It’s hard to keep track of all the new fitness studios that are popping up on every street corner in New York. So I decided to try out a handful of them and give you my top five. Enjoy!
1. Core Fusion Barre – Exhale Spa
I’ve often heard ‘Barre Class’ dropped over brunch with my extra-hip, green smoothie drinking girlfriends, who always manage to look like they’ve just walked off a catwalk in their designer gym gear. Feeling intrigued, I decided to give it a go!
I arrived at the Exhale Spa Studio in Soho to a class of about 20-25 other young women. Pretending as if I were a regular barre-tress, I grabbed my weights, mat, strap and ball.
Core Fusion Barre is described as an, ‘Ultimate full body workout focusing on core strength, using your own body weight as resistance’. It reminded me of a mix between ballet class, Pilates and yoga, but don’t let that make you think that it’s relaxing. Even though there was no cardio or heavy weight lifting involved, you certainly worked up a good sweat by doing repetitions of small movements that are designed to trim and tone your entire body.
The class was challenging but overall I really enjoyed it and if you’re interested in hard-‘core’ strengthening and toning, this class will definitely help you to get that Natalie Portman ballet-bod!
If Core Fusion Barre doesn’t sound like the class for you, Exhale Spa also offers yoga classes and a spa for all your relaxation needs. Come to think of it, I could really do with a full body massage and a facial…
2. Pilates – Flex Studio
Have you ever seen those ‘spaceship’ looking Pilates machines known as Reformers? If you’ve ever wanted to give them a try, Flex Studios is the place to do it! Flex Studios is located on 47 West 14th St and offers three different fitness classes including Pilates, TRX and Barre. I attended the Flex Pilates class, which is a 55-minute class on a Reformer that combines Pilates with strength training and high-energy music.
I’ve always had this unrealistic idea that because Pilates is not a high intensity workout that it’s easy…. I was wrong. This class was surprisingly one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever done!
The class is very intimate with only about ten people per class. It was tough and required a strong mind to control your movements and to push yourself through the exercises. But take one look at the instructor’s sculpted bod and you can see that it really does work.
If you’re looking to improve your core-strength, endurance, stamina, balance and alignment, this is a great class to take. The instructors are extremely welcoming and assist, educate and encourage you throughout the entire Flex Pilates workout.
3. Peloton Cycle
Just in case you’re having trouble choosing which spin class to go to in New York, I’ve got you covered. Peloton Cycle is not only an extremely fun, super-chic spin cycle class located in the trendy streets of Chelsea, but it has also revolutionized spin classes by designing the Peloton Bike, a take home bike that merges, “High design with modern technology”. This magical cycling machine features a full HD, multi-touch console that connects to your home WIFI to deliver live and on demand studio cycling classes anytime. So if you love spin but can’t find the time to attend in-studio classes, the Peloton Bike might be a great option for you!
I have to say that Peloton is probably my favorite spin class in New York. The staff and instructors are incredibly friendly, the Peloton open lounge area gives you the opportunity to socialize with your fellow riders and the in-house café treats you to a complimentary caffeine-kick before your workout. Oh and most importantly, the classes are high-intensity, fun and addictive!
Peloton offers four different classes, Pure Peloton, Peloton Endurance, Peloton Power and Pelotone. Each class goes for 45 minutes and you do everything from cycling uphill, to riding flat road and your bike also comes equip with a set of weights for a killer arm workout too.
I’ve taken several Peloton classes and what I love most is that each instructor offers their own personal ‘spin’ on their class, which makes each class unique. It’s especially fun to book yourself in on a Monday evening as the classes are themed which adds a bit of excitement to your first day back at work after the weekend. My favourite was the 80s ride!
4. Brooklyn Crossfit – South Williamsburg
It’s been one of the biggest fitness trends in the last couple years and I finally decided to give it a go! If you haven’t heard of Crossfit, in short, it’s a constantly varied and high-intensity workout with functional movements, meaning movements that you use in your everyday life such as squatting, lifting and pulling yourself up.
I have several friends who fall into the ‘Cult Crossfitter’ category so I was pretty excited when Brooklyn Crossfit in South Williamsburg invited me in for a training session. My first class was the Foundation Class, a class for beginners that helps you to learn and practice the basic methods of Crossfit. There were seven people in the class, three women and four men. I particularly liked the small group as it allowed for open Q&A with your instructor.
During the class, we focused on three Crossfit functional movements, the air squat, push-up and kettle-bell swing. After doing a warm-up, we continued to do ‘AMRAP’ which stands for ‘As Many Rounds As Possible’. We did a round of 10 kettle bell swings, 10 pushups and a 200-meter sprint. This might sound simple, but the aim of the game is to go as hard as you can and not stop for ten minutes. It’s fair to say that I was a blubbering, sweaty heap on the floor by the end of it.
Overall I loved this Crossfit class, so much that I’m thinking of taking it up full-time. Brooklyn Crossfit South Williamsburg states, “Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive,’ and it’s true. Brooklyn Crossfit encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to give their classes a go. The movements were functional and challenging and the instructors were helpful in educating you about your posture and method throughout every movement.
I loved it, where do I sign?
5. Barry’s Bootcamp
It’s got a reputation for being one of the best bootcamps in New York City. Barry’s Bootcamp is located in Chelsea and Tribeca in New York but can also be found at some other nation-wide hot spots.
Barry’s Bootcamp is a 60-minute class that claims to burn 1000 calories per session…that is if you can keep up! Each class can hold up to about 40 people, half of which begin the workout on the treadmill and the other half on the floor. Throughout the workout, you spend about 10 minutes on either station and then you switch. I really enjoyed this type of interval training as it broke up the class and kept it interesting.
On the treadmill you do different cardio exercises such as 30-second sprints, uphill jogs and squatted side steps. The best part of the cardio exercises is that YOU are the one in control, which really challenges you to push yourself! Throughout the workout, the instructor will tell you what speed and incline to use, which of course you can adjust according to your fitness level.
The floor workout is usually a combination of arms, abs, butt and legs. Using weights, elastics and your own body weight, you do a range of different exercises that test your strength and endurance. From squats to burpees, push-ups and bicep curls, your bound to break a heavy sweat and feel your body burn.
I absolutely loved Barry’s Bootcamp. The ultra-grungy-shabby-chic studios are spacious and the equipment is top of the line. The passionate instructors and pumping music adds to energy of the room and inspires you to push you to your limits.
Oh and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for celebs, they’re often spotted at Barry’s Bootcamp!