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Of course, if you’ve had your fill of yoga and don’t fancy getting your Rocky on, New York has a wealth of incredible, kick-ass studios to knock you into shape the old-fashioned way. From ballet barres to SoulCycle, there’s simply no excuse not to be at the top of your game in New York, whatever your fitness preference.
Here are a few of our faves…
Created by professional ballerina and celebrity fitness guru Mary Helen Bowers, the Ballet Beautiful workout mixes the athleticism and grace of classical ballet with targeted exercises and stretches that sculpt a dancer’s toned, lean physique.
Mary Helen, who personally trained Natalie Portman for her Academy Award-winning role in Black Swan, is sought after by A-list celebrities, supermodels, Victoria’s Secret angels and thousands of other women around the world. So, she’s a lady in demand and Ballet Beautiful is a VERY popular workout among the women of New York. The first time you try it you might well think, ‘Pah! Walk in the park.’ but trust us, you could not be more wrong. This workout is insane. It hurts and it works. Think of a long, lean and superbly strong body – that’s what this workout gives you. We can’t rate it highly enough and we take this class whenever we’re in town and a couple of times a week back in London (you can live stream it online).
They have two studios: one on the Upper East Side and the other downtown in Soho. Classes are deliberately small to maximise results and there are also exclusive one-on-one and semi-private lessons available in studio.
modelFit brings sanctuary and escape from the hustle and bustle of one of Manhattan’s most iconic blocks. The signature modelFIT workouts incorporate a mix of pilates, yoga, movement, motion, balance, stability, functional training and more. The teachers incorporate various backgrounds in yoga, boxing, dance and Intrinsic Strength Training and fuse it with the modelFIT philosophy of mindful exercise. The focus is on slower movement and working smaller muscles, which yields results that lengthen, sculpt, tone and tighten the body.
This workout takes 45 minutes and gave us a super toned behind using some novel moves.
It’s quite different in style, leveraging founder Mr Gelband’s understanding of creating taut toned bodies fast. It’s worth a go – if it works for models, why not? The flagship studio is located at 212 Bowery, housed in a converted downtown Manhattan factory.
Known in New York as the original hip-hop yoga studio (we love going to candlelit classes at this place), at Y7 they like to do things differently. With three studios – Soho, Union Square and Flatiron – this is a power vinyasa flow in candlelight while listening to hip-hop. They want you to step outside the chaos and embrace the fire inside, flowing along to the latest beats. There are no mirrors (awesome) in the candle-lit studios. The darkness, the sounds and the heat really help transport you to a unique place. We do suggest taking your own mat and towel, though (always our recommendation in a hot yoga studio). It’s also worth noting that there are no showers and limited space in the waiting room or changing areas.
We’ll be honest, some people love it and some people don’t. We reckon if you like music and candlelight with your yoga, then it’s worth a go, just as long as you’re not expecting the standards of a boutique studio (it’s quite low key and has no frills).
SoulCycle (Crosby Street, Soho)
This is our favourite SoulCycle studio in New York. We have tried some of the others, but we like the whole set up and cosiness of this one. If you like big studios and more space, then try out one of the other studios Uptown. This studio has some fantastic instructors that take you to a whole new level and, because it’s so cosy, it feels more intimate and has a real sense of community and camaraderie.
SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen & Tone)
In a word: WOW. This workout will give you a seriously defined six-pack. Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone is like Pilates class on steroids, done on a calorie-torching Megaformer machine. It’s one of the most challenging — and most rewarding — 50-minute sessions you can find to tone up that tummy.
You’ll plank, lunge, twist and pulse. The class constantly provides you with intense exercises that help to make you stronger and leaner. The full body workout is done with the assistance and resistance of weighted springs, thus requiring constant engagement of the core…for 50 minutes straight. They’ve got five studios across Manhattan, so you’re never far from trying one out. They have an introductory class for newcomers, their signature one and a hardcore class for those that want to take it up a notch. NOT for the faint-hearted!
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