If you could sum up NYC in one word, it would probably be ‘intense’. The fast pace of life here can be absolutely exhausting, to the extent where sometimes it feels like just existing here is a workout.
Of course, life isn’t that easy. The city takes its toll on your mind and your body so ensuring you squeeze in the odd sweat session is pretty imperative. Before Christmas, I got sucked in by the Soul Cycle hype. For about a month, I was shelling out $32 per class to join the cult. It was worth it. I hadn’t had a chance to do any exercise in the first few weeks I got here (bar one incident where I tried to go for a run in my local park but accidentally partook in an athletics race, more on that another time.) so I knew I needed to, quite literally, get back in the saddle.
Soul Cycle studios are super sleek, welcoming and full of women who could pass for fitness models. I rocked in in my Penneys gym gear and entered the darkened room (think shopping in Abercrombie) and found my bike. I’d done spin classes before, but this was on another level.
Between the thumping house music, the interval sprints on the bike, the arm weight workout in the middle and the encouraging anecdotes from the instructor, it was a cross between a rave and a HIIT session, with a cathartic mental cleansing thrown in for good measure. I came out of the place raw red in the face while the pros strutted out unphased in their Lululemons. I couldn’t wait to go back.
However, handing over that type of cash per class wasn’t really sustainable when I wanted to go four or five times a week. I heard from a colleague about ClassPass, the city slicker’s secret for staying in shape. For a set fee per month (around $130) you have access to gyms and boutique fitness studios all over the five boroughs.
I’ve tried hundreds of classes at this rate, and here is my guide to the ones worth the sweat.
Trooper MetCon @ Trooper Fitness, Midtown East
RH Full Body 45 @ Row House, Chelsea
Les Mills Body Combat @ 24 Hour Fitness, multiple locations
Barres and Belles @ Pilates on Fifth, Midtown
Kick-Hopping @ Power Studios, Midtown East
BX @ Brick, Chelsea or Midtown
45 Metrics @ Peloton, Chelsea
Core Fusion Barre @ Exhale, Flatiron
Endurance @ Uplift, Flatiron
Boxing @ Shadow Box, Flatiron
Fly 45 @ Flywheel, Multiple locations
Yoga Retreat @ Crunch Gym, Multiple locations
Boxing @ Church Street Boxing Gym, Tribeca
Cross Train Challenge @ Crunch Gym, Multiple locations
Tone & Power @ Epic Hybrid Training, Midtown East
Bad Ass Boxing & Abs @ Power Studios, Midtown East
Barry’s Bootcamp @ Barry’s, Upper East Side
Still to try: Deep House Yoga, The Phitting Room, and ultimately The Tone House, dubbed the hardest workout in the Big Apple.