I know I’ve been totally inconsistent for the last several (7) months. As I joked on Facebook, I’m basically the Frank Ocean of blogging. Please forgive me. Now that work is calm-ish, I can get back to a semi-regular writing schedule.
Switching jobs caused me to lose my cheap membership at New York Health & Racquet Club; RIP. Since I need classes as opposed to just doing my own thing in a gym, I joined Physique 57. After my 3 months at Physique, I was looking for something else mainly because of the way my bank account is set up. In comes ClassPass. If you didn’t know, ClassPass is a third party service that charges you a monthly flat fee but gives you access to hundreds of gyms and studios. While prices are location based, you can use your membership in another city. I have the NYC unlimited plan. It costs $200/month and allows you to visit each studio up to 3 times. Keep reading for a rundown of the classes and studios I visited during my first month.
8/18 Hardcore Rap flow w/Chloe at ConBody-LES (conbody.com). The studio has an awkward layout with the shower & restroom on other side of workout space. The lockers are small, think high school. The mats were warped which is very distracting but the instructor, Chloe was so good it didn’t bother me. I loved Chloe and the small class size. I would go again but I’d make sure to go dressed since the layout is so weird. I’ve been wanting to get into yoga but my main complaint is that it’s too slow and too quiet. Pharelle’s soothing voice somehow makes yoga more tolerable. Now I’m only looking for yoga with hip hop music. I just wanna vinyasa like a real G.
8/19, 8/20, 9/8 Signature level FiDi Physique 57 (Physique57.com). Physique never disappoints. This is a high end studio and you can tell from the minute you walk in. The receptionists are friendly and helpful and the instructors know their stuff in addition to looking the part. Think Knicks dancers. The locker room is always clean and well stocked with anything you need (deodorant, blow dryer, tampons, hair bands, lotion, flat iron, hair brushes, etc). They even have socks that you can borrow if you forgot yours and don’t want to pay $14 for the studio branded socks. I love that they’re part of ClassPass. If you’ve never taken a barre class you’ll probably want to start with the beginner level in order to learn the fundamentals. If you’re like me, the natural sunlight in the studios is a bonus.
- 8/21, 8/26 & 9/14 Inferno Hot Pilates at YO-BK Williamsburg (http://www.yo-bk.com/). Before this class I had never done any type of heated workout. The room is 95 degrees which adds a whole other level of difficulty. You will sweat; a lot but the class is not impossible. As they say, “once you think you’re gonna die, it’s over.” The class applies the high intensity principles to pilates. So, you’ll do short bursts at high intensity with even shorter rest between sets. The instructors are great and the soundtrack is top 40 which helps me zone out and stop asking myself why I have masochistic tendencies that would cause me to take this class multiple times. Bring your own water, mat & towel unless you want to pay. The studio is dimly lit so you don’t have to worry about being self-conscious. Pro tips: arrive 15 minutes early to get the best spot and double the amount of water you normally need.
- 8/22 Multilates at DavidBarton Limelight (http://www.davidbartongym.com/). I love the instructor, Tatiana’s stereotypically Russian swag. The gym itself rests on its past as a club. It’s very dark and it looks like the target population is gay men in great shape. The women’s locker room is consistent with any other high end gym. The booming music and low light seems a bit weird but Tatiana is such a great instructor that I’m willing to get over it. Lifting weights in the dark seems dangerous but hey, I guess that’s why waivers were invented. Sidenote: the description of the class says you get an organic facial afterwards. I received no such service.
- 8/23 Barre Tribeca (http://www.barretribeca.com/). This studio is tiny. It has no locker room, only two small partitioned areas for changing that resemble a boutique fitting room. You have to walk through the studio to get to the reception desk. There is no waiting area. The class was disturbed a few times by people who were a bit early for the next class. This class would be great for someone who is brand new to barre. I broke a sweat only because I used heavier (8lbs) weights than everyone else. In terms of difficulty it is harder than Fluidity but easier than Physique 57 and Pure Barre. Overall, there’s nothing too remarkable about Barre Tribeca.
- 8/25 Xtend Pilates Fusion. Xtend Barre Brooklyn Heights (https://www.xtendbarre.com/). This studio is nice, the receptionist was friendly. The actual workout space is very clean. The room has a real floor, not carpet like Physique and Pure Barre. It does not have a real locker room just 2-3 boutique style changing rooms and cubbies for belongings. I loved the nice long warm up and it is the same one that happens in their traditional barre class. The class does use lots of props which can be good or bad depending on what your preferences are. It did seem like many people were not too serious about working out given the fact there was more than one person using 1lb weights. I didn’t even know 1lb weights were a thing before I took this class but I digress.
- 8/27 FlexBarre at Flex Studios Union Square. (http://www.flexstudios.com/) The instructor was great; tough but motiviating. The class was small enough for her to give corrections. (I hate when instructors don’t give corrections). There was no traditional locker room so it would be best to go dressed. I wouldn’t recommend this class for someone with wrist issues. We spent a lot of time doing push ups & planks. I do wish we spent more time at the barre but the sweat was so good, I would return.
- 8/27 Barre 3 West Village (http://barre3.com/). This was the first barre class taken on a floor which added resistance that I didn’t anticipate. Physique 57, Bar Method and Pure Barre have carpeted studios. The studio has a lot of natural light which is nice. The lockers are very small and they have the same small dressing rooms like Xtend Barre and Barre Tribeca so I would recommend going already dressed. The lockers are very small so I would not recommend bringing large valuable items. Since the class is on a floor, they don’t require socks which can be a problem if you have a thing about bare feet. The time at the barre was shorter than I expected but it was a decent workout overall.
- 8/29 Mixed level Bar Method-SoHo (http://barmethod.com/). I was really excited to try Bar Method. That excitement waned as soon as I entered. The class was jam packed to the point where there was not enough room for everyone to do floor exercises or stretches without bumping into someone. They use 2 “demonstrators” at the front of the room which is helpful in theory but it was so crowded that it was hard to see them at many points. The severe overcrowding made it hard to get props in time. Aside from the overcrowding, the instructor seemed rigid. She did do a good job of giving modifications and some layers. The time spent at the barre was surprisingly short given the fact that they only offer barre classes. The locker room was pretty average given the studio’s price point. I was in a bad mood the day I went which makes me want to give it another try but I will certainly try to figure out “off peak” hours because after work was ridiculous.
- 8/30 Pure Barre– Tribeca (http://purebarre.com/) I was really excited to try Pure Barre. When I first learned about barre as a workout, Pure Barre was the place that was constantly named. The studio is very nice. The locker room is clean and comfortable. I don’t remember seeing a shower but I also didn’t look since I was there after work. My initial excitement waned almost immediately. They don’t have weights above 5lbs. I’m trying to get arms like my friend Tracy so I usually go for weights that are at least 8lbs. As a preference, I like workouts that give me a good sweat and force me to push myself in a healthy way. Pure Barre is good for beginners but the instructor didn’t do as well as she should have with explanations. I’d probably return if I went to a harder class first or if I wasn’t feeling 100%.
9/1 Reformer/Tower I Uptown Pilates – West Village (http://www.uptownpilates.com/the-village/) Though I’ve been doing mat pilates on a regular basis for over a year now, I had never tried the reformer. This was my first reformer class. I’ve seen too many Final Destination movies and was convinced that something would snap off the machine and kill me. Reformer classes are great because they have to be small due to the limited numbers of machines. The instructor was very helpful which I needed since I didn’t know any of the terms or how to set up the machines. It was a new experience but I didn’t feel like I got the same deep core workout that I do with a mat class from a good instructor. That said, I still want to try Wundabar and FlexPilates. Their machines are slightly different than traditional reformers so I’m curious about what type of workouts they can offer.
9/2 & 9/9 Mat Pilates East River Pilates Studio-South Williamsburg (EastRiverPilates.com). I’m glad ERP is on ClassPass. Earlier this year I had a membership with them when they were at their old location. Since then then they’ve moved a few blocks away to a bigger (and better) studio. They now have Manduka mats and cubbies to store belongings. That’s a long cry from the coat rack and bench they had at their old location. They even have a shower but I would not recommend relying on it if you’re in a rush since there is only one. Mat pilates here is always good and they do offer reformer classes. The studio now has great light since it’s street level and the instructors are great at explaining poses and correcting form.
- 9/2 Xtend Barre Since I liked their pilates class, I figured I should try their barre class too. The warm up is the same. The workout is pretty good but I was also shocked at how little time was spent at the barre. The instructors do use the French ballet names for the moves and the layout of the barres and mirrors gave me memories of that time I took dance for like 2 months in 5th grade. Overall Xtend Barre is a decent workout that’s good for beginners but won’t kill you.
9/2 & 9/10 Core Fusion Barre Exhale – Meatpacking (Gansevoort) https://www.exhalespa.com/locations/new-york-1/meatpacking. I was excited to try Exhale after a recommendation from a colleague. The studio is in the Gansevoort which makes you feel fancy if you’re into that sort of thing. Since Exhale is a spa, the locker room is very nice. The workout varied wildly between the 2 instructors. The first instructor was a really nice older guy named Tyler. I don’t remember the second girl’s name but she was a beast; in a good way. The class was kind of full but the studio is so big no one was crashing into each other (*cough cough Bar Method). My only wish for the studio is, mirrors. How am I supposed to look at my form will simultaneously judging others without mirrors?
9/6 Chisel Crunch Gym – John Street (FiDi). This was my first time visiting Crunch. I get why people would be members. The locker room was clean, well stocked with Bliss Products and even had a TV and a loveseat. The class was a typical sculpting class. For some reason the fact that the weights were multicolored appealed to me on a subconscious level. The instructor was good but I wish she would’ve gone around to give form corrections.
- 9/10 BFX Barre BFX Studio – Chelsea (https://bfxstudio.com/). I had never heard of BFX but I’m glad I gave it a try. The studio is beautiful. The locker room does resemble other high end studios. They even have a small work-space if you arrive early or need to hop on your laptop after a class. This is NYC, we always need to hop on our laptops, right? Since I had never heard of BFX my expectations were low after the disappointment of Pure Barre. I was pleasantly surprised! We spent about ⅓ of our time at the barre which I like, given that it’s a barre class. They had weights that are heavy enough to actually offer some sculpting if that’s what you’re looking for. The instructor also offered corrections and layers. I’ll definitely be going back to BFX.
9/11 Pilates Mat Open Level Makara Studio-Bushwick (http://makarastudio.com/) If I had to pick, I’d say I’m closer to a hipster than a hippie. Makara is for hippies, I guess. Actually, I’m not sure. It’s just not for people like me. People who like nice waiting areas, locker rooms and wipes to clean mats that have been used by other people. I should’ve known there was something up when I saw that they offer a donation based meditation class. Maybe if they charged for all classes, they could get some amenities. I wish I got the instructor’s name because she was good. However, the studio was so far outside my comfort zone I don’t think I could return.
- 9/11& 9/16 WeFlowHard Vinyasa Yoga Y7 Studio – Williamsburg (http://www.y7-studio.com/) We already discussed my issues with yoga. I went to Y7 on the recommendation of my good girlfriend A-Wad. It’s basically hot vinyasa with a hip hop soundtrack. I love that the studio is candlelit, that helps increase the MYOB factor. The studio does use essential oils so you don’t have to worry about odors. If you plan on going make sure you take your own towels, mat and water unless you want to pay for them at the studio. The weekend class was jam packed and made it very hard to enjoy. I went again at 7AM on a Friday morning and it was way better. The only complaint I have is the soundtrack. There are so many great hip hop songs. “If I had a d*ck, I’d pull it out and piss on ‘em” doesn’t really say “namaste” to me. But then again, I’m still new to yoga.
9/13 SYNCYOGA [The Basics] SYNCSTUDIO -Williamsburg (http://www.syncstudio.net/brooklyn/) The instructor was great. I loved this class because it was the first time where the poses were thoroughly explained. There were only 5 of us in the class so the instructor was able to give a ton of corrections. Sync also uses aromatherapy in the the studio so there is no odor. The studio does not charge for mats or towels which is a bonus. I plan on returning for their cardio class.
- 9/17 Cardio & Condition East River Pilates Studio. This class was intense. Wear your good sports bra; there is jumping involved. You’ll definitely get a good sweat. ERP doesn’t have a locker room; just cubbies for your belongings and a rack for shoes. I’d recommend going already dressed since you may have to wait to get into 1 of the 2 bathrooms. ERP remains on my list of favorite studios. The studio is bright and clean and all the instructors are very knowledgeable and friendly.
I’m now on my second month. I have some favorites picked and some that I’m still trying to check out. While $200 may seem like a lot for fitness, during my first month I took 27 classes making the price per class $7.40! For some context, the average price of a single class at most NYC studios is $20-35.
- Book early. Classes can be reserved up to 7 days in advance. For the best classes, be sure to reserve them right away. If the class is full keep checking back. Spots will open if people cancel.
- Use the “add to calendar” feature. After booking a class, just hit “add to calendar” and all the class information will be added to your calendar.
- Use the app. The app allows you to read reviews for the classes. The class reviews are sorted by instructor. They also have reviews of the studio.
- Cancel early. There is a $15 late (under 12 hours) cancellation fee. If you just don’t show up, the fee is $20. Cancelling more than 12 hours before the class keeps you golden Pony Boy.
Click here: http://class.ps/ei566 to join ClassPass. What are you favorite gyms/studios? Have you ever tried ClassPass? Comment below and let me know!