It’s no secret that I love New York.
The constant bustle, the people working towards their goals, the plethora of amazing restaurants - it all leaves me feeling so inspired and ready to take on my own dreams.
One thing that I absolutely love about New York more than anything is the incredible availability of fitness classes.
Anything you feel like doing - they’ve got a class for that!
So whenever I go, I treat it as a little expedition to see what the newest thing to hit the streets are, and whether it’s worth going or just a hype.
Below is a list of some of the places I have tried and my thoughts about them, so that you can easily narrow down that huge list of the studios you’ve seen on Instagram and want to try to the ones actually worth going to. I will update as I try more.
If you have a place you think is worth being added to the list, then leave it in the comments and why it is your favourite space!
Y7 Studios; www.y7-studios.com
In their words: Sweat drippin’ beat bumpin’ candlelit yoga.
Traditional yoga's cooler-than-you little sister who you can’t help but love. With all black walls, and slogans such as “We Flow Hard”, “Sweat That Sh*t Out”, and “Don’t Worry Happy Baby” sprawled over both apparel and studio, you definitely feel some of the New York energy intermixed with the yoga zen.
Be forewarned though - Classes are tough. You’ll be guided through three different sequences three times through. The first time will be slower paced, second time the asanas are linked to each breath, and third time the music is turned up loud and you’re free to flow on your own. The teachers mix sanskrit with swear words as they guide you through each series, and are very knowledgeable in how to correct without putting hands on you.
A little bit of yoga knowledge is recommended (I personally think) before coming for the first time as classes are set in a dark and heated room and mats are set to face one another rather than the teacher, who doesn’t participate in the class, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Also if you’re after a more spiritual practise, this may not be the place for you.
However, what I really love about Y7 is the fact that you’re given free rein within a guided framework. Because the studios are dimly lit the inevitable comparison is forgotten and your focus is left within you which is the whole point of yoga. The overall feeling of the place is one of non-judgement and complete acceptance, regardless of where you are in your yoga journey, and while there is no meditation or chanting you’ll leave feeling a little more enlightened - and a whole lot sweatier!
In their words: “SLT IS A 50-MINUTE, MUSCLE-QUIVERING, HEART-PUMPING, TOTAL BODY WORKOUT.”
This is like Pilates, just turned up a notch. You will most definitely feel your abs the next day (and the day after that too)! SLT is set on a machine that is often referred to as “the reformer on steroids”. It’s a big black thing, and there’s about 12 in the studio. There are straps on either side of the frame, handles to hold on to, weights underneath and a moving, spring loaded platform in the middle. The instructor will go through what it all means before the class and happily help out during if you forget where to go.
The classes are focused on all those areas that you want to tone up a little bit more, as well as lots of stability work so that the little muscles come into play too. The beauty of working on the machine is that if you have injuries or find that something is a little too strong there are lots of ways to adapt each move so that you still get an effective workout.
My one issue with SLT I would say is that due to the heavy ab focus it is very easy to overwork the hip flexors in certain moves, especially when you’re first starting out. Also, there’s a lot of moves that are based off of planking, so make sure to stop the shoulders from doing all of the work for you. Otherwise it’s a very effective workout that I’m certain would give you results very quickly!
In their words: “This is an addictive dance party”.
The new kids on the block! Everyone is talking about 305 at the moment and with good reason - it’s super fun! Classes are cardio based and send your heart rate ticking up in time to the beats being dropped by the in house DJ. Be prepared to feel like you’re at a night club where everyone has decided to get into formation, and no one is giving you sass about your dancing - anyone is welcome here!
Half way through the class the instructor will tell you to get some gliders or other pieces of equipment and lure you into some toning moves while still making you feel like you’re a back up dancer in one of Rihanna’s music videos. The UV lights just add to the motivation to keep going.
While it’s hard to follow all of the choreography and (without the risk of sounding like a grandma) the music is sometimes a little to loud to hear what move the instructor is calling out, it’s still really fun, and I guarantee you won’t be the only person in the class turning to the left when you’re meant to go right.
It’s a great place to take your friends to, and with a weekend class special of having a +1 when you book your spot it makes it quite affordable too. If you don’t know anyone you will probably leave with having to got to know someone new as parts of the workout is partner based and the atmosphere is very friendly.
My one word of caution is to be careful if you have knee injuries as you most likely will not be focusing on your alignment throughout the class.
Otherwise enjoy your newfound addiction to your hearts content!
In their words: “10 rounds of fire…Rumble is here for the people, who put in work and want to have some fun in the process”
Boxing gone glam and high tech - the studio on the Upper East Side even has a blow bar in it for your post workout hair needs! This is probably one of my favourite new discoveries in New York and there really is nothing surprising about the success it has seen in the nearly two years it has been open.
Classes are based off of the cardio and weight lifting concept that Barry’s Bootcamp has made so successful (no surprise there as Noah Neiman, one of the founders, was also a head trainer at Barry’s for many years), the difference being that instead of running you’ll be punching your way to a raised heart beat. Like so many of the new classes popping up in NY, there’s a night club feel to the sessions, as the room is darkened with neon lights providing most of the light. There’s an instructor to guide you through the movements which will be a combination of six punches, each combo displayed in front of you on screens, should you forget. The weight lifting sequence is perfectly complemented to the boxing so you don’t overwork the same muscle group while reinforcing the ones opposite - no hunchback potential!
This is boxing without the intimidation - anyone can come here and enjoy throwing some punches and get a great workout in. I felt sore the next day without any overstraining of the shoulders which usually is the case after boxing classes.
Again knee injuries be careful as you will be pivoting a lot while throwing your punches.
In their words: “SoulCycle is way more than a workout, it's a sanctuary.”
The mecca of fitness in New York (or the US even) right now!
Soul is more than just a spinning class - It appeals to the spiritual side of those who do not like yoga and the cardio element to those who don’t like spinning.
Most classes are based on the first half hour being a mix between sprints and climbs, then an arm segment with weights while staying on your bike, finished off with a final push - all set to an incredible playlist that you’ll want to get from your instructor afterwards.
Like so many other classes, the rooms are dark aside from the spotlight on the instructor’s podium. There’s no stats shown on the bikes, so if you like to track your RPMs this is not the class for you. What you do get though is the opportunity to connect within yourself, as the instructors shares inspirational quotes and create an incredible sense of motivation that extends way beyond the spin studio. You’ll get the same kind of high as you do post yoga - just a whole lot more exhausted!
The classes are fast paced - even for the pro-spinners among my friends - so don’t feel like you’re the only one not keeping up with the pace set by the instructor. Remember to stick to the pace that feels like a challenge for you if it’s all too much. The studios themselves are starting to balk a little under the popularity of the classes so it’s mayhem in the mornings and late afternoons, and the rooms themselves stink of sweat which you probably won’t notice it after the first five minutes as you’ll be adding to it!
Also don’t forget to drink lots of water about an hour beforehand and do bring a water bottle, as well as your wallet - you’ll want all the gear!