London’s fitness market is a tough one – Barry’s, 1Rebel, CrossFit and too many bootcamp classes to namedrop – the capital’s dwellers sure do like to get their sweat on. Effective and a sure-fire way to get the heart rate up and endorphins racing, these classes are hard. But are they as hardcore as GymClass? Absolutely no way. Launched by fitness expert Helle Hammonds, the workouts offered by GymClass use a tried-and-tested mix of HIIT and strength training guaranteed to sculpt, tone, blast fat and get you into the best shape ever. Just take a look… Not bad eh?

So when it comes to fitness, who better to ask the fitness and exercise questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to than Hammonds herself? After all – she’s proof of practicing what you preach, and having just opened a second GymClass studio in the city, proof that customers just keep on coming back for her ultra-effective workouts. Should we stick to cardio if we’re looking to lose weight? How can you stay motivated? Is weight-lifting a bad idea for women if we don’t want to bulk up? Hammonds knows her stuff – and if you haven’t already tried her addictively fun, incredibly effective classes, book yourself in now. And yep – you’ll definitely need that sweat towel…

How often should I exercise?

It completely depends on you as an individual, how long you’ve been training, what your goals are, what your daily life consists of, for example, active or sitting at a desk, and the list goes on. However, on average I would recommend moving your body 3 – 5 times a week.

What should I eat before and after exercising?

Personally, I train fasted as I always train in the morning. If you need to eat before, have something simple that’s easily digested such as a banana no less than one hour before working out, and I would suggest leaving at least two hours between eating a full meal and training. If you don’t have time to eat but need a quick energy boost before training a fruit juice or similar should do the trick for a quick energy hit.

I want to lose weight? Should I just stick with cardio?

In short, no! A mixture of HIIT and strength work will look after your fat burning, fitness, and strength building and will help get you in the best shape of your life! My classes at GymClass mix both of these in 50 minute sessions giving the best of both and our clients really see the results.

I don’t want to get big, bulky muscles – should I steer clear of weights?

I get asked this question a lot and many women get worried they will bulk up but this is simply not true. It is important to lift weights to sculpt lean muscle which will help to burn body fat but it will not give you big bulky muscles, this is a myth!

What if I get bored of exercise? Any ideas?

You need to find a form of exercise that you like doing or a place you like going to then you won’t get bored. It’s important to mix it up so you keep your body and mind guessing and the then the results keep coming. I find group training is best for this which is why one of the reasons I set up GymClass. Our group classes give you the motivation, fun and competition that you wouldn’t get on your own or with a personal trainer.

Any exercise I can do at home?

You can do so many exercises at home including home HIIT, push ups, squats, lunges and planks, to name just a few. You can also use household items such as a chair or sofa to do tricep dips, step-ups, or use a wall to do any number of exercises such as wall sits.

Stretching – totally necessary?

Stretching is essential but needs to be done properly. The few minutes of cool down after a class is more psychological than anything as the stretches aren’t held for long enough usually. HIIT training makes everything strong and muscles tight but it is really important to stretch properly at least once a week to help prevent injury.

How should I keep track of progress?

Do not use scales as this number means very little as muscle weighs more than fat. Pictures or measurements are the best way to track progress but also how you feel in yourself and in your clothes. Some people also like to use wearable technology such as heartrate monitors to track the progress in their workouts.

What about exercise when I’m travelling?

You can do body weight HIIT workouts wherever you are in the world. You don’t need any equipment and only a small space to get a decent workout in. Any of the moves I have mentioned above are great for using in a holiday HIIT workout. Getting outdoors on foot wherever is a good way to keep moving and get to explore the local area too!

Top motivation tips?

Set a goal, write it down and when you’re feeling unmotivated revisit this and remind yourself why you started and how far you’ve come. Celebrate achievements, however small, even if that’s picking up heavier weights, getting those extra reps in or beating a personal best. Just make sure the goals you set are realistic and achievable, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!

For more information on GymClass, see the company’s website where you can book classes, meet the GymClass trainers and see tall the latest news.