Athleisure too cool to break a sweat in? Not at new City sportswear retailer WIT Fitness, which has a freshly minted training facility below the retail store for fans of CrossFit to break in their new kit.
The training facility is a first for the brand, which specialises in athletic footwear and apparel for ‘the sport of fitness’, but when you consider its customers are among the most devoted of gym junkies, giving them a slick new spot to get their sweat on seems a no-brainer.
What is it?
The retail arm of WIT Fitness has been up and running since 2015, stocking athletic footwear and apparel from brands like Nike and Reebok as well as its own range designed for devotees of functional movement training programmes like CrossFit.
There is currently a WIT Fitness store in Shoreditch, but the company’s expansion to a much larger two-storey site in One New Change provided scope for a training facility, engineering WIT’s transition from a fitness retailer to a fitness lifestyle brand.
How does it work?
WIT Training offers Crossfit-style metabolic conditioning (metcon) coaching, with programmes developed by some of its top dogs, including Crossfit Games founder Dave Castro.
For the uninitiated, Crossfit is a fitness regimen that builds strength and conditioning through varied and challenging exercises designed to test different parts of your functional movement and build a body that is capable of practically anything.
At WIT, coaches run eight sessions per day designed around Crossfit’s metcon principles of weightlifting, gymnastics and endurance.
A metcon session begins with mobility stretches, followed by a general warm up, then a warm up specific to the muscles you will be working in the weightlifting section; in our case the shoulders and lats required for the snatch.
Then it’s on to the skills section where we are coached on the correct technique for the snatch (lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion) and encouraged to add more and more weight until we reach our maximum.
As it is the beginning of a new programme or ‘test week’, these weights are recorded and used as a base figure to measure progress.
Bodyweight exercises follow (variations on pull ups) and the session concludes with a CrossFit favourite; the WOD or Workout of the Day.
Three exercises, 12 minutes, as many reps as possible. Again, our rounds and reps are recorded and will be used to track progression throughout the course of the three-month season.
What are the benefits?
Fast results in a community of like-minded fitness fanatics. That’s what has earned CrossFit its cult-like following over the last 15 years and WIT certainly aren’t changing the formula.
Head coach Gus Vaz Tostes, who designs all the programmes, says the regimen is designed for people of any fitness level to reach their peak strength and stamina.
“People come in to lose a bit of weight around their belly, but the achievements keep them coming back; when they can add an extra 10-kilogram weight or do their first pull-up, it’s addictive,” he says.
WIT allows drop-ins but the sessions are designed to be smashed out three times per week as part of a year-long programme, with each season targeting strength, power, endurance and stamina.
“You don’t realise how well it’s working until all of a sudden everything comes together and you’re stronger, you’re moving better, and you’re looking better as well.”
A one-month unlimited membership will set you back £250 but the rates go down the longer you subscribe. One-off sessions are £25 plus whatever you happen to spend in the shop updating your gym kit. There is no pressure to buy the clothes, but we imagine showing up in tattered tracksuit pants while the rest of the team is decked out in a uniform of singlets with slick logos and ergonomic training tights would get old fast.
Where can I try it?
Lower Ground, One New Change EC4M 9AF