Wednesday, May 18 2022

The lockdown has done little fitness-wise for many people, with work-from-home initiatives quickly running out of steam. But personal training can get that exercise regimen back on track for those of us whose planned daily jogs have turned into meanders to the wine and snack shops.

Of course, no matter how long, how hard, or how often you workout, you just can’t beat a bad diet. That’s why London Gym Six3Nine provides sensible and realistic nutritional advice as well as a tailored fitness program, available both in person and online. Dan Price is the resident nutrition expert and works with your trainer to help you achieve the best results.

Six3Nine was founded in 2012 by sports coach James Conci-Mitchell, who wanted to create a space dedicated to creating lasting change for his clients, without gimmicks or empty promises of quick fixes. Originally based in Covent Garden, Six3Nine now has a second branch in the heart of The City on Gun Street (marketing inspired or just coincidence?) – that’s where I went to put myself to the test.

Some gyms can seem intimidating, but I received a very relaxed and directed welcome to the locker rooms, which were immaculately clean and filled with thoughtful touches such as unprepared hair bands. What was me that day – life (or at least hairstyle) saved.

With tame hair, I walked back up to the modern, spacious gym, where the first thing that struck me was that there was no cardio equipment. As my trainer, Mike Brooks, explained, the Six3Nine team instead focuses on functional and important muscle movements to pump those endorphins – and after all, having your physiotherapist standing while you run on a treadmill doesn’t isn’t the best use of either of your times. The philosophy here is that it’s not so much the equipment you use, but how you use it that really matters.

Each workout is tailored to your individual goals, which in my case was to build functional strength that would last, while taking into account my different injuries. My program focused on my core muscles, with Mike giving great technique tips and reminders when, to be honest, I started cheating. Train with just the voices in your head for company, you tend to go with the moves, but having someone tell you to do five more, lower the squat, strengthen your core … that meant that the next day I was aware of the muscles I had forgotten the existence.

Full disclosure, I’m a retired PT, but I was impressed with Mike’s breadth of in-depth knowledge. Coaches often give instructions and then sit down, but Mike, who has a B.Sc. in Strength and Conditioning Science, was incredibly thorough. He explained to me what I was doing and, just as importantly, why, and gave constant feedback. All Six3Nine instructors are trained to at least Level 3, which covers programming, nutrition, and assessment techniques, so you know you’re in good hands.

Six3Nine also offers small group training, and the Covent Garden branch offers classes to mix things up a bit if that’s your bag. Or if you can’t make it to the gym in person, Zoom workouts are another option to help keep you on the workout wagon.

Whichever approach is right for you, the main strength of this gym is providing expert training and advice without the fads, to help instill lasting workout habits. Because Six3Nine is a gym that really takes some workout, well, personally.

Six3Nine is based in Covent Garden, 41-44 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AD; and The City, 50 Gun Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6AH. For more information, see six3nine.com

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