There’s a phrase that follows you at Gymbox: Anything Goes. It’s not hard to see why. It’s in the classes, the décor, the vibe… but more than all of that, it’s in our people. Cos really, we’re not just a gym, are we? Gymbox is a community of individuals as brilliantly different as you like… that all just happen to love getting unbelievably sweaty together. But the thing with communities is that you need to look out for each other. Lend a hand when you’re needed. And of course, do whatever you can to make sure everyone feels welcome. That’s what Pridebox is all about.
For our LGBT+ members, staff… and for human beings of every kind, we want to show support for Pride’s message of respect, equality and being whoever the f*ck you want to be. And we’re making a start by joining London’s Pride celebrations in a pop-up week of ultra-exclusive and fully-inclusive classes, with 100% of ticket sales going straight to Switchboard – the LGBT+ helpline. Whether you identify LGBT+ or are among our army of allies, come out, get parade-day-ready and raise some much-needed cash for this amazing cause. You’ll be sweating rainbows by the end of the week.
Swole Sisters: Monday 1st July
First up, Swole Sisters: a special one-off edition of dearly departed Pump Chasers, this time with added sass. With Gymbox sweat-summoner Dino Portelli at the helm, you know this workout’s going to hit your muscles hard… and that’s even before you throw blood flow restriction (BFR) bands into the mix. But who said you can’t serve burly with a bit of burlesque? Our superbly spicy guest compère Tizzy Von Tassel will be adding even more tingle to the extremities, with a lol for every lift and famously fierce style of hosting.
With a wit quicker than a heartrate on a Metcon finisher, Tizzy’s an irrepressible regular on the capital’s cabaret scene – and is single-handedly making sure sequins are, and always will be a fashion staple. For her, getting involved in Pridebox means “having the chance to celebrate what makes us fabulously different. The burlesque community is a place of self-expression and being proud of what your amazing body can do. It’s about owning your power – whether that takes place on a stage covered in glitter or by owning your confidence is totally up to you!” Amen to that.
Gymbox is Burning: Tuesday 2nd July
Pride wouldn’t be much of a party without a few shapes being thrown, would it? At Gymbox is Burning, we’re paying homage to a legendary dipping, spinning and floor-owning generation of unapologetically queer dancers that became the beating heart of Harlem’s 80s ballroom scene. Whatever your disposition, swagger or style, our own queen of Vogue - Brooklyn De La Blanca Sanchez - will help you strike your own pose: feeling the power of self-expression that inspired a movement – one that’s still making waves to this day.
When we asked Brooklyn what it means to be a part of Pridebox, she told us “Voguing is rooted deep within the LGBTQ community – and as a young black woman and mother, it has shaped so much of who I have become and who I want to represent in the eyes of my child. I jumped at the chance to teach this class to represent my house and family Hause De La Blanca. It means so much to me to not only share my knowledge and passion for Voguing, but to also celebrate Pride and what it means to be your authentic self.” Better call the fire brigade… because this class? It’s on FIRE.
Kinky Glutes: Wednesday 3rd July
If you’ve been to Gains at Gymbox, you’re no stranger to pain… but still. There’s nothing tougher than taking on Simon Cowell. So who better to host a special Pride edition of our gnarliest progressive weight training class than a diva who’s done exactly that? BGT finalist and thoroughly fabulous compere La Voix is joining forces with our very own powerhouse Luther Nzinga for Kinky Glutes: a class that promises to add a touch of comedy camp to every curl. Wondering how glitter will add clout to that workout? Well, as La Voix reminded us, “drag queens threw the first brick at the Stonewall riots and ran in heels...that deserves respect!” But that’s not the only reason she’s lending Pridebox a safe pair of bejewelled hands.
“I’ve worked more Prides than I can remember – but of course, nowhere near as many as Sinitta. When she was young, rainbows were black and white. Pride means so many things all at once, making it nearly impossible to sum up. It’s a place of solace and a place of safety for many. An open door to show that “coming out” doesn’t mean you’ll be alone. One thing remains a constant, the overbearing sense of love and community that reigns supreme across all sexes, creeds, religions and colours. To dance and party in the face of adversity is the biggest protest you can make.”
ProudMinds – LGBT+ Mindfulness: Thursday 4th July
Ask any Holistic Retreat enthusiast and they’ll tell you happiness lies in the art of balance. So at the end of a week of sweating and sequins, we’re creating a rainbow of serenity and calm at ProudMinds: an LGBT+ mindfulness class guided by the brilliant Nick Kientsch. Aside from his qualifications as a former Buddhist monk and mindfulness coach, he’s got first-hand experience of the loneliness LGBT+ Londoners can feel. It’s what inspired his Gay Men’s Mindfulness class 10 years ago, and continues to create the space for those experiencing the pressure of ‘minority stress’ – the feeling of being uncomfortable, unwelcome or not ‘fitting in’ with the capital’s scene.
Bringing his safe haven of calm to our own LGBT+ community for Pridebox, he acknowledges how Pride reminds us that we can never take the tolerance and freedom we have now for granted – and there is still some way to go. “We don't have mental health issues because it’s inherent in being gay. But growing up feeling alone, judged, laughed at or made to feel we are wrong does impact on us and results in the greater prevalence of mental health issues in the gay community. Mindfulness helps us learn to rewire our brain, to stop believing the negative scripts we have come to take as our inner thought stream and to bring kindness and compassion to our inner world and our struggles.”
Parade Day: Saturday 6th July
We are absolutely buzzing to say that Gymbox will be making its debut appearance at this year’s Pride in London parade. We don’t want to give away too much just yet… but keep an eye on out on our social channels for a few exciting announcements coming your way. Oh, and don’t forget to represent by saving your most lung-busting cheers for us on the way round, will you?