Photo courtesy of BollyX on Booyafitness.com
FlyWheel, a patented cycling regime that counts NFL players and Hollywood hotties like Sofia Vergara and Jessica Alba as fans, is deserving of its widespread, cultish appeal thanks to fun, yet serious, “dig deep” instructors and one-of-a-kind bikes, each outfitted with a “tech pack” to measure resistance, speed and power. Type-As — we’re looking at you, front row and center — have the option to compete and display numbers on a leader board that flashes your stats for all to see throughout the 45-minute session, during which you’ll pedal through a virtual journey comprising low-resistance flats and higher-resistance hill climbs spiced with sprints and out-of-the-saddle “tap-backs.” As for the rest of us, we can track calories torched, miles peddled and more, privately, on our computerized account or iPhone app.
My first Core Fusion barre class left my muscles sore for four days, so news that the brand’s hive mind devised a new class named Core Fusion Extreme was both thrilling and terrifying. Instead of pulses at the barre, we move through five power stations featuring dumbbells, gliders, TRX pulleys and more. We do pushups with dumbbell lifts, we soccer-tap, we squat-jump and bicep-curl, we pant and we sweat — oh, how we sweat! Never has a class left my T-shirt so drenched. Rarely have I felt prouder to make it through a workout. As I walk (slowly) away, I notice some lettering on the studio wall: “Sweat is a river that runs through the soul.” They’re not kidding.
Photo courtesy of Exhale Mind Body Spa
Having seen CrossFit Games competitions on TV, I know I’m in for a tough workout. After a demo and run-through of the workout of the day — or WOD — we embark on short but grueling intervals of barbell push-presses, box-jumping, medicine-ball tossing, kettle-bell swinging and more. I scale back where needed, choosing to step rather than jump on and off a 20-inch-high box and using the lightest medicine ball (which was still heavy!) when given a choice. The ambience here is decidedly hardcore, and there are as many guys here as girls — making this a great option if you and your fiancé enjoy working out à deux.
Barre-based classes have been sweeping the nation for the last several years, and with good reason: The combination of ￼yoga, Pilates and a soupçon of classic ballet moves like pliés mercilessly zero in on hips, thighs, derrière and abs. That Portland-based Barre3’s first New York City studio is located on a sunny corner in Greenwich Village is fitting. There’s a friendly, welcoming vibe that runs throughout this workout, including loads of positive feedback from the instructor. Expect isometric “holding” positions like lunges and planks coupled with small-range, high-rep moves and deep stretches. I live in fear of ab work, but the lower-back support via the inflatable Barre3 Core Ball makes quick and effective work of the crunches and twists that round out the class.
Photo courtesy of Barre3
There are so many obstacles to getting to the gym: it’s raining, it’s too early, I’m running late, it’s too much money and takes way too much time. Enter Booya Fitness, an online array of New York City boutique fitness and yoga classes at well-below-IRL cost. Founder and fitness enthusiast Prita Kumar curates a growing roster of challenging regimes, each session a doable 30 minutes or less. Workouts are conceived with the at-home exerciser in mind, meaning you need only a small amount of space and minimal (if any) equipment. Standout regimes include the killer drills from Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp’s Ariane Hundt (studded with jumping jacks and sumo squats) and the bouncy dance cardio workout from Shrink Session’s Erin Stutland.