UPDATED JUN 10, 2020
When it comes to working out, New York City delivers. Whether you’re into boxing, yoga, strength training, cycling, or barre — the sweat sessions at these local gyms and studios are hands-down the best.
What happens when strength training meets treadmill intervals? Apparently, the best workout in the world. With sprints, hill climbs, and self-propeller mode, running on a treadmill has never been so tough (or “fun”, as they say). But if you’re not churning your legs on the treadmill, you can expect to hit one muscle group, and hit it hard. Barry’s focuses on a different muscle group every day of the week to ensure your body has a perfectly balanced workout. And with multiple locations in the city, Barry’s continues to be considered one of the best studios to tone muscle and burn calories.
The Dogpound is Tribeca’s buzzy studio for personal training and celeb sightings. And you’ll feel it the second you walk in the door — the energy resembles the backstage of a concert or opening night of a new restaurant. It might take you a little while to integrate into the scene (there's also a capped membership), but once you’re in, you’re in. And after that, expect to spend at least an hour after class hanging with the team and taking photos for the ’gram. As for the workout? It depends on your goals because every session is tailored to the individual. But expect some high-intensity intervals, lots of mountain climbers, and a little bit of boxing skill work.
Is it even a question that SoulCycle is still among the best fitness experiences in the world? Arguably the torch-bearer for modern wellness, SoulCycle is as much a cycling studio as it is a lifestyle. A favorite among celebrities and busy New Yorkers alike, Soul's unrivaled instructors, absolutely FIRE playlists, and almost spiritual mind-body connection make these 45-minute classes like church to its loyal following. Don't believe the hype? Just try it; you'll be tapping it back and doing hair flips with the best of them.
With fog machines and black lights, this crazy fitness disco studio isn’t for the weak of heart. With locations in SoHo and Union Square, this seriously challenging sweat spot integrates trampolines, stepmills, TRX bands, and tires for a HIIT workout that’s incredibly intense. Oh, and did we mention there’s a live DJ? Here, the workouts are basically a labyrinth of playground activities and are re-written each and every day — which means you’ll never experience the same class twice. The only thing you need is your glow-in-the-dark sports bra or shoelaces, an hour of free time, and a desire to play hard.
If you’re warming up for class and the yoga studio you’re at starts playing Drake, chances are you’re about to experience a “seriously lit” class at Y7. With multiple locations across the city, Y7 is all about deepening the mind by connecting carefully choreographed sequences with music that ranges from The Weeknd to Stevie Wonder. Y7’s classes focus on intentional movement, so you can expect to leave each class feeling restored and transformed from the inside out. Plus, the instructors aims to make yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of fitness level and yoga background, offering modifications and adjustments to athletes as needed. All the studio asks for in return is that you keep your mind open and your dope-ass vibes flowing.
CITYROW opened its doors in 2014, and since then, has continued making waves as NYC’s most popular rowing studio. In their signature rowing class, expect to get in some sweat-dripping cardio, strength training, and rowing drill work… all while listening to some booty-shaking jams in dimmed light. Head to their Union Square or Upper East Side outposts for a workout that’s as fun as it is easy on your joints. New to rowing? Don’t sweat it — they’ll teach you everything you need to know. Just be prepared for a post-row arm-pump; it’s inevitable.
Whether you’re an ex-college tracklete, looking to run your best 5k, or simply trying to switch up your routine, this club should be your next stop. As New York’s first treadmill training studio, MHRC’s classes are designed to help you increase your speed and endurance, all while protecting your body and preventing injury. The calorie-torching and muscle-sculpting benefits? We’ll call those happy side effects. Fitt Tip: their NoMad location has a recovery room with high-tech compression sleeves. Our advice? Save MHRC for your end-of-the-week sweat so you can boost recovery after work.
Throwing jabs and hooks is all the rage nowadays, but Rumble isn’t your run-of-the-mill kickboxing studio. Instead, class-goers switch between rounds of bag-punching, strength-training circuits with weights, and a bench. Using teardrop-shaped water-filled bags instead of the heavy, sand-filled ones that you’re used to seeing, Rumble is all about keeping your knuckles safe and the impact low. The studio is all about replacing the intimidating with the cool: cushioned benches for hanging out line the entrance, swanky locker rooms are equipped with selfie-approved lighting, and you’ll never have to worry about getting punched in the face (that’s a win in itself).
Tone House may take the cake for the hardest class in the Empire State, which means if you’re sick of going from class to class without seeing results, make your way to their studio in NoMad. During their hour-long class, you’ll throw your chest to the ground from the get-go, move your feet crazy-quick and, after plyometric-packed circle drills, move into relays that feel like an endless succession of push-ups, burpees, and sprints — all at a race speed. The gym’s owner is a former pro football player, so it’s no surprise the floor is covered in astroturf. But don’t worry — while the class is intense, it’s not competitive; participants cheer each other on, trainers are supportive, and the general vibe is super motivational.
Known for throwing down with some crazy HIIT workouts, the Fhitting Room quickly became a city fave in the Upper East Side before launching in the UWS and Flatiron. FHIX (functional high-intensity mix) workouts combine five essential fitness building blocks (think walking, stretching, bending, lifting, and climbing stairs) with strength circuits and interval training to help prepare for everyday life, not events. With a contagious go get ’em culture and awesome energy, the upscale boutique fitness studio offers personal attention within a group exercise format to keep you motivated and your heart rate high.
Developed as a hybrid of Pilates, cardio, and strength training, SLT is a dynamic workout that could humble even the most fervent Pilates disciples. With over 15 locations in the NYC area, the studio—which is literally an acronym for 'strengthen, lengthen, and tone'—aims to achieve just that with every 50-minute workout aboard the Megaformer. Small movements, constant resistance, slow-twitch muscle activation — let's just say your core will be torched and if the workout is leg-heavy, you'll walk out of the studio like a baby deer on ice. Fitt Tip: if you've never used a Megaformer, SLT recommends arriving 15 minutes early to get acquainted.
What kinds of classes does this high-end Midtown joint offer? With 11 different class types, NEOU offers more classes than any other facility in NYC. Currently, they offer HIIT-style bootcamp, a centering yoga/meditation, boxing + kickboxing, dance, core, fusion, strength, recovery + stretching, endurance, Pilates, barre, and toning + sculpting. And don’t think they’ll lock you out or show you the door after your sweat session. After class, pop by their cafe/smoothie bar for a low-sugar, high-protein acai bowl or smoothie.
Shadowbox’s approach is to take the basic tenets of modern boxing and apply them to fun 45-minute group workouts. The group boxing studio itself is an enclosed, soundproofed room filled with 40 numbered heavy bags, and each bag has an attachment to hold your towel, water, and gloves. In some kind of mood? This studio is about emotionless workouts, but Shadowbox requires passion: thumping music, dark lighting, and high-energy plyometrics. After your sweat sesh, hit up the front of the studio for a juice or cup of tea.
If you've ever taken class at any of the Equinox health clubs across the city and wondered, blissfully, "how do they come up with this stuff?" — look no further. Nolita's PROJECT by Equinox is a "creative space for fitness rebels", an incubator for emerging fitness concepts from budding fitness superstars. It's like having multiple studios under one roof when you can take HIIT, dance, strength, Pilates, yoga, and more on different days. Our current favorites: JABS, a boxing/dance/HIIT fusion, and Body by SJ, a strength-building party targeting abs, ass, and arms.
WODing in Murray Hill, Solace is the city’s high-style, luxury home (seriously, there are succulents) for CrossFit lingo, snatches, and soreness commiserating. Solace offers high-tech floors, locker rooms that top most Manhattan bathrooms, and non-CrossFit classes, too. With enough square feet to accommodate special gymnastics seminars, yoga classes from Y7 Studio, high-intensity “Body” workouts, and even Olympic lifting-only sessions, Solace is the perfect studio for athletes who like a little bit everything with a whole lot of style (and intensity).
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