Find out more about APT

Canary Wharf: We ask Kate Maxey how Third Space’s offer benefits every member

The strength and conditioning master trainer explores the club’s breadth of facilities and classes

Third Space strength and conditioning master trainer Kate Maxey
Third Space strength and conditioning master trainer Kate Maxey – image Matt Grayson

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Kate Maxey is singularly well placed to recognise and relish the importance of depth at a gym when it comes to enjoying exercise and building fitness.

Growing up, much of her life was about hockey. Her exceptional level of skill and talent with stick and ball led her to represent England up until the end of her time at Loughborough University on a scholarship to play the sport.

“It was pretty full on,” said Kate. “But I loved it and it was a massive part of my life and my friendships.

“My older sisters played, so that’s probably why I got into it and it was what my life was about for a long time.

“But then I got to the point of wondering whether it was really what I wanted to do – did I want to play hockey forever?

“Then it hit me – I loved the sport, but in training for it I was always made to do stuff for my performance on the pitch, not necessarily the things I wanted to do for my own fitness, lifestyle or stress relief.

“That’s when I decided to explore different things. It was a journey – I could have given it all up and not done anything at all – but exercising was such a part of me.

“That’s when I got into personal training and found that what I wanted to do was to inspire other people to find what works for them in terms of fitness.

“Having become a personal trainer, I then started taking classes – something I especially love because they’re a bit like hockey, a team activity. 

“That’s my big thing, helping create a lifestyle for people and supporting them in finding something they love to do, whether that’s in a class setting or in the gym.

“I still play hockey now to a good level and I really enjoy it, but it’s more a social thing – I had to find what I love and training people is what I want to do.”

Today, that journey has led Kate to the position of strength and conditioning master trainer at Third Space in Canary Wharf, overseeing more than 50 group exercise instructors. 

Kate takes on a Ski Erg in The Yard at Third Space
Kate takes on a Ski Erg in The Yard at Third Space – image Matt Grayson

Her role includes responsibility for developing that team and the classes it delivers as well as coaching group sessions herself.

“Fitness shouldn’t be seen as something you just do if you’re an athlete,” she said.

“If you hated sport at school, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym and find something you love doing.

“Classes are about teamwork – everybody in the room might have different motivations but they’re all trying to achieve something, they have that shared aim.

“At Third Space we design the sessions so anyone can come along and get the best workout for them. The camaraderie and the class environment really helps motivate people. 

“Everyone’s doing the same things at the same time – you might not know anything about them, who they are or what they do – you’re all just there to look after yourselves, to get fit and maintain it and nobody is judging what anyone else is doing.

“That’s the fantastic thing about my job – you get so many different dynamics.

“Some people will come into class and they’ll want to sit at the back and not want too much attention, because they just want to do their thing.

“Others will be more competitive and they’ll use that to motivate themselves. Both are absolutely fine.”

Kate demonstrates a pull-up – image Matt Grayson

While the extensive class list at Third Space – which includes everything from spinning to weightlifting, crossfit, combat and Yoga – presents a multitude of possibilities for members, Kate said the true attraction of the club lay in the breadth of the range of services it offers and how they complement one another.

“Third Space offers everything in terms of facilities, but that in itself can be daunting,” she said. 

“So the best advice I can give when someone joins a place like this is: ‘Talk to someone’. There are staff all around with all the personal trainers and academy and class instructors and that might seem intimidating.

“But this is our world. Everyone has had their own journey to get here and we all, without exception, want to help members. 

“When people are new to a gym, over the first couple of months, the most common thing they do is to absolutely smash themselves five days a week.

“Then their body starts to break down, the stress becomes too much and they can get injured. That’s why you need help. 

“Workouts are a stress on the body, but we’re experts in managing that and allowing people to find what they love doing and what they need to do.

“Personal training can be especially great for that. A good PT can help you with the things you don’t enjoy so much and that will help you avoid injury and perform better in the activities you love.

“They can create a plan for you that will help you develop strength so you get stronger and condition your body.

“Then with classes I’d suggest trying a range of things.

“You might go along and absolutely hate it, but it’s only 45 minutes of hell, and then you’ll know – you can cross it off the list and try something else if it’s not for you.

“First it’s about safety – members can use classes to learn how to move correctly.

“You often see people writing down what they’ve done so they can replicate it again on their own.

“Then classes like Yard Strong, for example, allow people to try things they might not have done before, which is always exciting.

“It has 10 stations with exercises like log bars and farmer carries – exercises that leave people feeling they’re really accomplished something.

“For members who want to get stronger, classes like these are there for them to lift in a safe environment with a knowledgeable instructor who can help them develop and keep an eye on their technique.

“In a class like that it’s more about working in partnership with the trainer.

Kate says Third Space offers a wide range of classes
Kate says Third Space offers a wide range of classes – image Matt Grayson

“The important thing is that for every class you can stay within your own zone – you can interact as much as you like.

“Likewise, if someone has suffered an injury or is restricted in what they can do, it’s our job to adjust what we’re offering to include them, to provide alternatives so they will still get something from the class.

“We will always strive to go above and beyond what’s on offer elsewhere so every person who comes to Third Space achieves what they want to and is able to train with us.

“That’s why, for me, this is the ultimate gym.

“You have your home, which is your first space, your place of work which is your second space and then we’re your Third Space.

“Then within that there are so many spaces at the club, whether you’re a member who wants to find a quiet corner, put their headphones on, do their workout and not be seen or whether it’s a member who wants to take part in a big class in The Yard.

“The great thing about Third Space is that you have the facilities to do all those things, whether it’s taking part in a dance class, going for a swim, using the climbing wall or doing a treadmill class. It’s about what you want.  

“Then what’s key is finding something that is sustainable for you and that you enjoy. 

“That way you can make good habits, build slowly over time and achieving those goals becomes so much easier.

“Here, you can come and know there’s always someone who is there to help you get through your workout and make the most of it.” 

Kate takes on the air bike on the gym floor
Kate takes on the air bike on the gym floor – image Matt Grayson

Membership of Third Space Canary Wharf costs £180 on a rolling monthly contract.

Personal training rates at the club are available on request, with a discount for new members on their first two sessions.

Group-wide membership for all clubs including City and Tower Bridge costs £210 per month.

New members get two guest passes, a meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first treatment at the Canary Wharf spa and an ongoing discount of 5% as standard.

Read more: Personal trainer Darren Bruce on one-to-one sessions

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canary Wharf: How Darren Bruce helps gym-goers hit their goals at Third Space

The elite personal trainer has spent 20 years coaching clients at the Canary Wharf club

Third Space elite personal trainer Darren Bruce
Third Space elite personal trainer Darren Bruce – image Matt Grayson

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Learning to move in the right way is crucial to avoiding injury and achieving your goals through exercise.

So says elite personal trainer at Third Space in Canary Wharf, Darren Bruce

If anybody knows, he certainly ought to. Typifying what the massive gym in Canada Square offers, Darren has a wealth of expertise, having competed at the highest levels as a sportsman.

As a boxer he was a challenger for the IBO Welterweight World Title and is a former British kickboxing champion and county champion long jumper.

But he’s also spent nearly 20 years helping gym-goers achieve their own aims.

“I actually started working here when it opened in 2002 as Reebok Sports Club,” said Darren.

“I was being sponsored by a construction company at the time – I’d go to work for half a day and then box at a gym in south London.

“I’d had lots of breaks in my career but I’d decided I needed to think about doing something else, so I saw the marketing suite for the gym and went to see what it was all about.

“I already had a personal training qualification but they said they didn’t need trainers at that time so I started out taking boxing classes.

“That was pretty much brand new to me but I ended up having the busiest class at the club – that was my foot in the door.”

Darren began seeing clients one-on-one in 2004 image Matt Grayson

Two years later Darren got a job as a personal trainer after another member of staff left and has never looked back.

“At first making the transition from athlete to trainer was awkward – I’d trained at the highest level, so I realised I needed to gear things down, but in no time at all I got it,” he said.

“Personal training is about getting that relationship with the client right, getting them to believe in you and knowing your craft.

“I’ve worked beside some really great coaches over the years so I stuck close to a couple of those guys, learnt from them and studied. 

“My skills developed from there and they’re still developing – I’m always trying to evolve what I do, but I’ve stuck to my principles since starting personal training in 2004, and I still use the same approach.

“Safe exercise is first and foremost. You don’t want to injure your client – it’s a bad experience for them and they’re not going to come back.

“Then, everything is about sound movement patterns.

“Many people who come to me have desk-bound jobs and the best thing is to get them moving. 

“If I can make them feel that they are moving better and they’re getting stronger, then they’ll keep coming back and progressing – I still have the first client that came to me at this gym and she’s fantastic.”

Everything starts with a thorough assessment before Darren creates a bespoke series of exercises.

“The first time someone comes to me, we’ll do an evaluation,” he said. “I’ll ask them what their goals are, what their previous training history is like and whether they have any injuries. 

Darren's professional boxing background informs his approach
Darren’s professional boxing background informs his approach – image Matt Grayson

“From that process, I will go about devising a programme that’s dependent on that client’s goals and what they need to achieve them. Then we’ll work through it together.

“I think people should aim to train for a minimum of twice a week with a personal trainer helping them. 

“People shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they can do this on their own.

“Our personal training clients at Third Space find they can get an extra 10% out of themselves with a coach.

“People generally don’t know how to improve themselves – that’s why we’re here to coach them in those movements.

“That’s important for safety too – if someone wants to do a high impact class they’re much better off seeing a trainer first because their movement patterns might be pretty poor and that’s something we can work on.

“That’s why it’s best to see a trainer more than once a week as progress is faster.”

As a trainer, Darren is able to draw on the countless hours of expert coaching he’s received over the years.

“Discipline is the most important thing,” he said. “You have to learn to focus and realise that progress doesn’t come overnight.

“When it comes to coaching boxing we can do the drills I used to do, but just spend less time on them so the client is always learning and progressing.

“Obviously it’s great when you have clients who want that specific combat expertise – if people want to spar we can do that in the ring here in a safe manner because I’m a professional.

“That’s one of the things that sets me apart because it’s not an easy thing to do. But the discipline of training for boxing is also great for general fitness. 

“The great thing about Third Space is there is so much of it – so much room – and the facilities are first class.

“There’s no waiting around, even at peak times, and it has everything you need.”

Membership of Third Space Canary Wharf costs £180 on a rolling monthly contract.

Personal training rates at the club are available on request, with a discount for new members on their first two sessions.

Group-wide membership for all clubs including City and Tower Bridge costs £210 per month.

New members get two guest passes, a meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first treatment at the Canary Wharf spa and an ongoing discount of 5% as standard.

Read more: Why even exercise specialists need personal trainers

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canary Wharf: How PT sessions at Third Space can help with fitness goals

Pilates and group exercise lead instructor Eve Powell on why she sought help with weightlifting

Eve Powell, Pilates and group exercise lead instructor
Eve Powell, Pilates and group exercise lead instructor – image Matt Grayson

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

It’s January, the time when for reasons more traditional than functional, people take stock of their lives and pledge to make changes for the better.

But how to make those resolutions stick once the novelty value has worn off?

Wisdom is generally gained from experience, so a good starting point in any fresh venture should be to seek out the thoughts of those who are already pretty good at what you’re trying to achieve.  

With the festive bloat at maximum, increased exercise is generally bobbing around the top of people’s lists.

But motivation can wane rapidly, so I sat down with Eve Powell of Third Space in Canary Wharf to discover her tips for sticking with the programme and how she personally stays in shape and maintains her enthusiasm.

A certified Pilates coach and group exercise lead instructor, Eve has been described as “the superwoman” on Trustpilot by a gym member, who praised her “meticulous performance on the gym floor and in classes”.

Eve says personal training can help deliver motivation
Eve says personal training can help deliver motivation – image Matt Grayson

Having first qualified as a trainer while at university, Eve initially embarked on a career in the film industry before realising she got more out of her weekly combat class at the weekend than five days  spent on set.

“That’s when I made the transition to thinking I wanted to do it full-time,” she said.

“The main thing is the job satisfaction because we’re lucky to have endorphin-high, sweaty people telling us how great they feel at the end of a class.

“It’s a job where you help people and now, having got into Pilates, that’s even more the case.

“I’d never practised it before I joined Third Space – I’d done Yoga and thought it was basically the same – but my boss here asked if I wanted to go on a training course and I said yes because I thought it would be another skill to have.

“I’m so glad, because it changed my life and the way I train completely.

“Not knowing anything about it, I thought Pilates was good if you had a bad back, or if you were a bit older and your physio told you that you needed to do it.

“But I really fell in love with the history of it, the discipline and practice. It’s conditioning, building that strong, solid foundation for other exercises so you can run, lift weights and do Crossfit.”

Eve has a coach for her Olympic weightlifting
Eve has a coach for her Olympic weightlifting – image Matt Grayson

Another key element to Eve’s approach to fitness is seeking out one-on-one expertise, especially for those new to the gym or branching out into new areas.

“Using myself as an example, I’m a coach, but when I decided to take up Olympic weightlifting I went to a personal trainer because I was a total beginner,” she said.

“I had a bit of a head start because of the endurance, flexibility and mobility I’d built up with Pilates, but I needed someone with that experience.

“For people who are new to the gym, maybe they don’t even know what their goals are, so I’d recommend having a session with a trainer and trying lots of different things.

“That’s why Third Space is a great place to start because there’s so much to choose from here. Then we have so many great trainers it’s easy to work one-on-one with someone on general fitness or on something specific. 

“With weightlifting, it was a brand new skill to me and it’s so technical – I knew I would benefit from having the time and eyes of a coach. 

“It’s also easier to commit and to work on smaller short-term goals in pursuit of what you’re trying to achieve.

“The trainer I see is on me to hit those targets. If you’ve got a good coach, invested in you, and you’re investing in yourself, it’s amazing.

“I have that one hour where it’s me and her and I’ve got a goal – snatching a particular weight or focusing on my hip mobility in my overhead squat.

“Whatever it is, it’s my time with that person and I call it my therapy. In between sessions we stay in touch – I send her videos of my progress and I really miss it if I can’t make a session. It really helps with motivation.

“It also helps me from a professional standpoint because my trainer will use cues and commands while I’m exercising that I find I can use. 

“Even though the Pilates classes I coach aren’t the same, something that works for weightlifting might also work for me when I’m doing banded overhead squats with a group.”

From the other side Eve said one-on-one sessions gave trainers the chance to go into great detail with individuals.

She said: “You have more time to really look at a person’s body. You have time to ask the client questions and get their feedback, to find out where someone is feeling something and what it feels like for them.

“Initially, trainers use their first sessions to see how their client is moving, what their core strengths are and if they have any imbalances to address. 

“It starts with identifying a goal – what the client wants to get out of their time with a coach.

“That might be to lose some weight, to increase their fitness, to tackle an injury or some pain they’re getting or to improve their posture.

“Then the trainer will come up with an individual programme tailored to achieve that. In general that will be a 360-degree approach that delivers a full body workout as a way of delivering those goals.

“It’s also great for trainers because after I’ve had a session with someone I’ve always learnt something.

“Everyone has a different body. A cue that might work for one person might not work for another so you have to be very adaptive. 

“It’s a process of discovery, you have to make sure you’re using the right language. 

“You might have a client who spends all day working at a desk and has no knowledge of the fitness industry so you have to find a way to communicate that makes sense to them.”

Membership of Third Space Canary Wharf costs £180 on a rolling monthly contract.

Personal training rates at the club are available on request, with a discount for new members on their first two sessions.

Group-wide membership for all clubs including City and Tower Bridge costs £210 per month.

New members get two guest passes, a meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first treatment at the Canary Wharf spa and an ongoing discount of 5% as standard.

Read more: Why exercise should be like brushing your teeth

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canary Wharf: Hamptons unveil new office space as vote of confidence in local market

Estate agent’s Canada Square branch allows teams to come together to serve clients face-to-face

Hamptons has opened a new branch in Canada Square
Hamptons has opened a new branch in Canada Square – image Matt Grayson

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

You often read about online agencies, but that’s not what people like in this area,” said Adam Wolfryd, who was appointed senior head of sales at Hamptons’ Canary Wharf operation in May.

“People want to deal with you face-to-face when it comes to their biggest asset.”

The company recently opened the doors to its new office at 20 Canada Square following relocation from its previous home at 30 South Colonnade via a brief temporary home at nearby WeWork.

“We were essentially working as an online proposition and while we were able to do that, it was challenging,” said Adam.

“The feedback we were getting from clients was that they wanted to be able to walk in and talk to us not have to book an appointment or do the whole thing remotely.

“It proved that we’re in a business that requires a traditional model to operate effectively. Opening the new office shows how much confidence Hamptons has in the Canary Wharf market.”

The company, which has more than 90 branches across the UK, has made a statement with this opening, taking over an expansive space, formerly occupied by a bank.

Dressed in pale woods, potted greenery and crisp digital screens displaying properties in its windows, there are meeting rooms for consultations with clients and plenty of space to house a team covering every aspect of the property market.

Hamptons senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill
Hamptons senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill – image Matt Grayson

The Canary Wharf office’s senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill said: “The previous space we had didn’t really suit when we expanded the team – we felt we’d outgrown it and the building was set to be redeveloped in any case.

“Then this site came up and it was the right spot for us – it gives the business better exposure, we’re closer to the Tube and it means we can bring more people in and do more business.

“We’ve expanded the sales and lettings teams. We also have our residential development team, who handle new homes, and our property management team, who look after clients with multiple properties, based here, alongside some of our corporate team.

“It means we can get everybody under one roof and provide a better level of service for our clients. 

“That’s especially important in Canary Wharf as there’s a great deal of development going on locally and a lot of investors as well as professionals relocating to the area.

“With everyone here, people walking in can speak to members of our team with a wide range of expertise to help them with whatever they need.”

Adam and Laura said that with flexible digital infrastructure in place and the office now open, Hamptons stands ready to handle properties across a broad swathe of the market.

“It’s important that people know we will take care of everything from a studio apartment to a five-bedroom house,” said Laura. “We have the ability to be creative with our marketing to get the right result.

“I’ve been with the business for more than 15 years and its core is solid. The backbone of the company is its people, its structure and its ability to retain good members of staff so we can use our experience to do a great job for our clients.

“We’re all approachable, we want people to come and meet us and we like to do tiny, noticeable things to make our clients’ lives a little bit better.

“Whether that’s popping round to a property to turn the oven off, arranging to be there to make sure tenants get their keys out of hours or even helping them move in, it’s those little extras you can count on.

“On the lettings side, there are no straightforward tenancies – that’s where the team and I come in to assist landlords as much as we can. That’s where our corporate reach really helps – we have a lot of tenants employed by blue chip companies.

“Right now, demand is through the roof – in some instances rental prices are already exceeding 2019 levels.

“Tenants are looking to secure longer deals because they don’t know where the market’s going.

“We’re starting to see landlords getting a better return, which is great. We don’t want tenants or landlords to feel they’re getting the raw end of the stick.

“The happier the tenant, the better the property is kept and the longer they will stay. The past few years have been tough for small landlords so it’s been fantastic to give them some good news. 

“We will always look after their biggest asset for them and we get very good rental returns. It’s about working the market to the best of our ability, that personal touch and having the marketing tools available to do the best job possible for our clients.”

Hamptons senior head of sales Adam Wolfryd
Hamptons senior head of sales Adam Wolfryd – image Matt Grayson

Adam is similarly optimistic about the sales market and said Hamptons was ideally placed to help vendors get what they want.

“Experience is one of the first things sellers look for from an agent,” he said. 

“In the current market, finding a buyer takes a lot of hard work and having an experienced person deal with the offer and negotiation process as well as ensuring the buyer is a viable prospect is essential.

“I’ve been working in estate agency in this area for more than 20 years and I have a team here with more than half a century of experience.

“In a fast-paced, high turnover industry, Hamptons is a recognised, respected brand and sellers will find an established team at the Canary Wharf office that can really give clients the benefit of that experience.

“We won’t rush to force a seller to accept too low an offer if we think that in a couple of weeks we can achieve a higher price, for example.

“We won’t put a sale together, unless we’re confident that we’ve done the work we needed to do to ensure that the buyer is fit to proceed.

“As rental yields in this area have hit 5% again, buyer registrations are starting to rise as we’re seeing tenants looking to purchase a property and buy-to-let investors coming back to the market.

“That suggests prices will only go in one direction and I’m quite bullish about 2022.

“Over the next 12 months, especially with Crossrail set to open and the Wharf becoming even easier to travel in and out of, people will see what a great place to live it is.

“This new office is a central hub for us – we cover properties of all kinds all the way out to Essex from here. It’s always a good time to come and talk to us, if nothing else, just to understand the value of your property – we can advise on whether it’s better to keep it and rent it out or to put it on the market. It’s the benefit of offering that all-round service.

“Whatever your property requirements are, we cover everything.

“We’re connected right across the UK and can also help with financial services, new homes, removals, cleaning and refurbishment as well as sales and lettings.”

Read More: Canary Wharf opens 8 Harbord Square show home

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canary Wharf: UFO Drive launches electric vehicle rental in Canada Square car park

Head of firm’s UK operation Jonathan Shine says firm is symbiosis between rental, digital and electric

UFO Drive's Jonathan Shine
UFO Drive’s Jonathan Shine – image Patrick Straub

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

There’s no doubt whatsoever that electricity is the future mainstream source of energy for cars.

Petrol prices have reached record highs, London’s ultra low emissions zone (ULEZ) recently expanded to cover Tower Hamlets and Newham and world leaders are grappling ahead of COP26 to battle climate change.

Meanwhile the technology for low carbon personal transportation is already here, quietly accelerating past fossil fuel-powered vehicles as they belch out particulates into the lungs of the population and CO2 into the atmosphere.

Car designers have done a good job over the years of hiding the fumes away – directing the exhaust well away from the rarefied, filtered air breathed by those in the vehicles they sell. But, when placed beside the comparative cleanliness of a near-silent electric machine, the mask quickly slips.

Apposite, then, that UFO Drive recently parked up its Tesla Model 3s in Canary Wharf. The company offers electric vehicle hire in cities across seven European countries, and expanded to the UK, launching in London in January 2020. 

Almost entirely app-based, customers book vehicles for a minimum of a day’s hire. These can either be picked up from one of UFO’s locations at any time or delivered to the client for a fee.

Jonathan Shine is the man in charge of the firm’s operations in the UK as it continues to grow with more cars already planned for Canary Wharf and further locations in the pipeline.

“I’ve been working in the electric vehicle industry for 20 years now,” he said. “I was working as a computer programmer and somehow learned that on in September 2001, Hertz was launching its new electric car, so I went out and rented one for a week – it was £70.

“It was a little car by Ford, a really cool vehicle, like a Smart car, really chic, with a range of about 50 miles, unless you put the heating on.

“It was gorgeous. I got in and thought: ‘This is happening, it’s really possible to have a really nice electric car’.

“I love vehicles, but I hate the way they pollute and I thought this was the way forward. So I looked at opportunities to get involved.

“At one point I had the chance to be the importer for what became the G-Wiz, but I spurned it because the cars were just horrible. I got into one and thought: ‘This is bad for the EV world, sub-standard, uncomfortable and not particularly safe’. It wasn’t the future.”

It’s fair to say things have come on a bit. Having worked in many electric vehicle related roles over the years, Jonathan has also gone from owning the original Nissan Leaf with a 90-mile range to the Hyundai Kona, which can travel 300 miles on a single charge and cost £30,000. 

Some people are, of course, still nervous about the practicalities of owning and that’s – in part, at least – where UFO Drive comes in.

“I came across the company towards the end of 2019, contacted the CEO and said I liked the concept,” said Jonathan. “He was just about to launch in London, so it was right time, right place. 

“Aidan (McClean) is amazing. He’s an Irish man living in Luxembourg and is a little bit mad in a good way. You know he’s going to succeed because he’s so determined and energised – he brings everyone along with him.

“He’s travelled a lot, and wondered why, in this day and age, you still have to join a queue to rent a car, get a contract, get a key and sign hundreds of bits of paper.

“He created UFO Drive to revolutionise car rental and make it really smooth and sleek – so people can go from plane to car in five minutes.

“He realised, however, that if you’re going to start a new car rental company, it’s going to have to be electric and there would need to be a symbiosis between digital, rental and electric.”

That premise has resulted in UFO Drive, which now operates 18 locations in eight countries including Oxford Street, Park Lane, Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush and Canary Wharf.

Rental fees are dependent on duration but can be as little as £70 per day for longer trips and include charging. Typically customers can expect to pay about £100 for a day. 

Tesla Model 3s ready to hire in Canary Wharf
Tesla Model 3s ready to hire in Canary Wharf – image Patrick Straub

Pretty much all aspects of the rental are handled digitally via the smartphone app including locking and unlocking the vehicle, which can be picked up and dropped off at any time at UFO’s bays. 

“Every car is cleaned and charged professionally after every single rental and that’s important,” said Jonathan. “When you rent one, you know the car will be prepared and ready to drive – it will be looking good and we’ll have checked it for any damage so you know you won’t be stung for that because it will have been recorded.

“When people rent with us, they see the convenience, they love driving the cars, even if they rent for the weekend, which is more expensive because of the demand.

“People really enjoy the flexibility of it, the experience of it and the ease of it. We also give loyalty discounts and it’s great to see people come back again and again. 

“We have one customer who has completed 27 rentals with us and that’s the record at the moment. 

“We also do deliveries and, once we expand here, we’re going to offer those across a wider area.

“Customers love that – it costs a bit more, but you can start your journey from outside your house and you don’t have to be there to receive the key – it’s all electronic, all done via the app. You don’t have to sign any paperwork – you just start it.”

While the company is primarily focused on Teslas at present it will be expanding its offering of other electric vehicles as charging networks improve – something Jonathan expects to happen rapidly in the near future. It will also be boosting its Canary Wharf bays from four to eight in order to keep pace with demand.

“Something else that’s really important is that we’re a small company so you get a good, personal service,” said Jonathan. 

“The idea is that it feels like a family business – we’ll sort it out if you have a problem. We take really good care of our customers – that’s our focus and it’s at the heart of everything we do.”

Customers hire UFO drive cars via a smartphone app
Customers hire UFO drive cars via a smartphone app

While holidays and longer trips are UFO’s niche, there is another reason people hire its cars and, despite a forthcoming pop-up in Glasgow for COP26, that’s not just to show off their eco-credentials. 

“We are all electric and one of the pleasantly surprising aspects of the business is the demand for that,” said Jonathan. 

“Hiring electric vehicles is already something people just Google for environmental reasons.

“But it’s also a way to try them out before you commit to buying one yourself. With petrol prices at record highs everything points to hiring an EV where charging is included.

“At present it’s a niche part of the market but that makes us really stand out and we’re the only ones doing it really well because of the digital operation we have.

“There are other companies up and down the country but they’re comparatively expensive.

“With us, you are driving a premium vehicle, we can deliver it to you, there’s 24/7 flexibility and we’re affordable. If you add all those things together, it makes sense.

“We think Canary Wharf is very promising for us and could be one of our best locations. Many of the people who work here or live locally have no parking and don’t have a car because they don’t need one for what they do every day.

“But when they need to go away for a couple of days they now have the option of renting an electric vehicle and everything that means as well as the sheer fun of it.”

UFO Drive’s fleet of Tesla Model 3s is located on Parking Level 3 in Canada Square car park in Canary Wharf.

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canary Wharf: How Third Space has all the facilities you need to forge a healthy habit

Senior lead trainer Danny Cunningham on the importance of consistency when it comes to fitness

Danny pushes a sled at Third Space in Canary Wharf
Danny pushes a sled at Third Space in Canary Wharf – image James Perrin

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

“For people to see that exercise is something to do on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth is incredibly important,” said Danny Cunningham.

To describe the senior lead trainer at Third Space as passionate about fitness would be similar to saying Tigger is partial to the odd bounce.

Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to attend one of his classes in Canary Wharf knows he all but vibrates with exactly the sort of infectious energy you need when trying to summon up the motivation to inch that ambitiously heavy kettlebell you accidentally selected at the start of the session, off the ground. 

He also makes it plain, crucially, that if you’d rather just squat using your own bodyweight, then that’s just as valid and equally worthy of celebration.

CONSISTENCY

“Even if somebody turns up and just does 10 minutes of something, that’s going to have a more positive impact on their mental and physical health, than if they neglect exercise altogether that day,” said Danny.

“It’s consistency that enables people to progress. Like cleaning your teeth, you might not do it as hard or as long on certain days, but you know it’s important to do it regularly.

“Exercise is really great, it makes people feel more cheerful. Getting into the habit of training regularly tends to have a beneficial knock-on effect – those who do often finish tasks more efficiently at work or at home, creating real positive momentum.

“The opposite is often true as well – clients often end up telling me they’ve had a bad day when they’ve missed their morning workout, woken up a bit later and turned up to their first meeting feeling a bit rubbish. It all stems from starting off on the wrong foot.

“Morning exercise is great, but it isn’t for everyone – training at lunchtime or in the evening is excellent too.”

Danny knows what he’s talking about – having been thrown in the boxing ring by his east London dad as a boy to “toughen him up”, he studied sports and exercise science at college and university before embarking on a career as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in 2008.

“After several years as a PT, I really wanted to broaden my horizons,” he said. “So in the mornings, evenings and at weekends I continued to train clients, while also holding down nine-to-five jobs. For me, personally, that was also an insurance policy – if you work in a physical job and you get injured, what are you going to do? 

I deliberately sought sales and marketing roles because those skills are transferable back into the fitness sector, a lot of which is about online presence now.”

While Danny now works full-time for Third Space, that previous experience afforded him a particular level of insight into corporate life and how exercise fits into it, having spent two years working for KPMG in Canary Wharf. 

Danny says carving out an hour is vital
Danny says carving out an hour is vital – image James Perrin

PRIORITIES

“The most important thing for people to do is to make sure going to the gym works around their schedule, but at the same time to be flexible enough to prioritise their training,” he said.

“If you’re really busy and literally don’t have any spare time, then you need that discipline to carve out a regular one-hour time-slot in the same diary you use for work.

“You need to see it as a non-negotiable meeting you have to attend. You could argue it’s the most important one in terms of your own positivity.

“People are often happy to prioritise deadlines at work, but they often neglect themselves.

“If they’re able to look after their own health and fitness, they’re much more likely to hit other deadlines and the process will be a lot more enjoyable because they’ll be approaching everything with a positive mindset.”

BREADTH

As many people go back to the office and people’s lives return to pre-pandemic rhythms, Danny said well-equipped and organised gyms offered a potent alternative to working out alone at home.

“One of the things Third Space offers is the variety of its classes and, in terms of the equipment available, it has everything you could think of all under one roof,” he said.

“In terms of classes, you’ve got the mind and body workshops, which are good for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

“Then you’ve got the HIIT classes, which are a lot of fun and the strength-related classes, which are good for people who want to build muscular power.

“You’ve got The Yard, which is the biggest functional training space in London, a huge selection of exercise machines and weights and brilliant studios that are incredibly atmospheric to train in.

“Then, on top of that, there’s a climbing wall, saunas, steam rooms, a swimming pool and other things like the Powerplates where people can come and do low-intensity exercise that gets transformed into something really worthwhile.

“That’s a real contrast to doing boring home workouts where it’s burpee after burpee.”

Third Space's facilities include a combat area
Third Space’s facilities include a combat area – image James Perrin

INCLUSIVITY

“We design our classes to be suitable for every level from complete beginners to seasoned athletes, by giving multiple options and pushing the culture that you don’t have to hit certain targets,” said Danny.

“Instead, as long as you achieve what you are comfortable with, that’s what matters. Music is very important too.

“People probably take it for granted that there’s a certain beat when they first come in – it will have that feel-good factor and a bit of energy in the room.

“Then we start the session, which is supposed to be thought-provoking so we’ll have ambient sounds and dim the lights to get everyone in the right physical and mental zone.

“Throughout the session people can expect epic lights and music plus fun and friendly chat from the instructors to help keep everyone motivated and take away the pain.

“It’s important for them to be enjoyable because as well as the physical benefits, it’s about the mental benefits of turning up and having a good time.

“People come to realise how valuable getting away from their desks and having a release is. Not everyone wants to be pushed to their absolute limits.

“Some want to come in, have a good workout and not feel like they’re dying. But it works for those who do want to push themselves. 

“It’s being in an inclusive environment where everyone can train at their own level next to each other.”

STARTING

Danny said, for people completely new to exercise, the key thing initially was getting into good habits early.

“For people in that position, one of the things to think about is why they didn’t go to a gym before,” he said. “A lot of that may come down to the fear and intimidation of thinking that everyone’s got to be super fit and it wouldn’t be for them. But it’s not like that.

“First of all, people should focus on turning up, because that’s something to celebrate – just building exercise into their lifestyle is the important thing.

“For the first two to six months, their mindset should be: ‘I’m just going to go’.

“Nobody should be putting pressure on themselves to get an eight-pack or huge biceps – they should be celebrating having the motivation and dedication to show up on a regular basis. In the long run, that’s what’s going to keep them healthy and fit throughout their lives.”

Exercise should be about positivity and enjoyment
Exercise should be about positivity and enjoyment – image James Perrin

EVERYWHERE

Having developed an extensive online offering, Danny said Third Space was also well-placed to offer members a balance of on-site services and at-home expertise.

“What’s interesting and not much discussed is that it’s great to have a healthy mix of home and gym workouts to suit your routine,” he said. 

“Personal trainers are aware of this and may well prescribe certain sessions  to do that will be helpful in terms of technique if people can’t get to the gym because of their schedule.”

Membership at Third Space Canary Wharf cost £170 per month, which works out at £5.59 a day.

The company is currently waiving its joining fee and offering new members a free meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first Third Space Spa treatment and two guest passes.

Readers can follow Danny on Instagram here.

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life