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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

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“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.

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Canary Wharf: Fitness brand Sweat By BXR offers free classes at Crossrail Place studio

Boxing, Versaclimbing and Strength And Conditioning sessions all available at its facility

Working the Versaclimber at Sweat By BXR
Working the Versaclimber at Sweat By BXR

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Sign up to Sweat By BXR’s newsletter for a complimentary class

Everywhere, normal life is reasserting itself. Inboxes are buzzing, people are getting back in touch and returning to the office – Canary Wharf hasn’t been this busy since the first three months of 2020.

It’s time to get out and meet again, to shrug off the PJs, shift those extra pandemic pounds and get in shape.

The solution? It’s not home workouts. Contorting yourself to see a tiny figure on your phone flexing something is so first lockdown.

What’s needed is consistent, energising, professional help and boutique, pay-to-train fitness studio, Sweat By BXR in Canary Wharf has an offer that’s hard to resist.

It’s currently offering anyone who signs up for its weekly newsletter a complimentary class. Free, no strings.

“We want to encourage people out of their offices and homes,” said managing director Alex Nicholl. “We want people to come and enjoy the experience, to get back in the studio.

“Once people have done that, we then have two introductory offers that work out at £10 per class for a number of sessions.

“With the complimentary class, we just want people to come in, meet us and try out a workout. It’s that simple.   

“People just need to scan the QR code on the following page, enter their details and we’ll send them a voucher code that can be used for any of our classes.

“That’s a really good, free and then cost-effective way to get into our studios and experience what we have to offer.”

Sweat By BXR’s Alex Nicholl – image by Ilyas Ayub

Specifically the brand’s Crossrail Place branch has two workout spaces that are currently home to three classes – Sweatbox, Strenghtbox and Climb To The Beat.

“We have two concept studios,” said Alex. “One is focused on boxing and the other on Versaclimbing. On the boxing side we have two classes – one designed around boxing and bodyweight exercises that we call Sweatbox.

“The other is designed around boxing plus resistance and weight training – that’s Strengthbox. They both have music and lighting as part of the concept and a really fun atmosphere.

“The studio can hold up to 30 people – 15 can be working out on the heavy bags, while the other 15 are working out on the floor using equipment or their own bodyweight.

“One of the big differences in our product and those offered elsewhere is that our boxing classes come from our heritage with BXR – our concept boxing gym in Marylebone.

“All of our instructors are either current fighters, former fighters or have worked at a high level in boxing so you get a really great workout.

“All the equipment is available at the studio – gloves and wraps, everything is here. We also do pre and post-workout shakes.

“Our workouts are usually 45 minutes, with at least 41 minutes of exercise and a three or four-minute stretch towards the end.”

Sweat By BXR offers boxing-inspired workouts at its studio

Inspired by the regimes of top boxers, who need explosive cardio workouts to compete at the highest levels, Sweat By BXR also has something pretty special.

“At BXR, we opened the first Versaclimber studio in Europe when we launched our Marylebone site in 2017,” said Alex. “It’s a machine at a 75-degree angle that has handholds and pedals to mimic climbing. 

“As a machine it’s unique in the fitness world – it’s completely non-impact and burns more calories per minute than any other. It’s a total body workout. You can do an intense interval workout on it – lots of boxers use it before a fight.

“But the first time I tried one, I was on it for an hour and absolutely loved it. There’s a rhythm there, a catharsis in the movement of it. So I sat with some specialists and we were able to conceptualise and create a class for it.

“We launched that in April 2017 and Climb To The Beat became our biggest selling product. The energy, the highs, the pumping music and its crescendos all play into it. I have a background in nightlife so I’m very keen on working with DJs and light technicians to create an atmosphere. 

“The energy is unlike anything I’ve seen in a studio before – it’s a particular feeling. The fact your heart rate goes up so high but that you can recover quickly just by bringing your hands down and then go again, makes it a product for everyone. 

“Coming out of the pandemic is so much about getting yourself back into a regime – there’s a mental health element to that too. 

“Boxing is entrenched in that and the highs from Climb To The Beat also make people feel really good – they walk out of a class with smiles on their faces. We really want people to come and experience that.

“Our pay-ast-you-train model offers our clients a lot of flexibility and that’s key, particularly at the moment.

“We’ve extended all of our expiry dates so people get greater flexibility and can buy a pack of classes, keep them and use them when they need to train.”

A full class timetable is available here.

Sweat By BXR’s Versaclimber studio space
VERSACLIMBER
Climb To The Beat is Sweat By BXR’s most popular class with participants following the beat of the music on their machines, increasing and decreasing intensity as the sounds ebb and flow.

Beloved of osteopaths and physios, the machines are non-impact meaning the risk of injury is reduced. 

Sweat is currently developing a new class, Performance, that will use heart rate monitors to gauge intensity. It’s expected on the Wharf in 2022. 
Sweat By BXR’s boxing studio space
BOXING
With capacity for 30 people, Sweat By BXR’s boxing studio draws on boxing concept gym BXR in Marylebone.

The workouts offered within – Strengthbox and Sweatbox – include full body exercises, punching skills and instructors who are either fighters or involved in the sport at a high level.

Participants alternate between floor-based workouts and using the plentiful heavy bags to the rear of the studio space.

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Blackwall: Myoset opens its doors to a new era of physiotherapy at Republic

Co-founder Tim Kayode and his team are all set to help clients achieve their movement goals pain-free

Myoset co-founder Tim Kayode – image Matt Grayson

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There’s an energy about Tim Kayode, a determination to progress. Perhaps that’s not surprising given his background. Born and raised in Hackney, he began playing football as a kid, winning a place at West Ham’s Academy.

“I thought that was all I was going to do,” he said. “I played professionally, travelled abroad and played in Germany, Japan and Australia.”

But at 22, disaster. A dislocated kneecap, two years in rehab and then, a crushing blow.

“The doctor was very honest with me – I was going to struggle to play into my 30s,” said Tim. “So, I had to decide – feel sorry for myself, or figure out what I’m passionate about and just do it.

“I had good support around me, a family who encouraged me, including my sister who gave me a good kick up the backside – I was broken, but she asked why if I’d been successful in one field, I couldn’t be successful in another?”

While still playing, he began studying physiotherapy straight away – a natural move given his extensive experience of professional sport. After qualification he closed the door on football and launched a freelance practice.

“I found myself very fortunate, because I built a big, strong client base in a short period of time,” said Tim. “I started working with elite athletes straight away, and my first big client was the WBA super-flyweight boxing champion, Kal Yafai who had also won silver for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics as a flyweight.”

A slew of high profile clients followed, but the need to travel with them, often for months, meant, as a freelancer, Tim was finding it increasingly difficult to find time to treat those left back home.

“My normal clients were getting frustrated with me because they needed to be looked after too,” said Tim. “That was when I realised that I needed to expand, find a team of like-minded people I could trust who would work with me. 

“The day the first lockdown started, was the start of this process. I had to pursue my goals and dreams. I had to go for it.”

Tim assesses a client at Myoset – image Matt Grayson

That process has resulted in the creation of Myoset, which opened its doors to paying customers this week at the Republic development in Blackwall.

Tim, along with co-founder Qasim Shah and five other staff members, has created a one-stop-shop dedicated to helping people do the things they want to do, moving without pain or encumbrance.

“The physiotherapy industry is quite outdated in terms of the ethos, the methods and techniques that are used,” said Tim. “I feel that, with Myoset, we’re going to shake things up, to push the envelope, change things and give it an update. 

“Ultimately it’s all about making people feel better. That’s what we want – people to be healthier, and to do what they like doing pain-free while moving better – that’s the aim.

“What we wanted to do was to create a space where people could come in and benefit from an overall wellness service.

“Not only will we be running, physio, massage, sports massage, manual therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic services, we will also have a recovery lounge, where we’ll be using the latest, cutting edge recovery tools and we’ll also have a nurse in, doing IV drips.

“In addition we’ll be offering classes and next year we’ll have a full body cryotherapy chamber as well.

“It’s all in one place and it allows us as practitioners to put our clients in the best possible position to succeed.”

Those are telling words, as Myoset’s ethos is very much geared towards ensuring individuals are approaching their lives and exercises in a healthy manner.

“There is never a wrong time to see a physio,” said Tim. “The biggest problem that I have as a practitioner is that somebody will come to me when they’re six months into the injury.

“My question is, why do we wait until we are hurt before we decide to look after our bodies?

“This is something that we should be doing anyway – you take your car for an MOT and a service, even if it’s not damaged – we should be looking after our bodies at regular intervals in the same way so we can fine tune and future proof ourselves against getting injured. That’s what we’re trying to do here.

“Myo means muscle and that’s what we’re doing, setting and re-setting your muscles, your body, your alignment and, as a result, the way you feel.

“Everything we do is for that purpose. For example we’ll be offering Pilates because I can get you out of pain as a physio but the reason you’re coming in the first place may be down to a lack of strength or that your posture needs correcting. 

“The way to do that is through Pilates, which we consider to be movement therapy. We want to educate as well, and empower our clients so they feel confident enough to do stuff in their own time when they’re at home – that’s how they will sustain and maintain their bodies.”

Tim said he fell in love with Republic after one of his clients in Canary Wharf suggested he take a look at the area.

“The key thing for me over here is the community, and that’s what we’re keen on,” he said.

“I don’t want people to feel like they’re going to the dentist when they come to Myoset for treatment.

“This is somewhere clients can come in, train, get treatment, do a class, get an IV drip and recover, all in one place

“In a few years time I would like this to be the go-to practice in the country, and I would like our ethos and methods to change the industry, particularly in the UK.

“I plan to open at least two more practices around London. We have a great team here and I feel we can achieve what we want.”

First appointments start at £95 for an hour long assessment with follow-ups at £75 and £50 for an hour or half-hour respectively. Membership options covering a range of services are also available.

Myoset Pilates instructor Rhiannon Williams – image Matt Grayson
TRAINER PROFILE
Rhiannon Williams
Pilates Instructor
Myoset

Rhiannon Williams is well used to the principle of using exercise to help deal with pain. Having moved from North Yorkshire to London to train as a dancer, she discovered Pilates from the professional ballerinas training her.

“I actually had a lower back issue, which is how I got into Pilates myself,” she said. “I was in a lot of pain and when I was breathing, I could feel pain in my lower back. Pilates is the only thing I’ve done since then which has nullified it, so I don’t have any issues any more.
“That’s why I had it in my head that I wanted to make Pilates my speciality.
“I qualified first as a personal trainer about four years ago, but I never found my niche. Now I live and breathe Pilates.”

Rhiannon’s role at Myoset is Pilates instructor and, alongside other duties, will take charge of the group classes at the venue.

She said: “Clients can expect to come into a comfortable environment and learn why their body is doing what it’s doing.
“I think that what is key is that everybody’s body is different. Yes, you may have a similar posture, but even if you had the same posture as the person next to you, there’s something different.
“What people will learn here, for example, is why they feel tightness in their right shoulder rather than their left and what they can do when they’re not in the clinic to address it.
“I have a very analytical eye, and I analyse people from the minute they walk in, finding those little things and homing in on them.

“It’s a studio space here, with between six and eight in a class so people can get that one-to-one feeling.
“I love that because you can get up close and personal – you can really get into the nitty-gritty of what people are doing.
“I think for me, once I’ve gone through a Pilates session with someone, they’ll come out and say: ‘How I feel now compared with how I started is great’.
“No-one ever says that they feel worse – they always feel better.
“I know that it’s something that has worked for me, so I know it will work for other people too and I really think it’s something everyone should try.
“A lot of people ask me: ‘Is it like Yoga?’. I feel it’s an exercise method that’s not known about as much as it should be – what you get from it and where it came from is fascinating.
“It’s a full body workout, where you are lengthening the muscles, strengthening them and solidifying the foundations of your body.
“People can leave knowing that they’ve learnt something about themselves as well.”

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