NYC fitness hotspots: Where to train in the city
New York – giant pizza slices, sloppy burgers and a grotesque number of calories epitomise the city, or at least they used to. New York is moving away from unhealthy lifestyle habits, with the world of wellness surging in unexpected places. From boutique gyms, to master trainers, below are some of the latest hotspots tucked away in the city that are a must to sample, perhaps before the calorific burger as many classes require an empty stomach!
Tone House: For Unleashing Your Inner Athlete
Created and founded by former collegiate and professional athlete, Alonzo Wilson, Tone House provides the first ever extreme, athletic-based group fitness session aimed at unleashing the inner athlete in everyone. Sessions are team-based, competitive, fun, and supportive, guaranteeing optimal fitness results. Whether you’re an elite athlete, or just want to train like one, Tone House’s goal is to bring sports conditioning workouts to the mainstream and help individuals improve their mental and physical health to become better overall athletes and people.
This class really is for an athlete – I am no athlete and what felt like a mild asthma attack during the warm up confirmed this! At first, I must admit, I thought get me out of here this is too hard, however I persevered to save face, and thank goodness I did. Having been in New York for a few days, I was whooping and hollering like the locals – it was quite unlike any gym class in the UK – involvement was paramount, but most importantly, it was voluntary and infectious.
Beyond the workout, the studio is cool and chic, with its red lighting and ‘cold-tubs’ in the changing rooms, Tone House is a place you want to spend time. This is by far one of the hardest classes I have ever attended, but I am desperate to go back every time I am in New York.
Price: new students aka ‘rookies’ are offered 2 classes for $40
Soul Cycle: For the Spinning Elite
Co-founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice 10 years ago, a spinning studio was born in New York and became the beginning of boutique, high-energy spin classes that are far more than simply breaking a sweat, they are a religion of positivity and spirituality combined with fitness.
Today, over 16,000 riders take Soul Cycle classes every day to release stress, burn fat, tone muscle, find joy in movement, and change their bodies and lives. I was one of these cyclists, having hopped off the plane from London a couple of hours later I hopped straight onto the beautifully branded black and yellow Soul Cycle bike. Riders can burn up to 700 calories in one 45-minute session, each rider pushed by those enviable abs of the instructors, whilst being surrounded by 30 other riders enjoying the candlelit studios, creating the new era of clubbing, the healthy Friday night out. If you are anywhere in New York, you have to visit Soul Cycle, it is the perfect way to flush out a heavy night or to have a healthy ‘night in’ – either way a win-win situation.
Price: 1st ride $20; subsequent classes start from $34 per class
YG Studios: When Your Gym Classes Just Don’t Offer Excellence
YG Studios is a digital fitness platform connecting fitness enthusiasts with top instructors across a variety of workout styles from yoga and HIIT to dance cardio and barre.
On an evening when a dance troop was performing in the room next door, here we were, about 12 to 15 women practising vinyasa power yoga together in a slightly shabby room in Midtown. This, however, did not matter at all because for the first time in years, I felt that I was experiencing professional yoga practice in my week’s workouts. At many gyms today yoga classes are often cramped and poorly taught, but this was not the case at YG Studios with teacher, Sherman Morris. With over 20 years of experience practising yoga and 15 years teaching, Sherman offers a unique, distinct style of yoga by integrating work from other amazing teachers. He playfully weaves alignment with creative and smart sequencing. His classes are strong, sweaty and deeply nurturing, with great music and humour. He believes the power of the practice comes from the unique experience with which each student walks away.
With so many classes in New York that offer their own specialist niche, YG Studios have filled a void where you can tap into a variety of specialties knowing you are also getting expert instructors.
Price: $28 for one class; packages start from $99.
Barry’s Bootcamp: Where God-Like Bodies Are Made
Founded in LA nearly 20 years ago, Barry’s was conceived to make getting into the best shape of your life possible and fun! Barry’s Bootcamp is the original high-energy, calorie burning cardio and strength training interval workout that will transform your body—quickly! Over eighteen years ago, the brand innovated group fitness by creating an efficient, immersive and transformative hour long workout experience. Since then, over 40,000 members of the Barry’s community visit the studio each week and use the brand’s signature method to burn fat, tone muscle and push themselves to reach their physical and mental potential. Today Barry’s is credited as the “best workout in the world!”
Having done this work out a couple of times in London, I wanted to see what the original American version was like. For those who aren’t keen on the treadmill, the US version focuses more on the strength and floor sections. Expect the same rewarding and fulfilling workout, topped off with some of the best post workout smoothies on the market.
Price: from $34 per class
City Row: A Smarter Workout – Low Impact, High Intensity
I walked into this class clueless: was this the rowing equivalent of spinning? Was I to sit and row for 45 minutes? Yes and no: it is more than just rowing. The 50-minutes class alternates between machine work and weights. You get the kind of all-round training workout that a competitive rower would do. City Row provides a smarter workout which creates burn whilst protecting joints from possible injury. It’s also a full body workout; each stroke on the rowing machine works 84% of your muscles. By combining rowing with complementary sculpting exercises, City Row hits every part of your body for head-to-toe toning – you’ll feel the effects in muscles you didn’t know you had!
Location: UES & Union Square
Price: from $20 for your first class
SLT: The Triple Threat – Strengthen, Lengthen & Tone
This is far more than a hard reformer Pilates class. SLT is challenging and unlike any other workout. Expect to plank … a lot, lunge, twist and pulse, to create stronger and leaner bodies. This is definitely not an exercise class to be taken lightly, Pilates would see any man or woman sweat and quiver as they maintain perfect posture and intense toning. SLT’s workout is performed slowly to activate the slow-twitch muscle fibers, leading to the long, lean, toned results we are all seeking. Muscles are worked to fatigue, forcing them to grow work very hard and burn fat and, a real plus, you can burn up to 700 calories per class. Sign me up!
Price: from $20 for your first class
Mile High Run Club: The First Dedicated Studio for Running
A first in its field, but a studio that has been needed for decades, Mile High Run Club offers daily group treadmill classes and running focused strength training led by elite runners. Perfect for the cold winter months when running outside seems less desirable. The expertise of the trainers ensures that everyone trains like an athlete regardless of fitness level and your body is constantly challenged for the duration of the class.
I am not a runner; I ran a 10k last month but I would never describe myself as someone who can run and run without fatiguing. However, the sense of achievement is much like a spin session where you can’t quite believe you made it to the end of the class, and then it becomes irresistible and you can’t stop going. If this were a class in London, I would be a regular!
Location: NoHo & Nomad
Price: from $25 for your first class