Rebel 1 announced that they were going single-use plastic free. Gyms are hotbeds of unnecessary plastic waste; the numbers of plastic bottles and protein shake cups that get binned every day is absurd. In fact, Rebel 1 took action after calculating that its annual plastic bottle consumption exceeded over 37,000 units at its two City-based studios. But boutique fitness company Terra Hale has gone one further in a bid to stem the tide of plastic pollution. Terra Hale is London’s first completely eco-friendly, human-powered gym, where effort isn’t measured in calories burned but watts generated. It’s got two existing branches – in Fulham, Notting Hill and one is set to open in Shepherd’s Bush next month. It’s the first studio here to use its members’ energy to power its facilities, with any extra energy going back into the Grid.
While many gyms are starting to understand the need to provide more sustainable services, Terra Hale – or ‘Strong Earth’ – takes a more holistic approach. It’s the brainchild of Michal Homola, a former professional snowboarder who grew up in the mountains of Slovakia. Everything at the pay-as-you-go gym is made from recycled materials, from the yoga mats to the door handles and recycled rubber gym floor. The walls are made from reclaimed wood and covered in air filtering plants, and the Shepherd’s Bush studio is set inside a repurposed railway arch. So, what kind of classes are on offer?
You can do rowing classes, TRX bodyweight sessions, 50-minute HIIT blasts, circuits, barre and something called Brazilian Bikin iBody – a lower half workout using ankle weights and Latin dance aerobics for the ultimate Miss Bum Bum booty. There’s also something called ‘eco-spinning’ classes, where all the bikes are connected to a screen showing everyone’s scores – set in watts. Every month, there’s a prize for the biggest energy generator, but each class is conducted with a group ambition in mind. Each session creates between 1,500 and 3,300 watts, which is enough to power a desktop computer for an entire working day.
And it’s not that expensive either. You can sign up for any three classes, to be used over a seven-day period, for £30, and Terra Hale currently has a 30% off offer on packs of 10 classes, which are being sold for under £14 a pop. So more expensive than your local but more reasonable than other boutique London gyms. And at least here, you’re not sacrificing the planet for your fitness.