Over the last five years or so, I’ve really noticed a shift in people’s attitudes towards fitness. It seems fewer people are hitting the gym to run or walk on the treadmill and use weights machines, in favour of attending classes at trendy, boutique studios. Not just your regular, run-of-the-mill spin class or Body Attack, but classes specifically designed to build more strength and athleticism and actually see results. A lot of niche yoga and fitness studios have been popping up around Melbourne recently to cater for the demand and now I never want to go to a regular gym again. There’s something about being booked into a class where you might know a few familiar faces that makes you feel accountable if you don’t show up. Here’s a round-up Melbourne’s best yoga and fitness classes you should try, right now.
Bodhi & Ride
This ‘aint your traditional cycling class. I haven’t done one of the infamous Soul Cycle classes that everyone’s going crazy about in the US, but I imagine Bodhi & Ride is as close to that as you’re going to get in Australia.
You get allocated a numbered bike and find your seat inside what they call the “chamber”, a small, dark room with neon lighting. Once that chamber door shuts there is no escaping. Vibrant beats pump out of the speakers and the instructor yells motivational cues through the microphone as you push those legs, but what makes this class different, is that there are arm exercises thrown in there as well. The instructor will tell you when she wants you to do push-ups on the handlebars or pick up a set of weights and do shoulder presses as you cycle. It takes a bit of coordination, but it really gives you a full body workout.
Bodhi & Ride | 416/418 Bay St, Port Melbourne | $175 for a month of unlimited classes
Former IBO world super featherweight champion, Will Tomlinson, set up this studio in Abbotsford after retiring from professional boxing, last year. There’s really nothing else like this out there, that I am aware of, so it’s great to see something unique hit the fitness scene.
When I went to do my first, private class with Will, he asked whether I’d done much boxing, to which I replied, “Yeah, a bit”, thinking of the free kickboxing classes run in the park by the local council. About a minute into Will’s class I realised I’d never done boxing like that. Like, real, proper, actual, Muhammad Ali-style boxing (except nowhere near as good, obviously).
These guys are really good at what they do, and focus as much on your boxing technique as they do on ensuring you get a decent workout. The studio follows a similar format to F45; there’s a different circuit-style class each day, with varying time intervals for each exercise. The exercises range from boxing, to treadmill sprints to medicine ball slams etc, so you’re sure to get a resistance workout as well as improving your fitness.
My favourite class is the ‘Ali’, which runs over 12 x 3 minute rounds with one minute rest breaks. It’s the same as a championship fight and, boy, is it tough.
Tribute Boxing | 22 Grosvenor St, Abbotsford | $40 per week for unlimited classes
Sum of Us
This gorgeous, little studio located in an old Prahran townhouse, focuses on a holistic approach to health and fitness. You can get your sore, tired muscles sorted with physiotherapy, massage or podiatry treatments, help your mind stay calm with meditation or try their yoga, Pilates and barre classes.
This is where I’ve been going for my meditation, and the teacher, Kasey, is such a calming force. She runs Euonia meditation which isn’t religious or hard and it doesn’t require a mantra. Sum of Us describes it as “A place where you can come to just be you”, and in their beautiful, leafy surrounds with birds chirping gleefully (but peacefully), it’s actually quite simple to do. You can even get a turmeric latte or smoothie in the Sum of Us cafe on your way out.
Sum of Us | 602 High St, Prahran | Casual classes start at $27
A light and airy yoga and Pilates studio on the other side of town. It’s run by the same guys who own a few F45 studios around Melbourne, so they really know what they’re doing. Often the F45 trainers head to Remedy on a weekend to stretch out their weary muscles after a week of tough HIIT training.
My favourite class here is the Remedy Restore, a medium intensity class suitable for those newish to yoga. It’s ideal for a deep stretch and to recharge the batteries, but it certainly makes you sweat. If you can, do a class with teacher, Kat, who makes it less serious and spiritual, instead cracking lighthearted jokes to make it fun and entertaining. What I love most about this studio is that they don’t play your average yoga music in the background; Kat’s playlist ranges from Radiohead to Sigur Ros.
Remedy Yoga | 15 Hallkeeper Lane, Moonee Ponds | $40 for weekly unlimited classes