Scene Working Out: Mark Ford, owner of Sweatbox

Mark Ford is the owner of Soho’s only gay gym and sauna, Sweatbox, and one half of art duo Mr and Mr Ford. He here shares some workout tips and explains the importance of a gym buddy.

When and how did you get into working out? 

I’ve been working out on and off since before we opened Sweatbox, so nine years ago now, but only started taking it more seriously in the last year or so because I’m getting older and want to age disgracefully. I wouldn’t describe myself as a gym bunny. It’s more that I have an ongoing love affair with mirrors and my own reflection. Google Narcissus and you’ll find me waving back at you.

Aside from your physical gains, what else do you get from working out?

Boys call me daddy. And apparently that’s now a good thing.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced with your training and how are you overcoming it?

I have a low boredom threshold. Solution: more mirrors. At Sweatbox we even have them on the ceiling so there’s just never a missed opportunity to look at myself. Everyone is living in a world of Instagrammification. Not me. I’m old school, happy with just my mirrors and me.

What is your top tip for motivating yourself before a workout?

Buy an extra loud alarm clock. Put it in a room more than ten feet away from the bed. Do not go back to bed. Drink coffee, poop, shower, work out.

Give us your most important tip to any prospective gym users.

Do not take tips from sarcastic, narcissistic old fools like me. Beyond that, talk to people. Reach out. Make friends. A gym buddy is not just the best motivation to keep training, he’s also a buddy. And in this world of online ‘friends’, real life flesh and blood buddies are more important than ever. Used right, a gym is a good place to take care of your soul’s needs as well as your body’s.

For some people Sweatbox is a sauna with a gym. For others it’s a gym with benefits. However you see it, Sweatbox has everything you need for a full body work out using machines, free weights or a combination of both. After your workout you can relax in the steam room or sauna, or for an additional cost enjoy a professional massage. You can even train topless inside this all-male gym and watch in the surrounding mirrors how your body behaves as you train. Yes, you can expect to see a few shirtless hunks during your visit, but Sweatbox is also one of the friendliest most attitude-free places to work out that we know of, whatever your body shape.

Special offer Sweatbox’s annual January sale means you can secure a 12-month membership for just £295, which works out at less than £25 per month, which is fantastic for a gym in central London! Membership also includes access to the sauna. Get yourself to the venue before the end of this month to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Sweatbox, Ramillies House, 1-2 Ramillies Street, Soho, London W1F 7LN.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Gym hours are Monday to Friday 7am until midnight, and 10am until midnight Saturday and Sunday.

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