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.
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).
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 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!
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.
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!
*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
Cost - $$$
(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$)
I attended class at The PE Club for free in exchange for writing this review. All opinions are my own.