One City Stories: John Pierson, Founder of The Workout Network

Nicola Sheppey

Personal trainers = your absolute best friends, or the people you fantasise about throwing off a mountain when you’re three sets into burpees. If you’re like us, you’re more familiar with the latter – that is until you meet John at The Workout Network. The tucked-away studio a stone’s throw from Monument is John’s little sanctuary: a small but well-equipped gym with everything you need for a workout you’ll enjoy. John and the team at The Workout Network lead clients through one-on-one sessions that are scaled to their tastes and goals, whether that involves pumping iron on the barbells or keeping it slow on the mats. With great chat, laughter and a strong workout, trust us – it’s the kind of exercise you never end up dreading.

John also founded Exercising Demons, a charitable endeavour that hosts events and activities to raise awareness and support charities for bereaved families and children who have lost a parent. We spoke to the Founder and PT at The Workout Network to find out what motivates him and other trainers at The Workout Network – and why certain fashion choices are critical to success in fitness.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the fitness industry.

If I wanted to say the right thing to this question, I’d say: the thing that got me into this industry was an obsession with sports. I love the idea of competition and games. My obsession with sports led me to do a sports science degree. 

But the actual answer is: I like going to work in shorts. 

What does your day-to-day schedule look like?

The key to a successful day is ensuring my bag is packed, and my clothes are in the right place for the following morning. I would love to say that every morning, I get up, drink two glasses of water, and get 20 minutes of natural light. In truth, I wake up most mornings at 5:10am, and I have 20 minutes to leave the house. 

I coach roughly 5-7 hours a day. I train five times weekly, combining strength training/CrossFit style workouts with one bicycle or run. 

What advice would you give someone who’s looking to move towards a more healthy and active lifestyle? 

Start small. It’s all about trying to make small, manageable changes. Even if your life requires a vast overhaul, it is far more sensible to make small changes that you can continue to implement over time. 

Consistency is the key to success over time. And leave your phone outside of the bedroom. 

What do you think the most important thing to remember is for someone coming into one of your sessions? 

We will meet you wherever you are. Sometimes, we get a sledgehammer out and push you as hard as possible. Sometimes, you have been pushed as hard as possible by work, family life, and balance. And in those instances, we try to listen to you and your life. 

What’s your favourite thing about what you do? 

I am almost always a positive part of someone’s day. Very rarely do people hate their workouts and time spent benefitting themselves. 

Around your own training regime/work, what do you like to do for fun? 

Training: I love working hard. The program that I follow is called Hard Work Pays Off. 

Outside of training, my main hobby is photography. I love wandering around London with my camera and headphones when the weather is good. Good. So rarely. I also love being outdoors, so I am trying to get to the Alps in summer and winter to walk and ski. 

What are some of your favourite spots in the City?

My favourite lunch spot is OIE Truly Thai, an excellent small Thai place. But THE best place for me is Caffé Espresso, the coolest guy selling great coffee from a van in a church courtyard. What could be more City than a church and a coffee shop?

What advice would you give someone looking to go into fitness as a career? 

The key to success in my experience in this industry is authenticity. There are many fantastic personal trainers, and your USP will be you. And if you want to wear shorts.

Find The Workout Network at 36 St Mary at Hill, EC3R 8DU. Book a session at their website here. Follow @theworkoutnet on Instagram. Follow Exercising Demons on Instagram.

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Veganuary Eats in the City

Angel Jordan

Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or just wanting to try something new for the New Year, we’ve got you covered for sustainable and ethical dining options in the City. Here’s what we’ve found.

Go Falafel

Go Falafel does one thing, and does it well: and it’s in the name. Their menu is small and streamlined, and completely vegan. We tried both the wrap and bowl, and found that the bowl was a great choice for variety and value. Not to mention that it’s ready within seconds, making this one of the best places to grab a quick lunch on the go. They also have freshly made smoothies with real fruit and vegetables if you’re feeling thirsty or just need a little more vitamin-C.

68 Queen Victoria St & 115 Newgate St | More info

Unity Diner

They claim to be the biggest 100% vegan diner in London, and we think they may be right. The menu was extensive, you could visit ten times and not try everything they have to offer! From full pan seared cod to 3D printed steaks, there’s something for every former meat-eater. We tried the burgers (tasted just like normal), the bacon mac & cheese (texture was on point) and the BBQ chicken wings (falling right off the vegan bone!). The desserts are equal parts ambrosial and photogenic.

60 Wentworth St | Book now

Korean BBQ & Vegan

Unlike the other restaurants, Korean BBQ & Vegan isn’t entirely vegan, but it does have an extensive vegan menu to go alongside the full fledged KBBQ experience. The bibimbap – a huge, spicy rice bowl – is an absolute must try. The glass noodles are dripping in an authentic sauce that makes no compromises in taste. A great option for mixed parties where some want to eat vegan, and others not so much!

107 Whitecross St | More info

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New Year’s Eve in the City

Nicola Sheppey

It’s never too early to prep your plans for the biggest party of the year. Check out our recommendations of where to spend 31 December in the heart of London this year.

M Threadneedle Street

M Threadneedle Street’s exclusive New Year’s Eve bash promises an unforgettable night filled with delectable delights and picture-perfect moments. Indulge in a five-course feast featuring culinary gems such as Tuna Sashimi, Beetroot Potato Rosti and Carbon-neutral beef, including their legendary Grade 9++ Blackmore Wagyu. Stay on after dinner with the resident DJ spinning tunes until 2am.

60 Threadneedle St | Book here

Pan Pacific London

Make the most of all of Pan Pacific London’s luxury F&B, wherever the night is taking you. Enjoy an early dinner at Straits Kitchen, or book for the late night party with champagne and canapés followed by a five-course set menu. As the clock strikes midnight, Straits Kitchen guests can head to to The Orchid Lounge for dancing and DJs until 2am – or book into Silverleaf to join the Drag King collective Häus of Dons for an evening of cabaret and cocktails.

80 Houndsditch | Book here

Sky Garden

Set amongst Sky Garden’s tropical greenery and boasting spectacular city views, New Year’s Eve at Sky Garden promises to be one of the best parties in London. Whether you’re dining or looking for the ultimate views to watch the fireworks at midnight, there’s something for everyone; all bookings have standing access to the New Year’s Eve party with live performances by resident DJs and ALR Music’s Dee Supreme. All guests dining are invited to join the all-night party following their meal, included in the ticket price.

The Fenchurch Building | Book here

Searcys at The Gherkin

Celebrate in the rooftops of one of the City’s other hottest buildings as Searcys at The Gherkin brings the sparkle with a dazzling party at the very top, set amongst London’s sparkling cityscape. Dance the night away to live DJ Tom Diesel throughout the evening until the early hours, accompanied by unlimited food and drink selections with select packages.

30 St Mary Axe | Book here

Bollywood Beats at Cinnamon Kitchen

Delight in an evening of contemporary Indian dishes, innovative cocktails, and Bollywood beats at Cinnamon Kitchen. Indulge in a five-course feast alongside a glass of bubbly at Cinnamon Kitchen’s famous eatery, and party later with Bollywood Beats in the adjoining Anise Bar. For revellers who want to head straight to the dancefloor, opt for a party entry ticket inclusive of a Whitley Neill cocktail.

9 Devonshire Square | Book here

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Halloween in the City

Nicola Sheppey

Calling all zombies, ghouls, witches and vampires – Halloween has arrived in the City. Make the most of the spookiest time of year with our list of what to do, eat and try – guaranteeing a frightfully good time.

Spooky bakes at SHIOK!

Our favourite Singaporean patisserie are bringing adorable *ahem* terrifying treats to their collection this Halloween. Available for six days only, find ‘The Mummy Returns…’ – AKA coconut mousse, spiced turmeric, pumpkin brulée, carrot cake – and ‘Bat Lord’ – pistachio mousseline, raspberry confit, raspberry whipped ganache – from 25-31 October. Preorder here.

Pan Pacific London | Find out more

Halloween at Leadenhall Market

Discover all creatures great and small this Halloween at Leadenhall Market. With spooky guided walks, monster spotting trails, pumpkin workshops and more over the next week, there’s plenty to keep you entertained and in a scary mood – not to mention the famous six-metre tentacles bursting out of the market’s windows once again.

Find out more

Image: @samsnaps.jpeg on Instagram

Dabbers Bingo Halloween Shows

There are no tricks and all treats at Dabbers Bingo‘s Halloween line-up this year. Choose – if you dare – from the schedule of Halloween shows including ‘Do you Dare?’, a risky game which might have you making a deal with the devil, and ‘Panic! at the Bingo’, with a prize for best costume.  

Dabbers Bingo | Book now

Twisted Tokyo Brunch at M

M Threadneedle St‘s much-loved Tokyo Brunch has been given a horrifying twist the Saturday before Halloween, with a chilling cocktail added to the usual bottomless line-up to get your hairs raised. The resident DJ will be blasting scream-worthy tunes, while the two best-dressed guests dine for free – so get ready to serve!

M Threadneedle St, 26 Oct | Book now

Sweeney Todd Ghost Walk

Gather your friends for a private walking tour for a spooktacular AND educational walking tour – win win. Let London Walking Tours guide you with a dash of sinister history, a sprinkling of spooky tales, a light dusting of dastardly villains – blended together to create a veritable feast of a ghost walk about Fleet Street’s most famous barber.


Halloween Party at Sky Garden

Take Halloween to new heights at one of the most famous annual parties in London. This year’s Halloween at Sky Garden includes ghoulish beats, fiendish cocktails and plenty of frights. Upgrade your ticket to a VIP drinks or 3-course dinner package and make Halloween THE night of the year, in one of London’s most iconic locations.

Sky Garden, 27 Oct | Book now

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Exclusive Offers: Sculptures and Cocktails

Nicola Sheppey

There’s always a reason to spend time in the City when Sculpture in the City is up. And to celebrate the 2023 edition, we’ve partnered with three of our favourite cocktail bars in the trail area to give One City Friends exclusive offers, all running until 17 September. Cocktails combined with world class public art? Date night just got a little bit more special. Check out our recommended art & cocktail itineraries below.

Visit Habitat, then head to Patch East for two cocktails for the price of one

Habitat by Pedro Pires has to be seen to be believed – an astonishing sculptural illusion that from one side, appears to be the outline of a human being, and from the other, forms the shape of a tree. Pires wished to highlight ecological imbalance with this fascinating artwork, showing how truly intertwined and connected our lives are with the flora and fauna that also call this planet home.

After seeing Habitat, head to Patch East – who are offering One City Friends two cocktails for the price of one across their iconic cocktail menu. And don’t worry if you’re at the other side of the City – Patch St Paul’s are giving out the same offer exclusively for One City followers. Cheers to that!

How to redeem: Book online at, then email [email protected] to request the offer. It’ll then be applied to your booking on the night. Offer expires 17 Sep.

📍 Find Habitat at Mitre Square | 📍 Find Patch East at 80-84 Leadenhall Street

Visit Untitled, then head to Moonshine Saloon for 10% off Moonshine Saloon

Enormous artwork Untitled by Arturo Herrera stands in beautiful contrast to the City’s iconic architecture. This colourful collage including a Cezanne reference and dripping paint, create a complex vision of how art and architecture stand together, and apart.

After seeing Untitled, head to Moonshine Saloon – who are offering One City Friends 10% off bookings. Don your cowboy hat for this immersive experience and bring your own spirit for custom made cocktails all night made by expert mixologists. Become an outlaw and be transported to an unseen world of the American Wild West…

How to redeem: Book online at, and use discount code ONECITY10 at checkout. Offer expires 17 Sep.

📍 Find Untitled at 33 Creechurch Lane | 📍 Find Moonshine Saloon at 28-30 Houndsditch

Visit Earthing, then head to Jin Bo Law for £9.50 mimosas

The completely unique sculptural juxtaposition between snail shells and human legs in Earthing by Jocelyn McGregor explores interconnections between the synthetic and organic world in an urban space. McGregor used her own body to create the disembodied human legs, creating a playful, humorous sculpture that stands out in the bustle of Aldgate Square.

After seeing Earthing, head to Jin Bo Law – who are offering One City Friends discount mimosas for £9.50, exclusively on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays throughout August and September. Jin Bo Law is one of the most iconic City rooftop bars, found on the 14th storey of the Dorsett City Hotel and offering fantastic views of the London skyline. T&Cs apply.*

How to redeem: Book online at, then email [email protected] to notify the team. It’ll then be applied to your booking on the night. Offer expires end of Sep. T&Cs apply – see below.*

📍 Find Earthing in Aldgate Square | 📍 Find Jin Bo Law at 9 Aldgate High St.

Want to find out more about Sculpture in the City? Read our One City Stories interview with Founder Stella Ioannou.

For updates on what’s happening in the City plus exclusive offers, events and content for One City Friends, sign up for our newsletter here!

*Jin Bo Law Terms & Conditions: the Mimosa cocktail offer is valid only during the months of August and September. This offer is applicable on every Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday within the specified months. The exclusive price for the Mimosa cocktail during the offer period is £9.50. This offer is open to all One City promotion holders aged 18 and above. The offer is valid only for groups of up to 15pax. Guests are encouraged to make a reservation in advance to avail of this offer, as availability might be limited. The offer is subject to availability and may be subject to a limited quantity of Mimosa cocktails per day. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The offer is only valid for the Mimosa cocktail as described and cannot be substituted for any other beverage. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions, discounts, or offers. Jin Bo Law reserves the right to modify or withdraw this offer at any time without prior notice. The offer price is exclusive of any applicable service charges or gratuities. This offer is non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash or any other form of value. Jin Bo Law reserves the right to refuse service or participation in the offer to any guest who violates these terms or engages in any inappropriate behaviour. By participating in this offer, guests agree to abide by the above terms and conditions. These terms are subject to change without prior notice at the discretion of Jin Bo Law.