I am one of those people who cannot be successful in working out at a gym. My attention span gets shot out of the gate and 10 minutes on the treadmill feels like 100 (let us still recognize the miracle that my running a half marathon was!) When I belonged to a gym I used to spend half my workout on the mat looking at my phone. No wonder I wasn’t seeing results – ha!
It wasn’t until I joined ClassPass about a year and a half ago that I finally started seeing changes in my body. I was able to shed some stubborn pounds, stay honest and consistent about my workouts and I began to see definition in muscles that hadn’t been used in years. What I had come to realize about myself is that I truly need third party accountability in order to stay consistently motivated in my workouts. Pre-booked classes became the answer to my fitness rut and I haven’t looked back since exploring New York’s boutique fitness scene. (I wrote more about this topic last summer in case you’re interested.)
So today I’m rounding up my favorite workout classes in New York City. Many of these have outposts in other major markets, too so worth exploring if you’re in a Chicago, New York or Dallas. I actually often get emailed by you guys that you’re coming to New York and are looking for recommendations and many ask for workout classes. Ask and you shall receive, my friends!
Before we get to the good stuff, I do think (like most things in life) what you put in is what you get out of workout classes. I’ve made major efforts recently to try and focus more in class and really listen to what my instructors are saying so I can adjust accordingly and ensure I’m maximizing my efforts.
If you have any studio recommendations for me (or tips + tricks you use for your fitness routine), I’m all ears!
Ah my guilty pleasure. Nothing makes me feel quite as zen and powerful at the same time as a Soul class. I’ve been taking classes on and off for four years and religiously go to either Marvin or Parker (or in Chicago you have to see my friend Hallie!) because your performance in class really does come as a result of who is instructing you. You want to feel motivated, inspired and uplifted. If I’ve had a bad day, Soulcycle is like therapy. A complete and utter release from any bad vibes, emotions or memories from the day. If Soulcyle was a prescription, I’d write a script for all my friends to use when they’ve had a bad day.
I was SO happy when Flywheel opened its latest studio around the corner from my apartment! The fewer steps it takes me to get to class, the more likely I am to sign up for it. Flywheel is focused on performance cycling which means their bikes are enabled with these nifty tech packs that tell you your RPMs and Torq so you can hone in on being right where the instructor wants you to be in terms of difficulty, climbs and speed. (Contrary to popular belief it is not competitive unless you opt-into displaying your “score” onto the TVs in the room. You can Fly at any point without anyone ever knowing your Power score.) My favorite teachers of now are Lissa (so motivating and upbeat!) and Ben. Flybarre is the barre counterpart and is hands down the hardest barre class I have taken. I am sore in a good way following every class and consistently challenged. You’ll feel stronger and more toned after just a couple of classes. And one of the best perks? Free shoes, water and fruit on site at all studios!
I take a lot of barre classes (clearly given the above and below) because I’ve been focusing on getting more toned. I love how barre targets specific areas of the body and I’ve been working on perfecting my form recently. If something doesn’t feel right then I figure out why (it requires being more present in class and not allowing my mind to wander as much!) If I’m not feeling the effects of an exercise I try to make adjustments vs. just finishing the reps. Physique 57 focuses on form quite a bit in class with constant adjustments which I love. The perfectionist in me wants to do something the right way all the time. I generally take the Signature Physique classes but am ready to dive into some of the other offerings as I finally feel like I am ready. (Also, throwback to last summer’s shoot at Physique 57 in Soho!)
The Pure Barre in Union Square / Greenwich Village has this incredibly welcoming feeling to it that keeps me always coming back. I just love arriving there and have never had an instructor I didn’t like. I leave every 55 minute class feeling stronger and love the areas of the body it focuses on. Like many barre classes, you start out by using light weights for arms and then go to the barre to work on your thighs and glutes before finishing up with ab work. I take Pure Barre when I’m in San Francisco and also at their Vail location when I’m home visiting my parents as I always look forward to the classes! (And side note: I tucked next to Rose Byrne the other week – ha!)
I really couldn’t get into yoga until I started going to Yoga Vida. The atmosphere is relaxed and while classes can get really packed, never do I feel intimated by yogis but rather everyone just doing the best they can for their level. Yoga Vida recently introduced a Heated Flow which is like hot yoga but taken down a notch. I would timber right over if I ever tried to do Bikram so this is an excellent similar option. My muscles feel SO good afterwards. The Monday night classes are really my favorite because I feel like it centers my week in a really nice way. Of particular note, Yoga Vida has a $20 new member discount for unlimited classes for the week following your first experience. It’s awesome if you have any guests coming into town who may want to squeeze in some workouts with you!
And saving the best for last, SLT is hands down my favorite workout in New York. It’s not a part of Classpass so I can’t justify going to classes nearly as much as I would like but the workout is so, so hard. As you can see from these photos, SLT (or Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone) is done on a megaformer machine. The machine is super versatile so no two classes are the same which I love (and part of the reason I wanted to shoot some photos in the studio so you could see the machine and how the “carriage” moves.) The workouts are heart-pumping, super sweaty and wildly hard so class goes by so quickly. I am sore in all the places a girl wants to improve (abs/arms/butt/etc.) for days afterwards and sometimes it hurts to sneeze following SLT. Quite literally the definition of #hurtssogood! I can’t recommend SLT enough and they offer you a great newcomer special for 3 classes at a discount following your first class if you loved it – just a little pro tip 😉 (Major thanks to Lanae for helping me through the moves in this shoot! She’s been with SLT since the beginning so no doubt her class will be a good one if you’re looking for an instructor. I also really love Allyson.)
For what it is worth, I’ve also taken Tracy Anderson Method and Body By Simone but both had way too much dancing for me. I’m a follow the instructor to a T kinda gal and trying to follow choreography just ends up with me flailing around. I can totally see why some people love it but they are just not my jam! I did also try a Barry’s Bootcamp for the first time and want to go again as I loved the mix of cardio + weights it offered. And this past weekend I went to ModelFit and had a great class – I’m eager to go back soon!
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Outfit c/o Ted Baker’s awesome & oh so chic new active line Fit to a T.