class review

F45 Training: Reasons You'll Be Obsessed With The Latest Fitness Fad

I’ve mentioned F45 in my list of things that got me through triathlon training. Last summer, I used it as my one non swim/bike/run workout throughout the week and it was something that I really looked forward to.

Since then, I’ve taken, well…a LOT of F45 classes and cannot stop telling everyone I know about all the reasons I think it’s amazing.

And naturally I want to tell everyone on the internet how amazing I think it is too. Because F45 isn’t just a boutique studio in NYC…it’s worldwide (the Pitbull of fitness you could say).

And in fact, it’s one of the fastest growing fitness franchises in the world right now. What started as one gym in Sydney in 2013 has grown to over 850 studios in 22 different countries and “coming soon” locations popping up constantly. So why are so many people drinking the F45 Kool Aid?

F45 Functional Training Review

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

The F45 workouts are constantly changing in structure and format though they are always interval based. You’ll never be told to perform a certain amount of reps - instead, you’ll be given an amount of time to “work” and another amount of time to “rest.”

Some days you’ll work for :45, rest for :20. Other days you’ll work for :20, rest for :10. Some days you’ll stay at one station for 4 sets and other days you’ll switch after each interval. Some days you do 2 loops of the room and other days you do loops of “pods” before moving on.

At minimum, you’ll spend the class rotating between 9 different exercises but on some days you could have 20+ different stations. This variety keeps class moving and by the time you know it, you’re finished!

The great thing about going for time is that everyone is working and resting at the same time and no one feels like they’re being left behind. Within the work interval, it’s up to the individual how hard they push themselves, how heavy they lift, how many reps they complete, etc.

F45review

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

No F45 class will ever feel the same, but at the same time, any F45 class you walk into, will feel the same. Is that confusing? F45 has done a great job marketing and creating a cohesive brand throughout all of its different franchise locations. From the same color scheme, class format, gym layouts, equipment, etc. there is no mistaking an F45 gym.

Every day, every F45 gym does the same workout. That means your friend in Canada (hi, Maggie!) and your friend in Denver (hi, Sabrina!) is doing the same workout as you on any given day. This gives a really cool sense of community, especially when you add in the social media aspect of everyone talking about the days’ workout. And if you’re like me, you’ll creep on the Australian’s F45 Instagram accounts for a sneak peak before class ;)

Each class is run the same way - first, one instructor talks through the workout and each exercise while the other instructor (more on that later) demos the exercise (usually with a modification or an added challenge). Then, there’s a 2 minute or so warm up before getting down to business. Most classes end up being about 36 minutes of hard, active work time.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are cardio days with Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday as strength/resistance days. Saturday’s are an hour-long everything workout that’s fast-paced and so fun!

F45 Training

TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

Each class has two instructors, which means more one-on-one time with trainers than almost any other class I’ve been to. The instructors are constantly walking around the room giving pointers, correcting form, helping with modifications, and pushing you to keep going.

The trainers at my F45 are a huge reason I keep coming back - they are super knowledgeable and know when to challenge you/push you. While they’re happy to help with modifications and encourage anyone to modify instead of sacrificing form, they’re also just as happy to make any given exercise harder. 2 minute plank? Try it with a 10 pound plate on your back. Deadlifting with the lightest kettlebells? They will come over and sass you when they know you can go heavier. Toe taps on a box? They will come stand next to you and do it faster so that you push yourself to go faster too!

F45 Fitness Review

LEARNING NEW THINGS

As of 2017, F45 has 3,800 different exercises in it’s arsenal - and every 3 months they add 250 new ones. That’s a LOT of different exercises. They employ trainers whose job is to develop new exercises and it’s always a nice surprise when a new one is thrown into a class.

Yesterday, instead of the typical box jump, we had to jump OVER the box (my heart rate immediately spiked out of pure fear and adrenaline).

PLAYING WITH TOYS

Any given F45 class uses a huge array of fitness equipment. There’s a ton of body weight and plyometric moves on cardio days, but cardio and strength days also implement sleds, TRX, boxes, sledgehammers, slam balls, medicine balls, REVO bars, Bosu balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, battle ropes, rowers, bikes, sliders, ladders, hurdles, soft boxes, sandbags, plates, stability balls, pull up bars, run track and bands. Seriously - SO MUCH FUN. There’s even a workout that implements boxing! Complete with boxing gloves and strike shields.

What’s so impressive to me is that all of that equipment really does get worked into the workouts on a regular basis and in such innovative and unique ways. One day you’re using the sandbag to do a deadlift —> clean —> squat jump —> burpee and the next you’re using it to lunge and twist.

And after every class, I watch with my own eyes, as every piece of equipment is sprayed and wiped down for the next group.

While we’re on the topic of equipment - I always try to get to class early so I can use the foam rollers and mobility ball. And there’s always a post-class stretch which I’ve found to be skimmed over at far too many gyms.

F45 Training Review

TECHNOLOGY

F45 has quite a few high-tech aspects to it as well.

First, you’ll notice the TV screens around the gyms. These show the exercises being done at each station in case you ever forget what you’re supposed to be doing - and other screens will display the countdown clocks and rest times. Still other screens illustrate the flow of class, when you should move stations, how many sets you have left, etc. It makes things pretty fool-proof.

The other high-tech component is F45’s heart rate monitor system called Lion Heart. You usually get one of these if you sign up for a membership or one of their “8 Week Challenges” which includes 8 weeks of unlimited classes, meal plans and weigh-ins/body scans.

Once you register your Lion Heart monitor online, it immediately recognizes you when you walk in the studio - which I still think is pretty awesome! Screens around the studio will show your heart rate and “points” during class (you earn points for keeping your heart rate elevated at a certain level throughout class) and immediately following your workout you’ll be emailed a nice little graphic that shows how many calories you burned, a chart of your heart rate during the 45 minutes, the name of the workout, etc. It’s super shareable on social media - I’m definitely guilty of adding mine to my Insta story on a daily basis.

Did I mention that Saturday’s hour-long Hollywood class has a live DJ? And that, in general, the playlists are LIT?

F45 Fitness Review

FRIENDLY FACES

F45 is an expensive habit, I will admit. I’ve never spent this much on fitness in my life - I was always a proponent of paying a cheap gym membership and coming up with my own workouts. But the community of F45 has me hooked and I just can’t stop!

At the end of every class there are high fives and “good jobs!” There’s an incredibly friendly group of people that show up every day, usually at the same times, so you get used to seeing people and it holds you accountable - they’ll notice if you’re not there!

F45 stands for function training (and classes are 45 minutes). Their slogan is “team training, life changing.” There really is a focus on everyone in a given class being on a team and it’s not uncommon for people working in the same station as you to give a little “we got this” or “10 seconds left come on!” You get the sense that everyone is there to help each other be better.

And it’s not like a lot of other fitness classes I’ve been to that are super cliquey or antisocial. Everyone is always asking how your day was, what you’re up to this weekend, and even getting together for post-workout activities.

I read a quote from co-founder Rob Deutsch where he said people that go to F45 are, “People who love their health and fitness, but who want to strike a balance - who will most likely enjoy a glass of wine at the weekend.” AMEN. Those are my kinda people. He also said, “We see the fitness sector growing exponentially as people begin to choose this over other social activities. It’s on-track to become a vehicle that reconnects people and creates community.” And at least at the Lower East Side location in NYC - that couldn’t be more true.

F45 Functional Training

Most F45’s have really great intro rates (in NYC it’s three for the price of one for your first classes and a lot of other cities have a free into week!) and if you join a brand new F45 location you’ll typically get “founding member” rates which can be a huge savings!

Everyone go take an F45 class! (And if you want to check out the Lower East Side location, you can use this link for $5 off your first 3 classes).

I’m not getting paid to write this (but yo, F45 corporate, hook it up?) - but I genuinely think it’s a great, challenging workout that a lot of people would enjoy!

If you go to a class, let me know what you think :)

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Out Of The [Kick]Box Haus

There are only a few fitness fads that I haven’t tried, and a handful that I’ve tried and just haven’t really enjoyed (Barre – ow! Yoga – ugh! Zumba – womp!) 

There are no fitness fads that I’m not willing to give a shot (still need to make my way to a “flirty girl fitness class,” aerial yoga, trampoline and trapeze!) Even if I look like a spaz and make a fool of myself, it’s only for an hour!

Feeling like a total spaz was par for the course during my first boxing class at Work Train Fight – but the challenge fell into the land of “motivating” instead of “demoralizing” (which is how I felt attending a step class full of 60+ jazzercisers before I walked out of the only class I’ve ever quit).

Since then, I’ve taken a few classes at NYSC at have found them to be pretty enjoyable. My arms are always so sore the day after a boxing class and I love that feeling of “OH SHIT I did WORK yesterday.”

So I thought it was time to throw some legs into the mix and attend a kickboxing class – an intimidating idea for someone with little to no coordination when it comes to things that require choreography.

After looking around at some studios, and really wanting to use the 2nd Avenue Subway – I came across The Kickbox Haus on the Upper East Side. Not only did they offer kickboxing, but fusion classes with kettlebells!

I talked to studio owner and instructor Michelle and it sounded like a pretty challenging class – so I signed myself and a friend up and hoped for the best.

Kickbox Haus NYC Review

THE STUDIO

Kickbox Haus is a very small studio with about 10 punching bags set up in very close proximity. There’s really nowhere to put your things – I had to shove my winter coat, boots and backpack behind my punching bag which was odd but worked out fine.

It’s $5 to rent gloves.

THE INSTRUCTOR

Michelle was teaching our class and she was full of personality and energy – she gave lots of instructions and soon we were set up by our bags with kettlebells of varying weights and a mat to get started with some glute and core work. 

THE CLASS

The bulk of the class alternated between kettlebell exercises and bag work.

Michelle is extremely qualified to teach all about kettlebells – a piece of fitness equipment that’s typically misused. She was very adamant about proper form for kettlebell swings which was very helpful. Kettlebell swings tire me OUT, man. I eventually got the hang of them, but 30 seconds straight of kettlebell swinging is no joke.

We also worked on some cleans and I was a little less graceful with those – banging up my elbows, shoulders and wrists pretty well in an attempt to get the kettlebells into the racked position.

My favorite part was the bag work – incorporating not only jabs, crosses, uppercuts, hooks etc. but straight and roundhouse kicks. We did a ladder with roundhouse kicks that sounded simple, but by the time I was up to 10 kicks I was beat!

WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE & WHAT I LOVED

My favorite and least favorite part of the class was actually the same thing – Michelle took a lot of time after each set/exercise to explain what was coming next.

As someone taking my first kickboxing class and still new to Kickbox Haus, I really appreciated the in depth instruction and attention to form and proper technique. That being said, my heart rate kept coming down during the instruction, and if I were a regular I would have been irritated by all of the talking!

The periods of work were hard, don’t get me wrong – but the class overall could have felt like a much better workout if the moves had been explained at the beginning of class and then we powered through them all with less rest.

I still left feeling really glad that I had attended – and wanting to add kickboxing (with an actual bag) to my regular workout routine – as well as using kettlebell swings in more of my DIY gym workouts. They’re a great power+strength+cardio exercise!

The Kickbox Haus offers a variety of classes in additional to kickboxing and kettlebell – there’s TRX training, Muay Thai, American Boxing, and more.

If you’re looking for real training and instruction on proper technique I highly recommend taking a few classes at The Kickbox Haus.

Just bear in mind – there are no showers or changing/locker rooms – it’s a small space with the bare minimum. 

Kickbox Haus NYC

Body Space Fitness Delivers Solid Strength & Cardio Classes

After reading about Body Space Fitness on one of my favorite blogs, Kayla In The City, I knew I wanted to check it out and review it for myself.

Founder Kelvin Gary's boutique fitness studio first specialized in semi-private (small group) training and personal training sessions but has recently expanded it's offerings to include various group fitness classes.

Torn between Body Camp and Metabolic Burn, I made a last minute decision to take the two classes back-to-back. One at 5 p.m. and the next at 6 p.m.

Read on to find out if I survived - and what I thought of the Body Space Fitness!

Body Space Fitness Class Review

THE STUDIO

Body Space Fitness is super nondescript from the outside. When you open the door on the 5th floor of a building, you're already in the thick of things - with kettlebells being swung, sleds being pushed, and medicine balls being slammed all around you.

Though the space itself isn't extremely large, it is packed with functional training equipment. There's not a stationary machine in sight - something that I absolutely love. There's an entire area where clients can get stretched out and rubbed down, an ALTER-G TREADMILL, and the main work-out floor complete with sandbags, medicine balls, TRX, sleds, kettlebells - they've got it all.

Classes take part on the back half of the "turf" and while things got a little congested during the Metabolic Burn Class, the workout is expertly designed and executed to make things run smoothly and for the space to be shared effectively.

It's as if the instructors are performing choreography in the way that they explain circuits and exercises, set stations up and dismantle them, and keep things flowing.

You can take a virtual tour of the studio on their website!

Body Space Fitness NYC

THE CLASSES

BODY CAMP FORMAT

On Body Space Fitness's website, they describe Body Camp as a "55 minute, strength based class in a small group setting features stations of functional exercises designed to sculpt lean muscles."

100% accurate description.

The class was comprised of a warm up followed by two different strength circuits.

WARM UP

I loved this warm up. Lots of agility/cardio exercises to get the blood flowing. There were only 6 of us in the class and we did high knees, caterpillars, lateral shuffles, karaoke, and more including a few torturous moves with the resistance bands around our ankles.

CIRCUIT ONE

We performed each exercise :42 ON | :18 REST for 3 rounds.

RFE Split Squat - Fancy terminology for "Rear Foot Elevated" Split Squat. These are more like lunges and we performed them hold a kettlebell (weight of your choosing!)
JB Slam - "Jam Ball" (Medicine Ball) Slams
TRX Hamstring Curls- These bad boys BURN and I struggled to do them for the full :42 seconds, especially with proper form (hips UP)
SB BO Row - Sand Bag Bent Over Row (There were tons of different weight options!)
1/2 Knee DB Press - Kneeling shoulder presses with dumbbells

CIRCUIT TWO

Again, we performed each exercise :42 ON | :18 REST for 3 rounds.

KBDL - Kettlebell Deadlifts! I appreciated the fact that the instructor, Dean, came around and encouraged me to up my weight. It's always nice when an instructor pushes you!
V-Ups
Lateral Box Step Up
SB FS - Front squats with the sandbag!
Floor Chest Press

THE INSTRUCTOR

The instructor, Dean Sheremet, was absolutely the best part about the class. He took this from just a circuit workout to a great group fitness class.

He was encouraging, enthusiastic and extremely helpful in terms of describing the format of the class, demonstrating each exercise, challenging people individually, offering advice on form and was also a great DJ (hi, Spice Girls!)

WHAT I LIKED

I loved that you could make this workout as hard as you liked based on the weights that you chose for each exercise.

I thought it was a great mix of leg and arm exercise with abs thrown in their as well. None of the exercises were too difficult to get the hang of, but all really effective!

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

For some of the exercises, I wanted to challenge myself by going up in weight - especially since this is marketed as a strength focused class. But I found :42 seconds was a long time to perform a strength-based exercise with heavier weights. With the interval set at :42 seconds, it's clearly a more high-rep scenario which means lower weights.

It would be interesting if the amount of time you performed each exercise changed throughout the circuits so that you could experiment more with "going heavy."

Body Space Fitness Body Camp

METABOLIC BURN FORMAT

Described on their website as their "cardio and endurance based class," Metabolic Burn promises to be "filled with high intensity, calorie burning, low impact exercises using a wide variety of toys such as, but not limited to, sleds, battleropes, ViPRs, sandbags and Airdyne bikes. This class, focused more on endurance than strength, gets your heart rate up with 40 second intervals where you do the most amount of reps possible in the allotted time."

THE WARM UP

We did a lot of the same things for Metabolic Burn's warm up as we did for Body Camp. I like this kind of warm-up because it's not static stretching and actually warms you up- I was definitely breathing a little heavy by the end of it!

EXERCISES

We performed the following exercises for :40 seconds with :20 rest as we rotated to the next exercise. We completed this circuit 4 times.

Single Arm Kettle Bell Swings
Sand Bag Shoulder Press - You essentially lifted the sandbag from one shoulder, up and over your head, to the other shoulder. It was deceptively difficult!
Burpee Bear Crawl - Bear Crawl to the front of the turf, burpee, bear crawl backwards to the wall, repeat. I looked like a total spazz doing the Bear Crawl.
TRX Rows
Lateral Shuffle With Resistance Bands
Medicine Ball Jack Knifes
Sandbag Shoulder Squats - Starting with the sandbag on one shoulder and switching it to the other halfway through
Lateral Medicine Ball Throws

As you can see, these exercises were much more cardio focused than Body Camp.

The class finished a a 5 minute "Cardio Blast" where we performed the following exercises for :30 with a :12 rest - 4X through.

Hand Release Push-Ups
Crab Walk
Rope Squats

THE INSTRUCTOR

Nicole Bunyan taught Metabolic Burn and she was great! Supportive, attentive and great at keeping things moving. She had a more difficult job than Dean in terms of keeping things organized since there were so many more people in the same tiny space.

Nicole gave some great tips on form - like keeping your nose pointed up at the ceiling during the medicine ball jack knifes.

WHAT I LIKED

To be fair, Metabolic Burn is just more my style. I like the cardio aspect of classes like this - I like feeling like I'm going to die in a pool of my own sweat because I'm a freak.

I also realllllly liked the fact that a lot of these exercises are low impact. My shins have been bothering me a lot (shocker) and not having to be constantly jumping yet still getting in cardio was great.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

There wasn't anything I didn't like, really! I didn't love love love it, but it was a very good class all around.

Body Space Fitness Review

THE RUNDOWN

THE STUDIO - 7

What the studio lacks in space and "sparkle" it makes up for in phenomenal functional training equipment, cleanliness and organization. They pack a LOT in the space that they have - and it's all things that help get their clients a killer workout.

After speaking with Kelvin, he explained that they've had some growing pains since incorporating group classes. They're working on expanding and after some renovations, the space should be a lot more conducive to all that Body Space Fitness has got goin' on.

CLASS SIZE - SMALL

Body Camp was a teeeeeny class with only 6 of us. It was great, and we got tons of attention from the instructor because of it.

Metabolic Burn was larger, but in the grand scheme of fitness classes, 12 is still a small class and allows for lots of personal pointers.

SWEAT SCALE - 7

Both Body Camp and Metabolic Burn are the type of workouts that are as hard as you make them. It really depends on how hard you push yourself! I made it through 2 classes without feeling like I couldn't go on - but I also didn't go balls to the wall during Body Camp knowing that I still had another class coming up!

FUN FACTOR - 7

This place had good vibes, great instructors and jammin' tunes. As I changed and got ready, the class prior to Body Camp was RILED UP about something - it sounded like a competition of some sort. My point is, people are happy and having fun here which makes a workout a lot more pleasant!

AMENITIES - 6

They aren't out of this world but they have everything you need. Including a hair dryer in the locker room so that you don't need to lug one in your bag!

I will say that when I got out of class, every single locker in the locker room was being used!

COST - $$$

Unfortunately, this is just the cost of a boutique fitness class in NYC - $32 a pop. But if you're a ClassPasser, you can sign up for classes at Body Space Fitness!

This is the kind of fitness studio that I love. They care about putting together a quality, total body workout that is well designed and not just about having people do burpees until they puke for the sake of it.

They offer a ton of different services, classes and packages and are filled with the type of functional equipment that's most effective (in my humble opinion).

Every time I go to a studio like Body Space Fitness and have wonderful instructors like Dean and Nicole, I'm tempted to cough up the money and time to get my personal training certification!

Definitely stop by BSF if you're looking for a great workout that will leave you in a good mood.

Body Space Fitness NYC Review

Workout Wednesday: Flywheel Class Review

Flywheel Review

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to take my first Flywheel class for free thanks to an event hosted by Rachel from RachLMansfield.com and Jordan from The Balanced Blonde

Everyone always tells me they think I would love Flywheel - SoulCycle's equally trendy and expensive but less cult-ish and more performance-based counterpart. 

THE STUDIO 

The class was held at Flywheel's Chelsea location (on 17th Street between 7th & 8th Avenue) but they have many throughout New York City (9 to be exact) and throughout the US. They've even gone International - hey, Flywheel Dubai!

Everything looked new and sparkly clean but walking in was totally overwhelming. It was PACKED and I was surprised to find that there were no locker rooms - just shower/changing rooms and a bathroom. The lines were long and class started late because there were still so many people waiting to change. 

There were lots of things around the waiting area that were convenient - like hair ties and mints, apples and bananas but I wish there had been locker rooms. 

The cycling studio itself was large and set up stadium-style so that no matter where you were sitting you had a great view of the instructor. 

THE CLASS 

Flywheel offers 45, 60 and 90 minute classes and the one I took was 45 minutes. For me, that's a good amount of time for a spin class because I typically am able to push myself realllly hard and am completely dead after those 45 minutes.

WHAT I LIKED: 

-The shoes all seemed brand new and the bikes were nice as well.

-Focus on Metrics: Each bike has a small computer that lets you know metrics throughout your ride including RPMs, torque (resistance) and an overall score. 

-TorqBoard: Another thing I loved about the class was that if you had a username registered with Flywheel, it appears on a leaderboard (the "TorqBoard) that comes up on the screens throughout class so you can see how your score stacks up. They also give you the option of opting out of the TorqBoard, which I think is great since some people might not feel comfortable with it. 

Having metrics is HUGE for me in a spin class. It's why I love SWERVE and Peloton so much. Not only does it ignite my competitive spark with the other people in the class, but it drives me to do better each class that I take and to compete against myself.  

-What I appreciate about Flywheel is that while they have you "tap it back" a number of times throughout class, that's pretty much the extent of the movement on the bike. There's no crunches and squats and other weird bullshit that you would never do on a bike (I'm looking at you, SoulCycle and Cyc!)  

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

There was one song that focused on arms during the class - using 2 or 4 pound bars instead of free weights. As usual, I half-assed this portion and focused on keeping  my legs going. 

THE INSTRUCTOR 

The instructor was great about letting you know how much resistance should be on your bike and how fast you should be aiming to spin during every song.

The music choices were solid as well and there was just the right amount of inspirational babble. I'm not being sarcastic - there really is a sweet-spot for that kind of stuff during a class. 

THANKS RACHEL & JORDAN! 

After class, we all got goody bags from Rachel and Jordan filled with chia seeds, Justin's peanut butter and other treats. There was also free Suja juices and samples of Barely Bread awaiting us in the lobby. I was so surprised by how delicious the odd-sounding red-cabbage, lemon water concoction was! (It was the Lavenade that I tried). The Barely Bread grain free loaf was ok, but the bagels were downright disappointing. 

Flywheel Class Review

THE RUNDOWN 

THE STUDIO - 6

The amenities were gorgeous but it was a real bummer not having a separate girls locker room where I could change. Instead, tons of people were waiting in line for the changing rooms. The line was so slow moving because people from the previous classes were showering. 

CLASS SIZE - Large 

There are probably around 50 bikes per class so you definitely won't be getting any personalized corrections or attention from instructors during a Flywheel class, but spin is one of those things were a large class doesn't really make or break the workout. You've got your own space so it doesn't feel overcrowded. 

SWEAT SCALE - 8 

I always leave spin a sweaty, sweaty mess. This was no different at Flywheel. 

FUN FACTOR - 7

The fun factor here didn't really come from anything that Flywheel did, but rather the fact that I just generally enjoy spin classes. Give me a dark room with loud music and some stats to push myself and I'm having a good time. 

AMENITIES - 9 

Free apples, bananas, water bottles, hair ties, mints and shoe rentals earn Flywheel a big thumbs up. 

COST - $34

It's expensive, but standard nowadays in NYC. 

For first time riders a Flywheel, they offer a $15 class voucher on their website. 

THE BOTTOM LINE 

Everyone who told me I would love Flywheel was right. And if I could afford it, I might become a regular. Flywheel is a no-nonsense on the bike spin class that uses metrics and a competitive atmosphere to push you to a great, sweaty, workout. Flywheel has secured itself a spot in my top three spin studios and I'll certainly be back. 

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Is ClassPass The Right Fitness Plan For You?

After a month as a quasi ClassPass member, I won't be signing myself up for a membership - but  here are some key take-aways in case you're weighing the pros and cons of a gym membership vs. becoming a ClassPass crusader! 

Is ClassPass Right For You?

WHY YOU SHOULD SIGN UP FOR CLASSPASS

YOU NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

ClassPass has a pretttttty unforgiving cancellation policy that leaves no room for excuses. If you're signed up for a class and feel a little lazy an hour before you're supposed to show up - that don't fly. Unless you've got unlimited money and aren't concerned with a $15 late cancellation fee. 

But for us cash-strapped twenty-somethings over here - you better be cancelling by the 12 hour cut-off or getting your booty to the studio. 

Not only will you face a $15 charge if you cancel less than 12 hours from your scheduled class, but it counts as a visit to that particular studio (the Unlimited plan allows up to 3 visits to any one studio in a month time period) and if you have a membership allowing a certain number of total classes - you've just lost one even though you didn't actually go. 

To me, this cancellation policy is a deterrent. Life happens. Things comes up. But if you're someone who needs consequences to encourage you - ClassPass is a great motivator. 

Work Train Fight NYC

YOU NEED TO FIND YOUR FITNESS NICHE 

ClassPass allows you to take classes at SO MANY studios in New York City. It's very rare, in fact, that a studio doesn't partner with ClassPass in the Big Apple. ClassPass is essentially the Tinder of the fitness world. You're free to browse an endless amount of boutique fitness studios and classes until you find the ones that are the right matches for you. 

I know I love boot camp classes and HIIT. Hence, I didn't use any of my ClassPass sessions for a yoga class. But if you're lacking the knowledge of what you like and what you don't like when it comes to working out - ClassPass is a great way to try a variety of classes until you find your favorites. 

YOU LIKE TO SWITCH IT UP 

Some people know what they like in terms of fitness - but that doesn't mean they're content to go to the same class over and over again. If you like to avoid fitness fatigue and mental burnout from doing the same routine week after week, ClassPass is a great way to find yourself boxing one day, doing speedwork at a treadmill-based class the next day, and stretching it out with a hip-hop yoga class the next day. 

This is by far the biggest draw of ClassPass to me. I've tried creating a schedule for myself - "Monday BodyPump, Tuesday Speedwork, Wednesday Bike Ride, Thursday Swim, Friday Yoga, Saturday Long Run, etc. etc." but it only ever lasts about a week until something in my schedule changes of I wake up and just don't feel like doing the same thing yet again. ClassPass keeps the boredom at bay. 

BRICK NYC

YOU LIKE WELL ORGANIZED WEBSITES 

Alright, so maybe this isn't a stand-alone reason for you to join ClassPass - but it is a major perk. The website is extremely well designed and allows you to search for classes in a lot of different ways depending on what your priorities are. 

I love me some search filters. Anybody else? 

You can search ClassPass's databases by studio name, class name, location, amenities, class types, etc. This came in handy so many times even in the short month that I used ClassPass. Some nights you're trying to fit in a class after work and before dinner plans with friends - you can use a map to figure out a studio that's conveniently located. Sometimes you're going straight from a workout to your office and need to make sure the studio has a shower. Sometimes you're really looking to get a yoga class scheduled. #Filter!

YOU'RE A PLANNER 

Your Google calendar is a work of art AND you carry around a physical planner too. If you're all about keeping a schedule and staying organized - ClassPass will be a breeze for you. Many of the more popular classes around NYC fill-up on ClassPass really quickly. 

Typically one week in advance the classes open up on the ClassPass website for registration. If you're organized and have a list of the classes you want to register for - kudos to you. For me, my workout plans tend to happen a little more sporadically and I don't always know a week ahead of time what I'll be feelin'. 

I wasn't able to try a few studios that I intended to during my trial because they were all filled up by the time I got around to trying to register (I'm lookin' at you Tone House and Fhitting Room). The other thing I found is that even if there were classes available, they were for the most obscure times that wouldn't work for most people's schedules. 

And what's up with Barry's only opening 5 a.m. classes for ClassPass users? Lame, Barry. 

CrossFit Concrete Jungle

GROUP FITNESS IS YOUR JAM 

A lot of times, I'm totally fine with doing my own workout at the gym. I have enough motivation to get myself there and to push myself. Many times, I'll use a routine borrowed from a class I've taken in the past. But there are some people who do much better in the motivation department if they're in a group fitness class. (And trust me, many times that gets me a hell of a lot more motivated too). 

If you constantly find yourself backing out of gym plans because you don't feel like going alone, don't know what you're going to do once you get there, feel self-conscious or just feel like you aren't pushing yourself hard enough - ClassPass and group fitness classes in general are a wonderful antidote. 

YOU'RE OK WITH THE COST 

Most importantly, you need to be OK with shelling out a good chunk of change for a ClassPass membership. You can look at their different options here but plans range in price depending on the market (available in many cities including Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Vegas, London, LA, Melbourne, Miami...you get it - basically every major city). In New York the cheapest membership gets you 5 classes per month for $75 ($15/class). In a market where boutique fitness studios easily charge $30/class, you're getting a good deal per class BUT you're only getting a workout 5 days out of the month whereas a gym  membership allows you to workout every day if you want. 

Recently, the cost of an unlimited ClassPass membership jumped up to $200. Yes, it's a lot, but if you were to take a class every day of the month - the cost would work out to less than $7 per day/class. 

BFX Studios NYC

You can read the reviews of classes I tried during my month-long ClassPass trial membership here: 

WTF: Work Train Fight

B|X at BRICK

Concrete Bootcamp at CrossFit Concrete Jungle

BFX Build at BFX Studios

*ClassPass didn't pay me to write this blog post. I signed up through their trial offering and cancelled at the end of the month. 

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B|X Class Review: Buckets of Sweat

My Class Pass free trial continued on Saturday morning with my first trip to a CrossFit "box." While I've never ventured into the world of CrossFit, I'm familiar with a lot of their terminology, (AMRAP, WOD, "for time," etc.) and have always thought I would love their high intensity nature. 

But belonging to a box is not a financially feasible option for me. Luckily, BRICK offers a bootcamp-style class called B|X that's available for sign-ups through Class Pass. B|X incorporates some basic principles from crossfit without the fancy Olympic weight lifting moves that take months to work up to.

Strength-building movements, dynamic explosive movements, cardio, endurance - this class was a non-stop sweaty challenge. 

Brick Crossfit NYC

THE STUDIO 

BRICK has two locations in NYC and I visited the one near Grand Central. The space is massive for Manhattan, with three floors, a full-service coffee shop (with fancy, health-fad drinks like coffee with butter and MCT oil), protein shake bar, and tons of different gym areas for their variety of class offerings. 

Brick Grand Central NYC

Everything is very...orange - but organized, spacious and clean. Not to mention they have top of the line equipment like the TrueForm Runner treadmills that were incredible! 

The locker rooms had showers with complimentary razors, Q-tips, hair ties, etc. 

After checking out the digs I went into the room where B|X classes are held. There were about 20 of us in the class and I will say that it felt a little crowded at times - though there were plenty of machines and equipment to accommodate everyone. 

Our instructor, Scarlett, started class right on time (which is something that I always appreciate). 

THE CLASS 

WARM-UP 

A quarter of the class started on the rowers, a quarter on the treadmills, a quarter on the spin bikes and a quarter on the mats for burpees. We did two minutes of cardio before switching to another station for another 2 minutes. 

Lucky me, Scarlett came over to let me know that I was on the bike which was permanently set at the heaviest resistance. After 2 minutes of that torture device, I got to complete around 30 burpees in 2 minutes. Warm-up? I was excited/petrified for class to start. 

Next was an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). For 6 minutes we rotated through 10 alternating straight leg marches each leg, 10 alternating back lunges each leg, 20 Russian Twists, 20 mountain climbers (knee to elbow). 

As we mentally prepared ourselves for what was to come next, Scarlett walked us through the set-up for the rest of the class. B|X works by splitting the class into 4 groups who rotate through 4 different 7-minute working stations. There's a 1 minute break in between each station. 

Scarlett was great in her explanation of each station and demonstrated each movement in case there was any confusion. 

STATION ONE - COMPLETE AS MANY ROUNDS AS POSSIBLE IN 7 MINUTES

  • 10 Calories on the Rower - this took around 1 minute to complete
     
  • 15 Push-Ups - while Scarlett was very specific in how we should be properly performing our push-ups, I fully admit that I wasn't feeling up to it and instead floundered around on my knees in a pathetic attempt at correct push-ups
     
  • 20 Later Jumps - there were different sized hurdles that we could use and I opted for the lowest one

STATION TWO - COMPLETE AS MANY ROUNDS AS POSSIBLE IN 7 MINUTES

  • 10 Burpees

  • 20 Sit-Ups - I don't normally struggle with sit-ups but these were brutal after Scarlet showed us how to ensure that we weren't using our hips to help lift ourselves up (bend your knees and put the soles of your feet together, forming a diamond between your legs. On the way down, make sure your hands touch behind your head and on the way up maybe sure your hands touch out in front of you). 

  • 40 Mountain Climbers

STATION THREE - COMPLETE AS MANY ROUNDS AS POSSIBLE IN 7 MINUTES 

  • 10 Push Press - A little bend of the knees before straightening to push dumbbells overhead
     
  • 10 Kettlebell Swings
     
  • 10 Wallballs - These are a typical crossfit exercise that look simple but are deceptively killer! 

STATION FOUR - LADDER FOR 7 MINUTES 

  • 100 Meter Sprint
  • 5 Squat Thrusts - another go-to crossfit move, this is a front squat with two dumbbells into an overhead press and they are HARD 
  • 100 Meter Sprint 
  • 10 Squat Thrusts 
  • 100 Meter Spring 
  • 15 Squat Thrusts 
  • Continue until 7 minutes are up 

During this station I climbed onto a TrueForm Runner treadmill and let me tell you - those things are like MIND READERS! At first, I couldn't quite figure it out. The belt was moving slowly even though I wanted to run faster - you don't input a speed - it just intuitively knows when to speed up and slow down based on where you're standing. 

Eventually, I figured out that as you run closer to the front of the treadmill, it will speed up. After class, I spoke with Scarlett about the TrueForm and she explained that it's designed to make you run with perfect form - high knees, butt kick, almost as if you're falling forward. Even people who are extremely in shape say that it's extremely difficult to run on the TrueForm - but I found it to be pretty comfortable! Granted, I only ran 100 meters at a time, but I'm really interested in finding some other gyms and studios with these machines to give them a spin for a longer run. 

WHAT I LIKED: 

  • Again, this class was a huge butt-kicking in the best way possible. 
  • You get to use SO many different things - a rower, treadmill, bike, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc. 
  • The 7 minute stations make each set of exercises seem possible - "I can do anything for 7 minutes!" 
  • Scarlett did an amazing job at explaining each exercise, correcting form throughout the class, encouraging us to finish each station strong, giving us a heads up when the clock was counting down, and letting us know when it was time to start back up. 
  • There's no way you can be bored during this class as you're constantly doing something new. 
Brick Grand Central NYC

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: 

  • So far I'm 2/2 on classes that I've tried through Class Pass exceeding my expectations. B|X had everything I look for in a workout. 
  • The one thing I would say is that the space was ever so slightly cramped. 

THE RUNDOWN

*Based on a scale of 1-10

The Studio - 9
Spacious, packed with shiny, top of the line equipment 

Class Size - On the larger side
There were about 20 people in my class and though space was a little limited, there was plenty of equipment and everyone still got personal attention from the instructor 

Sweat-Scale - 9.5
Soaked through my sports bra for SURE. 

Fun-Factor - 7
Constantly doing new exercises and only staying at each station for 7 minutes meant that you never had time to feel bored or wonder "are we done yet?" Perhaps B|X could add a little bit of competition or team-work to the stations to bring up the "fun" score. I was in a group with 4 other people during the whole class but there wasn't much encouraging each other or bonding over our shared pools of sweat. 

Amenities - 8
Very nice. 

Cost - $$$ 
(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$) 

BOTTOM LINE

If you can't commit to crossfit full-time but still yearn for a workout that will leave your feeling sweaty and STRONG B|X might just be the perfect solution for you. 

BRICK also has locations in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.  You can get your first class free on their website! 

Brick Crossfit NYC

YOUR TURN: 
HAVE YOU EVER USED THE TRUE FORM RUNNER? WHAT DID YOU THINK? 
DO YOU LIKE CLASSES WITH DIFFERENT STATIONS OR WOULD YOU RATHER DO ONE ACTIVITY LIKE SPINNING OR BOXING? 
HAVE YOU TRIED A CROSSFIT CLASS? WHAT DID YOU THINK? 

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SWERVE Fitness Spin Review

It's another Workout Wednesday, where I give you the rundown on a different New York City fitness class.

But before we jump into things, I'd like to make an important announcement that I can't believe it has taken me so long to post - I am the proud owner of a brand spankin' new Bianchi road bike! I am just as excited as I am panicked about this latest development. 

Bianchi Women's Road Bike

I'm panicked about actually riding the bike. 
I'm panicked about clipping into the pedals. 
I'm panicked about being SO POOR. 
I'm panicked about how many things I need to buy other than the bike. 
I'm panicked about how little I know about bikes. 

So any and all advice is welcomed and needed! 

I'm signed up for this year's 5 Borough Bike Tour and looking into another long summer bike "race" (ha, ride, lets not get ahead of ourselves) but that goal of an Olympic Distance Triathlon is still intimidatingly unscheduled. 

I have yet to be on a bike ride on my bike and I've owned it for oh, I don't know, 5 weeks! Pedals, a helmet and gloves have all been ordered so - the time is approaching. I'll keep ya posted. 

Despite not being out on my bike - I have continued to go to spin classes. I had the chance to take a class at SWERVE and was really excited to try it out - mainly because they require you to clip into the pedals and I know it completely changes the feel of cycling. It's something I'm really going to need to adjust to after countless NYSC rides in my Nike Frees. 

SWERVE Spin Studio Review

THE STUDIO: 

SWERVE is located on 18th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues. When I walked in, running late as usual, I was given a pair of spin shoes  and told my bike number. After quickly changing, I walked downstairs to the actual spin studio and was helped with adjusting my bike and clipping in. The room was super dark, so clipping in was a challenge and the help was greatly appreciated. 

I was impressed with how many bikes SWERVE's studio has - at least 35. 

THE WORKOUT: 

SWERVE's "thing" is that each class is split into three teams which compete for first place. Your personal and team score is based on your RPMs, Watts and resistance. Each  bike has their own mini computer which lets you know all of this information and the team score is displayed on two screen in the front of the room. 

At first, I was a little iffy about the two screens in the front of the room - I was under the impression they would show the whole classes score. But nope - it just shows a general team score along with the person who is performing best for each particular team. 

I'm a big fan of numbers and data in my workout - so being able to hear that I should be within a certain range of rotations per minute was really helpful - it usually was right in time to the music as well. In the past, I've had trouble performing at the level that the instructor was expecting, but I found that the RPM and gear ranges that our instructor, Seth, suggested were a challenge, but doable. 

Knowing that I was riding as part of a team pushed me to give that little extra kick at the end of each interval. There were many intervals throughout the class - which is my favorite type of spin class. Seth was always encouraging and had some great things to say about both competing for your team and being there to improve yourself as an individual. He turned off the screen a few times so that we couldn't see who was in the lead and we had to just push ourselves without that visual to motivate us. 

The one thing I didn't love about the class was the song during which we picked up those little 2 pound weights and did so many pulses and straight arm holds that I felt like I was gunna die. I still don't understand how such tiny weights can kill so much. And I also am still not sold on why this is necessary in a spin class. But, at least there was no bike-squating or crunching while we were spinning. 

By the end of class, our team came up victorious! And I was absolutely DRIPPING in sweat. My face was bright red and I was shaky. The stretch was a little short for my liking, but in that short time I managed to completely slip and wipe out - cycling shoes are slippery people. 

AMENITIES: 

There are both men's and women's locker rooms as well as a big central room with more lockers. The women's locker room was fairly small though well stocked with products and a shower. On my way out, I looked around and one thing really stood out to me was the smoothie bar! You can even place an order before class and it will be waiting for you when you finish! 

I had a great time and really liked the competitive aspect of this class along with the numbers and data provided by the computers on each bike. At the end of class, they email you your statistics and you can see how you stacked up in the class. 

SWERVE Spin Studio Review

Like I knew going into it, riding with clip-in cycling shoes is a lot different and really gives you the ability to focus on that upward pull motion of your pedal stroke just as much as the push down. 

STAFF: 

So often, the quality of a spin class is dependent on the instructor. Seth was great - he was motivating and clear in his explanations what what we should be doing. 

SWERVE Instructor Kate Bailey was kind enough to answer some questions - enjoy! (*My comments are in italics). 

When was SWERVE created?

SWERVE Fitness first opened in Fall ’13. Founded by a trio of best friends and former Ivy League athletes, the studio inspires you to achieve your best workout by creating a community of people who inspire each other to continuously redefine their best.

What do you think is the appeal of a cycling class where participants ride for teams?

Well, let's be honest.  We all have a little bit of that competitive spirit in us.  I think when people hear "teams" that is what gets them into class! They want to win.  Who doesn't.  But once they leave they have gained so much more.  The team aspect at SWERVE encourages a sense of community and drive that, for me, makes me feel like I can conquer anything that comes my way!  And I think that is what keeps people coming back.  You gotta show up for your TEAM!!!

How did you get involved with SWERVE?

I took a class with a friend and the rest was history! I wasn't even looking to be an instructor, but after one class I just had to be a part of it.  That was about two years ago and now SWERVE has become my second home in NYC.  

What’s your favorite song to sweat to?

I have so many! But my favorite song to sweat to right now is, "Wait For It" from the new musical Hamilton on Broadway.  I know... I know... HAMILTON? I don't usually play showtunes in class, (although that is all I listen to outside of SWERVE) but the music of Hamilton is something everyone in NYC should hear.  Truly awesome and inspiring stuff.  (Who is going to have a Hamilton themed spin class? Anybody? Bueller? PLEASE!) 

Do you like peanut butter? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?

I love peanut butter! Hmmmm... I have to say my favorite way to enjoy peanut butter is with Apple Slices or Celery Sticks.  It was my favorite snack as a kid, and still such a great go-to for me today.  

THE RUNDOWN: 

*Based on a scale of 1-10

The Studio - 6
It's clean and there's lots of lockers, but the locker room itself is very small for a studio where the class size is 30+ people. 

Sweat-Scale - 8
Spin classes always get me the sweatiest. I'm talking full on puddles underneath my bike by the end of class. 

Fun-Factor - 8
If you're like me, you'll love the little "gimmicks" that SWERVE offers - teams, competition, a chance to be "#1" and data that you can track from class to class to monitor improvements. 

Amenities - 7
Forgot hairspray? SWERVE's got ya covered. Need a smoothie waiting for you when you get out of class? Yup. Get on that.

One of each, plz.

One of each, plz.

Cost - $$$ (Single Classes are $34 but new riders can buy one get one free! OR sign up as a new member and receive 1 month of unlimited classes for $150!)
(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$) 

Class Review: Broadway Bodies' Broadway Cardio

I love trying new things. It’s one of my favorite qualities about myself (am I allowed to say that?) From a young age, I would eat anything put in front of me at least once. But I wasn’t always willing to put myself in situations that I knew would cause discomfort.

There aren’t many things that terrify me more than the awkwardness that ensues when I attempt to dance. To say I have “two left feet” is an understatement. Actual dancing skills aside (which I assure you are dismal) I am just completely, 100% uncomfortable and embarrassed when I dance. I feel insecure and self-conscious.  I don’t “dance like nobody’s watching” because I am sure that everyone is watching and everyone is thinking, “this is just like a car crash that I can’t turn my eyes away from.”

Step Classes, Zumba, Kickboxing – these are all fitness classes that have pushed me out of my comfort zone and left me feeling defeated and self-conscious because they rely on things that are way too closely related to choreography and dancing.

Suddenly, tons of friends were attending classes at “Broadway Bodies” to learn the dance to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.” It looked like a ton of fun – but nothing I would ever be confident enough to attempt.

While doing research for my Valentine’s Day Fitness blog post, I stopped by the Broadway Bodies website where I immediately saw they were offering a class to learn the choreography to Spring Awakening’s “Mama Who Bore Me” in a class titled, “Broadway Cardio.”

Now, I’ve expressed my love for Broadway on the blog before but I don’t know that you understand the extent of it. For 5 or 6 years it was my passion, obsession, social life. And Spring Awakening was my favorite.

Somehow, that all came rushing back and I was clicking “send” on an email asking if I could take the class and write about it on Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend. They said yes, and then I had to face the fact that I had indeed just signed up for a dance class.

Not a class at a gym with some steps resembling dancing. A full-on Broadway choreography dance class.

I was panicking. But I was also weirdly excited. I recruited two friends who always loved Spring Awakening and on a Tuesday night I checked my dignity at the door and entered Broadway Bodies.

That's the Spring Awakening cast after the productions' final performance - 7 years ago!!

That's the Spring Awakening cast after the productions' final performance - 7 years ago!!

THE STUDIO:

Our class was held at Pearl Studios – where each and every day, real Broadway stars show up for auditions and rehearsals. This was not your typical gym class, which was very obvious when we walked down the hallway and saw people who were clearly real-life, serious dancers.

We signed in, and entered the studio. In total, there were about 20 of us, which was a bit of a squeeze.

THE WORKOUT:

To start, Broadway Cardio classes do about a half hour of some easier, cardio-centric routines to Broadway classics. I actually worked up a sweat and my heart was pumping – but the most shocking thing of all was that somewhere between a Hamilton song and “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray, I had realized there was a huge cheesy grin on my face. Despite the missteps and extreme concentration required to remain semi-on beat, I was truly dancing around the room as if I were alone in my apartment blasting some showtunes (a very common occurrence). Every time a new step was introduced I would send a panicked look across the room to Carolyn or Roseanna, we would crack up, and just keep moving our feet.

Our instructor, Natalie, was so sweet and put the whole room at ease.

After the cardio wrapped-up it was time to learn the dance to Mama Who Bore Me. After learning our “first 8 count” (I learned so much new lingo…) I was feelin’ pretty confident. But that didn’t last long. I found that whenever we were instructed to do something with both our arms and our legs, I was a lost cause. It was like asking an infant to rub their stomach and pat their head.

But again, I had fun.

Once we got through the whole song, the room split into two groups so we had a little more room to get our groove on. I sprinted to the side that Carolyn and Roseanna were on which the instructor good-naturedly pointed out and laughed at.

It was a total disaster but I rocked those stomps and angel wings as best as I could and soaked up the experience.

At the end of class we were dripping with sweat – though that was due more to a stuffy hot room than my intense dancing.

We spoke with Natalie who was SO awesome – it was no surprise to her that it was our first class, none of us were dancers, and she just kept commending us for trying, for smiling and for never quitting.

So while I know I was uncomfortably terrible at this class, it was so so nice not being terribly uncomfortable. Broadway Bodies welcomed us with open arms and gave us a unique, fun experience. While I doubt I’ll be returning for another class anytime soon, they do offer BYOB Birthday Parties which definitely intrigue me…

I never in a million years thought I would smile through a class like that – never once feeling frustrated or embarrassed. (Okay, I was a little embarrassed, but not in a sad/terrified way).

The program director of Broadway Bodies, Rebecca Bradford, was kind enough to answer some questions for me.  I can’t thank them enough for this experience!

How did you get involved with Broadway Bodies? 

I had just moved to New York and am an actress/singer/dancer who was working in the food industry (so typical haha). I was desperately looking for a way out of the restaurant when I stumbled upon a Playbill.com listing from Broadway Bodies and they were looking for new cardio instructors. It sounds right up my alley and I am so happy that it worked out. From there, I took on the position of program administrator and, in addition, teach Bieber Fever classes. I just love this company and how much happiness it brings to people. 

What's your advice to fans of fitness who may be scared to venture into the world of dance?

Dance, in my opinion, is the best way of expressing yourself. I would say don't be afraid to try new things. We are ALWAYS thrilled to have newcomers at Broadway Bodies. We really try to create a shame-free environment to encourage people to take risks and try new things. We truly do not care if you nail the choreography or completely trip over your feet. Dance is all about having fun, letting go and living. 

What's your favorite song to sweat to? 

Ah, right now I am OBSESSED with "Hands to Myself" by Selena Gomez. I'm also one of Taylor Swift's biggest fan, so basically anything from the 1989 album. 

Can you give me some history on the creation and mission of Broadway Bodies? 

Around 9 years by two amazing men, entrepreneur Jeff Vilensky and choreographer and director, Stephen Brotebeck. It began with Broadway Cardio and grew into a pop culture phenomenon in New York. The idea began when Jeff was watching a Broadway show and wanted to do what the performers were doing on stage. He thought to himself that he wasn't a dancer, but there was still a way to do what they were doing on stage. Broadway Bodies is a shame-free, inclusive dance community that teaches original and custom choreography to the music of movies, musicals, and music videos. Our only goal is that our participants have fun and unleash their inner superstars.

Do you like peanut butter? What's your favorite way to enjoy it? 

I love peanut butter. How can you not?? My favorite is to slice up a Honeycrisp apple and spread peanut butter on each slice, but like a super unhealthy amount of peanut butter. 

The Rundown

*Based on a scale of 1-10

The Studio - 5

This isn’t your typical fitness studio – it was a room in a building which was incredibly stuffy and hot. Everyone just piled their bags up in the back of the room.  That being said – it’s a legit Broadway studio – as we were leaving we apparently passed the winner of last season’s So You Think You Can Dance. I joked that I just danced in the same building as Idina Menzel but…actually…that’s where she goes for auditions and rehearsals just like everyone else.

Class Size - Small

Though the class had no more than 20 people, it was a tight squeeze which made any arm motions a little difficult.

Sweat-Scale - 5

I was pleasantly surprised that the first portion of class had my heart rate going. But, overall, it isn’t a very physically demanding class. However, my sweat scale was about an 8 just because the room was so hot.  

Fun-Factor - 8

This is where Broadway Bodies shines – this is a unique, fun experience that makes for a great story and some laughs. Whether you’re a great dancer or an awful one, this class is no doubt fun.

Amenities - 4

Since our class wasn’t at the Broadway Bodies Dance Studio – I can’t speak for their amenities. But be sure to do some research about where your class or workshop will be held – I wouldn’t recommend going to a class offered at Pearl Studios before work because there really isn’t anywhere to shower/change/etc.

Cost - $

(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$) 

 


Fitness Class Review: The P.E. Club

I’ve been great about getting myself to the gym despite the cold, despite work trips, and despite my lack of anything major to train for. There is no marathon on my horizon and my next half marathon isn't until May. Yet I've still been showing up. 

But once I get to the gym, I haven’t been great about doing much. I leave feeling like I more or less wasted 50 minutes.

As they say - when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Walking into the gym with no idea of what I want to accomplish has resulted in, well, not accomplishing much. Shocker, right?

So I thought it was time to have someone else kick my butt – since I certainly haven’t been kickin’ my own. A group fitness class was just what I needed. Preferably one that was slightly intimidating. I like a challenge.

After perusing a multitude of NYC boutique fitness studios, I found one that piqued my interest with its use of kettle bells and TRX. Not to mention they’re conveniently located for an early morning workout – my favorite kind!

The spot? The P.E. Club.

The PE Club Upper East Side

The Studio

This personal training and small-group fitness class located on the Upper East Side offers a number of different class options – but to get an overall feel for the studio I decided to sign up for TRX Xtreme Total Body. The class is described on their website as a 50-minute class full of high-intensity, low-impact cardio.

High-intensity and low-impact?  I was already sold.

Rebecca and I showed up 10 minutes prior to class starting and got a quick look around the studio, which also specializes in personal training. The space is absolutely immaculate – by far the cleanest studio I’ve ever stepped foot in.

We hung up our jackets and met Morgana, the instructor for our 7 a.m. class. She asked if either of had any injuries, and I mentioned my shins had been acting up so any jumping would probably bother me.

Low-impact, Lauren, duh. She assured me there would be no jumping before telling us to pick out a kettlebell (15-30 pounds) and dumbbell (8-10 pounds).

The Class

Class Size: 

I was shocked when I realized just how small this “small-group fitness class” would be. There were only 8 of us, which made a huge difference in the attention Morgana was able to give to each students’ form. Throughout the class, she walked through the room giving pointers and also adjusted our TRX straps when necessary so that the class ran as smooth as Skippy. 

The PE Club Upper East Side

The Workout:

The way the class was formatted, we did a ton of different exercises to hit each body part. Since we had to cover the “total body,” each exercise lasted approximately 30 seconds. I liked that this kept things moving and interesting, but it was also difficult as it was my first time doing a number of these exercises and :30 didn’t seem like enough time to get my form down right.

That being said, some of the exercises, especially the core-focused ones, burned so much that :30 was the absolute max I could last! Ouch!

Again, there were a bunch of moves that were new to me, especially the moves using the TRX straps. I love learning new things that I can incorporate into my own gym-sessions!

We also used the kettle bell and I appreciated Morgana prompting me to go up in weight in the nicest way possible – but she was totally right – I wasn’t challenging myself enough and I was glad for the push! That’s the thing about a room with only 8 girls – there is no hiding!

The Amenities

After class, I showered in one of The P.E. Club’s two showers and was amazing again by the cleanliness. They had so many wonderful products – I wish I could get ready for work there every day! Not to mention the free tea station where I got a refreshing cup of cucumber mint tea.

The PE Club Upper East Side

Rebecca and I checked in with each other the day after class and both agreed that our arms were mighty sore!

I’m hoping to go back for a Lower Body class or for one of their Kettle Bell circuit-based classes for a chance to get a little more cardio.

I must admit, The PE Club didn't have anything super unique or "fun" about it, but if you’re looking for a place that challenges you, teaches you new exercises, and gives you a lot of personal attention during class – The P.E. Club is a great studio – though it doesn’t come cheap. Drop-in classes are $38, though first time guests receive a second class free. They also offer a ton of different membership and class package options that can save you money.

Co-owner Nedra explained to me that while your first class will be an introduction to the TRX straps, each class after that will leave you feeling more confident and better able to challenge yourself once you get the ~movez~ down.

Q&A With Co-Owner Nedra!

Everyone at The P.E. Club was so helpful, and the co-owner Nedra was kind enough to answer a few questions for me too! Her story is inspiring - she is pursuing her passion and proving that you too can be a #girlboss! Here’s what she had to say.

How did you get involved in the fitness community?

When I was 16 my dad got me to go workout with him in the gym. It was "our time" where he taught me how important it was to be a strong woman inside and out. I always loved working out and though it wasn't my primary job until I moved to NY. I was approached by Equinox to become a trainer and decided to leave my desk job to pursue my passion. The rest is a story of love, perseverance, failure, family, friendship and determination. I have never looked back, never been more happy and have never worked so hard!! 

What was your reason for starting The PE Club? What was the hardest part?  

After years of training on the UES and running around from gym to gym, Alex and I started The P.E. Club. We wanted to bring simplicity back to fitness, make it about the client, make it intimate and most importantly make it fun. We put all our savings on the line and worked day and night to create a unique space for clients to feel comfortable in. Running a small business is no easy task. The hardest part was learning and changing your mindset from being just a trainer to now being an owner and having responsibly over others. Time management and delegation skills became highly important to develop. 

What are the benefits of TRX and Kettlebell training vs. the standard dumbbells and cardio routines?

Kettlebells with TRX are the perfect marriage of strength straining, cardio and balance training in one. Kettlebells are intimidating to most people, but when used properly, they deliver strength while allowing for a cardio component at the same time. A traditional swing works your entire lower body, posture and is an amazing ab workout! When you use TRX you are constantly putting your body into unstable positions so your core is firing the whole time. Not to mention you are able to do movements in their full range of motion (ex. push ups which most people can't do properly on their own) and work each side of the body individually. While traditional strength training and cardio is great, it isn't always the most efficient time wise. Our classes were designed to feature an unstable piece of equipment (TRX) that increases strength, flexibility and balance along with other modalities. So your body is constantly guessing, re-configuring and adapting which ultimately creates change in the body. 

What’s your favorite song to sweat to?

Eyes by Kaskade...an oldie but a goodie. 

Do you like peanut butter? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?

Omg crunchy peanut butter on anything...a spoon, in a protein shake, and in peanut butter cups!

The Rundown

*Based on a scale of 1-10

The Studio - 8
Everyone was extremely nice and helpful. The studio was immaculate, spacious and had tons of equipment for its personal training customers. 

Class Size - Small
There were only 8 girls in my class, meaning lots of personalized attention from the instructor - but nowhere to hide! 

Sweat-Scale - 7
This class definitely elevated my heart-rate (hello, squat to shoulder press) but wasn't overwhelming. I wasn't a puddle of sweat afterwards, but felt like I had gotten a decent workout in for sure! 

Fun-Factor - 6
There's no live DJ or social-media component to these classes - which may or may not appeal to you. It's a straight-forward total body conditioning class that will help you become comfortable using TRX and kettle bells - two great pieces of equipment to shake up your stale routine.

Amenities - 9
Simply superb. 

Cost - $$$ 
(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$) 

The PE Club Upper East Side

I attended class at The PE Club for free in exchange for writing this review. All opinions are my own. 

SLT Review: Strengthen Lengthen Tone (Shit, Legs Tired)

If I’m going to spend money going to a boutique fitness class, I want to leave the studio feeling like I just kicked-ass. This usually means that the class left me dripping sweat with wobbly legs or spaghetti arms, huffing and puffing. That’s why yoga’s not my jam (although I have yet to try hot yoga – I know I’d be sweaty after that!) And I’ll only take a Pilates class on a day that I’m trying to take it "easy."

That being said, I’m not entirely sure what sparked my interest in SLT – Strengthen Lengthen Tone, a class that I believed was a yoga/Pilates fusion.

But hold on. Their website describes SLT as “If Cardio, Strength Training and Pilates Had a Baby.”

Huh? Now I needed to check this out.

SLT has been in New York City for 3 and a half years.  There are now four SLT studios in New York City (Midtown, SoHo, Flat Iron and the Upper East Side). The class is based on using a machine called the Megaformer – created and franchised by “fitness guru” Sebastien Lagree in L.A. in 2010.

This machine is SO crazy.


(The MEGAformer)

But let’s rewind a little. I visited SLT’s Upper East Side location, which shares a building with Flywheel and Flybarre on 67th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues.  SLT’s studio is on the 4th floor, and had I known what was in store for me, I may have taken the elevator.
When you walk into SLT it’s a little confusing at first because you’re already in the studio. It’s just one big space, and when you walk in, you might be walking in while another class is already in progress.

I let the receptionist know it was my first class and started to give him my name until I realized the iPod stand where I was supposed to click on my name. Hi-tech! The receptionist let the instructor know that it was my first class, which was greatly appreciated because this meant that I got a little run-down on the slightly (ok, really) overwhelming looking torture-device that is the Megaformer.

My instructor, Jacob, set me up at a machine with regulars on either side so I could follow along with them if I got lost or confused and proceeded to point out all of the main components of the Megaformer that I’d need to be familiar with for the class. Thank GOD for this little introduction – I would have been flopping around like a fish out of water had I not had a little knowledge about the different parts and pieces of the Megaformer. Megaformers are picked out as you arrive to class – they’re not assigned through the registration process, but since the instructor doesn’t have a machine of their own and floats throughout the class, there’s really no “good” or “bad” spot.  The entire front of the room is mirrored.

(As Seen From My Megaformer)

The entire back of the studio is a wooden bench with cubbies with some coat hangers too. No lockers, but you can literally put your stuff right behind whatever machine you’re working on so having anything stolen would be pretty ballsy.

We got started and the first thing we did was some ab exercise where we put our hands on the slider with our knees on the platform and pushed out as far as we could while keeping our hips up. I can pretty easily plank for a minute. I can do pretty difficult ab exercises. First of all, I started out doing this completely wrong. Luckily, Jacob came over and adjusted me.  As soon as I did one rep with the right form, I think I cursed to myself. This wasn’t going to be a relaxing class by any means.

Jacob led us through some ab exercises before moving on to a variety of different lunges that had me dripping and quivering and wanting to give up, in all honesty. This shit was HARD! 

Jacob was great at explaining it, great with encouragement, and great with counting. We also did an entire section of obliques.

Going into class at SLT, the core work was expected. But I didn’t realize how great of a leg workout you could get using the Megaformer! We even did Megaformer Burpees! OUCH.

The machine is awesome because you can change how much resistance is on the slider. Watching videos of people doing moves on the Megaformer makes it looks so elegant, smooth and graceful – I assure you I felt none of those things as I struggled through some of these moves.

SLT has its own language – with exercises called things like The Bear, The Catfish and The Mermaid, but I barely even realized those terms were being used because Jacob was so great at breaking each one down into manageable steps and movements.

(The wall full of words I don't understand in terms of SLT exercises...)

Unlike the workouts I’m used to – SLT wasn’t about seeing how many reps I could fit in a certain amount of time. The slower and more precise you are with your movements on the Megaformer, the more you’ll feel the burn, the more you’ll work your muscles, and the more you’ll want to take a baseball bat to this torture device!

One thing that was a little weird to me was the music. The class is high-paced, moving quickly from one thing to the other, but the movements themselves are slower and so it was a little weird to be listening to typical workout music and also weird when a slower song would come on – because I was still dripping with sweat and needing to be pumped up.

We did a really brief portion of arm work at the end, but as someone who lifts weights fairly regularly at the gym, this part wasn’t particularly challenging or exciting.

A few more things about the studio – no showers. But the bathrooms are stocked with some things to help you freshen up!


Each class promises to be different – there were tons of aspects of the machine that I didn’t even get to experience during my first class – there’s even some dumbbells hidden under each one! I definitely thing I could go to SLT classes regularly and never be bored.

(Hiding underneath!)

These classes are pricy, even by boutique fitness standards. SLT isn’t on Class Pass. You can get your first SLT class for $20, but after that, you’ll be paying around $40 per class.  My first thought was, “Oh, NYSC has reformer Pilates classes, I’ll just take one of those!” But these Megaformer machines are so much more than a regular Pilates reformer machine. And if the rest of the instructors are as good as Jacob, you’re paying for a really put together class (he even went around adjusting all of our machines resistances’ while we were on the other end for lunges).  SLT was listed as one of DailyBurn’s Priciest Fitness Classes Worth the Splurge

At the end of this class, I was certainly sweaty, and I certainly felt like I had given my muscles a GREAT workout. I could feel every single muscle I had worked during the 50 minute class. 


Understandably, $40 may not be something you can shell out for a routine fitness class. But do yourself a favor and take your first class for $20 before you write off SLT as a trendy waste of money. Find out for yourself why SLT owner Amanda Freeman describes it as “Pilates on crack.” 

Not So Fly Mile High Run Club Review

For over a month, I have been beyond excited to try a class at the new fitness studio Mile High Run Club. A boutique fitness studio in NOHO (28 East 4th Street to be exact), Mile High Run Club is neither conveniently located or cost-effective - but I was determined to experience a class that attempts to turn the typically solitary and boring act of treadmill running into a black-light, music-blasting group fitness-fest. Unfortunately, MHRC didn't live up to the hype. 

A group of us decided to go on a Thursday night after work, using a code for a free class that we got from the wonderful  blog Ali on the Run

We showed up at around 6:15 for our 6:30 p.m. class - the lobby was nice, and the receptionist let me know which treadmill I had signed up for before giving us a little tour - there's locker rooms, showers, and a wall of lockers outside of the studio. They're the complicated lockers with the built in programmable locks that I somehow always manage to screw up -  but I guess it's for the best since I recently lost my real lock (which I've had since freshman year of high school - so I'm really sad it's gone!) The lockers were like Mary Poppins' bag. They looked so teeny, yet somehow fit my giant ass bag. 

We stood outside the studio waiting to be let inside, and it was a little cramped and crowded but not too horrible. This is the part where I should have scoped out the locker rooms and bathrooms/showers so I could write a little something about them but, I didn't, so sorry 'bout it. From others' accounts the locker room had very few lockers which were all taken and the bathroom had two showers. There, now you know everything! (Spring Awakening reference, anyone, anyone? Probably not.) 




One of my biggest pet peeves is when classes don't start on time. We still hadn't been allowed in the room when the clock struck 6:30, which was a big no-no for me. They let us in around then, but obviously, there was no way we were actually starting the workout at 6:30. The part that was frustrating was that no one was in the studio before us, so I'm not sure why we couldn't have been in there filling up our water bottles and getting settled a few minutes earlier. 

The studio itself is what you would expect, a big room with lots of treadmills. The room is dark and black-lit, so pro-tip - if you plan on taking pictures (for Instagram, obviously) then wear neon! 

(Rebecca got the neon memo, apparently!)

There's a spot in the back to fill up your water bottles and each treadmill has a towel waiting at it. (As I mentioned earlier, when you sign up online you pick a treadmill and that's your assigned spot for the class). 

Another pro-tip (since I am obviously a pro after just 1 class) - treadmills 4, 9, 17 and 21 have giant columns in front of them, so you a) won't see the instructor and b) won't be able to yourself in the mirrors. Seeing the instructor isn't all that important, but I'd imagine staring straight at a blank wall for a half hour could get kind of annoying. That's just me. Maybe it would help you get in the zone. Do you. 



I was treadmill 20 - but if I were to take another class, I would probably pick something in the back row. My reason is such an asshole reason, but I'm going to be honest about it because I'm sure there's more than a few people out there who would be the same way. If I had been in the back row,  I would have been able to see a lot more people's treadmill screens and have been able to see how fast they were going throughout the class.  No, I would not have used this information to judge the people going slower than me, but I sure as hell would have used it to push myself to try to get on some of the speedier people's levels. 

Mile High Run Club offers 3 different classes at the studio:
The Distance: Our advanced performance improving class incorporates 60 minutes of continuous intervals, tempo, and hills on the treadmill and is coached by elite runners.
Ultra: Our advanced performance improving class incorporates 90 minutes of continuous intervals, tempo, and hills on the treadmill and is coached by elite runners. 
Dash 28: This 45-minute class provides a foundation for runners of all levels with about 28 minutes of structured intervals followed by 10 minutes of strength plus power training with kettle bells.

We took a Dash 28 class with Debora Warner, the founder and program director of Mile High Run Club. Once we had all settled in, we stood besides our treadmills for a warm up of squats, high knees, butt kicks, etc.  

Each treadmill comes with a pace card, giving suggestions for the speeds you should hit during each interval as a beginner ("joggers") or a more advanced runner ("racers"). The treadmill portion of the class went a little something like this: 

4 minutes warm-up pace
1 minute level 2 pace
1 minute level 3 pace
1 minute level 2 pace
2 minutes level 3 pace
2 minutes level 2 pace
2 minutes level 2 pace at a 3.0 incline
2 minutes level 4 pace 

2 minutes warm-up pace

1 minute level 2 pace
1 minute level 3 pace
1 minute level 2 pace
2 minutes level 3 pace
2 minutes level 2 pace
2 minutes level 2 pace at a 5.0 incline
2 minutes level 4 pace 

Thoughts on the interval portion of class:
-I was a fan of the actual intervals. Nothing was too long - you could always tell yourself, "Only 90 seconds left, Only 45 seconds left, etc." 

-Debora's counting was horrendous. Each time she counted down from 5 was completely different - but not once was 5 seconds actually 5 seconds. There was even a digital clock in the middle of the room for her to use, so I'm not really sure what the issue was.

-5.0 incline is no joke and I totally had to decrease it before the 2 minutes were up.  Pittsburgh Marathon, City of Bridges...here I come? Gulp. 

-It would have been a lot more motivational had the instructor been on a treadmill too. It's like going to a spin class and having an instructor who walks around the whole time. Or even worse, just sits on their bike not spinning. 

-It was a little difficult to understand Debora - the mic was fuzzy and the music was loud and her prompts weren't always clear. I'm pretty sure I was on that 5.0 hill earlier than I was supposed to be because her counts and directions were so hard to understand. And it's not like it was anything too difficult to understand! 

-The playlist - so meh. 

-Apparently these are state of the art treadmills used at Mile High Run Club, and it was nice that you don't run into the front of it, although I'm still not sold on the ribbed belt ever since I tripped on one at New York Sports Club. I did a little research, and MHRC uses Woodway treadmills which feature "slat belt" technology and are supposed to feel like you're running outside. Yada yada. They felt nice. 


(This is the Woodway 4Front treadmill - there's 30 of them in the MHRC Studio. I'm assuming they cost a lot of money.)


-IT WAS SO HOT AND SWEATY IN THERE! Finally with 5 minutes left of class Debora was like, "Oh, does anyone need a fan?" Uhm, yes dear lord, please. There were sweat puddles in my sneakers. And I'm not someone who sweats a ton! 

After some light jogging/walking it was time to get to the power/strength portion of the class. Everyone grabbed some kettlebells in various weights and brought them back to their treadmills. 

I actually really liked the combination of exercises we did during this part of the Dash 28 class and I thought it was great. However, the instructor did such a poor job of explaining what exactly we were supposed to be doing. And I've been to a lot of classes, I'm usually pretty quick at picking things up. Nothing we had to do was that complicated, but she just didn't explain them very well. Or would demonstrate them in a way that wasn't how she actually wanted US to do them, which just makes no sense. 

ANYWHO. 

We started by alternating for 30 seconds between kettlebell squat and presses and kettlebell curls (2 rounds of each exercise). 

Next were step ups onto the treadmill (finally a good song! Shots is my new favorite song for step-ups). 

We also did lunges, pushups, squats onto the belt followed by a hop up, and hip dips with our feet on the treadmill and our elbows on the ground (those burned). 

I was a sweaty mess by the end of class, which is usually all I need in order to be satisfied with a class, but this time I just felt so meh about what I'd just done. 

I ended up running about 3.1 miles or so. 

Worst part - we end class and Debora DOESN'T HAVE US STRETCH. I swear, it's like she just wanted to be out of there. She basically said, "If you want to stretch go ahead." Ok. 

After class, the locker area that felt just slightly crowded earlier felt catastrophically crowded as our class came out and the 7:30 class went in. Double the people plus all the sweat = ugh. 

I can definitely see how MHRC could be a great class - but unfortunately, the unenthusiastic instructor really ruined it for me. I would still be interested in trying one of the longer classes with more running, but at $34 per class, I'm not sure that's in the cards. 

I also think that what makes spin classes and even indoor group rowing classes work is the fact that at times, everyone in the room is doing the same thing. With indoor treadmilling (yes, that's a word now) there's no point where everyone's at the same pace or doing the same "choreography" (sometime's jumps in spinning remind me of dancing, OK? And everyone rowing in sync looks pretty!) There's also no real way to push yourself against others at MHRC, and obviously you can always compete against yourself, but when your instructor isn't saying things that encourage that mindset, it's hard to get into it.  

Not to mention you can go on Pinterest and get endless treadmill interval routines and save yourself a whole lot of money. You'll still be next to people who are also running and you can listen to a playlist of your own creation.

So, in conclusion, Mile High Run Club isn't really for me. HOWEVER, I do think it's great that it's seeing so much success and getting more and more people into a fitness class that includes RUNNING! It's usually such an intimidating concept to people, and I think MHRC is changing that perception for some people which is wonderful! 



Row Row Row Your Erg - ROW HOUSE REVIEW.

On Wednesday night I finally took an indoor rowing class at Row House NYC

For awhile now, I've been really interested in attending an erg class [indoor rowing machines are technically called ergometers, according to Wikipedia!] They're like the new spin class, popping up all over. These studios' gain in popularity coincided with me meeting a lot of new people through November Project who rowed in college, and definitely got me interested in giving it a chance. As a runner who feels like they're constantly injured, rowing is a lower-impact workout, while still being great for your entire body and not skimping on cardio! 

Just last week, Row House celebrated their 1st Birthday! I stopped by their party for some cute little hors-d'oeuvres from Just Salad and delicious drinks from fancy organic vodka and tequila brands that I can't remember the names of, oops. 


(Cheers!)

But let's get to the good stuff - the class. I signed up for a class at the Columbus Circle location [In reality, it's a bit of a trek from Columbus Circle - a little over a half a mile to 59th Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenues]. The studio has lockers, two bathrooms [each with a shower - and the showers are equipped with TRESemme shampoo and conditioner, classy!]  

A few minutes to six we were led into the studio, 3 rows of ergs with a giant mirror in the front. Our instructor, Eric sat front and center and explained that for most of the class we would be rowing together, following either his stroke or that of another coach who was in the class in the front row.  I sat directly behind Eric, hoping some of his form would rub off on me! 

Eric Von Frohlich was not only my instructor on Wednesday night, but he, along with wife Debra, are the founders of Row House! He's been interviewed for a bunch of fitness magazines on rowing technique, since a lot of people don't know the first thing about this piece of gym equipment.

 (I certainly didn't know a bout proper rowing technique, until this guy showed me the ropes!)

So when Eric asked who was new at Wednesday's class, I raised my hand, but I knew I had an advantage. When he started going over form, I was already a few steps ahead of the game, knowing that you're supposed to send your arms out first before bending your legs. 

He's clearly experienced in teaching people how to row, because what could have taken up a quarter of the class was done succinctly and quickly - a few strokes to get the arm movements down, then a few strokes putting everything together, learning that you're body is supposed to hit 1 and 11 on the invisible clock, and then it was time to get started. 

Like I said, for most of a Row House class everyone in the room is expected to row in-sync. After all, when you're actually outside rowing, that's what it's all about - teamwork to make the boat move! Eric led us through intervals, 10 strokes of recovery followed by 20-30 power strokes at differing strokes per minute. 

There's a lot of new terminology when it comes to using the erg - but going to a class at Row House will be SO helpful in letting you put together your own erg workout if you're so inclined to use the lonely little rower hidden in corners of gyms. 

But rowing as a group, in a dark room with music, makes indoor rowing a lot more enjoyable, in my opinion. 


(Eric demonstrating perfect form!) 

After 10 minutes of intervals, we got off the rowers for some body-weight exercises. 

First, squats. Then, front lunges. Next, back lunches. Last, inchworms to push-ups. I also liked that Eric included a stretch before we got back on the machines - and one that was good for our IT bands no less [I was concerned that my IT band would bother me during this workout, and as a runner, that's not a body part I'd like to upset!] 

Next we did another 10 minute section of intervals on the erg. The more I row, the more it starts to come together. Your power is mainly supposed to come from your legs and core, not just your arms. You can bring your pace down in two ways - either by pushing off/pulling harder or by slowing down your recovery time [simultaneously upping your strokes per minute]. For me, I found that keeping my strokes per minute on the lower end and taking a sufficient recovery (slower on the way back down to the front of the rower) allowed me to have a stronger stroke which in turn made my pace (per 500 meters) drop. 

After the second 10 minutes of rowing we hopped off again and did side lunges followed by push-ups to side plank and another stretch. 

The last part of class was probably my favorite part. Eric said that now that we successfully rowed in sync it was time to let us go our own speed. He turned the lights out and told us to see how far we could go in 4 minutes. Having the lights out definitely allowed me to block everything else out and just focus on finding a rhythm that worked for my body. 

For the 4 minutes, Eric walked around encouraging people and trying to get them to give a little extra push.  Lucky for me, Eric stopped by my rower with 40 seconds left, and the extra motivation saw my pace drop to the lowest that it did the entire class - 2:19. To be fair, there were plenty of people going a hell of a lot fast than me, but I was happy to see that I could give a little more than I thought. 

At the end of 4 minutes Eric told us to look at how far we had gone, and add 50 meters (or more) to that number.  That's how far we were trying to go in the next 4 minutes. UGH. Then he gave a motivational but not at all cheesy or over-the-top speech about setting goals and learning more about yourself the loftier the goal. 

I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I did add 30 or so meters to my first 4 minutes. 

Sadly, a few stretches and we were done. I wanted to keep going! 

It was definitely a full-body workout and I definitely sweat, though I've been sweatier in other classes.  

Row House Full Body is the class I took, but they also offer Row House Core (where the time off the rower focuses on abs only) and Row House Express (only rowing for 35 minutes). There's also Row House Endurance which is a 50 minute class with more rowing drills. 

The music Eric played during the class was GREAT. When Geronimo came on it was hard for me not to erg-dance. Is that a thing? 

At some point during the class I realized that each machine was customized with a clever quote, which I probably enjoyed more than I should have.  "Stroke of genius." "Don't resist the erg." There is nothing I like more than a fitness-themed pun. 



We all wiped down our machines at the end of class, got some high fives from Eric, and were on our way.  They had two foam rollers in the back of the room which I appreciated, and probably should have used, but I waited until I got back to my apartment to roll it out. 

You've probably never thought about taking a group rowing class. But I think you should. 

Row House has two locations - one at 555 West 59th Street (between West End and Amsterdam Avenues) and one on the Upper East Side (come on NP people!) at 406 East 91st Street (between First and York Avenues).  

Row House also is awesome on Instagram and likes my pictures, holllllla. But really, having a fitness studio that gets to know their clients is awesome, and it was very obvious that a lot of the people in the class are regulars. 

They offer a great beginner package - 3 classes for $75 (single classes are $35). 

DO IT.

PXT (2) at Pure Yoga

The other night, I had the chance to take a PXT class at Pure Yoga East. It was different than anything I've ever done before, different than I expected, but overall a pretty great workout. 

Pure Yoga East is an absolutely beautiful studio. I mean, at $250 a month for membership, it better be a little bougie.  

Pure Yoga is 3 or 4 floors, with all different types of studios. Hot yoga studios, regular yoga studios- I'm not a yogi so I'm sure there are other types of studios and I just have no idea what they are. Either way. 7 is impressive. They also have tons of little lounge areas, a boutique, and a seriously huge and gorgeous women's locker room. 

I started the class of great- by getting yelled at for walking into the studio with shoes on - oops. After taking them off and leaving them outside, I re-entered and took in the setup. Everyone had a mat, a step and those little sliders you put under your hands and feet to torture your abs. The instructor told me to grab two sets of dumbbells (10 lbs and 5 lbs) and a 10 lb medicine ball. 

I was shocked to see that there would only be 5 of us in the class - it was like a private training session! 

As usual, I had done some research before showing up, and I knew that the PXT class would start with some yoga. Grumble grumble. If I must I guess I can do a few minutes of yoga as a warm up. We started slow, switching between the few moves and poses that I actually know (my yoga knowledge is limited, at best). I was a little stressed that it was going to get too complicated for me to follow and I would stand out like a sore thumb considered there were only 5 of us, but instead of adding a bunch of complicated poses to the flow, we just sped it up. Downward facing dog, chair pose, upward facing dog, warrior, vinyasa - by the end of the 10-15 yoga warm up I was actually starting to enjoy it! Minus the fact that the room was slowly getting hotter and hotter. Hey, I'm about to do burpees and squats and you're putting the heat up? What gives? I know, it's a thing. I'm just not sure it's a thing I like. Genius day to forget to bring water too, Lauren. 

This class really pushed me with some moves I had never done before- which I loved. Using the ab sliders was A LOT more challenging than I thought it would be. Pikes and walk outs and lunges- I was shaking! I also loved implementing the step for things like squats and step ups to knee holds. The instructor, Julia Stephens, was great at explaining and demonstrating each move and encouraging and motivating you to push until the end. We didn't stay on any one move for too long, so knowing that the end was near if you could knock out a few more reps was always helpful. 

After the cardio/plyo/strength section we moved into "partner abs." One person laid on their backs and grabbed their partners ankles while the partner got in the squat position and threw the other persons legs down- first to the left, then the middle, then the right. By the end of this, my abs were feeling it and I was looking forward to a break by being the "leg thrower." Well, stay in that squat position and pushing the legs down was more work than I thought, and I could feel it by the end of that too!

The next section was the "Coreball Countdown Challenge." Julia wrote 4 exercises on the mirror at the front of the room and we had to do 8 reps of each, then 7 reps of each, then 8 reps of each, etc. all the way down to 1. I wish I remembered exactly which exercises we did here, but I know burpees with the core ball was one of them, and that was rough!


We cooled down with a few more minutes of yoga and then we were done.

If you ever get a chance to go, or want to drop-in for a $35 class, I recommend it! This class is good for anyone who gets frustrated by an entire hour of yoga and wants something more intense. I loved the challenge, but I also wouldn't recommend it for beginners, as some of the moves may be frustratingly complicated.


Peloton Cycle a Major Win!

It’s been a Spin-o-Rama over here at PeanutButterIsMyBoyfriend! I know I’ve been writing a lot of posts about spinning, er, “indoor cycling,” but here’s one more for ya- recently, I took a class at Peloton Cycle and absolutely fell in love. While some people go gaga for SoulCycle and others are head over heels for Flywheel- I am [insert cliché here] about Peloton Cycle.
When Peloton first came to NYC, I snagged 3 free ride credits. After far too long, I finally put my first one to use and got my butt to their beautiful studio on 7th Avenue between 26th & 27th streets.
Peloton’s studio is white and airy and spotless. First, you walk through their boutique with lots of pretty workout gear that I’m assuming is overpriced. Standard. Next, you get to the check-in desk and get a pair of cycling shoes and a water bottle. Not necessarily standard. A lot of studios charge extra for shoe rentals, despite having bikes that require you to clip in! The fact that Peloton’s shoes are included in the class fee, along with a water bottle, is definitely to be applauded. 

You then walk through their lounge area which is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s got the perfect vibe, with couches, chairs and tables to relax at before or after your class.  They have a counter that sells Jack’s Stir Brew coffee, cold-press juices and tons of different healthy snacks.

Next stop? The locker rooms. Again, so white and clean! And the lockers are all electronic so you don’t even need to bring your own lock with you. The locker rooms have a bunch of different creams and q-tips and other things that you would probably never need but they’re their- just in case.

And finally, the actual studio where you’re going to get your sweat on! It’s similar to many cycling studios with an awesome lighting system and all that jazz. As soon as I walked in, someone was there to help me set up my bike.
What makes Peloton unique are their bikes. They sell them, to have in your home. And if I were a much wealthier individual, I would totally buy one. Peloton STREAMS THEIR CLASSES LIVE to people who own their bikes. You could be in your living room in Idaho but feel like you’re in the Big Apple taking a class. Each bike also comes with a monitor that lets you log-in and track your ride- including resistance percentage, cadence and calories burned.

My favorite part? The leaderboard. I can’t help it. I’m super competitive. And you better believe I’m going to bust my ass if there’s a chance for me to move up that leaderboard! At the end you can also share your workout via Facebook. Heck yes, social media.

Peloton offers 4 different classes: 

Pure Peloton- The Peloton ride at its core. Perfectly balanced. Our signature ride, there for you whenever you crave a solid, sweaty, energizing Peloton ride. Expect to climb up hill, race downhill, work in and out of the saddle, strengthen and tone with weights, and get the most out of every minute.


Peloton Endurance: 60 minutes or more. Challenging hills. Dig deep and challenge yourself to a full 60 minutes or more of Peloton goodness. With a focus on metrics and a healthy dose of resistance, this class is guaranteed to make you push yourself to your limits—and enjoy the ride.


Peloton Power- High-energy. Speed + strength. Life begins out of the saddle. And that’s where you’ll spend the majority of this class. Speed is the name of the game with this fast-paced, heart-pumping workout—perfectly complemented with a side of strength and toning work. Intermediate to advanced.


Pelotone- Heavy on weights and resistance. Sculpt and tone while you ride. Complete your Peloton experience with a class dedicated entirely to sculpting your body into its best shape. Be prepared for weights and upper body movements, all carefully designed to strengthen and tone your entire body and leave you ready to conquer anything that comes your way. 


I took a Peloton Power class with instructor Jon Miller and it was pretty good! We did one song using hand weights, some pushups, and a lot of running out of the saddle (my favorite).

I’m in shape- but a lot of the time the cadence and resistance levels he was giving us to maintain were a little out of my league. It was frustrating to have to take it down a notch from what he was suggesting, but also made me want to push harder and continue going back for more classes to see if I could improve. He was motivational- calling me out a few times for sitting front and center- and also using some usernames from the leaderboard to cheer people on. He also continually gave verbal nods to the individuals riding along at home! 


(Seriously such a cute studio- this is part of the lounge!)

The leaderboard and competitive nature of this studio was definitely why I loved it so much- combined with the great value (taking into account the going rate of spin classes in NYC) and beautiful amenities. 

After each class, you get a free coffee or tea and piece of fruit from the lounge, too! I sat down with my apple, tea and free “pipcorn” sample and was perfectly content and BEYOND happy that I still have 2 free ride credits at Peloton! 


(Free snacks after class? Heck yes.)


Get your butt over there and into a saddle!

Update: Exciting news! Peloton is offering 40% off 5 ride packs! Use the code fb40 at checkout! $84 instead of $140! 

SoulCyclin' with Infatuation Nation

This morning, I took the plunge and attended my first SoulCycle class.

I’m not sure why it felt like a big deal, but it did.  I’ve been taking spin classes for over 2 years now, and everyone knows about SoulCycle. There are the SoulCycle faithfuls, who pour money into classes and apparel and talk about the “pack” mentality as if it’s a life-changing experience. There are SoulCycle wannabes, who wish they could afford the steep price tag for classes on a normal basis, but settle for taking a ride on a special occasion or far less frequently than they’d like. There are those in the fitness world who downright reject SoulCycle and its practices, citing poor form and more attention on a spectacle than actually getting in a quality workout. Then there are those that are intimidated by SoulCyle because of the fancy lingo and the “skinny bitches” (I hate that term) that pack SoulCycle studios across Manhattan. It’s kind of crazy how divisive SoulCylce can be in the fitness community. A quick Google search brings up articles with headlines like, “Joining the Cult of SoulCyle” and “I’d Rather Sell My Soul Than SoulCycle.” Then there is me. Who is still trying to decide where I belong on this spectrum.

So let me tell you about my experience.

I follow this amazing food blog online and on Instagram. They’re called The Infatuation and I trust them a whole heck of a lot when it comes to advice on restaurants in this fine city. When I went to Chelsea Market and had no internet, I was freaking out that I couldn’t look-up which taco they recommend at Los Taco No. 1 (thank god it eventually loaded and I got to experience the glory of the carne asada corn taco). 

(Thanks for the pro tip, Infatuation!)

Why do I trust them so much? I’m not sure. But it could have something to do with their writing style, which makes me laugh out loud when I read their reviews. I mean, they have literally written the line, “Calexico’s Lower East Side location is basically the grown up version of your favorite fast food joint, only here you can pollute your body with margaritas instead of Baja Blast.” They just make the most relatable references.  You know these guys are just like you. And you feel like you can depend on them.

So when they partnered with SoulCycle and announced that they would be offering free classes for their followers- I JUMPED for joy. The first time I tried registering, I got a sad email saying that all the bikes had been filled. But fortunately, they’re offering a bunch of different classes! And the second time I emailed them, success! I ran around the house my family was renting for vacation in excitement that no one quite understood. I’m going to get to try SoulCycle for FREE with other people who love food as much as me! 


(SUCCESS!)
I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 a.m. on Friday, walked the 2483902 miles (really .7) to the 6 train, rode the 6 train for a half hour to Bleecker Street, walked 234280 miles (really .9) to the West Village SoulCycle studio and walked up to the door.


(An early, but beautiful morning!)

You walk in and BAM lockers. I’m used to a gym where the locker area is completely separate, so that was a little weird. The two women working at the desk were like superheroes getting the huge lines of people checked-in quickly. They were somehow simultaneously helping like 7 people. I was told to find my name on the list and initial it, but I wasn’t on the list. My stomach sunk when I was told that I was on the waitlist. What?! I got a confirmation email, which is why I had traveled an hour before work to make the class! I needed my endorphins gosh darnit! The woman told me to hang tight and assured me I would get a bike. So I got my complimentary smartwater (hooray!) and shoes and put my stuff in their high-tech lockers (you program it yourself, so you don’t actually need to bring a big bulky lock with you).
As promised, they started calling people from the waitlist and told me to go downstairs to bike 10. I get down to the studio and someone’s on bike 10. Luckily, one of the great staff ran upstairs and came back and told me to take 18. Then, she helped me get set up on my bike. Yes, I’ve taken many many spin classes but when it’s a new type of bike I like to have them help me out. That, and this is only my second time clipping in with spin shoes, and I’m pretty terrible at it.

I didn’t love the seats on the SoulCycle bikes, but throughout the ride they got more bearable. My handlebars felt pretty low, but SoulCycle really focuses on your core, and the lower the handlebars, the more of a core workout you’ll get. So that was OK with me- because abs.
The actual studio was a lot like most studios- dark with lots of bikes. There were three candles lit at the front of the room. Some inspiring quotes on the wall. Standard. 


(Eh, not sure about this stuff)



Our instructor (I can’t believe I forgot to make a mental note of her name) was energetic but not completely over the top like I’ve heard some SoulCycle instructors can be.

Things I liked:
-Although I realize there is some debate on its effect on form- I do like spin classes that feature sections on arms, abs, etc. In this class, our instructor had us do pushups, tricep pushups, oblique turns, crunches, and a song using the small 2 lb. weights stored in the back of each bike. We did some bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, etc.

-I am a fan of the famous SoulCycle “tap it back” where you go from third position, to tapping your butt back onto the saddle, back to third. Kind of like jumps. It got me into the music and engaged my core. And again- abs. I want them.

-The lighting in the room is awesome. Much like Cyc’s studio- the light system is attached to the instructor’s little DJ station and the different settings can really have an effect on how you feel during each song.

-You cannot deny that you feel pampered at this place. Upon checking in, I got a piece of gum. I went to shower afterwards- and the bathrooms are fully stocked with razors, shaving cream, moisturizer, face scrub, etc.

Things I didn’t like:
-The instructor barely focused on resistance at all. I feel like in all of these trendy spin studios, everyone is flopping around their saddle, pedaling 189234 miles per hour. I’m all for light resistance and sprints being used in a class- but I like it to feel intentional. 30 second interval sprints after a long 8 minute hill makes sense in my head. But I feel like the rides designed at SoulCycle and studios like it, don’t think in the same way that other instructors I’ve had think. I like the instructor to explain to me how the resistance should feel- whether they refer to how heavy it is based on a scale of 1-10 or through description.

-For some reason, I feel like I just cannot mimic the way that people in these types of classes spin to the music. They look like their dancing, while I look like I’m riding a bike. Who is right?

-Before the last song of the class, the instructor had some inspiring speech about getting through this hill together and coming out stronger. Then she blew out the candles and dimmed the lights. It felt a little forced to me. I’ve had a similar experience at Cyc, where they shut off all the lights for the last song- but I feel like the intention there was to just let yourself go, give it all you had for the last song. I liked that mindset a lot better. No offense, but no, these people around me really aren’t helping me push through this last stretch. MY quads are doin’ the damn work.

-There is only one shower in the whole place? Luckily, I skimped on stretching (I know, I really shouldn’t be doing that..) and was only second in line for the shower. But there were at least 5 girls waiting after me.

-Had I been paying for this, I would not have liked the $35 price tag.

-I’m still getting used to clipping in and it’s still not the most comfortable thing in the world for me.

Bottom Line:
I still don’t feel like I fully belong in classes like this, despite having the utmost confidence in my athleticism and over-all fitness. I kind of like that. It’s different, and it’s challenging, and I leave sweaty. SoulCycle really highlights the reason I fell in love with spin classes in the first place- the dark room with the loud music, losing myself in endorphin-fueled cardio. The addition of weighted songs and crunches is overall a big plus for me. That being said, I am not completely head over heels for SoulCycle in the way that most people are. I can take it or leave it, and be just as content at a New York Sports Club spin class that focuses on form and hills and interval training. Yes, the lights and the sound system and the fancy bathrooms are nice every once in a while at studios like SoulCyle. But I will continue to go only when I have a chance to go for free or as some sort of special.

Next, I really would love to try Flywheel because I feel like the monitoring system is going to get me HOOKED.

In the meantime, back to Tuesday morning rides with Victoria at NYSC :)


(NYSC works for me!)

Nike Training Club

A friend inviting me to go to the Nike store for Nike Training Club gave me the extra push to get my butt there for the first time.  I had heard about it through social media, and was pretty excited because a) it’s a boot camp type class, which I love b) it’s outdoors and on a ROOF and c) it’s completely free!


I got to the Nike store and the front was set up with a bag check and you could even opt to take the class in a pair of Nike’s to try them out! Which I did, of course.


As it got closer to the time class was supposed to start, they took us up in the elevator to the roof.

Then, the waiting began.  6:30 came and went and it didn’t seem like things were about to start anytime soon.  Punctuality and schedules are kind of important in my book, so this didn’t sit well with me. 

Eventually, the instructor, arrived, looking like a perfect, Nike model. We spread out to warm up and I started to realize just how crowded this rooftop had gotten.  75 people? We pretty much did not have sufficient space for the jumping jacks we were supposed to be doing.

After the warm up, she split us into groups. Which took forever. She then tried explaining all the stations to 75 people.  Which took forever. And was highly unsuccessful. I probably knew what she said to do at only about half the stations. After a lot of standing around and being confused, it was time to start.

I took the class awhile ago, so I’m going to do my best to remember the stations. We stayed doing each one for about a minute or two before rotating.
  • There was a little ramp on the side of the roof, which we lunged up and side stepped down. Good in theory, but it was super cramped with people going up and down at the same time.
  • Jump squats. Ouch. Got my heart rate up, got my legs burning, got lots of reps in = successful station.
  • Step ups on a bench. Our group decided to do a little leg lift action at the top of the step up for an extra challenge.  Thumbs up crew.
  • Incline pushups against the bench. Again, felt the burn!
  • Partner chest press weird things that I was highly incapable of doing but I’m pretty sure were the reason I was super sore the next day, so I guess they were alright?
  •  Speed skater jumps – I’m a fan
  • Russian twists – also a fan.

Then we took a break and by a break I mean it was time for a challenge- first partners to 20 burpees – pushup, high five each other, pushup, high five each other, jump up. Killer. We kept high fiving the wrong hands. We settled on regular burpees because we’re cheaters.
Then we went through the stations again with some modifications- backward lunges, decline pushups, sit ups, etc. The final challenge was 100 mountain climbers and then we took a sweaty group picture and were done!

Had NTC not been so crowded and a slightly better organized, I would certainly be there every week.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded fitness fanatics and it’s a well-designed circuit workout, if you’re able to do it continuously without having to stop all the time to listen for directions or wait for 75 people to get themselves situated.




November Project- JUST SHOW UP.

Perhaps one of my favorite things in this world is FREE FITNESS.  Whether it’s my running group, the Nike Training Club, at home workouts or a free trial at a gym- I am all about proving that you can be in shape at not spend thousands of dollars! And lucky for me, NYC is just BURSTING with free fitness groups.  I swear, I discover a new one every day.

So it’s kind of amazing that it has taken me this long to #JustShowUp for November Project, which meets every Wednesday morning at 6:28 a.m. at Gracie Mansion (I am a fan of their punctuality). I can literally roll out of bed at 6:15, jog over, and be enveloped in a million sweaty hugs from this crazy awesome fitness family.



The first time I came to #WakeUpTheSun with November Project, it was a little intimidating. I’m not the world’s biggest hugger, and meeting new people isn’t my strength. But everyone was SO friendly, and I definitely have found that fitness-freaks like me have a special bond.

The first morning I went was “PR Day” where we basically ran “mansions” (laps around Gracie Mansion) and saw how long it took us to finish a certain number of them.
Everyone has shirts (#GrassrootsGear) and everyone is enthusiastic and motivating and badass. We start each morning jumping up and down and screaming “Fuck yeah!” I’m not even kidding. We are called a tribe. And our leaders? So inspiring- not to mention fucking hysterical. 

And I got to meet Ali, whose blog I have been following for a while now, and who works at my most favorite place- JackRabbit! The next morning I showed up, my friend Salim from JackRabbit was there! The fitness community in New York City is kind of crazy that way. November Project even has a special vocabulary and traditions and I’m all about that spirit-y stuff. I was hooked from the start!

(Look, I have lots of new friends!)
Every Wednesday, they announce the location for Friday’s workout- and I’ll admit, I’ve been lazy and only made it to one- on the Fourthof July! We met at Grand Army Plaza decked out in our patriotic workout gear and did a bunch of fun stuff like suicide relays and leaping over people planking.

Wednesday’s workouts are usually running-centered, with loops around the park alternating with different exercises like burpees (ugh), pushups, planks, tricep dips, lunges, etc. Not to sound like a snob, but one of my favorite parts about November Project is that these guys are no joke. The workout is hard, and you will be pushed! But it's also a great social atmosphere, and you laugh and smile while you're getting your butt kicked.

And did I mention there’s a photographer who stealthily captures you looking badass? Yes.  There is. And I’m vain, and I love checking Facebook every Wednesday afternoon to see if there’s a shot of me.


I’m pumped because tomorrow, we’re meeting at Randall’s Island and I’m finally going to have my own #GrassRootsGear. If you read up on November Project, it’s a really amazing story, and thinking about it always gets me pumped to set my alarm early. These people are SO dedicated- sometimes running over 8 miles just to GET to the workout. And November Project is in 17 different cities already!


Thank you to my friend Tina for getting me involved in this awesome group. Everyone reading this- we want YOU to join us! Just show up!
(Ayyy)




What the Brick?

I went for my first brick workout on Saturday, and it was pretty awesome! But I gotta admit, I didn’t know much about them, so if you’re scratching your head thinking “What the heck is a brick workout?” don’t feel like a silly goose. Keep reading!

“Brick” workouts are generally used by triathletes and is the term used to refer to a workout that “stacks” two different forms of exercise, one after the other, with little to no break in between.  These help triathletes prepare their bodies for the transitioning between running, biking and swimming.  Usually, brick workouts focus on the biking and running portions- and are therefore great for non-triathletes as well thanks to the new popularity of indoor cycling studios! Brick workouts are a great way to switch up your routine, increase your calorie burn, challenge your body, and keep things interesting!

I also found that they’re great at sparking, “Maybe I want to do a triathalon” thoughts…but that could just be me.

Saturday morning I woke up nice and early and my friend and I journeyed down to the David Barton gym at Astor Place (it’s beautiful, even though they ruined my Alumni Weekend last year- long story, which I will recount at the end of this post for those interested because it’s pretty entertaining). Inside David Barton is a new spin studio- Cyc. Cyc had generously partnered up with JackRabbit to let us in on a FREE class for the cycling portion of our brick workout.  Score!

First we did some rolling, cause that’s just the way we roll.  And also because our legs hate us a lot of times.

Next, it was into the studio for a major sweat sesh with “cycologist” Devon Kincaid. Cyc’s studio is big, dark, and awesome.  The bikes are only useable if you’re wearing cycling shoes, so when you ride at Cyc, you’re sure to feel LEGIT.

Cyc is one of those spin studios that isn’t just going to have you climb some hills, do some jumps and sprints and call it a day.  Cyc’s classes are of the “Your arms will burn just as much as your legs by the time you leave here” variety.  During Saturday’s class, we did 5 weighted songs, including ones that focused on biceps, shoulders, triceps and abs. 

I’m still torn on how I feel about these types of spin classes.  As a general rule of thumb, I’m all onboard.  I love the variety, the burn and of course the added calories I’m torching.  But there’s still part of me that likes my “boring” in comparison spin classes at NYSC that are a little more traditional.

That being said, Cyc is such a great experience- between the spinning, the coaching, the weights, and the AMAZING LIGHTING (not to mention great playlists)- I totally wish I could afford to take a class every day (single rides are $25 with packages starting at $120 for 5 rides- they also have student rates for anyone 23 or under or anyone with a valid student ID, so check that out fo sho!).

At the end of a heart-pumping 45 minute ride, it was time to snap a picture and head to the streets for the JackRabbit led running portion of the brick workout!

JackRabbits @ Cyc!

We took a lovely 3 mile run, stretched, high-fived, and were treated to delicious OatWorks smoothies!

All in all, a wonderful, wonderful Saturday morning! (Followed by a wonderful afternoon experiencing my first Phatty Beet slider from Chickpea and Olive at Smorgasburg!)

I definitely recommend trying out a brick workout! I also give two thumbs up to Cyc, JackRabbit and OatWorks….all amazing companies!


*The story about how David Barton ruined my Alumni Weekend- One day, I went to David Barton for a free trial membership (because I am a serial gym free trial-er).  When I signed up, they asked for my ID along with all my paperwork. I had a great workout. I instagrammed their beautiful décor. I sat through their spiel. I prayed that one day I would be able to afford a membership at a gym like this. I went home, I packed, I went to Connecticut for Alumni Weekend.  I went to buy alcohol to adequately pre-game. I didn’t have my ID.  For the LIFE of me, I couldn’t figure out where my ID could possibly be.  I wasn’t missing anything else from my wallet! How was I going to go to Aunchies with the rest of the alumni for a night of drunken dancing? I had my parents send pictures of every form of ID I could think of but when I got to the door of Aunchies, the bouncer wasn’t having it.  He called for the owner, “Mrs. Aunchie”- the biggest, meanest, scariest owner in the world.  She wasn’t having it either- but luckily, she also wasn’t having the person trying to cut the line by hoping over the fence.  As she turned to yell, I raced through the door, and spent the entire night hiding from her (which got a little tricky when I was next in line for the bathroom and she was coming out of the stall…).  About a week later, after I was back in the city, it suddenly dawned on me, out of nowhere, that I had given the David Barton front desk person my ID when I signed up for my free trial! I called, and sure enough, it was there! Didn’t they think I might need that?! They had all of my information from the forms I had filled out! Grrrr. \End. 

BURN Class at NYSC With Will Jackson

Twice now, I’ve used my lunch hour to go to a class at NYSC (don't get me started on my love of NYSC). I’m not a huge fan of the midday workout- I would much rather get up and get it done in the morning, and if that’s not possible, I’ll settle for end of day as a way to transition into “me” time. But William Jackson’s 12:15 “Burn” class was so great the first time I went that it might become a regular part of my routine! I almost want to keep my lips zipped, since the class is already packed, but I’m going to write a review anyway because if you can take classes with this instructor at some point, you really should- he’s great.

I can usually tell whether or not I’m going to get a good workout from a class as soon as I see what the set-up is.  When I walked into Burn I saw that each person needed a step with risers, a barbell with between 10-20 pounds worth of plates on each side, a mat, and an assortment of different dumbbells.  (Is the phrase “assortment of different” repetitive?) I was totally on board with this!

When Will walked into the class he wasted no time in telling everyone to put away their cellphones and not to touch them…for the next 45 minutes we were here to WORK. When people walked in after 12:15, he legit had them get down and do pushups! He's no joke about not wanting people to waste his time! 

The class is a great mix between cardio and strength training- my heart rate stayed up the entire time thanks to toe touches, speed skaters, runners and mountain climbers on the step combined with jumping jacks, burpees and single count squats (the barbell was used for squats and lunges).  Will touched on all the main muscle groups for strength training with a squat/curl/press sequence, row/tricep kickbacks, ab work on the mat, pushups and other stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Throughout the class Will has you count down to the end of each exercise- and if you aren’t as enthusiastic or loud as he wants…you’ll keep counting down until he’s satisfied!
 
This isn’t the most killer class I’ve been to, as I’ve left boot camp classes literally drenched in sweat and panting, but it’s definitely an enjoyable challenge and Will is a great instructor.  He isn’t afraid to call out people in the class who aren’t giving it their all.  When I stopped using the barbell and switched to dumbbells for my squat and press, he said, “Don’t feel like using the barbell?” as he passed me. Oops, busted!

The music was great, and worked good for keeping your pace based on the rhythm (BPM perfection makes me happy!)


Apparently, Will Jackson also has his own project- WRKNYC.  They do outdoor (and indoor) training classes that I really want to check out! He’s super motivational and doesn’t take any shit, and clearly knows what he’s doing!  He’s also super upbeat and happy (even while he’s yelling at you!) I’m definitely going to be checking out the WRK community and you should too! 

Les Mills BODYPUMP Review at New York Sports Club

I've been writing a lot about food because I a) eat a lot of food and b) think a lot about food.  But another thing I love a lot is exercise! Yay endorphins! Last night, I took my first Les Mills BODYPUMP class, which is a barbell-based weight class that focuses on high reps.  I walked in not really knowing what to expect- it’s a fairly new offering at New York Sports Clubs. 

What I Liked

1) It focuses on each major muscle group individually- going through legs (squats), chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs again (lunges), and abs.  For each muscle, you go through 3 “tracks” with 304 different exercises and a high number of reps.

2) The instructor was great at her quest, counting and explaining what weight you should have on your barbell based on your warm-up weight and how new you were to class.  So for instance, she wouldn’t say- “Do shoulders with 5 pound plates on your bar.”  Instead, she would say, “Go up 2.5 to 5 pounds from your warm up weight for shoulders.”

What I Didn't Like

1) I didn’t really sweat.  I wish there was some type of cardio element worked into the tracks to get my heart rate up.

2)It’s hard for me to choose a weight for the barbell and stick with it for the full 3 tracks per muscle.

I like that with dumbbells I can easily switch between 5s and 10s based on how I’m feeling.

That being said- I can see how the barbell method can add to the challenge if you choose a challenging weight because then you’re stuck with it.

Unfortunately, I think I was a little wimpy last night!

I could have pushed myself more.

3) I’m not sure I’m sold on the fact that high reps/light weight > heavy weight/lower reps.

I think I need to do some research.

Any reading suggestions?

4) The ab section was super lame.

Afterwards, I felt like I needed some cardio so I did this routine:

HIIT Cardio

(Love me some burpees...not)

I got my sweat on and naturally snapped a selfie when I spotted some arm definition in the mirror! (No shame). 

Girls Who Lift

(Hey arms!)

I'm glad I pushed myself to do the extra cardio at the end, because after the gym I headed to V-Note Vegan Bistro for dinner! You can read my review here!