Sydney has an outdoorsy lifestyle perfect for getting moving. But these new spots are making a case for indoor exercise (and for mixing up your routine). They offer feel-good workouts for all fitness levels, classes for the time-pressured and sessions that will push your limits but then offer you a smoothie and a luxe changeroom and products as reward. And their focus on mental health, strength, functional movement and relaxation give them actual wellbeing cred. Time to get the endorphins flowing.
“Pilates can often be quite intimidating and exclusive,” says Lucy Beaumont, the founder of Scout Pilates. “That’s the opposite of what I wanted.”
The Pilates instructor and nutritionist runs mat, reformer, jumpboard and barre classes in a community-minded and inclusive practice that makes Pilates about functional movement and fun instead of “beach bodies” and Insta likes. She thinks Pilates can be a regular part of your day, and that your body and mind will thank you for it. For example, if you’re at a desk all day, a Pilates workout for your core can make that easier on you.
There’s the option of one-on-one instruction (as well as classes), and a membership fee of $80 a week gets you unlimited access.
There’s a lounge to drink tea and hang out in, bathrooms with luxurious showers, and lockers that charge your phone. Fresh flowers, exhibitions of work by local artists and a upbeat soundtrack round out the good vibes.
661 King St, St Peters
(02) 9519 6776
Ever feel the urge to punch something? Channel that into a workout that’s cathartic and good for you, in a boxing studio that’s nothing like the dingy gym out of Rocky. Hustle boxing is run by former NRL footballer Daniel Conn and nutritionist, trainer and bad-arse boxer Ellice Whichello.
Hustle runs eight 50-minute classes each weekday and longer “Godfather” classes on weekends (which gives context to the studio’s mural of Marlon Brando) designed to really push your fitness. The classes are a full-body workout with aqua bags (to absorb the shock of punches and protect your wrists), resistance bands and weights.
The music comes through a $90,000 sound system and consists of custom mixes by Hugo Gruzman (Flight Facilities) and Aaron Bannie (DJ A Game). The bathrooms feel like those of a five-star hotel. There are luxury bath products, Dyson hair dryers and make-up stations.
176 Victoria St, Potts Point
(02) 8227 7088
Bodylove Pilates Studio
This dreamy musk-pink space is full of art, arches and natural light.
It offers 17 different Pilates and yoga classes, each a bit different, to cover as many needs as possible. Choices include La Femme Yoga for women and mothers; The Assets for “abs, arms and ass”; Jump Rebels, a high-intensity interval-training-style reformer class; and 60 and Fierce, for people over 60. Ballet barre is also available.
Each class is taught in one of two bright and airy spaces. One contains 14 reformer machines, the other 16 mats. Founder Ali Handley has a background in pre- and post-natal training and teaching, and classes for new parents and parents-to-be are on at times that fit around work hours. Membership, drop-in classes and packs of 10 classes are available.
Suite 2, Level 1/118-122 Queen St, Woollahra
(02) 9326 2006
Kesava Commerford and Zach Vickers have been in the fitness industry for almost a decade. Commerford ran Double Bay’s GoTo Fitness for seven years, while Vickers has trained high-profile clients including New York-based model Dougie Joseph, Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler and PE Nation co-founder Pip Edwards.
At Undercard they’ve taking inspiration from New York’s Rumble Boxing, with workouts designed to really punish. Sessions involve boxing-led HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and running on Techno Gym Skillmill machines – motorless treadmills that are driven only by the person running on them.
Classes run between 5.30am and 7pm every day. Each session begins with a detailed run-through of the six foundational punches of boxing using two 58-inch LED screens linked to a state-of-the-art sound system. Then comes floor-conditioning with free weights, paired with running intervals to keep heart rates high.
After your workout use the luxe changerooms, then stop in at the attached smoothie and espresso bar for a protein boost.
82 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
(02) 9360 2908
Lagree Fitness Studio
People call Lagree “Pilates on steroids”. The Pilates-based workouts involve the “Megaformer”: a suped-up version of a regular Pilates reformer machine with extra resistance settings, cables, straps and pulleys for high-intensity, low-impact exercise. Sessions involve slow, controlled movements that work multiple muscle groups at once.
“It’s intense on the muscles but low impact and safe on the joints, spine and connective tissue,” says Lagree Fitness Australia head trainer Rachel Reed.
It’s good for people with injuries because the Megaformer reduces stress on the joints and connective tissue. But there’s nothing easy about Lagree sessions. A 50-minute class begins with about five minutes of core exercises, followed by leg and glute work, obliques and upper-body exercises, standing lunges, squats, push-ups and planks. The time between exercises is brief so your heart rate stays high.
The Lagree studio is no-frills, which is fitting for a totally functional and efficient exercise system that’s about making the most of every minute and every movement.
Shop 1, 409–411 New South Head Road, Double Bay
Exercise, but make it luxurious. That could easily be the tagline at The Shelter, which is a gym, cafe and sauna. It offers just four spin classes a day. Founder Ben Mills calls it a “wellness centre”, so exercise isn’t the only thing going on here.
“I wanted somewhere that was going to feel luxurious, like a modern-day spa, and that you could leave having worked out and had a smoothie, a coffee and an ice bath,” Mills says. Classes can be booked through an app; you buy packs and turn up for a single session. Every 10-pack comes with a free sauna.
The space is an absolute stunner: there are live cedars inside, a woodfire heater, a courtyard and plenty of light-coloured timber to make it feel like a Scandinavian lodge.
3 Goldman Lane, Double Bay
0403 264 218
This story originally appeared in print issue 20. Some details may have changed since publication.