Since opening its doors in 2002, KX Life has achieved legendary status, setting the standard for luxury health and wellness clubs in London. We spoke to Kx Life's Wellness Director, Gideon Remfry and Spa Director, Caroline Curry, to find out how more about their morning routine and how they're maintaining a healthy lifestyle during lockdown.
Located on Draycott Avenue in Chelsea, the services available at KX, pronounced ‘kicks’, aren’t limited to its extensively equipped premium gym; a fine-dining restaurant and an indulgent spa offer a post-workout reward to help you recover from your tailored fitness programme. KX’s approach to health and wellbeing is encompassed in its all-inclusive and personalised programmes that are personalised to your goals. Innovating with integrated solutions to achieve a well-balanced lifestyle, KX are revolutionising the fitness journey and delivering optimised results. From personal training to holistic therapies in an exquisitely opulent, getting fit in comfort has never been easier. Gideon Remfry and Caroline Curry gave us an insight into how they start their mornings and what they're doing to stay fit and healthy during lockdown.
Can you tell us a little about how you start your day and what effect the pandemic has had on your morning routine?
Caroline: The pandemic has such a big impact on my routine, before I would get up at 6.30am, go to the gym, swim, have my breakfast and hop on the tube to work, which really set me up for the day. Now, I take a coffee, go for a walk or do a home workout whilst listening to some calm music before sitting down with my laptop.
Gideon: My daily routine starts with 6 deep breaths followed by a glass of water. This is an easy way to calm my central nervous system and rehydrate “flush” my bodily systems after sleep. Following the calm I kickstart with a double espresso with an added teaspoon of cocoa - a great combo which serves up a health kick derived from 2 powerful plant compounds found in the coffee and cacao bean, both shown to have beneficial effects on supporting heart and brain health and increasing alertness. This routine has been tried, tested and refined over the years and helps me sustain good levels of mental and physical performance, even in times of higher stress… especially relevant for lockdown!
Is there anything you can’t start your morning without?
Caroline: My morning begins with a good cleanse of my face, a strong application of Vitmain C and Hyaluronic Acid! I really cannot start my morning without a good skincare routine.
Gideon: My coffee-chocolate mix!
What’s your go-to breakfast and how important is nutrition to your lifestyle?
Caroline: My go-to breakfast is porridge which really does not sound exciting but I add some nuts and chia seeds to make it super nutritious and tasty. Nutrition is important but so is enjoying what you eat. The pandemic has meant being indoors for most of the day, and everyone needs something to smile about – so if that is eating some chocolate then go for it.
Gideon: The linchpin of my morning meal or shake is a good portion of protein (25g) together with a low starch plant food like berries. This supports both appetite and blood sugar regulation throughout the day. The protein also provides me with the building blocks required for exercise to come later in the day. As a nutritionist and food lover, I am a firm believer in the power of food as medicine and practicing what I preach!
How do you relax after a long day? Have you got any guilty pleasures?
Caroline: The occasional glass of red wine depending on how I am feeling, and some dark chocolate always hits the spot. I am a big chocolate lover and have a dangerous sweet tooth! Dark chocolate is a much better alternative to a tub of ice cream.
Gideon: The two main reasons that most diets fail are because they are too aggressive with their calorie deficit, and they associate guilt with food choices. I therefore do not believe in attaching guilt to food or the pleasure of eating/drinking. I love a glass of guilt-free red wine and a chunk of dark chocolate!
As Directors, you both have hectic schedules. How do you make time for self-care and reflection?
Caroline: My schedule is always busy, but the key is to be organised and productive – that way things don’t become hectic. I always make sure Sunday is spent going for a long walk in the country, cooking a Sunday dinner and then relaxing in the bath with a face mask before the week starts again.
Gideon: Exercise is a non-negotiable in my daily self-care schedule. While I exercise daily, I don’t always believe this has to adopt a “go hard or go home” approach. I use a variety intensities and training types, from kettle bells and gymnastic drills, through to yoga and running. The common thread of my daily mindful movement practices is learning new skills while building strength and conditioning… it’s also fun. This type of mindful movement requires concentration and focused physical activity which supports both mental and physical health. Research has shown these factors support building a brain protein called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. (BDNF is best known for its beneficial effects on cognition including memory, focus, creativity, and keeping your brain sharp).
How would you describe the KX brand and how have your values evolved during the pandemic?
Caroline: KX is a very luxury, bespoke and beautiful brand. Our main priority is people, and our employees’ and clients’ safety has been our primary focus during this pandemic. We work very hard at KX to think outside the box at all times, but the pandemic has taught me to slow down when needed and everything doesn’t always need to be go, go go.
Gideon: KX have been leaders in the field of integrated wellness since 2002. This rich history has allowed us to build an exceptional evidence-based approach with a team of outstanding people at its core. Our values remain the same and have never been more poignant than during the pandemic: we aim to inspire and empower a holistic, life changing approach to health and wellbeing.
How are these reflected in your service and how are you implementing them while working from home?
Caroline: Whilst working from home I have stayed in touch with all my teams via email, I know them all individually very well and ensure to check in to see how they and their families are and what they have been up. This is incredibly important and should be a standard requirement for every company. In terms of our clients, we continue to offer a bespoke service and have implemented many safety features to prioritise being as COVID secure as possible during this time, as well as becoming as super flexible to accommodate our membes’ needs.
Gideon: KX is unique in that it houses spa, gym and restaurant spaces. The spa offers physical and holistic therapies as well as aesthetic beauty treatments. The exercise space includes a gym and studios – which offer options for group classes, personal training, and our members’ own workouts (ranging from yoga and Pilates, through to strength training and combat). The restaurant offers a delicious and healthy menu, as well as food programs like the 7-day Sirtfood diet, which was actually developed at KX. All of our services have standalone merit, or can be integrated into a holistic wellness package. Working from home has seen the addition of both online PT (one to one and family group training), plus outdoor, socially distanced PT. The restaurant continues to be busy delivering dishes, catering for families and running our food programs – which we delivered directly to members’ doors. I will leave Caroline to wax lyrical about the great work at KX Spa.
How have you maintained a balance between business and leisure while working remotely?
Caroline: Apart from missing my day-to-day life, I have found balance between both business and leisure. There is obviously now more time to incorporate a walk before or after work without feeling exhausted from commuting, and you can even manage to cook a nice healthy meal on a lunch break – pre-pandemic there was not as much time for those small pleasures.
Gideon: Working remotely means juggling work, home school and leisure, which by design requires flexibility and adaptability. I sometimes feel like when I was a kid at school and 3 o’clock hits you I run out the door to freedom… For me now, that’s to a workout in my garden… clearing both the physical and mental filing cabinets!
How are you planning for the future of KX once the lockdown restrictions are lifted?
Caroline: I have got some super exciting plans at KX Spa. We have a great project in the pipeline which unfortunately I can’t say too much about yet, but it really reflects how important our health is and to be surrounded by fantastic professionals.
Gideon: We have so many exciting plans for post-lockdown and I know that members cannot wait to return to KX (often referred to as their Urban wellness retreat)! We are launching our new Red-Fit cardio detox – a cardio detox combined with infrared light, housed in a high-tech private studio. We also have new trainers on board in the fitness, yoga and Pilates teams. Most importantly we will be offering all of our members a wellness assessment including cellular stress testing, allowing us to see how they have been physically affected by their time away from KX, and building a personalised program to support their total wellness, including immune health.
Do you have any advice on staying fit while gyms are closed?
Caroline: I ran too much during the first lockdown as the weather was beautiful, but I ended up injuring my knee. I think my advice would be, do not overdo it! Home workouts are great but going for a walk – even if it is for 15 minutes – has its benefits too.
Gideon: There are 2 aspects of physical activity to consider while gyms are closed. The first is all your non-planned exercise called NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenics). NEAT is any daily movement that happens as part of life – like climbing stairs, housework or brushing your teeth. Often overlooked in the energy balance (calories in calories out) equation, NEAT can account for as much as 2000 calories per day of energy output! A simple way to gauge NEAT it to monitor your step count and consistently keep it over 10,000 per day. The second is your planned exercise and the key here is to find activities you enjoy and can practically do within your time and space restrictions – think Yoga or body weight training. Check out KXU’s online offering which includes a whole range of online workouts to keep you motivated and fit at home.
How do you think people’s attitudes towards wellness have changed since the first lockdown?
Caroline: I think people have realised how much they value wellness in their lives, whether it be in the form of the gym or a relaxing massage. We have also gained a much better understanding of how we can implement wellness opportunities at home during lockdown.
Gideon: Speaking to colleagues, clients and friends, the third lockdown has brought numerous challenges, making people focus on their immune system, health and overall wellness. While a lot of people gained weight during lockdown number one, this then drove them to commit to moving as an essential part their second lockdown routing. Roll on number three and the whole concept of wellness has opened up public awareness that regular exercise brings benefits not just to physical health, but perhaps most importantly to our mental health and overall happiness.
Do you have any insider’s tips for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle?
Caroline: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Not every day is always as perfect as you like but setting yourself some non-negotiables and certain goals definitely helps you to keep motivated to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Supplement Vitamin D daily if you are not getting any sun (approximately 2,000iu per day)
2. Maintain over 10,000 steps per day
3. Plan some exercise at least 3 x per week for 30 minutes and choose something you enjoy….even dancing
4. Eat protein with every meal, and aim to eat 10 colourful plant foods each day
5. Learn something new
What are your tips for taking care of your mental health during the lockdown?
Caroline: I like to start my day off with some meditation or calm, relaxing music. It allows me to feel present and helps me to plan out my day better. Make sure you are communicating and speaking to people as this can be a very isolating time for many – talking about a series you’re watching or how you’re feeling can really lift your spirits. At that start of the first lockdown my dad sent me a joke a day, and they are the worst dad jokes ever but, a little laughter goes a long way!
1. Try a 5 – 10 minute guided meditation every day, there are plenty to choose from online and the benefits are scientifically proven to be life changing (if you can stick with it!)
2. Speak to friends and family and share experiences – good and bad – a problem shared is problem halved
3. Have a laugh
4. Eat a piece of chocolate and don’t beat yourself up about it!
Find out more about KX's memberships and facilities at kxlife.co.uk