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Imagine never having to have a gym membership again and being able to rock up to your local park to take part in friendly fitness sessions in the fresh air? And….Imagine being able to do this for FREE???

12742563_470806553104980_3681162092300116623_nWell you can with Our Parks, an initiative dreamed up by fellow East London entrepreneur Born Barikor who as a former athlete turned Sports Development Officer realised he might have the solution to overcoming the three biggest hurdles we all face when wanting to participate in exercise:

  • Finding a class
  • Convenience
  • Cost

He says on his website www.ourparks.org.uk

It is our aim to ensure that easy access to exercise is available to you and your local community and Our Parks utilises a bespoke technology to enable residents to book and register on classes and communicate with other park users to provide a fitter and socially active community.

Now I have known about this scheme for a while, and there are a range of sessions right on my doorstep in the Olympic Park but if I am being completely honest I have just been procrastinating when it comes to actually giving it a go.

Also, I was a little bit scared.

  • What if I am not fit enough
  • What if I am the fattest person there
  • What if everyone knows each other?

But after bumping into Born at a number of events I realised I couldn’t leave it any longer, and I wanted to go check it out for myself.

Session 1 – Monday 8th Feb – ABT (Abs, Bums, Thighs) Timber Lodge, Olympic Park, East London

I couldn’t have chosen a worse day. A storm was on its way. The sky was grey, I was being blown sideways as I made my way to the meeting point and I thought “surely nobody is going to turn up to this” But they did. One by one women (and it was all women) appeared all of us in disbelief that we were actually going to do this.

Then Kiean the instructor arrived and I knew there was no backing out.

We started with a warm up of cardio based things such as start jumps and kicks etc, and a short jog around the area we would be using and then the real work started. The group was pretty small, with just 5 of us but the session felt really relaxed. The intensity increased but most exercises only lasted for a minute or so, so it was achievable.

I had done 6 miles (with hills) the previous days so my legs were sore to start with, but I knew this session was doing me good. Lunges, stair runs, squats, hill climbers…all the things I know will make me a stronger runner.

The weather got progressivly worse as the session continued but there was never any suggestion of packing it in, the yoga mats were flying everwhere, at times the wind was so strong it literally stopped us from being able to stay in one place….but in many ways it added to the fun.

And then it was over!!!!

We all stopped for a group picture…as evidence that the session had taken place, and I vowed I would be back next week.


Session 2 – Wednesday 17th February – Box Fit – South Lawn, Olympic Park, East London

Now if I was apprehensive before the last one, this time I was even worse. I have no upper body strength and I knew it was cold and miserable out too. But I had committed to it via the booking app and didn’t want to be a no show.

It was cold, but after a bit of a warm up we paired up and took turns in gloves and pads and spent an hour doing various combinations. Again, because it was only ever short bursts you never really had time to get bored or fatigued, and having a partner made it really sociable as we managed to chat during change overs and breaks.

Finishing up with a gentle jog around the perimeter of our workout area and a stretch we were done.


Will I be back…without a doubt.

I found both sessions challenging but not impossible. Being outside made it far more enjoyable than I imagined, and the social aspect of the sessions worked well.

Our Parks offer a range of different fitness sessions to suit all tastes, everything from Yoga, to Buggy Fit, Circuit Training to Hula Hooping. I love how their initiative is driven by social media, and how they involve their participants in helping to build the brand…its genius.


At the moment the sessions are being delivered 22 London Boroughs and Central Bedfordshire, but I have a sneaky suspicion it won’t be long before these guys go national

So how does it work in operating boroughs.?

You can Join FREE.
Complete your personal details including a valid email address.
You receive a confirmation email and click link to access your account.
Your unique profile will be created.
Browse / search for classes in parks near you via postcode or class types and book class.
Attend classes for FREE.


Check out their website for further info…and I promise I will make the effort to get to these sessions more often.

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