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LIFESTYLEHEALTH CLASS OF THE WEEK

FENCING Despite its best efforts, fencing doesn’t exactly come across as a tough sport. The masks – though essential – look kind of silly, and something about running up and down with those thin little swords (sorry, foils), looks a bit effeminate. After trying out a four-week course at Fighting Fit Fencing, one of the only studios in London dedicated fully to the art, we quickly changed our tune. Make no mistake, fencing is an excellent workout, one that requires brains as well as brawn (and an ample amount of dexterity to boot). The sport requires lots of lunging and shuffling, and three matches in a row will wind you (or, at least, it winded us). The following day, prepare for the surprise of sore muscles you didn’t even know you were using. Participants learn the (surprisingly complex) rules, the lingo and some nifty tactics. Though the idea of opening oneself up to a charging partner with a pointy stick may seem, well, unwise, rest assured, the sport is completely safe. Don’t worry about investing in your own kit – Fighting Fit provides it free of charge. Four-week courses (comprising a one-hour lesson a week) are £85.

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Get frugal fit Battle the bulge and your debt mountain with London’s cheapest gyms, classes and workouts WORDS DAISY CARRINGTON

London’s an expensive city, and nothing illustrates the point better than the cost of gym memberships. You could convince yourself that the high price tag means you’ll have to use it, or you could use common sense and just pay less. We’ve found five of the city’s best cheap (some free!) workouts.

Best for... the chronically stiff Though they can be a bit of a self-righteous batch, one thing you’ve got to give yogis is they’re very bendy. But learning to execute the perfect handstand split can be a pricey business (monthly memberships can exceed £100). Enter The Special Yoga Centre – they offer the cheapest rates in the city, and use the proceeds to support their charity. This group is committed to providing yoga therapy to children and youths with special needs. PRICE: £6-12 per class or £90 for 10 classes. WHERE: 2a Wrentham Avenue, NW10 3HA. specialyoga.org.uk

Best for... future Mo Farahs Running is free. But motivating? That’s a different story. Fortunately, some of the

city’s best running clubs are completely gratis. Co-eds can congregate at one of several Sweatshop stores dotted throughout London, including Clapham and Fulham, and join in on 5km runs taking place every evening. Novices and experts are equally welcome. The clubs are manned by two coaches – one for up front, another for the back – and the more you attend, the more free swag you pull. Sweaty Betty offers a similar, womensonly service, adding Zumba, yoga and Pilates classes to the roster of free offerings. PRICE: FREE WHERE: Various locations. sweatshop.co.uk/SRCruns.cfm sweatybetty.com/clubs-artlclubs

Best for... pumping iron As gyms go, FitSpace is as unglamorous as it gets. Pools and classes are out (those perks cost money!) and the interior is best described as utilitarian-chic (just kidding, it’s not chic). In fact, they pride themselves on having none of the frills of the big names. But they have all the essentials: dumbbells, treadmills, rowing machines. Best of all,

2 Cottage Road, N7 8TP fightingfitfencing.com Caledonian Road

Bendy: The Special Yoga Centre 34

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Cheap stroke: swimming’s a bargain


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Green People Body Butter Organic and anti-aging £19.95 greenpeople.co.uk

The great outdoors: exercise + fresh air = a mighty endorphin overload annual membership is dirt cheap. PRICE: £13.99 per month or £149 a year. WHERE: Islington, 5-7 Hornsey Street, N7 8GA; Woolwich, Unit 1, Macbean Street, SE18 6LW. fitspacegyms.co.uk

Photos: The Special Yoga Centre; Thinkstock; The Great Outdoor Gym Company

Best for... doing laps When a gym has a pool, costs skyrocket. As most of us don’t use the swimming facilities much, it’s hardly worth paying a premium for the privilege. Your money’s better spent dropping in on your local leisure centre or lido and paying per splash. Aquaterra has a handful of venues throughout Islington and a dip in their sizable pools is exceedingly reasonable. For a list of pools closer to you (including price per session), it’s worth checking out swimmersguide.com. PRICE: £4.50 per swim. WHERE: MacDonald Road, N19 5DD; Caledonian Road, N1 0NH; Highbury

Melting massage

Crescent, N5 1RR; 28 Carleton Road, N7 0EQ. aquaterra.org

Best for... a bit of fresh air Some of the best gyms in London are free. The catch? They’re outdoors. In the summer, the breeze is an added perk. Not so much during these cold winter months. Still, push yourself hard enough, and your body heat should counter the winter chill sufficiently. The largest outdoor gym in England resides in Peckham Rye, though parks throughout the city boast a range of equipment, from stationary bikes to shoulder NEXT WEEK presses. PRICE: FREE TNT moves to the heady heights WHERE: Various of Muswell Hill locations. tgogc.com

Jennifer Young Moisturiser Customised skincare range £19+ jenniferyoung.co.uk

Stila Written In The Stars Eye Shadow Pretty in pink £15 escentual.com

TOP TREATMENT: AYURVEDA MASSAGE Nothing reinvigorates like an ayurveda body treatment – an ancient Indian medicinal practice, this is all about achieving mind-body balance. The treatment at Ayurveda Pura Health Spa and Beauty Centre begins with a health assessment, followed by a referral. Most clients are advised to try the abhyanga massage, which incorporates sweeping hand strokes to recharge the body, improve energy flow and boost the immune system. £55 for an hour. 48 Newton Lodge

ayurvedapura.com

North Greenwich

Neutrogena Pore & Shine Daily Scrub Helps tighten pores £4.49 neutrogena.com

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TGO Outdoor Gyms feature in TNT Magazine