The second you set foot in Third Space City, the cavernous health club in the new Minster Building near Fenchurch Street, is the second you stop referring to it as a gym.
A skier is swooping and gliding at a simulated 3,000 feet in the hypoxic chamber, while a peloton of cyclists are battling headwind turbines in the spin room.
Yogis are striking poses beneath a calm-inducing curved ceiling of the Mind & Body studio, and swimmers are freestyling in their own lanes thanks to swish ultra-violet lighting that not only illuminates a dark, hotel-style pool, but cleans the water so it stays chlorine free.
Yes this is fitness at its finest, and while the term ‘gym’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard for what is surely a contender for most luxurious health club in the Square Mile, make no mistake, its members are here to sweat.
What is it?
This is the fifth facility for the luxury fitness operator, which has developed a devout band of followers with sites in Soho, Marylebone, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. CEO Colin Waggett has also announced another new addition to the fold with Third Space Islington scheduled to open in the first half of 2019.
But back to the City and the company has pulled out all the stops for the 27,000 sq ft club in Mark Lane. There is a 20-metre swimming pool, three group fitness studios and five purpose-built training areas, including a padded area for hand-to-hand combat training and a rig and sprint track zone for personal training and group circuit classes.
Everything is geared towards the time-poor professional, from the MYZONE heart rate monitors that link up to nearby screens displaying whether members are in the right fat burning zone, right through to the hypoxic chamber that simulates high altitudes so you can work out harder in half the time.
“The cardio effects of training at altitude are well known, but difficult to experience,” Colin says. “It’s about specialisation – people want new experience and to be able to train like athletes.”
How does it work?
Every new Third Space member receives a one-hour Out/Set induction programme, during which a trainer will assess your strength and fitness levels and design a tailored programme to help you achieve your goals. There is a full suite of group fitness classes on the timetable, which cover cardio, strength and conditioning, mind and body, combat and dance plus swimming and other water-based workouts.
We try Afterburner; a 45-minute high-intensity functional training circuit developed to torch calories long after you have stopped sweating.
Stations incorporate TRX, weights, battle ropes and body-weight exercises to promote ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’, where your body has to work overtime to replenish its oxygen resources after exercise, thus increasing your metabolism and burning additional calories.
What are the benefits?
For members of Third Space City, the list appears to be never ending.
The colossal bathrooms are up there with the best of them; all bronze, timber and back lit, spacious shower rooms (not cubicles) with Cowshed products and row upon row of vanity space stocked with all the kit you could possibly forget to bring. Change facilities are also staffed around the clock, so they always look pristine, even straight after the morning spin class.
Members can mend post-workout at the sports medicine clinic, which includes physiotherapy, osteotherapy and massage, or refuel with Natural Fitness Food, a menu of meals and made-to-order shakes designed by performance nutritionists.
But while the backlit mirrors and laundry service are a nice touch, Colin says Third Space’s biggest drawcard in what is now an overcrowded market for boutique fitness is the results members can achieve.
“Everybody knows that to get results and keep motivated you need to cross train,” he says.
“At Third Space you get a collection of boutique-like training spaces under one roof – wrapped up in quality, luxury service.”
Individual memberships are £165 per month, with £10 off for corporate memberships. Unsurprisingly, given its location, a weekend-only membership is much cheaper at £96 per month.
Where can I try it?
Third Space City, 40 Mark Lane EC3R 7AT