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The Wonderush Spotlight: Kelechnekoff Fitness

Kelechi Okafor is awesome. She’s been listing Twerk Werkz classes on Wonderush for months, and getting fantastic reviews in the process. This week she opened her very own fitness studio in London, which means she’s now in an even better position to help people all over the city to have the kind of really positive workout experience she always aims to achieve. We can’t wait for our first visit to the brand new Kelechnekoff Fitness, but in the meantime we sat down for a chat, because we love doing that with people we think are really cool:

How did you get into what you do?

I can’t remember actually getting into dance because I’ve always danced from a young age.  It was very much a part of my West-African culture. I started teaching others to dance as a form of fitness six years ago when I realised that people want to enjoy themselves as they get fit.  Not everyone wants to “feel the burn!”.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is firmly rooted in loving everybody I encounter and assisting them on their fitness journey in the way that makes them most comfortable. I always say that my only rule is that we don’t use the word “can’t” in a class, because we can do anything we put our passion into.

Why would you recommend your activity?

I would recommend Twerk Werkz because it really does work! It gets you fit, gives you a cute booty and puts a big smile on your face.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

People are always surprised to find out that my favourite genre of music is actually Country & Western. Maybe I’ll start doing country music fitness classes and combining my passions!

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

When I’m not at work, I like to read poetry and watch really terrible reality TV. Sorry!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

My favourite part of London will always be Peckham.  I grew up there, and its vibrance is what I always miss when I travel to other places. I love food and would definitely recommend “Obalende Suya” for Nigerian-inspired grilled meats and tasty dishes.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

The experience I would like to try most in the world is probably crossing a really high bridge connecting two mountains somewhere in Asia. I imagine that being so high would be terrifying but I would also get to experience breathtaking views (if I don’t pass out from fear!).

What does the future have in store for you?

The future is exciting! My studio “Kelechnekoff Fitness” has just opened, and there’ll be loads of classes focused around shaking your bum or climbing a pole.  The studio is in Clapton and I’m really looking forward to the experience of bringing my super Fit Love ethos to East London.

If you can’t wait for your first trip to Kelechnekoff Fitness you can book Twerk Werkz, Pole dance, and all kinds of other cool stuff by visiting Kelechi’s profile on Wonderush.com.

Fitness, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Spotlight, Things To Do, Try Something New

The Wonderush Spotlight: Hackney Hiitsters

We couldn’t really claim to be the fittest bunch of people at Team Wonderush. The most exercise we used to get was joking about how one of us never really gets to the gym, despite meaning to. However, our fitness levels are starting to change since we met the Hackney Hiitsters. Their HIIT workouts are hardcore but fun, and the group itself is friendly and encouraging (definitely necessary after about five minutes of work). In fact, they’re so great we couldn’t resist finding out a little bit more, so we spoke to Shelley, their awesome founder:

How did you get into what you do?

I have always been into fitness from a young age. I the studied it at College then went on to University to gain a BSc in Sport Science. From here I started my fitness career as a Personal Trainer at David Lloyd getting involved in many group exercise classes along the way.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Motivational and encouraging all the way.

Why would you recommend your activity?

Our classes effective and full of functional and fun exercises.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

I can play the Ukuele.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Socialise with friends and fitness of course!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

Stoke Newington has had my heart from the beginning, Church Street is a magical place.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

If it can be out of the world? It would to visit the moon and experience space, the unknown excites me!

What does the future have in store for you?

With working at Premier Training I teach students to build their own business. When they ask me my plan, my reply is always ‘going global’!

If you fancy an amazing workout check out Hackney Hiitsters and get booking! You’ll ache tomorrow, but you’ll thank us later.

Photo credit: Ed Reeve
Break Your Routine, Fitness, Live More Awesome, Spotlight, Things To Do, Try Something New

The Wonderush Spotlight: Hotpod Yoga

Picture the scene: You’ve been at your desk all day, people have been annoying you, you’ve got a niggling ache that won’t go away. Sounds like most weekdays, right? We’re not really into that, and our friends at Hotpod Yoga aren’t either. They’ve made it their mission to make hot yoga accessible in order to help everyone work out the stresses of life in the city. We’re all over that idea so we sat down with Nick – Hotpod yoga teacher extraordinaire – to find out more.

How did you get into what you do?

It took me rather a long time to discover yoga. I was suffering from achey joints and a back that clicked and clunked all the time due to poor posture and bad habits I had developed over the years. I had seen chiropractors, osteopaths and physios but nothing helped; so I embarked on searching for something else.
I tried a number of yoga studios but felt that even those classes weren’t effective, and it was only when I tried hot yoga that things fell into place. I came out having never felt so good; worked, cleansed, and my muscles and joints felt open and mobile. I was hooked.
I started going more and more regularly, once a day for a 3 – 4 years. Soon I realised this was what I wanted to do; give others the experience I had discovered and to make others feel as good as it made me feel. That was the beginning.
I trained as a yoga instructor and taught part time, however, it was teaming up with my old school friend Max that changed the picture – who had a similar entrance to yoga as I did. We wanted to bring yoga to the 99% of people who had never done it before, to appeal to those who see yoga as something far-fetched and other-worldly, and bring it down to earth so that everyone can gain the benefits of the amazing practice – this is how Hotpod Yoga started.

How would you describe your teaching style?

How I view teaching is keeping it really simple, as if talking to a child. Not in a patronising way, but so that the students who come really grasp what is happening and why, so that things are clear.
Our classes are a little intense with the heat and movement so I try to make people as comfortable as possible with a little light heartedness (bad gags basically!), but the important thing for me is to try and make sure that those who are fresh to the class/environment grasp it and feel amazing, so that they really see and appreciate the benefits of it.

Why would you recommend your activity?

The way Hotpod Yoga makes me feel – my mind calmed, my body worked, open and strong; ready for whatever the day may bring – is second to none. Its a gamechanger of an experience which I would recommend to any body – and mind!

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

I am terrified of space. Outer; not personal.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Believe it or not – yoga! And, of course, seeing friends, discovering London, festivals, travelling, riding my motorbike, learning, learning more, learning even more about myself and the world around me.

What’s your favourite part of London?

I really like walking along the canals and discovering cafes overlooking the water – my most recent favourite being the Towpath Cafe.

What does the future have in store for Hotpod Yoga?

This September, we are going to be offering City workers a chance to supercharge themselves and their workdays, with the introduction of 20-minute power classes at One New Change. The classes have been created in a bid to combat sedentary – a ‘disease’ which now kills more people each year than HIV – whilst simultaneously providing a time-efficient way for office professionals to reach a physical and performance high.
We’re partnering with The Grange Hotel who offers their sauna, spa and shower facilities, and One New Change retailers offering discounts on food and beverage options post-class, the Power Lunch Series promises to be the most immersive, effective lunch hour London has ever seen. So if you’re in the City and want to have a revitalising lunch break, book a session here.

If you can’t wait to climb into that inflatable and get down to some serious yoga, you can find Hotpod yoga classes on Wonderush. We’ll see you there!

Fitness, Live More Awesome, Spotlight, Things To Do, Try Something New

The Wonderush Spotlight: ShakeUp Fit

ShakeUp Fit are all about livening up the average workout and making people smile, which we love. With their classes shaking up the scene in East London, we decided it was high time we sat them down and found out a bit more. And that’s where ShakeUp Fit’s lovely leader Mel came in:

How did you get into what you do?

I started by going along to a friend’s class who had just started teaching Zumba. She needed some moral support and I fell in love with it. A couple months later we had cover teachers while she was away that the class just hated. So many teachers have so many different styles that it’s hard to introduce a class to a new style if they are used to yours. She then asked me to start covering, which I did, and then after a few years I started my own classes! Now I teach dance fitness and am training to be a yoga teacher.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My style is very mixed. We have some Zumba, and a bit of street dance in there too. I like to teach to music I enjoy so you’ll often come along and just hear songs in the charts. Everybody loves a good workout to Beyoncé and Bieber.

Why would you recommend your activity?

It’s fun. The girls who come along are so lovely and welcoming. They work so hard but the best part is they never stop smiling or laughing. I always make a joke of some kind when I see they are struggling and they just smile and keep going. We sweat but we also smile.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

By day I work in the financial industry! I’m a business analyst these days but did 10 years working for different investment banks.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Fitness. If I’m not doing yoga, I’m dancing or I’m swimming. I love trying out new types as well. I went to a trampoline park recently and loved it and am trying to get into a class to try out the new aqua board exercise where you do HIIT workouts on an inflatable board on a pool!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

I was born and raised in Hackney, so I’m a full-on East London boy. I now live further out East but I still love East London. It’s so diverse, it’s so creative and there are such cool trends that come in and out. The food courts and music festivals have to be the best in East!

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d love to learn how to fly. I actually don’t like flying much myself, but I reckon I would love to be at the front steering the plane. To be able to soar, to be able to have that feeling of weightlessness would just be incredible.

What does the future have in store for you?

Hopefully more of the same. I’d like to build my classes up to really good numbers, keep exploring new forms of fitness, and build some yoga classes. Long term, I’d love to have my own studio but I know that’s a long way off yet. I love meeting new people and getting them along to my class to smile. If you like smiling and want to work out at the same time, then come and meet me!

So, how about shaking up your next workout? You can book ShakeUp Fit’s sessions here. Have an awesome time!

Break Your Routine, Fitness, Live More Awesome, Spotlight, Things To Do, Try Something New

Wonderush Spotlight: London Dance Company

The London Dance Company are awesome. Instead of the same old workouts they offer super-fun activities in a range of unexpected settings. Barre at the Bar, anyone? We really like people who shake things up and try new things, so we couldn’t wait to catch up with Aaron, who created the London Dance Company, and find out more:

How did you get into what you do?

Believe it or not, I used to hate dance! My dream was to be in musical theatre, and it was when chasing this dream that everyone told me that as a boy in this trade I needed to be a triple threat – I had to be able to act, sing and dance. I failed the first time I applied for a performing arts school but this was the push I needed to raise funds myself to realize my dream and so my love of dance began. I trained as a professional dancer at one of London’s top performing arts schools, Laine Theatre Arts. After graduation I was lucky enough to go to America and perform in three shows iBroadway, Celebrate The World, and Boogie Wonderland. When I returned to the UK I was asked to choreograph for a production company, alongside beginning to teach a few classes in and around London, and also coordinating and running dance workshops for all ages across the UK. I fell in love with what I do, the variety, the places and meeting great people and haven’t stopped since. I have worked and accomplished so much since college and I love building my brand. Recently I’ve travelled to China to teach at three ballet institutions and also Italy where I taught a three day Disney on Broadway workshop. Currently I run three of my own classes and also teach at Pineapple, London Studio Centre, Dance Works, and  some of London’s top gyms and fitness centres.

How would you describe your teaching style?

There is no point coming to a class if you’re not going to reap the rewards, I therefore make sure every part of your body gets a workout yet you also have fun. All of my classes are different depending on the style of dance; Zumba is high energy (some have been known to call me crazy) and a complete body workout. Being a professional dancer I use choreography to your benefit which actually provides you with a great core and muscle engaging workout. Barre is a class run at a slower steady pace, but don’t think it’s a breeze or any less of a workout as I use the techniques from ballet and put them into an easy to follow workout which caters for everyone, from the absolute beginner right up to the professional. After all, we all would want to have the strength, stamina, and body of a professional ballet dancer.

How did you think up ‘Barre at the Bar’? Why would you recommend your activity?

We at The London Dance Company love to try new things and think outside the box. We want customers to have fun and some people can feel intimidated in gyms and dance studios. Basically, it’s not about the barre – it’s about you so this is where Barre@the Bar came from. For the class all you really need is something to keep your balance and rest your hand on, so what better place than a bar? Everyone loves a bar! Therefore, we have just taken the traditional ballet class and set it up with a modern twist in a relaxed and accessible location for everyone! If you’re looking to tone sculpt and just have fun then this is the class for you!

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

1. I was born with a hole in my heart

2. When I was younger I was regularly on Eastenders and The Bill, playing a thug. When you meet me you won’t believe it!

3. At the age of 21 I travelled from Alaska all the way down the west coast of America to Antarctica (Canada, America Mexico, Peru, Panama, Chilli, Argentina)

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I love traveling and sightseeing so jumping on a train; whether it’s to take a walk along the Thames, going to Richmond, Greenwich, or going further a field out of London and just picking north, east, south or west of the UK for a few days. I just see where I end up and what different cities and towns have to offer. Or, even better, I love jumping on a plane and travelling to another country – I love to explore!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

So many to list but my top three places in London are: Sunday evenings @ Dirty Martini, Pineapple Studios (I go every Tuesday and Thursday to train and keep up on my game, Pineapple is thriving with talented individuals and is a great place to network), and finally I do love London’s Parks: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, St James, Chiswick Park, Holland Park – they all have their own charm, appeal and individuality.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be?

Would have to be to fly a plane!

Break Your Routine, Fitness, Live More Awesome, Sports

Tom’s wheely good charity challenge

A little while ago we heard about a guy called Tom Heaps. Having recently finished a course of treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma, he and his girlfriend Holly had set themselves a challenge: To cycle from London to Cambridge. During the course of their journey they’ll be raising money for several charities which have helped them through Tom’s brush with cancer. At Wonderush we bloody love people who go beyond their comfort zones, so we had to sit Tom down and find out a bit more about him.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Tom, I’m 27 and live in West Kensington with my girlfriend.  I work at a bank in the City.  My favourite things to do are: riding my Quella Bicycle in Richmond park, going for nice meals and watching football with a few beers with my friends.

What’s the best thing about life in London?

Living amongst the landmarks and having so much to do on your doorstep, it’s a bit different to the life in the fens I had 3 years ago!

If you could try any activity, anywhere in the world, what would it be and why?

Some sort of scuba diving/wildlife exploring in The Galápagos Islands, you know, something off the beaten track.

How would you spend your dream Saturday in the city?

Watching Arsenal (win) followed by a Michelin star meal and the Comedy Store!

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Draw my eyebrows after they fell out post-chemo…

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If you’re going through hell, keep going!

Tom and Holly pedal off into the sunset (which is our poetic way of phrasing it because we are sure they’re not about to start that journey at night time) on July 3rd. If you’re feeling generous, you can support Tom and Holly on their journey by visiting their Virgin Money Giving page here. And, if you want to find out more about Tom and his experience, we highly recommend you check out his blog here.

Good luck guys!

Break Your Routine, Fitness, Live More Awesome, Sports, Things To Do, Try Something New

12 Things that’ll happen to you at bootcamp

A couple of weeks ago, a small delegation of Team Wonderush members hit up the guys at GB Active to try out their bootcamp sessions. Now, there are loads of bootcamps out there. In fact, while we were in Green Park we were working out with at least four other bootcamp companies around us. But we were doing ours with a legit member of actual Team GB, so we knew we were special.

It’s only natural for the mind to wonder a bit when you’re exercising, and in the course of our daydreaming (and/or hallucinations due to our physical unfitness) we put together a list of things that will definitely happen when you do a boot camp for the first time.

  1. No matter how much you think you can’t go on, you will always manage to go on.
  2. “You will always manage to go on” does not mean you won’t complain. You will definitely complain.
  3. You will find out that you are less fit than you think you are.
  4. It will be super-tempting to decide that it looks like it’s going to rain and just leave. Don’t do that.
  5. You will feel very smug if you can do more press ups than somebody.
  6. You will finally realise what resistance bands are used for.
  7. You will learn that they are for torture. Resistance bands are used for torture.
  8. You will want to show off at some point. You will show off at some point.
  9. You will regret not opting for the easier level exercises when you definitely should have done that.
  10. You will be happier to spend time in a tent than you ever have been in your life. Because at least it is not planking.
  11. You will be planning your humblebrags and fitness-based jokes for the next day even as you start to suspect you might die.
  12. You will suddenly discover, about twenty minutes in, that the endorphin high is a real and brilliant thing, and you will vow to chase it forever. After a brief pitstop on the sofa, anyway.

If we’ve whet your appetite you can try out a GB Active bootcamp session through Wonderush here. Hope to see you out and about at something awesome soon!

Break Your Routine, Fitness, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Popular, Things To Do, Try Something New

Anatomy of a #HappyYouYear: Spring

We went off on one earlier in the week about how we kind of resent New Years resolutions and are choosing instead to make 2016 a Happy You Year. Of course, it’s very easy to spout inspirational pep talks like that, but it’s hard to imagine what a Happy You Year might really look like. Well, not any more, folks. Community Manager Nicola is here, and today she is imagining how a Happy You Spring might go:

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Break Your Routine, Fitness, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Popular, Things To Do, Try Something New

2015: A Year of Wonderush

2015 has been the year that Londoners did some really cool stuff with their free time, and we’re super-proud that we were able to help you to do that. We put together some of our favourite facts and figures for the year to prove to you all just how awesome you’ve been in 2015. Here’s to a Happy New You in 2016! (clinks invisible champagne glass. wishes it wasn’t invisible.)

wondersh_2015

Peopple with their umbrellas up as seen through rainy window
Break Your Routine, Fitness, Groundhog Day, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Things To Do, Try Something New

7 Uplifting Activities For Times When You Need That

November can be kind of rubbish. In fact, winter in general can. It’s grey, it’s probably raining (or, god forbid, snowing),  it’s cold, and you often can’t walk from point A to point B without being hit by wet umbrellas every ten paces. Add to that the fact that nobody else seems to be in a  good mood either, and, well, things start to look pretty bleak. That’s why we’ve made a list of seven suggestions of uplifting activities you might like to try. We can’t guarantee that they’ll work for everybody, but it could be better than nothing.

1. African Drumming

Uplifting African drumming classNow hear us out. While a room full of people making a lot of noise doesn’t immediately sound like it’d be uplifting, this is a room full of some very cheerful people. There’s a certain amount of teamwork that goes into the whole thing that really makes you feel part of something cool. While you make an effort to keep time with everybody’s rhythm you’re left with very little brain space to think about other things. Plus, if you’re feeling annoyed all you have to do is bash that drum just a little bit harder. Everyone’s a winner.

2. Yoga

Uplifting ashtanga yoga classWe have all kinds of yoga classes to suit all tastes, whether you want to sweat out your problems, experience anti-gravity for a little while, or take it more gently. Yoga is renowned for making people feel calmer. It emphasises breathing techniques and focus on posture which, if you’re anything like us and slightly erratic, leaves little room for thoughts about anything else. Plus there’re all of these other thoughts that tend to invade your brain at inopportune moments, pushing out the bad mood.

3. Boxfit (or anything else where you get to punch things)

Uplifting boxfit classIt could be boxfit. It could also be a martial art, or a long walk in a rough neighbourhood. Although actually, we categorically do not recommend the last one. But there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be gained at the end of a rough day by really letting loose and hitting something (or someone who is wearing pads) repeatedly. Boxfit is the acceptable face of that. The heart rate increase doesn’t hurt either, and the endorphin rush afterwards is an added bonus.

4. Meditation

Uplifting meditation ClassIt almost goes without saying, really, but meditation is a great way to calm down and refocus your energy when you need a lift. While focussing on your breathing and your surroundings sometimes feels like the most difficult thing in the world, it can be surprising how easy it is to get into the swing of things. Not that there is a swinging element to meditation. If there is you might find you’re in the wrong class.

5. Music

Uplifting jazz clubWhether you’re the kind of person who listens to music that enhances your feelings or whether you try to use music to change them, it’s a great way to cheer yourself up. We could even take that further and suggest you try learning an instrument (more on creative pursuits later) or getting all of your feelings down on paper by writing a song. There are all kinds of music-based activities out there, whether you’re looking to create or simply to listen, and it could be just the thing.

6. Comedy

Audience at an uplifting comedy clubThe need for laughter is something that runs deep in human nature. It’s a genuine, evolutionary thing. It makes us feel connected to those around us, and release endorphins like nobody’s business (#science). Sometimes, after a crap day, the best solution is simple: Call a few mates, get a few drinks in, and have a laugh. The one thing that can really help with that whole ‘laugh’ part is a trip to a comedy club. They’re dotted all over London, and you never know what amazing acts you’ll get to see.

7. Anything creative

Wax crayons mounted on a board and melted down with a hairdryer to look upliftingWe touched on this when we talked about music, but sometimes the best solution is just not to think about whatever it is that’s bothering you. (we’re not advocating ignoring your problems, but nor are we actual professionals in this field, so here we are.) It’s very difficult to do that if you have nothing else to occupy you, and that’s where creative activities come in. Whether you’re putting your energy into something crafty, something arty, something writing-y, or something else, it’s nice to take your mind off things.

If we’ve tickled your fancy with any of these, or if there’s something else you’re looking to try, you’re welcome to hit the ‘browse’ button in the top corner and have a look at everything we have going on. Don’t forget – if there’s something you particularly want to try but you can’t see, you’re welcome to get in touch and let us know. We love suggestions.