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Fitness Roadtest: HALE Gym + Spa

Ashleigh Went

Walking into HALE, tucked away inside the heritage-listed Brassey Hotel, feels less like walking into a gym and more like stepping into an über-glam, Scandi-inspired Instagram feed.

Selecting a gym can be overwhelming for a lot of us. One of the questions I think people often forget to ask themselves is, “is this somewhere that I will enjoy spending my time?”.

When it comes to HALE, the answer to that questions is a resounding ‘yes’. The space has a Scandinavian-inspired, minimalist luxe feel. Crisp, white light filters through the windows, illuminating the dark timber floorboards. Shiny, high-tech TechnoGym equipment is strategically placed in areas subtly delineated for Olympic-style weightlifting, stretching and recovery, cardio, boxing, free weights and more.

Hale gym floor

There really is something for everyone – Olympic lifting platforms, benches, free weights, TRX suspension systems, cardio equipment, a stretching/recovery areas and equipment so futuristic that I actually couldn’t identify what it was on sight (but was very excited to find out).

On the menu for me was a selection of fitness classes. First up was a Wednesday morning Restorative Yoga class with Niki Moorcroft. I entered through the futuristic sliding door into what might just be the most beautiful yoga studio I’ve ever seen – glowing, diffused light, those stunning floorboards and lines of new Lululemon yoga mats with matching blocks.

As it was the week of Hale’s soft opening, I was treated to a one-on-one class with Niki. It was a blissful hour of slow stretches and twists, and I loved every moment. Even with the sound of drills in the background (as the final touches were laid in the adjoining courtyard) Niki’s soothing voice and clear instructions kept me focused, and when the time for Savasana came, I melted into my mat in a state of utter relaxation. It was the best way to start my morning, and had the (now complete) luxurious bathrooms been finished, I imagine a rinse under the large rainfall showerheads would have been the ultimate finishing touch.

hale showers

One of the things that I really love about HALE’s group fitness class timetable is the “Express” 30-minute lunchtime classes. Like many Canberrans, I work in the Parliamentary Triangle, so the proximity of HALE to my office makes a short, sharp, effective lunchtime workout very appealing indeed.

Given that I’d injured my back and missed out on a few days of classes, I decided to double up with Express Boxing class followed by an Express Spin class.

Boxing with Kristan Armstrong was first up, and while I knew the class would be intense, I was surprised at just how full on it was. I gather that the aim here is to create a short class that manages to pack just as much punch as a full hour, and that’s how I felt.

We were paired up and went through a warm up, then straight into some boxing drills. Our ‘rest’ periods between sets were filled with burpees, tuck jumps, squats, lunches and more. By then end of the class, I was sweaty, breathless and almost regretting signing up for Spin.

The Express Spin class was lead by Jess Brice, a lovely (not to mention super-stylish) woman who I’d met before through her role as coach at Crossfit Canberra. I’d done a workout with Jess before, so I knew I was for another intense class.

The great thing about Spin classes, however, is that because you’re in control of the resistance, you can scale it to suit your fitness level (or level of fatigue!). While I originally scaled back, Jess’ great selection of music and constant encouragement had me cranking up the dial and before I knew it I was once again pushing myself to my limit.

hale cardio

In addition to the classes I trialled, there’s Vinyasa Yoga with Ramone Bisset (one of my all time favourite yoga instructors), Barre, Pilates, and a signature 12-Week Method, incorporating strength, mobility, conditioning and rehabilitation.

In-house facilities include a plunge pool, infrared sauna and steam room, lockers and bathrooms and of course the gorgeous spa with its deluxe treatment rooms and lounge.

If you like your fitness with a touch of understated luxury (or just with high-tech, world-class facilities), HALE should be your go-to.

the essentials

What: HALE Gym + Spa
Where: 10-14 Macquarie Street, Barton
How much: Group fitness classes are $20 per session or $18 per session for a 10 class pack.
Timetable: Available here

Website: halehealth.com.au

The author participated in the aforementioned classes courtesy of HALE Gym + Spa for review purposes. Her opinions remain her own.

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author

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