7 Day Challenge at Un1t, London Bridge

What they say:
UN1T is a team conditioning studio offering a trio of cardio, strength, and mobility focused classes, all incorporating teamwork and unity to complete the class. In UN1T, We Train As One.

What I say:

My first Un1t experience at BeFit festival
Having tried Un1t for the first time at the Be:Fit London festival, to return a couple of months later at Balance (yep, another fitness festival!), needless to say I was eager to visit the studio and try out the real thing. So, when Emma/aka lunch_and_lycra asked if I'd be up for completing the 7 Day Challenge (7 classes over 7 days for £20), I jumped at the chance!

The Be:Fit London set up, time to try the real studio!
What is it?

The theory behind Un1t is relatively simple, but effective. Working on the principles of circuit training, Un1t classes are designed to focus on the essential basics of building strength, muscular endurance, mobility and cardiovascular health. One of the best equipped studios I've ever visited, with everything from Ski-erg's, to Aero-bikes, to rowing machines, ropes to climb, kettle bells, dumbbells, shuttle rallys - you name it! Each day the studio is set up with a different focus, meaning a varied experience testing different elements of your fitness on different days.

Confused? Yes, I was a tad too to begin with, but as I began my 7 days down at the London Bridge studio, it soon all began to make sense....

Sunday - Entity

Day one - ENTITY!

Workout no.1, and we were starting strong with 'Entity' - a tabata style cardio based workout. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off was the structure, which was repeated throughout the 40 minutes class. A cardio focused workout, but including essential elements of strength, we were challenged to everything from sweaty sled pushes, aero-bike sprints, goblet squat holds, Ski-erg pulls and 10 other station challenges. With the instructors cheering us on at every round, although we left the studio feeling super sweaty and just a tad store, we were certainly smiling... and keen to return for more!

Monday - Grind

Screens show you the next exercise
So there's no excuse to doddle!

Another cardio one, Grind is all about testing your limits. Working in a pyramid style, we had three different units, four stations in each, five rounds of each unit. Yes, you heard, five rounds of each unit, working up with 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, then back down 30 seconds and the finisher 20 seconds. A mega tough structure due to the high number of rounds, but I was beginning to understand the Un1t theory of 'training as one' - when everyone in the studio is encouraging and motivating one another, you suddenly realise your abilities are a lot higher than they would be if you were training alone.

Tuesday - Legion

Today's concept - Strength - my favourite! With regulars Cat and Flo joining Emma and myself for some added moral support, we were all set to make our way into Legion, the class designed specifically to fatigue the muscles by overloading with heavy weights and high reps. With the stations set up to purposely focus on one muscle group at a time, it allowed you to work to failure on every set, maximising those muscle gains.

With the squad (I swear the co-ordinating activewear wasn't intentional!)

And, turns out if you don't push yourself to the max, there's a punishment - burpees! As Un1t owner/ex pro Rugby player, Rob, Smyth, blew his whistle and demanded 10 burpees from everyone in the class after spotting somebody slacking, we very quickly learned that, at Un1t, there's no room for rest!

Ab blast finisher
Wednesday - Ally

Back to cardio and I'm not going to lie, as a partner based workout, this was one I was kind of dreading. The idea is that everyone in the class pairs up and is given a task to do, with a certain amount of time to complete the exercise, competing against the other pairs in your unit. So why was I dreading it, you ask? It's not that I'm not competitive (I am!), I just didn't like the idea of potentially letting my partner down! I needn't have worried however, as my partner was geuinely so lovely, and the PT trainers so motivating, we smashed out each set to be crowned the winners of our unit. YUSSSSS!

This class even included a quick outdoor sprint round the block!

Thursday - Force

Back to a strength session and man was I glad.... my little legs couldn't take much more cardio after the previous evening! The force based workout is performed in a circle, with every member facing one another, meaning there's no slacking and nowhere to hide. Training as ONE =  STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!

TRX, box jumps, prowlers - it's all go for Force

Friday - Regiment

Friday - after nearly a weeks work out Un1T workouts, got to admit, I was feeling pretty exhausted! But once I set my mind on something, I refuse to be defeated, so it was back to London Bridge for the penultimate class. Described as a 'cardio frenzy', Regiment was all about pushing you wayyyyyy out of your comfort zone and, whilst I didn't think I could face another cardio class, this one was definitely one of my favourites. Why? The timing structure! With only 30 seconds per exercise to complete, you worked at 95% of your max effort for 20 seconds, then the final 10 seconds were all about going hell for leather and emptying the energy stores you didn't think you had. I mean, you can do anything for 10 seconds right? Or, that's what I kept telling myself ... but it worked!

Saturday - Trooper

Final day - the troopers! 

Final class - and by FAR my favourite! The Un1t signature class, Tropper is a 14 station circuit with a competitive twist. Rather than working on each station to a time specified by the instructor, how long you work depends on, well, how long other people in your class work! Whoever is on the prowler is responsible for setting the time, and only once they have completed four lengths of the studio pushing that heavy weight up and down, can everyone move to the next station. To add even more pressure, each class is competing against one another to see who can get as many laps round the stations as possible. With a free smoothie for the 'Super Trooper', the person identified as really pushing therefore to the limits, it was all to play for!

The Verdict

Needless to say,  I work out a lot, so when I signed up to the 7 day challenge at Un1t I didn't honestly expect to feel much of a difference. Sure, I thought it would be tough, but I hadn't quite prepared for just HOW tough. Thing is, the instructors at Un1t really do push you to the absolute limits, and beyond. They aren't afraid to stand and shout right in your face to get you to push that little bit harder, but will also give you the biggest high five and congratulations once the workout is over!

Every class has atleast two instructors, fully demonstrating the moves before you begin

The main thing about Un1t that I loved, however, is that although it challenges your body to the max in every session, unlike many of London's other high intensity studios Un1t provides a workout that really is sustainable. Don't get me wrong, I love Barry's, but pounding your joints day after day on the treadmills just can't be good for your body. At Un1t, with the workouts being structured to make sure you're building both strength and cardio, combined with each class having at least two instructors to assess your form and ensure your performing each exercise correctly, it's by far one of the safest studios around to work on both everything from fitness and endurance, to strength and stamina.

Un1t - I'll be back!!!!


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