NYC Fitness Studio Round-up

**Written April 11th, 2018**

 

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Growing up, I played just about every sport (except basketball for some odd reason??), so my love for movement was instilled in me at a young age. Looking back, I realize how easy it was for me to slip into my orthorexic tendencies. Between my eating disorder and exercise addiction, my recovery called for prolonged exercise restriction in order to restore the lost weight. For me, this period lasted about six months. I was frustrated and anxious, but the wait was well worth it. It provoked a sense of gratitude for my body’s abilities and strength that I had never had before. Since then, I’ve focus a great amount of energy on exercise and its role in my life. Living in NYC, I have a wellness hub at my fingertips. This school year, I’ve made a point to explore all types of movement, striving for balance in my workouts. Up until this past August, I had never taken a group fitness class. Now, I take about two or three a week. I love them! There’s just something about being in a room with like-minded individuals who are just ready to w o r k. I find I can push myself to greater lengths when I’m being coached by an instructor and am fueled by the vibrant, positive energy of my teammates.

One of the most important things in life is variety. In the realm of fitness, it’s critical to vary the ways you move your body. Doing the same workout on repeat will become muscle memory. Your body won’t be excited or worked in new ways, and you’ll inevitably plateau in your wellness journey. Keep your body guessing and you’ll see results. That’s why I love switching up the studios I go to; each one challenges me and moves my body in new ways. Here’s a list of all the NYC studios I’ve been able to try this school year!

Barry’s Bootcamp:

The first time I went to Barry’s I opted for a double floor workout. You have the option of either staying on the floor the entire time or splitting your workout so you’re on the floor for half and doing treadmill work for the other half. The class is focused on different exercises using weights, resistance bands, and other equipment. Depending on the class you choose, you’ll work upper, lower, or full body. I was intimidated by the treadmill element the first class, but after leaving I regretted not doing it. Double floor was pretty repetitious (you do a circuit while the runners are running, and then they come join you for the same circuit again). The second time I went I bit the bullet and tried the treadmill, and I’m so glad I did. It was so much fun pushing myself to try a new way of moving and how it called for me to use  different muscles I don’t normally use. Love how the studio is dimly lit with red lighting (because dark lighting is my best lighting, you feel?)

Favorite Class: Chest, Back, and Abs

Rate: 8/10

Fhitting Room:

I love the structure of these workouts. You begin with a warm-up, then move through circuits. This studio really emphasizes group work and partnering, which is so much fun because you feed off of each other’s energy and hype and it’s just great. I’ve met so many awesome athletes here that pushed me to get in just one more rep. You can take class with about 20 other people or opt for the Pit option, which is a more intimate class of about 12 people. I love the Pit classes, and prefer it to the general class, but they fill up quick. I don’t find the workouts here too challenging overall, but I have had some instructors who really killed it. Depends on who you get. However, I don’t go into every single workout looking to be pushed to exhaustion. I love Fhitting Room because it always creatively moves my body, and I’ve honestly learned a lot from the instructors here!

Favorite Class: FhitPit Fhix

Rate: 8/10

Tone House:

Okay. Not to play favorites, but Tone House is my favorite. Huge shout-out to my friend Seth (@kaleforniakitchen) for recommending this death sentence to me. Tone House is a killer workout. It’s like personal training on steroids. If you can survive the warm-up, you can do anything. I’ve never been challenged so much in my life. The instructors are kick ass. The workout is the athlete’s dream. There’s speed work, agility, strength, tears…you know the deal. I’ve only ever taken the 101 intro class and have 0 plans to graduate from it. The regular class is actually for superhumans and marathoners alike, so trust me on this and embrace the 101 class. Every time I’ve hit the turf here my classes have been no larger than 8 people, and I loved it. We were constantly moving onto the next challenge, always rooting for each other, and striving to work as a unit. I’m always sore for at least five days after I leave the House. I. Love. It. My favorite workout by far. Because it’s so intense, however, I make sure to space out my visits to give me enough recovery time (once a week, but usually I go once every two weeks). Totally recommend.

Favorite Class: TH 101: Core

Rate: 10/10

Physique 57:

Physique 57 is a pilates-based studio. I’ve always been drawn to more HIIT, CrossFit training styles. My mom is a big fan of this workout (they have at-home tapes that she raves about) so I figured I’d try it out and test new waters. Honestly, it was incredibly challenging for me to just slow down. However, I liked the heightened focus on really feeling each movement and being mindful of how my body was working. I took an intro class, but I did find it to be a tad easy and not exciting enough for me personally. It was nice to take a break from my usual intensity, but I wasn’t captivated with this experience. Not for everyone, and that’s okay! Totally not discrediting how hard this workout, or pilates in general, is. It takes a great deal of strength and does help shape, tone, and sculpt your body. The instructor was wonderful, and the class was about 20 people. I didn’t have a bad experience here, I just wasn’t hooked. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for something new though!

Favorite Class: Signature

Rate: 5/10

SLT:

First semester, I was at SLT on a weekly basis. This class is pilates revamped. You do the entire workout on a megaformer. The workout calls for a lot of resistance and strength work. The first time I walked into the studio I was intimidated; I had never encountered anything like the megaformer. However, it was an Intro class, and the instructor made sure to take the time to walk me through how the machine worked and how the class would be run. I instantly felt comfortable. I really enjoy SLT because it’s a workout I could never replicate on my own, so I definitely get my money’s worth. I haven’t been in awhile, but I’d love to get back there soon! My favorite way to switch things up by far.

Favorite Class: SLT All Levels

Rate: 8/10

SoulCycle:

Ahhh, how did this one not come up sooner? I only began riding at Soul after a friend of mine at school asked me to take a class with her. Since then, I’ve been riding weekly. Before this year, I had only cycled here and there at my home gym. Cardio isn’t my favorite, but in my effort to expand my horizons, I opened up to Soul. Yes, it’s pricey, but I think it’s well worth it. I’ve taken some classes that felt like a waste of my money. My advice is to find an instructor you love. They change everything. I take the same class on Tuesday nights after work and it’s the highlight of my day. The instructor encourages lots of resistance as opposed to choreography, which I appreciate so much. This 45-minute ride once a week has definitely improved my stamina, made me stronger, and most importantly helps me focus on de-stressing and recentering myself after a long day spent between school and the office. Even if you can’t make it a consistent thing, I encourage you to try it at least once. The overall experience is kick ass.

Favorite Class: SoulCycle

9/10

Brick NYC:

I found Brick on ClassPass. It’s a similar workout to Fhitting Room in that its HIIT workout focused that is broken up into circuits. You work with partners and groups for most of it, so I liked that element. However, even after a few classes here, I’m not hooked. The workouts are not overly challenging, and sometimes too simplistic. Some of the instructors I’ve had spend a lot of time talking and then the workouts are cut short. I’m sure I just had a few off-classes, but I don’t feel like I get my money’s worth. Many of the circuits I’ve paid to do here I could have easily done in the small living room of my apartment. Not my favorite!

Favorite Class: B l X

Rate: 5/10

 

You Spent HOW Long At The Gym?

**Written January 21st, 2017**Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Fitness is an important part of my life.
No, I’m not training for a competition. No, I’m not a college athlete. No, I’m not a personal trainer or exercise-science major or WHATEVER.
I’m a REGULAR PERSON. I go to the gym to feel good, to keep in good health, and to have fun.
Today I’m going to rawly ramble about how aggravated I get when I see so many girls and guys on Instagram forget that they’re REGULAR PEOPLE.
When I was trapped in my eating disorder, I was also orthorexic. I was addicted to exercise and believed that the longer I spent at the gym, the “healthier” I was. Other people would admire my drive, my dedication, my FITNESS. Yeah right. I was severely underweight, had no fuel or strength. The “muscles” I was adamant I had were simply my skeletal make up being exposed by a lack of body fat. I thought I was “vascular” because I was strong, when in reality it was because my skin had become pale and paper thin, a clear sheet to expose them.
Yet, if my workout was any shorter than X amount of time (here X is an extremely absurd amount of time), then I was weak. I had given up, I’d lose my “muscles” and “strength”. And I could NOT let that happen. Everybody looked up to me! I was on top! I WAS THE ONE WHO SPENT MY ENTIRE NIGHT AT THE GYM, NOT THEM.
Get the point?
Deep into a healthful and thriving lifestyle, I’m constantly amazing myself by effortlessly making changes in my mindset that I would have never dreamed possible years ago. One of my favorite aspects of my new, healthy life is the release I’ve taken off of exercise. I spent my whole disorder believing that I had to train at every second of the day. But why!? Who was I? I was, and still am, a regular person. I have many, MANY other concerns and goals in my life besides from the gym. It was not my job, it was not the focus of my career, it was not a determining factor in where my life was going.
Today, I realize that. I understand that the gym is simply a pleasure in my life. I prioritize it because I lead a health-conscious lifestyle, and it goes without saying that the gym is a big part of that. I love pushing myself, I love challenging my limits, I love knowing that I’m improving my body, inside and out.
The message I want to drive home to you is this; if you’re not a competitor, if it’s not your career…then WHY DO YOU PUT SO MUCH STRESS ON YOURSELF? I see so many people out there judge their worth based on the amount of time they worked out that day.
Read that out loud. Doesn’t that sound outright ABSURD!?
That’s because it is! Lately I’ve been shortening my training sessions to break free of this attachment to more time=more respect. My training sessions are always under an hour, and I always stop sooner if my body is telling me to. Quality over quantity, always. Three hours at the gym is first of all destructive, second of all TIME-CONSUMING, but lastly, simply useless. What’s the point? So you can go around and flaunt your feat? Workout because you love it, because it’s good for you. If right now, it’s NOT good for you, DON’T do it. It’s that simple. And believe me, it will be obvious which category you fall into, even if you’re in denial about it.
I want you to see this post at a discussion starter. I feel like this is a topic that can be expanded upon deeply, but I’m super curious to what you have to say. If this concept resonates with you, tell me about it! Reach out via email, Instagram DM, etc.
I tend not to share my workouts on Instagram because I worry for my more fragile followers, and their health and happiness matters to me more than getting likes on a selfie. However, if you do have workout questions, I’d be happy to answer privately 🙂
As always, thanks for following along with my rants…sending love!