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The Best Places to Sweat in NYC
By Alexis Carpinello | Publish on 04/22/2019 00:00

CYCLING

WINNER: FLYWHEEL Upper West Side, Lincoln Square, Lenox Hill, Sutton Place, Koreatown, Flatiron, Chelsea, Noho, Tribeca, Williamsburg



For both the beginner and the OCD exerciser, the smart panel display on Flywheel’s bikes make it easier to follow along than any other cycling class I’ve taken.   The instructor calls out a specific range of numbers to which you adjust your speed and bike’s resistance, taking the guesswork out of cycling and holding riders accountable.  That being said – it’s not for the faint of heart.  Flywheel focuses on resistance just as much – if not more – than speed.  There’s a two minute arms section of the class with weighted bars - a much-wished-for reprieve from an intense workout.  I recommend Flywheel to everyone and bring no one – there isn’t a single person who needs to learn how much sweat can come out of my body.  The plus side – you’ll leave feeling like an Olympian.

RUNNER-UP: SOULCYCLEFlatiron, Brooklyn Heights, Bryant Park, Chelsea, Midtown, Lenox Hill, Upper East Side, Financial District, Grand Central, NOHO, NOMAD, Park Slope, SoHo, Tribecca, Union Square, Hudson River Park, Upper West Side (West 77th St West 92nd St), West Village, Williamsburg

Their website says it best, “class feels a lot like a dance party.”  And it’s true – this cycling class puts considerably more focus on speed and rhythm than torq, but the high speed is plenty challenging and the rhythm of the ride comes more naturally than one would think.  By getting the whole room to move both upper and lower body in stride, Soul Cycle has developed a cult following stronger than Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin to the Oldies’.”  Soul instructors encourage your petal to drop at the same time as the beat and share inspirational phrases by candlelight.  You forget that you’re working out and feel as though you’ve entered some club-ashram hybrid.  It’s pretty dope. 

HONORABLE MENTION:  SWERVE FITNESSMidtown, Flatiron, Upper East Side 



It’s all about teamwork at Swerve – riders are separated into three teams during the 45-minute rhythm ride.  Like Flywheel, Swerve’s smart bikes show you how hard you’re pushing, and your work goes towards your team’s overall score.  Swerve emphasizes the team spirit because “when you work for your team, you work harder.” No one is saying you tried every flavor of macaron at Ladurée, but just in case, your crew is there to help you burn it off.

BOXING

WINNER: SHADOWBOX – DUMBO, Flatiron



You won’t find fights here – this gym is exclusively for sweat.  Shadowbox has quickly become one of the city’s best boxing gyms because it focuses on the fitness aspect of the sport.  They also offer a one-on-one 45 minute introductory personal training session to learn the basics before your first class.  If you like the personalized environment, you can keep going with personal training sessions.  Head on over to their website and check out their instructor bios if you want to be impressed.  The sculpted unicorns are proof that Shadowbox can whip you into shape in no time, and it doesn’t hurt that you’ll sweat out a week’s worth of angst while you’re at it.

RUNNER-UP: RUMBLE – Flatiron/Chelsea, NOHO, Upper East Side



Rumble’s statement is pretty straightforward: “10 rounds, 2 fists, 0 experience necessary.”  It’s for anyone and everyone – even its founders are an eclectic bunch.  Four professionals from the hospitality, service, and fitness industries came together to create the boxing and strength training studio.  Classes are done to epic playlists on a “nightclub quality sound system” and punches are thrown against an innovative water-filled training bag.  Rumble’s website is also extremely informative to newcomers about what to expect in your first class –class breakdowns are complete with GIFs (Grumpy Cat not featured, sadly).  It’s a high-voltage 45-minute class that’s already cultivated a devoted following.  Frequenters include celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Kevin Hart, and a slew of other people whose bodies I’d like to inhabit.

HONORABLE MENTION: GOTHAM GYMWest Village, Bridgehampton
Gigi Hadid’s personal trainer Rob Piela is the mastermind behind this boxing powerhouse.  Both private and class training is available for a good old-fashioned boxing sweat sesh.  They place extra emphasis on individual attention even within a group format – so it’s no surprise that classes here fill up fast.  This is a favorite grind spot of models and celebrities, so Piela’s technique is obviously paying off.  The class description boasts that it will leave you “dripping in sweat and begging for more.” Which is pretty much how I feel after a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, so there’s hope for me yet.

YOGA

WINNER: COREPOWER YOGABryant Park, Flatiron, Tribeca, Williamsburg, Upper West Side 



CorePower Yoga takes your standard yoga practice and kicks it up a notch for a little more oomph.  And let’s be honest – we all need the oomph.  Heated classrooms warm your muscles as instructors incorporate free weights into standard Vinyasa flow practice with a little more power behind it - or a lot more power, depending on the class .  It helps that instructors here are about as cheery as they come, with emphatic smiles that distract you from the pain radiating through your glutes.  CorePower Yoga also offers classes at several times throughout the day – making it practical for people with unconventional work hours and world-class snooze-button-hitters.

RUNNER-UP:  YOGAVIDANOHO, Union Square, Tribeca, DUMBO
This studio offers both heated and standard Vinyasa and Beginner’s Basics classes, but if I’m gonna work out at 7 a.m. in the dead of winter - you better bring the heat.  The room for this class rests at a comfortable 80-90 degrees – the kind that gets your muscles loose, but isn’t so oppressively hot that you can’t get into the flow.  What really sets Yoga Vida apart is that each instructor is free to embrace their own style, so you’ve got a plethora of class choices depending on your mood.   The option for consistency is there, however, if you stick with one instructor.    Never taken a class before?  Teacher bios are available online to get a glimpse of what they’re all about and their class difficulty level.  

HONORABLE MENTION: YOGA UNION - Koreatown
What makes Yoga union different is its specialized classes specifically created to cater to your physiological needs.  Need help with your posture?  There’s a class for that.  There’s also pre-natal classes, classes focused on scoliosis and general back care, herniation and disc issues, gentle chair yoga, as well as your standard flow class.  If you don’t want to be the aimless outsider trying to tailor the class to your back issues – this studio is for you.

NOT YOUR ORDINARY WORKOUT

WINNER: TONEHOUSENOMAD, UPPER EAST SIDE



Tonehouse is about “unleashing the inner athlete in everyone,” – and they’re not kidding.  Think ropes, resistance bands, rowing machines, and power sleds.  Business Insider called it “the hardest workout in New York City,” and the bootcamp-style class takes nothing less than your best effort.  The thoughts you walk in with of how many bowls of kettle corn await you are shortly replaced with prayers of making it out alive.  Instructors push you to the limit like you’re on a world-class team, which is how you get the guaranteed 600-1000 calorie burn in between team chants.  When they claim to be “the first-ever extreme, athletic-based group fitness studio,” what they mean is you’ll be feeling the workout in your muscles for a week.

RUNNER UP: BOX AND FLOWNOHO



“For women who aren’t afraid to get messy and men who aren’t ashamed to flow.” Combining two of New Yorkers’ favorite exercise methods, box and flow classes take you back and forth through rigorous boxing training and then restorative yoga exercises.  They also offer private training with this unique hybrid method.  It’s 50 minutes of exertion and fluidity for a complete approach to your workout.

HONORABLE MENTION: OM FACTORYUnion Square
Om starts off by saying they’re “a different kind of yoga studio,” that’s probably because this studio also offers some high flying aerial silk instruction.  Head to this innovative spot to take aeriel, acro, or circus classes along with Vinyasa yoga.  Or if you want to see me tangled in a piece of cloth.