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Last updated: 23:05

How to transform your commute into a fitness opportunity


By Lunges & Lycra | Published on 10 May 2019

Around 50,000 people commute into London via Kings Cross St Pancras on Govia Thameslink Railway’s Great Northern and Thameslink trains on a typical weekday – including Emma. If you’re one of them, you’ll have noticed the area surrounding King’s Cross station has undergone a bit of a transformation in recent years. It seems designer shops, great restaurants and new bars are springing up daily and it’s become a hub for some of the best boutique gyms and free fitness experiences in the city.

You may think you haven’t got time to workout, but by taking a slightly earlier or later train you can add an active experience to your day and bypass rush hour; you could skip the tube and jump on a rental bike or strap on a backpack and run to the office. You’ll get to see some of the city, it doesn’t really take any extra time out of your day and you’ll save cash too. Always a bonus.

Ready to up your fitness game? We’ve explored the best of the King’s Cross fitness scene to give you our top picks for a pre-train workout.

The best running clubs in King’s Cross

Now the days are getting longer, it’s the perfect time of year to lace up your trainers and fit in some post-work miles before jumping on the train home. There are loads of great routes along the canal near the station – follow it for just over 6km and you’ll pass through Camden and discover the great green spaces of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill.

If, after a long day in the office, you find it a bit of a struggle to motivate yourself to run solo then join a running club. There are loads of options near King’s Cross and best of all, most of them are free!

We’re big advocates of run clubs. They help you meet new friends (we met at one), discover new routes and even improve your speed. And there’s no need to feel daunted if you’re new to the sport, they welcome people of all paces. As long as you can cover the stated distance, even if you run/walk, you’ll soon discover no one will leave you behind.

Try one of these King’s Cross run groups for size:

MW5 Run Club
Monday at 12.15pm and Wednesday at 6pm, meeting at Granary Square

Headed up by personal trainer Martin Whitelock, this 5km guided run is suitable for all abilities and welcomes absolute beginners – there’s even an option to make things a bit shorter if you wish. With lunchtime and evening options they also go longer once a month and head out to Primrose Hill – be warned it’s a beast to run up but the views are worth it.

Runners Need King’s Cross Run Club
Wednesdays at 6pm, Runners Need Pentonville Road

Heading out from the King’s Cross branch of running shop Runners Need this weekly club covers 5km or 10km – it’s up to you which distance you choose. It’s a friendly run where you usually end up chatting to people running at a similar pace. You also get stamps for every run you attend – three stamps and you get a free club t-shirt, 10 stamps and that’s a tenner off in store.

The Beer+Burger Running Club
Last Wednesday of the month at 6pm, Beer+Burger King’s Cross

We haven’t been to this 10km run yet but we fully intend to because not only is it free to attend you also get a free beer when you finish. Winning. Meeting monthly in King’s Cross’ coolest American burger joint and tap room you go for a social paced run and then get a bit more social with a few craft beers after.

The best fitness studios in King’s Cross

We’re big fans of group exercise – studies show that working out with others can increase your motivation and encourage you to work harder than you would when exercising solo – and there are some brilliant options around King’s Cross. Whether you want to dance like Beyoncé, try Hollywood’s hottest workout or get your yoga on, here are some of our favourite places to sweat.

Frame, York Way

A mini chain of boutique fitness studios, Frame started out in Shoreditch and we’re big fans. Fun workshops teach you to dance to the greatest hits from pop divas such as Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, there are workshops helping you master skills like the splits and handstands and there are even 30-minute quickie classes so you can fit them in around work or your commute.

There’s a studio dedicated solely to yoga (some of the city’s best yogis can be found teaching here), a reformer Pilates studio (those big tables with straps on that look like medieval instruments of torture, try it - it hurts!) and a training area for high-energy classes such as boxing, HIIT, circuits and 80s aerobics. Changing rooms have swanky hair products and straighteners so you so you can head straight back to work picking up a healthy breakfast shake at the cafe on your way out.

Barry’s Bootcamp, Euston Road

You may have heard of Barry’s as it’s well known for being the workout of choice among Hollywood’s A-list. The ridiculously tough group workout has since migrated to the UK and King’s Cross is one of only a handful of studios in the country so far.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it, this workout is tough! Taking place in a studio affectionately known as the red room because of the colour of the lighting, you’re put through your paces as a group. Classes encompass treadmill sprints, weights, floor exercises and a ridiculous amount of sweat. Think you’ve got what it takes? Send us a selfie after.

Equilibrium, Handyside Street

One of the area’s newest fitness studios, Equilibrium offers group classes where the focus is on three pieces of equipment to give you a full body workout – the TRX, Skillmill and The Rip Trainer. No idea what language that is? It’s not as confusing as it sounds. The TRX are suspension straps which allow you to work against your own bodyweight, the rip trainer is a bar attached to a big kind of bungee cord which you twist and turn to build strength and skillmills are self-powered treadmills.

Be a team player

If you’re more of a team player, then check out the new free-to-use indoor sports pitch which has been built near King’s Cross, in the Tapestry Building, beside Gasholder Park. Whether it’s football, basketball or even badminton there is space for you. Just grab some friends or colleagues, book some space using the platform and blow off some steam with some gentle competition.

Travel with Great Northern

The nearest train station to Parkland Walk South is Finsbury Park, and for Parkland Walk North it's Alexandra Palace.