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

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!

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

The Wonderush Review of Reviews: Part Two

We love our partners. We really do. And you guys do too, which is fantastic. We’ve been struck by the number of positive reviews you’ve been giving out, so we decided it was high time to showcase some of your favourites and an example of some of the love that they’re getting. You can find all of these guys running a whole range of awesome sessions, from acroyoga and cocktail-making classes, to super-fun workouts and crafty classes.

Uplifting Stunts

Acroyoga

Uplifting Stunts are an awesome husband and wife team who are on a mission to run inclusive and super-supportive classes that show people how to work together to form amazing shapes with their bodies. Check out their reviews:

“This was my first acroyoga class and I absolutely loved it! Really amazing experience, thank you Jayme and Rick – you wonderful teachers and humans!” -Boryana

“Amazing class can’t believe how much I learnt in 2 hours with great teachers! Would definitely recommend!” -Sarah

GOAT Chelsea

Cocktail Making

The guys at GOAT Chelsea run brilliant cocktail making classes, which combine practical skills with a heavy and very enjoyable element of tasting. Good times all round! Check out their reviews:

“Absolutely amazing night. Such a casual vibe with everyone just mucking in and enjoying themselves. You get to try all of the cocktails and the welcome cocktail was the bomb! We ate there afterwards too and the food was so good! Definitely recommend” -Pippa

“Such a fun evening!! Great location and teacher! Definitely recommend :)” -Christie

The London Bicycle Tour Company

Bicycle tour

The London Bicycle Tour Company run a range of bike rides around London, which are great for visitors and old-hands alike. You’ll get to see the city from a totally different perspective, and maybe even learn a little something. Check out their reviews:

“Great opportunity to try cycling in London! I was a little nervous at first – but it was super fun and felt safe cycling in a group! Our guide Tarik had loads of really interesting stories and it was a great way to experience the city. Highly recommend.” -Mel

“The tour guide Olly was witty, knowledgeable and passionate about his work. A very enjoyable morning ride around central London to rediscover the city I’ve been living in the past decade. :)” -David

Shake That Zumba

Zumba

Zumba is an amazing workout (hello, 500-1000 calories in an hour!) and Shake That Zumba are determined to make sure that it stays fun throughout. They guarantee to keep you smiling while you sweat. Check out their reviews:

“It was so much fun with the Steven, he’s absolutely crazy. Great exercise as well, can’t remember last time when I was sweating so much. Thanks!;)” -Angelika

“Fantastic! Absolute fantastic!. Steven is a fantastic instructor. This class is great fun for everyone. All shape, all age. It is a party and a really hard work. Left me buzzing with energy, happy and really really sore on muscles I didn’t know I even had.” -Agnes

Gabriela Szulman

Decoupage Taster

Once you’ve learned the art of decoupage, the world is basically your oyster whenever you decide you want to decorate something. From shoes to walls, Gabriela Szulman knows how to do it all. Check out her reviews:

“Really fun class and a good introduction to decoupage. Gabriela was a great instructor and had an excellent range of papers and inspiring projects to show what can be done with decoupage.” -Kirsten

“A great taster for trying decoupage. Artist Gabriela and her studio were both very nice. Highly recommended, especially for paper lovers.” -Pf

Have any of these whet your appetite? You can find all of these activities and thousands more on Wonderush. Why not pay a visit to one of our featured partners and add to their reviews. Don’t forget to let us know what you get up to!

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

The Wonderush Spotlight: Swing Patrol

There’s something happening all over London that you might not be aware of. Every week, all over London, 1000 people head to basements, and bars, and spaces across the city and learn an awesome new skill. Except it’s actually a pretty classic vintage skill. We’re talking about Swing Dancing. Swing Patrol have made it their mission to get Londoners dancing. And the fact that they’ve broken records and won awards along the way? Just icing on the cake. We sat down with them to find out more.

How did you get into what you do?

Swing Patrol all began when our director Scott landed from Australia 7 years ago. He first fell in love with swing dancing when he saw it at Disneyland and it all bloomed from there. In the early days, Scott and the two teachers he brought with him would dance outside tube stations in the snow to try to advertise the classes. 10 people in a class was a huge success! These days we have lots of different venues that teach over 1000 people each week but it still has that same community feel it always had.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Relaxed, friendly and passionate. We just want to share our love of what we think is one of the most joyful dances in the world so we welcome anyone that wants to give it a go.

Why would you recommend your activity?

There are so many brilliant things about swing dancing, it’s difficult to list them all – the friendly teachers, the great music, the chance to meet lots of new people, the exercise, the fact that it’s so easy to start… it goes on!

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

Swing Patrol holds the World Record for the World’s Largest Charleston. In October 2015 we had 975 dancers Charleston-ing at Spitalfields market. It was EPIC. In July, the previous record holders will be trying to take it back so we’ll be keeping a close eye on them! Check out our video!

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

Our teachers will regularly be found out social dancing which is the whole point of learning to dance. There are loads of dance events across London and beyond every weekend where there are DJs playing vintage tunes for people to swing out to. It’s a great night out where you can try out all the moves you pick up in class!

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

Spitalfields Market – we run free swing sessions under the sails there throughout summer, followed by a bit of shopping in the market or dinner in one of the local restaurants. There’s an amazing cheese shop called Androuet where you can get fondue. Yum!

We can’t wait to get down to another one of Swing Patrol’s sessions. Details of their upcoming classes can be found here. We’ll see you there!

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

The Wonderush Review of Reviews: Part 1

We love our partners. We really do. And, as it turns out, you guys do too. We’ve been struck recently by the number of positive reviews you’ve been giving out, so we decided it was high time to showcase some of your favourites and an example of some of the love they’re getting. You can find all of these guys running a whole range of awesome sessions, from tea tasting and art classes, to pole dancing and pottery.

Tea Studio

tea brewing

Tea Studio run activities from tea tasting to Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon teas, and everything in between. Basically, if you like tea, you need to pay them a visit.

“Amazing little place, lovely atmosphere and the owner is very passionate about tea. I really enjoyed the experience and I’ll be going there for more!” – Natalia

“Lovely guy and very knowledgeable. If you like your tea, don’t miss his events!” – Penelope

To and TO

Drink and Draw

ToandTO run the ever-popular Drink and Draw, which is fairly self-explanatory. During the course of a really relaxed and creative evening you’ll meet loads of new people as you show off your artistic ability (or lack thereof – there’s no pressure here.)

“What a brilliant concept! Dragged a friend thinking it would be less awkward to meet absolut strangers that way, but what a fantastic casual way to mingle and meet cool people, and best of all, forget about the stresses of daily life by getting creative and sketching! Will definitely recommend to friends and go back, with or without them! P.S. You get to keep the sketchbooks and I’m gonna be framing one of the portraits!” -Sahar

“Very fun experience even if you can’t draw at all! :)” -Kate

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

The Wonderush Spotlight: Disco Yoga

We’ll come clean right now- it can sometimes be difficult to get Team Wonderush to exercise. Put us in an aerobic workout context and the shocking extent of our unfitness becomes depressingly clear. Get us into something low-impact like yoga, and we turn into giggling children. But then we met Disco Yoga. It is so much fun. We had to catch up with Sarah Hunt and find out more about how this awesome class came into being:

How did you get into what you do?

I went to my first yoga class by mistake. I had just moved to a new area in Vancouver and there was a gym across the road. I had never been drawn to gyms but I decided to sign up for a pass. I used to walk around the weight room, not knowing what to do. One day, I decided to leave shortly after I had arrived and the receptionist caught me. He laughed and suggested a yoga class that was just about to start. I was reluctant but went anyway. I fell in love with yoga instantly!  Within a short time, I signed up for a yoga teacher training course.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Energising sequences to stretch and strengthen our bodies mixed with calming and restorative poses to relax and nourish our minds. My teaching style is light hearted, upbeat and playful, but also relaxing and balancing.

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

5 Ways that you can have fun with paper

Ah, paper. It’s super-plain, and it’s somehow made of trees (which is a fact you know, but you still don’t really understand exactly how it’s done). It’s possible that someone could find it a little bit boring, but that person would be wrong. There are all sorts of fun things you can do with paper, and we listed just a few of our favourites:

Bookbinding

There’s nothing quite like getting your hands on a brand new notebook. If you’re not a stationery fan, it might not be a high you’ve experienced before. But we’re absolutely sure that it’s one that gets even better when you’re holidng (oK, fine, sniffing) a book that you made yourself from scratch. We imagine this is how parents must feel about babies. Except there’s a lot less poo.

Paper Cut Workshop

Everyone can splash some paint around and call it a picture (Alright, fine. Some can do that more successfully than others). But for people looking to create something a little bit different, paper cutting might be the way to go. Working with negative space, pictures are created using blades. Plus you have a quick and easy way to look super-threatening if anybody interrupts you. (You did not hear this from us. Please do not threaten anyone.)

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