We celebrated the new fitness year all January with the Get Back On Track 31 DAYS OF FITNESS. I’m excited to say the month is now complete! I checked out a different workout everyday at all of the most popular boutique fitness studios in NYC to highlight the multitude of fitness options available. With such a wide variety of workouts and classes, there is no excuse not to be in shape this 2015! We’re based in NYC, but many of these studios have multi-city locations and even DVDs, and there are similar style workouts close to your home town. Check out our day by day reviews below and we hope to see you working out soon at one these studios!
The classes are rated 1-5 on three criteria: Cardio; Strength/Toning; Girly/Macho. 1 is easiest, 5 is hardest, and for the last category, 1 = girly and 5=macho.
DAY 31: CROSSFIT & PURE BARRE. I decided for my grand finale to double down with two very different workouts — in fact they are polar opposites. While CrossFit is about big movements and full range of motion, Pure Barre is about tiny isolated movements. Both are equally hard, just made for two different fitness personalities.
CrossFit is probably the biggest fitness phenomenon across the country and around the world with a network of more than 11,000 affiliated gyms. CrossFit itself is defined as “constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity”. Functional movements mean exercises that make you stronger in the things you do everyday. It’s useful strength. Luckily for me, the free Intro to CrossFit class was only 10 minutes of actually working out, but in that short period of time we got a good taste of what it’s all about. For 10 minutes straight we did a circuit of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats for as many rounds as we could until time was up. Exercises are performed correctly, with a full range of motion, for short amounts of time, and with maximum intensity. There is no cheating, although pre-approved modifications are allowed. CrossFit is also about the community that arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective. The workouts are the same for every class all day and change each day, so everyone is on the same program and helps motivate one another. This was very apparent at Crossfit NYC where I checked out the program this morning. C=4 / ST=5 / GM=5
Pure Barre is also one of the biggest fitness studios with locations nationwide. The workout was similar to other barre workouts I’ve done this month and for this big muscle athlete very difficult! The class utilizes the barre, elastic bands and rubber balls in small, isolated and controlled movements targeting the glutes, thighs, arms and abs. The exercises are very difficult and effective, but not a lot of fun. It’s just hard work, which is fine if that’s all you want in an exercise class. Me? I need smiles and laughs during my physical torture! Cudos to instructor Alana Epstein at Pure Barre Union Square, however, for staying cheery and upbeat throughout the tough workout I barely survived on the last day of the 31 Days of Fitness! C=1 / ST=5 / GM=1
DAY 30: AEROSPACE. Former champion boxer Micheal Olajide Jr. has been a fixture on the NYC fitness scene for many years. Co-founded with former ballet dancer Leila Fazel, their boxing and training facility, Aerospace, and workouts, Aerobox, Aerojump and Aerosculpt, among others, are consistently rated some of the toughest and most effective classes in town. I took Aero3 this morning, a combination of all of the above, featuring intense non-stop intervals of jump rope, shadow boxing, along with other muscle endurance exercises that utilized weight bars, hand weights, resistance bands and gliding discs. Boxers are known for their conditioning, and this class was one of the toughest so far. Their sleek new facility on west 27th st. is chic, modern and minimal. It is far from your typical grungy boxing gym, but make no mistake, you’ll train like a pro at Aerospace. C=5 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 29: AQUA STUDIO. I’m not sure why we need to spin in a pool, for me spinning on dry land works just fine, but hey, whatever floats your boat… I mean bike! If you like water aerobics and you like spinning here is the combo you’ve been looking for, and the space wins “most beautiful studio” of the 31 Days. Located in Tribeca, the tri-level space feels like a cool spa, with a mix of exposed brick, cast iron, eucalyptus infused, and then there is the candlelit pool. The workout uses the water, both on the bike and with upper body moves, for effective and intense resistance. There are added benefits to this water cycling workout as well. The hydrostatic pressure of the water combined with cycling movement increase blood flow and circulation. The water friction also acts as a massage for the legs and stimulates the lymphatic system for improved skin, including cellulite reduction. Don’t get me wrong, the workout is tough, but I’d much prefer it on vacation in a big resort pool with a tropical breeze and a Pina Colada. Sign me up for that class! C=4 / ST=3 / GM=3
DAY 28: MODELFIT. Following supermodel Karlie Kloss on Instagram, and noticing this beautiful fitness studio in which she is often seen working out, I have been eager to check out modelFIT. Sure enough who was there this morning? Karlie Kloss! The space is indeed gorgeous — as was everyone I saw at ModelFit — in a white painted loft space, with sunlight streaming in, dark wideplank wood floors, and accented with bunches of colorful resistance bands draped along the long exercise barre. The modelFIT workouts incorporate a mix of Pilates, Yoga, balance stability and functional training. I took the modelFIT Combo, which mixed “dance” cardio (what I would call low impact aerobics) with isometric training that utilized those resistance bands for a full body conditioning workout. While not as strenuous as other classes I’ve taken this month, I was definitely feeling the burn with classic sculpting and toning exercises. The goal here is no bulking (not good for those sample sizes), but long lean muscles and a strong core… their slogan being “It’s not model thin, it’s modelFIT.” C=1 / ST=3 / GM=1
DAY 27: RESTORATIVE YOGA. With the snow day derailing my plan to go to Pure Barre today, I decided to go back to Pure Yoga to check out something called “Restorative” yoga. The description read, “Restorative yoga is a deeply relaxing way of practicing yoga. Given props, the student achieves poses without much muscular strength, facilitating deep release in the connective tissue and calming the nervous system.” This sounded like heaven on Day 27. Around the walls of the studio were pillows and bolsters and blankets. It was like a yoga lounge, and the first pose was simply lying on the floor against the wall with our feet up in the air. Then we lay on our sides, resting on the bolsters to unwind our torsos. The instructor came around to place blankets and eye pillows if requested, followed by a little aromatherapy, massage and positive affirmations. This is the best kept secret in town and I can’t believe this class really exists. While it was far from a workout, relaxation is rejuvenation and critical when you’re training hard. It was a much needed respite and and I’m ready for next 4 days of workouts! C=0 / ST=0 / GM=3 / RELAXATION = 10.
DAY 26: THE FHITTING ROOM. On Day 26, I’m definitely to the point when I hear the words “burpee” or “mountain climbers” or “plank”, that I start to groan before I even begin. There I was again this morning in a HIIT (high intensity interval training) class, back in the air and on the floor doing explosive power moves and body weight exercises. the Fhitting Room is a group training studio in a storefront on Lexington Avenue, that packs a big workout in a small space. Like Tone House’s red, Orange Theory’s orange, the Fhitting Room has a theme color as well which is lime green. It’s a circuit style class that moves from station to station with a variety of total body exercises that engage a full range of motion. The workout utilizes lots of different gear like TRX, Bosu balls, kettelbells, and Nike SPARQ Speed Hurdles among others, to keep things moving along. Another tough workout logged! C=2 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 25: ORANGETHEORY FITNESS. OrangeTheory is a workout I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about, and for that reason I drove over Edgewater, NJ this morning to check it out. With studio locations across the country, and one opening in Manhattan in March, this workout was worth the trip! The class was kind of a mix of many of the workouts I’ve done so far all rolled into one: treadmill training, rowing class, TRX, HIIT (high intensity interval training), circuit and other dynamic strength training. “Orange Theory” refers to the target “orange” heart rate zone that is optimal for “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC, which is an increased metabolic rate that continues for 24 to 36 hours after the workout. Everyone in the class is provided with heart rate monitor that automatically syncs with video displays around the room, and shows which of the 5 color heart rate zones you’re in. A Polar heart rate performance report is then emailed after class, which I quite cool I have to say. The space is layed out like a gym with rows of treadmills and WaterRowers (orange!) lining one wall and strength training equipment on the other. It’s almost like you walked into the gym and had a personal trainer work you harder for 60 minutes than you would ever do on your own, and you got to play with all the toys too. C=5 / ST=5 / GM=3
ROW 1: INDO BOARD YOGA; WITH MICAEL OLAJIDE, JR. AT AEROSPACE; UNNATA AERIAL YOGA; ROW 2: MILE HIGH RUN CLUB; EXCEED PHYSICAL CULTURE; TITLE BOXING CLUB
DAY 24: FLYWHEEL SPORTS. While many like to compare Flywheel to SoulCycle, because both of these popular boutique spinning studios have such a dedicated and loyal following, the two indoor cycling workouts are really very different. SoulCycle classes ride to the rhythm of the music, and feature a lot of movement and dance choreography on the bike. Flywheel classes, on the other hand, are interval style and performance oriented, focusing on “torq” (resistance) and rpms (speed), that are displayed on small monitors on each bike. During each song those numbers are called out, and the riders goal is to hit those marks. Much is made of the competitive nature of the class and the “Torqboards” that display everyone’s output. While it only flashes on the video monitors for short periods during class, it can be opted out of as well, and the stadium style seating gives a nice communal feel to the class. There is really not a bad bike in the room. I rode with instructor, Jess Palu, today who I happened to meet working out at Tone House last week and is also a Rockette! She was a tough with a smile and had me pushing hard non-stop for 45 minutes straight. C=5 / ST=2 / GM=3
DAY 23: NEW YORK POLE DANCING. Walking into the “pink” room at New York Pole Dancing, with 6 poles waiting for us beginners, I knew this was not going to be a typical workout on Day 23. First of all, I was not properly dressed. Short shorts were needed for skin contact with the pole, and I gleefully bought of pair of hot pink booty shorts to get me in the mood. Taught by the innocent looking Dani Quinn (until she changed into platform stilettos and started to demo that is), the class started out with a great warm up to get us loose and limber before we got it going on.
Besides being sexy as hell, pole dancing is a workout and it’s fun… from the first strut around the pole to the hair whips to the spins to the “girly” push-ups — not what usually comes to mind, but a slithering move across the floor with the chest down and the booty up. If you think climbing, spinning, or hanging on that pole is easy, think again. These girls make it look that way, but it requires a ton of upper body and leg strength. Feeling feisty after that workout, I’m ready for more and might even put on the heels myself next time. Oh, and best music so far! C=2 / ST=4 / GM=1
DAY 22: AS ONE. Schwinn Airdynes, Stair Climbers, Sand Bags, Jacobs Ladders, Ropes, and Concept SkierGs — there are a lot of toys to play with at As One! This circuit training class integrates cardio with strength training and plyometric intervals for a high-intensity total body workout. The space is not fancy but tried-and-true moves like burpees, froggers, pull-ups, squat jumps, plank push-ups, sit-ups and more, get the job done. The workout changes from class to class, and with such a variety of moves and intervals, it flies by. It was great to have it all wrapped up with a foam rolling segment at the end. C=5 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 21: BIKRAM YOGA. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a heated room at roughly 110 degrees and consists of a series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 Pranayama breathing techniques, designed to provide an invigorating, detoxing, and rejuvenating yoga experience. I think I would have preferred 2 Tone House classes in a row, than this 90 minutes of stifling heat and the overpowering aroma of body odor which greeted me before class had even begun. Being the first time I was taking a Bikram class, the instructor, Yarrow Bucans at Bikram Yoga NYC, warned me I might feel dizzy and nauseous. She encouraged me not to leave should this happen, but just sit down. Little did I know that would be about 5 minutes into class. Seeing I was struggling, Yarrow was great about checking in on me. Unable to do any pose because I was getting so dizzy, and barely breathing in trying not to inhale the smell, she said just to sit there and treat it like a sweat lodge. I could do that I thought, but about 15 minutes in and feeling like I was going to pass out, I looked at her and mouthed, “I have to leave”. The cool air was so refreshing as I ran out of the room, but I felt a little defeated.
I must give a big shout out to Yarrow, who found me as I was changing and encouraged to come back in. The claps of my fellow sweat lodgers greeted me, and I made it through the rest of class, doing about 2 of their 26 poses, and joyous as the clock on the wall showed 90 minutes had passed. While Bikram is not for me, it clearly is for many, and I was thoroughly impressed by the packed room at 1pm, and my classmates support, stamina and flexibility. C=2 / ST=3 / GM=2
DAY 20: TONE HOUSE. Many people have been asking me if I was going to try Tone House in my 31 Days of Fitness, saying it was supposed to be one of the hardest workouts out there. I can attest it lived up to the hype. When I first walked into the long dark space, barely lit with red bulbs, and apocalyptic theme music playing (I’m not kidding), I said to the woman at the front desk, “I’m scared”. She told me not to be, but the vibe was more “Torture” House than Tone House, although perhaps in a way some might find pleasurable. Against the sides of the room were ominous looking ropes and straps and other devices, and down the middle of the room were about 20 black triangular obstacles. Filling out the waiver, there were questions about chest pains, heart conditions, and breathing problems, which did nothing to alleviate my concern. We were told there would be a lot of running, but we could step aside if we needed too. I felt a little safer. And then the workout began.
The “warm-up” left me gasping for air as we ran around the room at full tilt, leaping over those obstacles for more laps than I wanted to count. The waiver quickly made sense. Next came a circle drill, with quick feet running in place, jumps, squats, burpees, and crunches. Then there were wind sprints, each segment of which was bordered by a drop and a push up. Next were rope drills, alternated with pulling a sled while lying on our backs, heavy enough for a NFL lineman, down one side of the room, and then pushing it back down the other. More wind sprints… you get the idea. No joke, this is the toughest workout I’ve ever experienced, but what softened it was the camaraderie that instantly developed with everyone in the class, and the team spirit, founder and instructor, Alonzo Wilson, a hulking specimen himself, fostered and encouraged throughout the workout. C=5 / ST=5 / GM=5
DAY 19: FLEX STUDIOS. Flex Studio offers three signature classes, Flex Barre, Flex TRX, and Flex Pilates, as well as combo classes. I hit the Pilates class with Jackie Dragone for Day 20… again hoping for an easy workout, again being denied. This signature 55 minute high energy class combines Pilates with strength training for an intense fast-paced total body workout. With brand new Reformer machines, tricked out with all sorts of attachments, this non-stop class moved around the machine from exercise to exercise that had my core working and the rest of me quivering at the end of each set. After two of these souped up Pilates workouts (SLT is the other), that I have been unable to muscle my way through, my weaknesses have been revealed and I can confirm my obliques and inner thighs are in need of work. They got it today! C=2 / ST=5 / GM=3 (there were actually guys in the class)
DAY 18: EXHALE CORE FUSION. Feeling kind of beat up from the last few days of intense workouts, I was kind of hoping the Core Fusion Barre class at Exhale would be a mellow one. While a calmer workout, consisting of smaller movements and isolated contractions, the barre and floor exercises were unrelentingly strenuous. There was no place to hide from my pain or tough love instructor, Kira Alvarado. Using weights, balls, bands, and our own body weight as resistance, the class focused on core strength throughout the full body workout with movements designed to lengthen as they strengthen. Exhale has multiple locations nationwide and in NYC that feature Barre, Yoga and Spa treatments. Perhaps I would have been better off with the latter today if I was looking to take it easy on Day 18. C=1 / ST=4/ GM=1
DAY 17: TITLE BOXING CLUB. Hands taped and wearing boxing gloves, Day 17 had me hitting the heavy bag at Title Boxing Club with Joe Sharp at one of the coolest workout spaces in town. Hanging from steel beams in a large industrial space, is a roomful of punching bags around which kickboxing and boxing classes are focused. But there is more to these classes than hitting and kicking. Boxers are known for their ripped physiques, and much of class was spent on the conditioning drills that produce those results. As a “warm-up” and “cool-down”– which was a hardcore workout in itself — and interspersed between heavy bag sets, were jumps, squats, lunges, running, push-ups, ab work, and other explosive exercises. Although it was a kickboxing class, there was as much punching involved, for an all around kickass workout! C=5 / ST=5 / GM=4
ROW 1: NEW YORK POLE DANCING; ERICA BLOOM PILATES PLUS; RESTORATIVE YOGA AT PURE; ROW 2: SLT; DRILL FITNESS; TONE HOUSE
DAY 16: DRILL FITNESS. Drill Fitness is a spacious studio in Tribeca that offers 3 signature workouts, Body HIIT, Body FIT and Bootcamp Ride, their indoor cycling class. I checked out the HIIT class, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and is currently one of the most popular fitness trends. All students are given a heart rate monitor to wear, that is paired with a video display in the room, and shows your level of exertion. The class consisted of fast-paced, short interval circuits of plyometrics, sand bag lifts, squats, push-ups, lunges and other explosive power moves designed to keep the heart pumping and muscles firing. The class was non-stop but flew by with a ton of variety to keep us going as we got “drilled”. Earned that “Monkey Double Trouble” at their smoothie bar after class too! C=4 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 15: T2 MULTISPORT. T2 stands for transition 2, and refers to the cycling leg of a triathlon. Founded and run by Robert Pennino, Founder and CEO of the Terrier-Tri Triathlon, Cycling & Marathon Club in NYC, this is a serious indoor cycling class for athletes. We covered the facility when it first opened in 2013 in The Cyclists Spin Class. The class takes place on a real bikes set on CompuTrainers, which are computerized bicycle resistance trainers that simulate real courses and real riding. Pennino’s goal has been to create a triathlon training facility in NYC, yet still appeal to us “spinners” too. For those who don’t have their own bikes — the walls and ceiling are covered with the hanging bikes of those who do — there are Specialized Allez bikes available. The CompuTrainers simulate the hills automatically but you change the gears in order to reach a watt output which measures your power generated, and is calculated for each rider based on their strength and conditioning. T2 sets the bar high! The class consists of various intervals of different lengths, ranging from 75% to 15o% of your watt max, and hard to hit even at the low end! The momentum of weighted flywheel of a spin bike would have been helped, but in this class it’s all you! C=5 / ST=1 / GM=3
DAY 14: UPLIFT STUDIO. Day 14 took me to Uplift Studio, a womens only boutique fitness studio offering both classes and private training. The studio offers 3 signature classes, Uplifting-Strength, Uplifting-HIIT, and Uplifting-Sculpt Fusion. I took Strength. Compared to all the new hip and trendy workouts I’ve been checking out, this class does not propose to be a revolutionary workout, but the 55 minute class hit all muscle groups for a solid total body workout with weights, resistance bands and cardio intervals. While you don’t normally find a guy in a traditional strength and toning class, especially at 9:30 on a weekday morning, they would have gotten as good a workout as any woman in the room. Week 2 is done! C=3 / ST=4 / GM=2
DAY 13: ERIKA BLOOM PILATES PLUS. After Barry’s Bootcamp yesterday morning and my regular Monday night SoulCycle 90, I was in heaven this morning at Erika Bloom Pilates Plus with combination of stretching, strengthening, and even massaging for my overworked body. This bright and spacious studio, with multiple tri-state locations and one in Turks & Caicos (yum!), offers one-on-one instruction only and a workout custom designed for the needs of each individual client. My instructor, Rosie Pearman, a refreshingly cheerful English woman, jumped right in with a series of exercises to open up my tight and slightly muscle bound Day 13 physique. She had me moving quickly from machine to machine, with a variety of props and toys, and thankfully didn’t take it all so seriously as other Pilates instructors I’ve tried in the past. It felt great and was actually fun! C=1 / ST=3 / GM=1
DAY 12: BARRY’S BOOTCAMP. Since 1998, Barry’s Bootcamp has been delivering one of the toughest workouts around to a devoted following, including A-list celebs, models, and even Olympic athletes. With multiple studios on the east and west coast, with Nashville in between, as well as Norway and London, Barry’s Bootcamp has exploded in popularity. Set in a nightclub-like studio, their signature hour-long workouts include 25-30 minutes of interval cardiovascular treadmill routines and 25-30 minutes of strength training utilizing free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment. Body parts trained are alternated each day, and on Day 12, I hit the “Arms & Abs” class, which integrated 3 minute treadmill intervals of jogs, sprints and hills, with weight segments focusing on biceps, triceps and the core. The class was an intense, non-stop total body workout, and with all the variations and intervals the hour flew by. C=5 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 11: UNNATA AERIAL YOGA. After a brisk 3 mi. run in Central Park, I headed down with a couple of friends to Sacred Sounds Yoga on Bleeker St. to check out Aerial Yoga for Day 12. Unnata is the Sanskrit word for “elevated,” meaning both elevated in spirit and physically elevated. Suspended from the ceiling of the studio are long silky hammocks from which you hang and flow through a variety of poses. With the weight of the body supported, proper postural alignment and skeletal decompression are achieved through relaxation rather than effort, encouraging a calm state of mind, and enhancing one’s practice on the ground as well. Many in the class were beginners like myself, so it felt a little more instructional than like a workout, but there are some basic things to learn before you just jump in and hang from the ceiling. While it’s east to pick up, our instructor Cynthia Bettis deserves a big shout for quickly giving us the skills, support and confidence needed! The benefits of these assisted inversions are fantastic (although slightly woozy making) to those not used to doing them on their own. The stretching benefits were fantastic too, and the ending Savasana (corpse pose), which is done lying in the hammock, beats a mat any day! C=1 / ST=2 / GM=2
ROW 1: THE FHITTING ROOM; T2 MULTISPORT; AS ONE; ROW 2: AQUA; CHAISE FITNESS; CITY ROW
DAY 10: AKT IN MOTION. Perhaps I should have been advised to take “AKT Tease”, which is the intro to the AKT workout, because I was definitely not ready for the hyper-paced choreography of “Happy Hour”, their signature 60 minute dance-based, interval training workout. Similar to the aerobics classes many of us took in the 80’s, the class hit the ground running, jumping, twisting, turning, but this body 30 years later, while actually more fit, was left in the dust. With the wisdom that comes with age, I decided it was better to leave early than get hurt, especially with 21 more workouts ahead. While definitely a fun cardio party, with a club like vibe and ambiance, there is a lot of jumping and quick change of direction, and best for the injury prone to be careful. But for you carefree youngsters who don’t know what a “grapevine” is, it’s time to check out your mama’s workout, albeit ratcheted up a notch! C=5 / ST=3 / GM=2
DAY 9: HOT VINYASA YOGA. Day 9 found me at Pure Yoga in Tanya Boulton’s Hot Vinyasa class. Tanya is one my favorite teachers for her relaxing flowing style and longer holds in poses, along with her chill mix of tunes. For an aggro athlete like myself, this deep stretching is essential, especially with this month’s 31 days of craziness! She also really stresses breathing, with long 6 inhale in, 6 exhale out counts that are surprisingly challenging. Wondering what to wear to class? Tanya recently launched tanya-b, a cool urban yoga line with the style hip enough to be worn both in and out of the studio. C=1 / ST=3 / GM=3
DAY 8: MILE HIGH RUN CLUB. For Day 8 I headed down to The Mile High Run Club, a new treadmill workout studio for “The Distance” class. We featured the studio a few weeks ago, after taking the Dash 28 class. Doing for treadmills, what spinning has done for indoor bikes, Mile High Run Club has 30 treadmills and features an interval style running workout in a group class setting set to music. Dash 28 is a 45-minute workout for runners of all levels that incorporates weights and strength training. The Distance is an advanced 60-minute running only workout that features continuous intervals, tempos, and hills. I covered about 5 miles in class, yet overheard another runner, training for the Miami Marathon, saying he ran more than 8 miles. Not a bad way to train for a race on a frigid 9-degree morning in NYC! Dash 28: C=4 / ST=3 / GM=3. The Distance: C=5 / ST=1 / GM=3
DAY 7: EXCEED PHYSICAL CULTURE. “”The Workout” at Exceed is their signature circuit style class that incorporates Kettlebells, medicine balls, TRX, Bosu Balls, Jump Ropes, Concept2 Rowers and more, into a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style workout. The class moved from station to station at a clip with a wide variety of total body exercises that kept the heart pumping and muscles firing for a continuous 50 minutes. As a testament to the effectiveness of this workout, I must point out that every single woman in class was in great shape! In fact, I have never seen a class with so many toned athletic bodies. A kind of fun moment was being randomly partnered with actor Michael Rappaport for a killer burpee/plank interval and medicine ball toss/sit-up set. My slight obsession with him as a fan was a great distraction from the intensity of the workout and the pain I expect to be experiencing tomorrow! C=4 / ST=5 / GM=4
DAY 6: CHAISE FITNESS. There are a couple fitness studios that have opened up recently in storefronts on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Curious about exercising in the window, I headed to Chaise Fitness, which also has a studio in Chelsea. Coincidentally, the Chaise workout is Pilates based, as was yesterday’s SLT, but tweaked to provide a more substantial all around workout. At its core is the Pilates “chair” that utilizes a spring bar lever for counter-resistance. The workout, known as called the “Reinvention Method”, fuses Pilates, ballet, and strength training by also incorporating an overhead bungee system, designed to create long lean muscles while powerfully strengthening the core. The class was a bit mellower than those I’ve taken in the last few days (thankfully), although strenuous none the less. While the class has the option to lower the shades, I did enjoy working out in the window. C=2 / ST=4 / GM=1
DAY 5: SLT. Feeling a little wooped on Day 5, I definitely found this workout a challenge, which I am only partially blaming on my muscle fatigue from the last 4 workouts. SLT stands for Strengthen Lengthen Tone and that’s what this hybrid Pilates workout aims to do. In a small-group setting of up to only 10 people, the class takes place on the Megaformer™, an evolution of the traditional Pilates reformer. The workout integrates the Pilates elements of resistance and counter-resistance using a system of springs and pulleys. The sleek state of the art Megaformer™ machines, however, provide many more exercise options than a traditional reformer, and the class emphasizes the strength training and cardio elements not inherent to Pilates.
As a strong all around athlete, I am usually able to muscle my way through most exercises, but the Megaformer™ forced the isolation of targeted muscles like the obliques, inner and outer thighs, glutes, and abs in way that I could not fake my way through. I was quivering and shaking by the end of class! The 50 minute SLT class hits all muscle groups, from big to small, in a strenuous but non-impact manner. It’s a tough workout that’s good for the muscles and good for the joints. SLT has multiple NYC locations, as well as the Hamptons and Westchester. C=2 / ST=5 / GM=1
DAY 4: CITYROW. I have been hearing about ergonomic rowing classes as a hot new fitness trend. While I was well aware of the total body workout that rowing machines offered, both for cardio and strength training, a rowing class sounded like a bit of a shnooze to me. Such was not the case I discovered at CityRow, where I got my butt kicked today! The rowing machines are used for interval training, which is interspersed with other high intensity strength exercises like push-ups, lunges, weights, ab work and more. The WaterRower rowing machines used at CityRow are noted for their smooth and fluid pulling motion, and the class flew by!
I then had the added benefit of previewing a 25 minute active recovery segment, which is debuting this thursday as part of a new CITYROW75 class. The class will feature 50 minutes of their signature rowing and strength training, followed by 25 minutes of active recovery, utilizing foam rollers and yoga for improved flexibility and mobility. This was much needed after class and my 4 workouts so far this month! C=5 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 3: INDO BOARD YOGA. Just back from an Indo Board yoga class taught by Evelyn O’Doherty at Poe Yoga for my Day 3 workout. An Indo Board is a rocker board training tool originally developed for surfers to practice their skills out of the water, and is now utilized by multi-sport athletes to improve balance and core strength. The latest evolution is an Indo Board designed for yoga, which is longer and thinner, and rocks side to side. Be you surfer or not, performing yoga moves on the Indo Board adds a whole new dimension to your practice, and I found really helps to recruit core muscles for better yoga postures. Plus it’s a lot of fun! I also had the added benefit of taking the class in hot yoga room at Poe Yoga, a gem of a studio in East Hampton, NY, with dry sauna like heat, as opposed to the steam room heat of other hot yoga classes I’ve experienced. On a cold Janaury day, this felt like a day at the beach! C=2 / ST=5 / GM=3
DAY 2: PHYSIQUE 57. For Day 2, I headed to the barre for the legendary Physique 57 workout. Utilizing a rubber playground ball, elastics and hand weights, the solid hour of body sculpting (and burning) exercises kicked this cardio junkie’s glutes, as well as thighs, abs and arms. Divided into roughly six sections of targeted exercises, the class moved quickly and left no muscle unworked. Physique 57 has multiple locations in the NYC, as well as the Hamptons, Scarsdale, Beverly Hills and Dubai. In addition, DVDs and online workouts are available. C=2 / ST=5 / GM=1
DAY 1: SOULCYCLE. Leading it off on the first day of 2015 is a 90-minute SoulCycle re-SOUL-ution ride taught by the one and only, Senior Master Instructor, Stacey Griffith. Since it launched in 2006, in the back lobby of a residential building in Manahattan’s Upper West Side, SoulCycle has become a fitness phenomenon, with over 35 studios now across the country. SoulCycle reinvented “spinning” with a unique blend of body sculpting choreography and hand weights, combined with some inspirational soul on a bike. Stacey Griffith’s classes sell out within minutes and she is this editor’s favorite teacher for her inimitable blend of athleticism, humor, and infectious motivation. C=5 / ST=4 / GM=3