There’s something a little mischievous brewing under the surface of the fitness industry right now. It seems there’s an impending revolution stemming from refusal to accept tired and accepted norms. Flouting the rules, it seems, is the way forward in 2015.

First we had yogi and all-round wellbeing guru Tara Stiles urging us to eschew diet doctrines and develop our own ideas when it comes to taking care of our mental and physical health, and now, with the much-anticipated launch of brand spanking new fitness boutique 1Rebel last month, we are being encouraged to shun the outdated formulae of gym contracts and solo exercise and roll with the rebels when it comes to our fitness.

1Rebel has emerged as a contemporary force to offer contract free, pay-as-you go workout classes to do away with demanding yearly memberships and tired despotic formulas. With a select number of specialised classes rather than the kind of thinly spread offerings you find at chain gyms up and down the country, ‘boutique’ becomes a more fitting noun to describe the space and experience you’ll find at 1Rebel.

The visible piping and exposed breeze blocks reflect the company’s transparency and cheeky candor when it comes to their plans to dominate. From the moment you walk into the atrium you are aware that what goes on here is anything but pedestrian. The changing rooms are sleek, comfortable and inviting yet uber cool and complete with heated benches, Hollywood-style lit dressing room mirrors, hairdryers, straighteners and an array of the kinds of essential products you need after a heavy workout but always somehow manage to forget (where do all those bobbi pins go?).

The most unique thing about 1Rebel’s post-workout offerings though is its fridge of towels. Yes indeed, the hardcore exerciser may now indulge in a refreshing rub-down with a scented and cooled towel when they emerge red and broken from their RIDE class. It is these kinds of small touches that make the boutique memorable and a standout amongst the swathe of cookie-cutter clubs that we are so used to being members of. One gets the impression they really matter here, you are valued as a paying client and 1Rebel shows its appreciation through these small yet significant details; It works both ways, and its this which makes the gym special. It’s clear that regulars enjoy hanging out at the boutique, and once you’ve visited once you really will find it hard to leave.

What 1Rebel does is take the ardour out of working out and offer a venue and model which eliminate excuses. In the heart of London’s corporate world busy workers can drop into a mid-day 45 minute class on their lunch break, enjoy a quick bite from the in-house branch of Roots and Bulbs to refuel which is included in the price of the class, then hot foot it back up to their building re-energised and smelling of complimentary body wash. It is a whole package. 1Rebel does not just put you through a generic workout then spit you back out into the city still sweating, in need of protein and wondering where on earth your money just went.

Indeed, speaking to Giles, one of the main men and mavericks behind the concept, it is clear he is hugely passionate about the business. His business partner, James Balfour, son of Fitness First founder, Mike Balfour recognised that gym-goers were losing faith in the approach of big name clubs which tie you into endless contracts with big promises which never quite materialise.

All very exciting, but the classes themselves have to live up to the grandeur of the space. And they do. Good grief they do. RIDE doesn’t stray too far from the premise of your typical spin class, the sprints, jumps, and hill climbs are there, but what 1Rebel does with its brand of spinning is incorporate dumbbells into the game to get that upper body in on the action too. Throw in their LIVERIDE sessions, which see live jazz players jamming between the bike aisles, and a pair of compulsory cleats to get those quads firing and you have a winner.

And then there is RESHAPE, 1Rebel’s signature class which is going to be giving Barry’s a serious treadmill sprint for its money. The careful detailing apparent in the changing rooms extends into the RESHAPE studio and filters right down into the bench stations which form such an integral part of the Reshape class. Each bench is a self-contained unit with dumbbells, resistance bands and mats built right in so there is no time-wasting (or extra resting. We know the game) whilst you retreat to the outskirts of the room to claim equipment mid-workout. The class itself is brutal, ten minutes of treadmill intervals in and you will be dreaming of that cold towel and fridge full of juices waiting outside just to mentally get you through. All workouts are executed to the curated remixes of DJ Jon White and mixed to time with peaks and troughs of the workout intensity so the session flows and you can judge when the tough parts are approaching. There is no messing about when you visit 1Rebel – you are there to train and get the most sweat for your money, and that is exactly what you will get.


Be one of the cool kids when it comes to your gym routine, join the revolution and head on over to 1Rebel.com now to see what all the fuss is about and claim your FREE taster class.


words by Rachel Bednarski