Volonté is a smart new Chelsea offering where fitness and nutrition come with a side-serving of indulgence
As a passionate (albeit-self-proclaimed) health and wellness aficionado, I jumped at the opportunity to bag a workout and brunch with my K&C colleague Sarah Rodrigues at Brompton Road’s hottest new boutique fitness studio and cafe, Volonté.
Founded by personal trainer and Le Cordon Bleu chef client duo Haylene Ryan-Causer and Vidushi Binani in 2022, Volonté has since been tipped as one of London’s best studios in which to work out in 2023. The Energy Studio at Volonté is located at basement level, with entrance through the cafe. I do enjoy a fitness studio without windows, but it is paramount to me that the lighting should be thoughtfully installed to suit the type of class taking place. I was not disappointed. Energy studio offers an impressive range of classes from Yoga and Pilates to HIIT and Strength training, including their signature U360 class, following their principles of “move, work, restore”.
We opted for the “Sweat” class on a Friday morning: a strong finish to our working week. Energy Studio itself may be small but it is, as one can only hope for in such findings, perfectly formulated. There are cardio machines at the far end of the room, as well as spin bikes and rowing machines. All along the length of the studio wall there are various weights to choose from, including kettlebells and dumbbells, while keen “lifters” and those in pursuit of creating the perfect derriere will be happy to find squat rack stations. Sweat towels and yoga mats are also provided, and there's an adjoining shared changing room - although, disappointingly, there were no eligible bachelors taking part in our class.
The “Sweat” workout is a high intensity interval workout which started with a warm-up of functional, dynamic movement patterns to prepare us for the main section. This was made up of short bursts of cardio, teamed with resistance training, throughout which our trainer, Alex, coached and encouraged us with close focus on form. With the emphasis on small classes - there were five of us in our session - there was no shirking from hard work but, at the same time, we each received an exceptional level of attention. Thank goodness for those nifty little towels, because we definitely worked up a sweat and by the end of the session, endorphins were bouncing around all over the studio.
Even so, it’s the cooldown that I really want to wax lyrical about. The lighting! The lighting changed to a healing soft purple hue while Alex lead us through a short and suitably challenging stretch routine which responded to the curious child in me… Can I sit in butterfly and then roll forward and do something utterly Yogi? And if I can, will I achieve ultimate bliss and Brownie house-points? I left the class feeling energised, inspired and well looked after.
I should mention that "Volonté," translates to the feminine noun “willpower” or "determination" in French. All the more fitting, then, that Sarah and I should grab the opportunity to squeeze in some much-needed girl time (who needs eligible bachelors, eh?) at this female co-founded studio with its own Cordon-Bleu chef owned cafe. We ordered the Whipped Egg Omelette, Sweet Potato Fritters and shared a Fiesta bowl containing chipotle chicken. No food group is denied here, something that almost seems avant-garde with new fitness openings in the last decade… Each dish was bountiful, delicious and full of nourishment - just what’s needed after a hard workout! For all of the cafe’s merits, Sarah and I couldn’t muster the 'volonté' to not sip on a couple of glasses of celebratory fizz on a Friday lunchtime. Well, you know what they say: balance really is the key to optimum well-being!
by Ellie Tanner