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Canary Wharf: How Third Space can help Wharfers maximise their training days

Elite personal trainer Stephanie Whitehead talks gym workouts, top equipment and mental health

Third Space's Stephanie Whitehead
Third Space’s Stephanie Whitehead

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There’s more to going into work than toiling at a desk or moaning about your employer in the office kitchen.

It’s about coming to a different environment and being able to take advantage of facilities that simply don’t exist in the suburbs or the home counties.

Take Third Space in Canary Wharf, for example.

Set over three floors, it boasts more than 100,000sq ft of training space including a climbing wall, swimming pool, boxing ring and pretty much every piece of exercise equipment you can call to mind.

Regular readers of Wharf Life will already be familiar with the hundreds of classes it offers every week, with everything from Yoga and Pilates through to the epic Yard WOD set in its purpose-built CrossFit-style training area.

The club recently launched its autumn campaign, offering memberships with no joining fee, encouraging Wharfers to see its extensive facilities as an extra benefit to heading into work, as more and more people transition back to regular commuting.

Elite personal trainer at Third Space Canary Wharf, Stephanie Whitehead, said the benefits to exercising this way were clear.

“Training at the gym is very different from training at home,” she said.

“During lockdown, because I’m a trainer, I could be very resourceful and come up with great workouts using just one kettlebell and that would be great fun.

“But we don’t have to do that anymore. The difference here is, firstly, the environment. This isn’t working out on a mat on your kitchen floor.

“Here, you’re in amazing surroundings with people doing really cool things.  You’re somewhere else and focused – you’re ready to train.

Third Space Canary Wharf has received some recent upgrades including to its free weights area
Third Space Canary Wharf has received some recent upgrades including to its free weights area

“Secondly, it’s all the equipment. You’re not limited by what you have at home.

“If you haven’t been in a gym for a while, that can seem overwhelming – which is why having the input of a personal trainer is really important.

“Suppose, for example, you’re coming into the office a few days each week.

“We can put a programme together for you that fits that, tailored to maximise what you get out of each specific visit.

“Each trainer will have a different style and a different approach, but it’s our job to give you that clarity, structure and focus.

“It also prevents you just doing the things that you are good at, which can create imbalances in the body.

“My approach would be to work with a client on an all-round programme based on the number of days they are coming in to make sure all of their muscle groups are getting involved and we’re working on their whole body.

“For example, I’ll do strength training, but in terms of conditioning, I’ll always try to throw in bigger, full-movements like thrusters or squats.

“That way you get better results and the client gets more bang for their buck.

“I’d say a minimum of three visits a week is a good idea because that is just enough to build habit and consistency and it’s achievable.”

Stephanie says she believes in pushing herself and her clients
Stephanie says she believes in pushing herself and her clients

Stephanie has worked in the industry for more than a decade and has been a trainer at the Canary Wharf club for eight years.

She is also assistant fitness manager there, meaning she mentors new personal trainers as well as working directly with clients.

Having discovered a passion for fitness at university while studying psychology, she went on to compete in CrossFit before developing a career on the gym floor.

That broad background means she is well-placed to understand the benefits training can have on her clients’ mental health as well as their physical state.

“A lot of my clients would say they have very stressful jobs – lawyers who work really long hours, or bankers who might deal with mistakes involving millions of pounds – really high levels of pressure to deal with,” said Stephanie.

“Firstly, coming to the gym is a distraction and, secondly, it’s a complete break with everyday life.

“I always say to people that this is a place where they can leave work behind – one hour, which is just for them.

“No work, no phone if they want – just the training.

“Exercise is an outlet – a lot of my clients have a little vent at the beginning of their session and then forget the minutiae of the day.

“There’s also that feeling of achievement – getting that personal best on the 2k row or lifting heavier than ever before.

Third Space's recent upgrades include new pin-loaded weight machines
Third Space’s recent upgrades include new pin-loaded weight machines

“With consistency and discipline you will see results and that’s what’s so rewarding about it.

“It’s positive reinforcement and it’s just different from the feeling you get from, say, buying a nice pair of shoes.

“That can be great, but it wears off quite quickly, whereas the feeling you get from achieving in the gym, whether it’s building muscle or losing body fat, means you get fitter and stronger.”

Over the pandemic, many people will have naturally lost the habit of going to a gym and may be nervous about their ability to return to regular training. 

Stephanie said the best remedy was simply to start exercising, but not to worry about attaining a certain level of fitness before getting back in the gym. 

“Personal trainers are not like drill sergeants – we’re not going to go crazy at the beginning,” she said.

“Personal training is very tailored, so each individual client will have a different ability level. We’ll assess that in the beginning and we just go from there. 

“Every single person, no matter what strength or fitness level they’re at will certainly see progress by the end of a few months.

“It might be that that they’re moving better or they feel less out of breath. They might be stronger or feel better.

“But there’s definitely no minimum standard to start coming to the gym – any time is a good time to start.

“My tip would always be to increase frequency.

Stephanie says commuters can get great benefit from exercising three times a week
Stephanie says commuters can get great benefit from exercising three times a week

“If you’re going only once a week and progress seems slow, then going up to three times will be of benefit.

“It’s also important to not just do that same movements over and over. That’s where a personal trainer can really help.

“Personally, I like having a certain amount of pressure.

“That’s why I compete in CrossFit, because having that constant challenge to improve gives me a limitless reservoir of drive and motivation.

“My training philosophy has always been to push myself and, within their own limits, that’s how I work with my clients too.”

In addition to its Canary Wharf club, Third Space operates in the City and at Marylebone, Islington, Mayfair, Moorgate, Soho and Tower Bridge. 

  • Third Space is currently offering memberships to its clubs with no joining fee.
  • Other incentives include discounted personal training sessions, two complimentary guest passes to the club worth £50, a meal from Natural Fitness Food, 10% off at The Pearson Room and a 25% discount off the member’s first treatment or massage at the Third Space’s Canary Wharf Spa. 
  • Club membership at Canary Wharf costs £180 per person, per month. The cost of personal training sessions varies.

Read more: How Canary Wharf’s Junior Board is shaping the estate

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com

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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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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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