team of freelance teachers. Classes are 45 minutes long – weekdays 7.30am, 12.30pm, 5.15pm 6.30pm and 8.15pm; weekends 11am and 4pm.

Trika Yoga
Independent North Street yoga studio Trika has taken itself online too – and made classes free for NHS workers. Our favourite session so far has been Sophie Griffiths’ Tuesday evening yin – this yoga teacher, musician and all-round warrior woman sings you lullabies during the poses (erm, dreamy…) and she takes requests. “My yoga practice has become more important now than ever before and I’m so humbled that Trika is allowing us to continue practicing together in our rapidly changing world,” says Sophie.

Yoga teacher and musician Sophie Griffiths (image: Kasia Kiliszek)

You can join Sophie and pals on Tuesdays for yin and sounds for better sleep, and there’s a whole host of other classes available to book with various fabulous teachers via Trika, including gentle restorative flow, yin yang flow, restorative yoga and more. “Not only is it a tether to some much-needed headspace,” she adds, “you are also keeping our community of freelance yogis afloat.”

Their tagline, ‘bender to slender’, probably couldn’t sound more Bristol, could it? And – to caveat – this is very much a group for grown-ups so if you’re looking for more Wicksesque family vibes, then scroll down for, well, Joe Wicks family vibes. These guys, who formed through a mutual appreciation of the local rave scene, have adapted well to their new-found quarantine circumstances by organising ‘online group runs’ twice a week. Their Tuesday Lockdown Movements club, for instance, challenges participants to see how far they can go in 30 minutes – join the club via Strava app to track your activity and see how others in the gang get on. Goals based on time are used rather than distance so that runners of all levels can get involved.

Once you’re in the R2R group, your entry is loaded on and you can bestow kudos, add your own motivational/hilarious comments and selfies, get creative with your route (some even use their route to draw a nice picture…) and review the stats. Download Strava, search for Ravers2Runners and once you’re accepted, simply open your front door and get out into the fresh air. The one rule? Be sure to run responsibly and social-distance while you reap the benefits of your daily state-approved exercise. “No snogging strangers!”

Plans are in the pipeline to hold a ‘fundraver’ relay event with runners taking up the imaginary baton (or glowstick; more in line with the rave life ethos) from home to home to create a large loop of Bristol – all funds raised will go towards supporting the NHS. Excuse us while we go and shed a few more tears for the various heartfelt initiatives being thought up by lovely Bristol beings.

Move GB
Since launching in Bristol and with its HQ in Bath, MoveGB has been the UK’s largest fitness class provider, offering its 250,000 members access to over 6,000 activity venues across 25 cities in the UK. The company doesn’t run its own classes; it simply connects users to predominantly independent, community-based fitness businesses through its membership scheme to promote a varied activity regime. MoveGB has quickly responded to the pandemic and diversified to support independent fitness businesses and keep the nation active.

Within a week they built and launched Move At Home, an online platform which allows providers to live stream classes to users. Existing members receive the service as a free add-on, while new users can join for £1 per week – and in accordance with an excellent new theme that is rightfully emerging, it’s free for NHS staff.

In addition, they’ve set up what they’re calling the Activity Provider Support Fund to allow indie providers to still receive income over the coming months, even if they’re not running classes. By opting into the fund, MoveGB members can ensure that the instructors they usually attend classes with will get paid the same as the month before the COVID-19 situation, even if they don’t attend any of the sessions.

Also worth checking out locally:

The spacious, inclusive, salt-of-the-earth Bedminster gym has launched a full timetable of virtual classes via video conferencing site Zoom, courtesy of its friendly roster of qualified coaches. They’re open to members but also those who fancy joining for the first time, and they’ve just been added to Move GB. They are running everything from calisthenics, strength building, and restorative classes (40 or 60 minutes, featuring yoga, meditation and breathwork) to a version of their fun fight club (solo drills and technique) and bootcamp (20 or 45-minute home routines designed to get your heart rate up using minimal space and kit).

Your own back garden!
Have a go at being green-fingered – it can really be a great workout, honest. As our gardening columnist Elly West says; “One hour of light gardening burns around 330 calories, comparable to a moderate-paced walk for the same amount of time. Gardening uses lots of different muscles and encourages a range of movement – lifting, bending, walking, stretching – making it good for balance, strength and flexibility. Being outside exposes us to vital vitamin D and fresh air, and increases energy levels. Digging, raking and mowing ups our heart rate, giving us a cardio workout, and even sowing and pricking out seeds is good for dexterity and fine motor skills.”

Worldwide workouts we rate
Aside from the great local outfits listed above, we’re loving these guys, who have expertly expanded their online teaching or transitioned to live-stream fitness and are now broadcasting around the planet.

Joe Wicks
We probably don’t need to tell you about The Body Coach, as he’s been all over the news globally, having energetically encouraged kids and adults alike – at home and in schools – into action each morning at the strike of nine. Be sure to type your age, name and location into the comment box if you want one of his coveted ‘shout-aaaaats’ and keep your eyes peeled for living-room spot-the-difference challenges – but otherwise, what are you waiting for? Put your back into those bunny hops…

Soul Sisters
Brought to you from Brick Lane, London, via the Adidas female fitness studio – of which Alex and Maddy Weaver are the faces – these energetic, encouraging siblings will make you smile while you sweat. Certified personal trainers and nutritionists, their Instagram feed is full of both body and mental health-positive videos to ensure you have fun as you reach your fitness goals – for free, too.  Every lunchtime they go live with high-energy but very accessible and adaptable workouts that don’t require any equipment, and interspersed is the odd yoga flex of a morning, as well as weekend sessions where you’ll be joined by Adidas disciples from around the world.

Do You Rumble?
And finally… You’ve got two fists, right? What more do you need? That’s pretty much the mantra across the pond at Do You Rumble? Ten rounds, zero experience necessary… For a faint taste of travel via virtual means, try this boxing-based outfit in New York, specialising in full-body strength and conditioning. The crew believes the hour you spend working out will positively affect the other 23 hours of the day, and absolutely right they are too. To put it NYC-style: “Hard work can put on some party pants and shake its hard-working ass.” The team believe in sharing good vibes and energy with the world, and that this is their most important offering. Now more than ever, eh? Characterful and fun, we love this one as, quite simply, we’re suckers for the accent.

Words by Amanda Nicholls