Embody on Sydney’s North Shore is offering a different sort of gym experience – warm, nurturing, and all-encompassing, from mindfulness through to nutrition and fresh classes like aerial yoga and TRX.
Gyms can be intense, unfriendly places. Hardly the spot most of us would choose to hang out or relax after a long week at work – we typically head to the gym to sweat, burn, and push ourselves to the limit in a challenging, gruesome hour of power.
Embody in Sydney’s Neutral Bay is a lot more soothing. Created as a reimagining of the gym and the yoga or Pilates studio, Embody was dreamt up to draw together fitness, good nutrition, and overall wellness – and the idea that exercise should be an important, but enjoyable and relaxing, part of our lifestyle.
As well as yoga, pilates, personal training, and nutritional guidance, at Embody you can get inspired and try fresh versions of regular or tired traditional classes and workouts. There's aerial yoga in silks strung from the ceiling, TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise), and hybrid classes like barre - the class that borrows from Pilates, ballet, and yoga principles.
I took a one-week trial to see what it's all about.
After almost 20 years as a personal trainer and gym owner, Embody founder Scott Capelin began to wonder if the tiresome, often grueling concept of ‘going to the gym’ and the idea of punishing ourselves with exercise, was really the best way to get healthy and feel great.
“After years of Rugby League, marathon running, and weightlifting, my own health, and wellness journey took a different turn and started to gravitate towards yoga, Pilates, and lower intensity forms of activity such as walking,” Scott explains. “I also discovered meditation which has been hugely beneficial for me.”
For Scott, Embody needed to promote a bigger vision of overall health. "Mainstreamexercise and nutrition have traditionally been about punishing your body, smashing yourself, having sore muscles, reducing calories, taking away, depleting, dieting, and depriving. Embody is about filling up."
"Everything we do at Embody is underpinned by the philosophy of 'Move, Replenish, Unplug'".
If you're game to try something new - and (literally) turn your workout regime on its head, Scott recommends aerial fitness.
"Aerial yoga is really fun!" Scott says. "It includes some of the traditional concepts of yoga with the extra challenge and novelty of using an aerial silk as the major prop. Aerial yoga can require a good deal of strength and core stability, and the silk is an amazing tool for stretching and relaxing."
Similarly, TRX is a great way to revitalise regular Pilates. Rather than hanging silks, classes use straps hanging from the ceiling.
"TRX training is the ultimate in core stability training and when performing an exercise it requires all your core muscles, all the time," says Scott. "The beauty of every TRX exercise is that it can be made to be very simple (for beginners) and very challenging, for those more experienced or wanting a harder workout. It really is a fantastic way to train and works to gain muscle, improve strength and stamina, increase fitness, and burn fat."
On your first visit to Embody, you'll be paired with a personal trainer who'll talk through your goals based on your current fitness level and your lifestyle. From there they'll suggest a regimen of Embody classes - I'm assigned aerial yoga, TRX, a few personal training sessions, and something called 'cocoon meditation' to cool off after a busy day at work (more on this later).
Aerial yoga is - surprisingly - not as difficult as you might think. I'm no yoga pro, and while the class is challenging, it's not for gymnasts only. The silk is set to the height of your hip and the silk becomes the main prop for the class. Some poses just involve stretching with the silk, others involve sitting or standing in the silk, and as you become more comfortable, some work the core by hanging upside down.
TRX is maybe a little less whimsical. Basically, you use two hanging straps with your feet or hands to partially suspend your body, and then use your body weight as resistance. I was a little wobbly with my first set of suspended push-ups, but it wasn't long before I felt a little more comfortable. It is a full body workout - using core, stability, strength, balance, and coordination - and you will feel it after class.
Lastly, Embody's 'cocoon meditation' is intended to be a necessary wind-down and switch-off exercise experience for those of us with busy, digital-heavy lives. Classes are hosted in aerial yoga silks, where you're able to sit or lie during a 30-minute guided meditation. It is extremely relaxing, and if you're tired enough, pretty tricky to stay focused and not fall asleep.
155 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2089
Most classes are one-hour.
What to wear:
Yoga or pilates get up is ideal.
02 9904 1222