Reality Workout

Gyms are boring, they’re expensive, and they’re divorced from the real world. At least that seems to be the premise of a trend we’ve spotted. Spartanfam and Block Workout are two London based exercise classes that eschew weights and machines for – well – anything you can put your hands to. These mobile workout sessions are popping up in parks across the city.

Block Workout (
Block Workout (

This sort of fitness regime is not new – things like boot camp have become well established amongst the yummy mummies and daddies of London’s more bougie areas. What is new is the emphasis on community and accessibility. Both Spartanfam and Block Workout put an emphasis on affordability, thumbing their noses at the elitism of the gym.

Based outdoors, in un-ostentatious local parks this is a sort of grass roots fitness movement that adopts some of the language of protest to establish a new way of doing things. It’s a great example of people coming together to challenge the hegemony of big business extending to a new area. It’s not surprising that they are co-operating with local councils, the city of Westminster is working with Spartanfam to provide free training for young people. We’ll be keeping tabs on this for sure.


  1. Ancient Greeks were underling the importance of exercise in our lives. A healthy brain is more valuable in a healthy body they were saying (νους υγιής εν σώματι υγιεί). And the exercise was part of their everyday life, part of their education system, part of their celebrations, part of their community life, accessible to all the Athenians. A lot since then have changed; the way that we train is totally different, from training outside using simple equipment we went to training in fully equipped gyms. But the deep needs that drive humanity to value exercise are still the same. Gyms give us a place to work out, equipment to do this efficient and safely, but lots of time fail to create a community event, to be educative, to give a chance to the users to share the training experience, gyms fail to be open to everyone and be part of socialization. This is the gap that Spartanfam and Block Workout fill in. Their success is not based on a superficial trend, it is based on the basic human need of belongingness, achieving things as a group, being in a community that shares and tries for the same goal.

  2. This article reminds me of how much I miss P.E. class!
    I’m from China. I remember when I was in elementary and middle school, the only class I was looking forward to was my P.E class. Being outside and just playing with friends couldn’t be better after a long day of Math, Mandarin, Chemistry, Physics classes and etc. Isn’t “Reality Workout” a P.E. class for adults? Don’t we want to be outside and sweat after a long dull day at work? The idea of Spartanfam and Block Work Out is wonderful because adults need a break from work and deserve to breathe some fresh air with others. Working out itself, I believe, is more effective when people motivate, compete and collaborate with each other.

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