There’s nothing wrong with the old you!

I used to spend January allowing myself to be bullied by magazines urging me to turn over a new leaf and reveal a better, newer me. At the darkest, coldest time of the year when primeval instincts tell us to curl up by the fire to watch old films and eat leftover mince pies, lifestyle magazines and newspaper features seem intent on urging us onto the scales and then out into the cold to punish ourselves for December’s merriment.  But then I realised that there wasn’t too much wrong with the old me – certainly nothing that was going to be put right by dragging myself reluctantly on hill sprints up Primrose Hill in the freezing drizzle (the very thought!) – and that the 2016 version of myself really wasn’t so substandard that the 2017 version of me had to be so different.

So I lit the fire, poured the wine, dug out the mince pies and settled on waiting for a time when the January outdoors in London seemed a bit more enticing. I recommend that you do the same.

However, I am just parking your options here for when the time comes that you find you are ready for a bit of a health kick.

So, fitness opportunities in Primrose Hill are plentiful and cheap (so you can’t use difficulty and expense as excuses to stay on the sofa with the mince pies, sorry). Firstly, if you hadn’t noticed, there’s a massive park on our doorstep, not just Primrose Hill but Regents Park too. Run, run, run!  Up hills, on the flat, as far and as fast as you like. And when you get tired of running, walk! If you’re heading into town, take a stroll across Regent’s Park instead of battling with the Tube or the bus.  Better for the mind as well as the body.


There’s also a completely free outdoor gym in Primrose Hill, near the playground at Albert Road.  If sweaty indoor gyms aren’t your thing, give the outdoor gym a whirl.  The exercise stations have instructions so if you’re not confident, you won’t be left floundering and wondering what to do.

And if you feel you need the support of a group or trainer, I have solutions for you.

Fit for a Princess offers women-only (sorry fellas) bootcamp-style sessions in Primrose Hill, led by Debra Bissett.  I took part three times a week for a year (and only stopped because I aggravated an old injury); the group was  super-friendly and supportive with lots of diverting chat, to the point that I hardly noticed how hard I was working. I can’t recommend enough; more here:


Another recommend is local pilates teacher Liza Cawthorn. I have attended her classes at the library and found them to be effective and also excellent value; she also teaches from her small local studio. More here:

Pilates and other classes can also be found at the Hub in Regents Park.  These really are incredible value, especially  if you register as a local resident which gives you a discount.  I have found these classes to be a little on the gentle side but if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate.

If you’re thinking you might like to join a gym, you might consider the Fitness Club at the Regents Park Marriott at Swiss Cottage – especially as they are kindly offering readers of iLovePrimroseHill an exclusive incentive. Find out more about the offer and their facilities (including a swimming pool) here: SPECIAL OFFER FOR iLPH READERS! PRICE LIST AND BENEFITS REGENTS PARK MARRIOTT (SWISS COTTAGE) FITNESS CLUB

If you feel you need the support of a personal trainer to help you to get fit, Anthony Mayatt is a familiar face in the park

Also a mention for  MW5 Fitness, set up and run by local Martin Whitelock. He offers personal training, a running group and bootcamp-style group sessions under the West Handyside Canopy in King’s Cross. I haven’t tried them myself but they look fun, innovative and tough.

What have I missed?  If you have a local fitness secret you’d like to share, let me know on and I’ll add it to the mix.

Ready to leap off the sofa yet? The mince pies will be stale by now, anyway.

© 2017 Joanna Reeves, all rights reserved.

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