13 shades of fitness in NYC

This is a review based on my year-end experiments of 13 popular fitness kingdoms in NYC. Here’s the review structure:

  1. Normal rate of membership (but keep in mind that trials may cost you much less)
  2. A brief description of the fitness experience
  3. Subjective rating (over 5) in terms of:
  • Strength: how strong your muscles should be, how much calories you may burn
  • Stretch: how flexible your body should be
  • Fun: how interesting the class is
  • Look and feel: facilities, interior design & restroom/changing room decor

This also includes some saving tips of Groupon deals, trial Classpass, trial classes, and dirt-cheap membership.

SAVING TIP 1: Watch out for Groupon deals. I was able to get 10 classes of kickboxing at $50 and 4 classes of crossfit at $39

Ilovekickboxing $$$

1. ilovekickboxing.jpg
Image: ilovekickboxing

$149/month

45 mins of kickboxing – the first class includes personal trainers.

The class starts with 15-min warm up of running, pushup, cardio, followed by kickboxing, and finishes with a body stretch. The coaches are very fun and have a lot of energy. However, the lessons become boring after a while.

Note: Make sure to check out several locations before choosing one. Some centers may smell due to small venue sizes. The Chelsea center is good.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Crossfit NYC $$$$

2.crossfit nyc
Image: Crossfit NYC

$199-$299/month

Highly intensive workout with varied functional movements as seen in gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, jump robe, etc.

I took fundamental class and still felt like I was dead after the workout session. An example of the workout is non-stop 10-min of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squads. The coach in fundamental class is super supportive and will provide you good preparation to avoid injuries and improve workout impact.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

SAVING TIP 2: Utilize Classpass trial offer – $19 for 6 or 7 classes in 2 weeks. Using this, I have tried Anti-gravity Lab, Core Pilate, Body & Pole, Pure Barre, Rowhouse, Aquastudio, Adam Sanford Fitness at only $19. If you can afford 10-class plan at $135/month, sticking with Classpass membership after trial is a good idea. It also worths considering the Classpass x Blink Fitness package of 5 classes/month and unlimited Blink gyms at $90/month.

Anti-gravity Lab $$$$

3.antigravity yoga
Image: Antigravity Lab

$22/class = $220/10 classes/month

Yoga workout with hanging silk hammock.

You are going to be really upside down and feel the blood flowing into your head, so it can be a bit intimidating at first. The coach will give you a short massage at the end of the session, which is super relaxing.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Core Pilate NYC $$$$

4.core pilate nyc
Image: Core Pilate

$288/month

The yoga that emphasizes on body’s core, with the use of pilate equipment such as machine, table, chair, and ball, which helps improve postures and relax muscles.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Body & Pole $$$$

5. Bodyandpole nyc.png
Image: Body and Pole

$199-$475/month

Pole dancing!

It is not easy as it looks. You may end up with lots of bruises, burns and scrapes. You may be judged due to the sensual nature of the dance, but who cares! You will feel loving your body more.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 4/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Pure Barre $$$$

6. pure barre.jpg
Image: Pure Barre

$295/month

Body workout based on classic ballet positions (it was developed by a ballerina).

The coach has a really sweet voice and she makes the counts sound like a sweet song throughout the exercise. Pure Barre Chelsea has a super stylish and comfortable change room.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Look and feel: 5/5

Rowhouse $$$$

7. row house
Image: Rowhouse NYC

$275/month

Full body, high intensity sweat session with rowing machine

You will receive a workout report via email after the each session. The workout room has dark light and loud music, which somehow pushes a lot of energy. Towels are provided.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Look and feel: 5/5

Aqua Studio $$$$

8. aquacycling NYTimes
Image: AquaStudio

$250-$350/month

Cycling under water!

Water pressure speeds up the blood circulation and gives you a muscle massage. Lower body gets exercises by cycling. I felt this lower body workout was much easier than Soulcycle (indoor land cycling), because water really supported my movement. Upper body also gets exercises by practicing side strokes, which is something you may not be able to practice at Soulcycle. The changing room is super nice with available hair dryer, towels, and lotion.

Note: Be careful and keep yourself warm if you go to class during cold winter. It may make you sick.

  • Strength: 4/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Look and feel: 5/5

 

Adam Sanford Fitness $$

9. adam sanford fitness.jpeg
Image: Adam Sanford Fitness

$108/10 group classes

Dance fitness designed by a former Broadway performer.

You with need a good sense of beats and movements in order to follow smoothly, because there is no dedicated beginner class. In my case, I joined a class where people had already knew the moves, so it took sometime for me to follow through. Very upbeat atmosphere with great energy. Be prepared to be exhausted. The coach is fun and motivating. However, the venue is quite small and in low quality.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Look and feel: 2/5

SAVING TIP 3:

There are $0 trial classes in many centers (Crunch, Blink)– give them a try!

And there are dirt-cheap fitness centers with good quality and reputation, such as Blink Fitness. If you are wondering how Blink can offer such low-cost memberships, have a look at this Wall Street Journal article.

 

Crunch’s Chisel It $$

10. crunch chisel
Image: Crunch Gym

$93-$120/month. Discounted promotion: $70/month + $5 enrollment. $1760/20 personal training sessions = $88/session

Crunch is a gym with group fitness classes, among which is Chisel It.

They call it a “party for muscles”. You will feel your arms, butt and thighs burning the next day. You will use light and heavy weights alternatively with the movements in order to shape, tone, sculpt your body. Crunch has a very good quality change room with provided towels and sauna.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Look and feel: 5/5

Blink Fitness $

11.Blink fitness WSJ.jpg
Image: Blink Fitness (Wall Street Journal article)

$25/month + $49 maintenance fee charged on 3rd day of 3rd month. $27-$35/ personal training session

Top choice of affordable gym membership!

Some comment from WSJ: “The chain hired a high-end design firm to create an atmosphere that feels “premium,” says Blink President Todd Magazine. The color palette is sophisticated: slate gray with splashes of color. The carefully curated music pulses at a gentle 120 beats a minute—energizing rather than frantic.”

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Brooklyn boulders $$$$

12. brooklyn boulders.jpg
Image: Brooklyn Boulders

$49/ Intro to climbing of 45 mins + day pass

Fun sports that will require your strength to move forward with intermediate and advanced level. If you are not so strong yet, you can still enjoy the fundamental climb. For those who want to master, the coach offers Climb Like a Girl program, a 6-week training program, bookended by 2 outdoor trips to the ‘Gunks. You’ll get a personalized training plan, train with other 12-15 other female climbers, and put those lessons to the test outdoors. The cost for the 6-week program will be around $600 though.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Look and feel: 4/5

Soulcycle $$$$

13. soulcycle bloomberg.jpeg
Image: Souldcycle (Bloomberg article)

$20/ session, 45 mins

Indoor cycling with loud music and dark light (the feel is somehow similar to Rowhouse while the movements are somehow like Aquacycling). If you do not work out your lower body often, you may feel your legs burning for the next whole week.

  • Strength: 5/5
  • Stretch: 3/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Look and feel: 5/5

How can you tell chocolate ice-cream is your favorite if you have never tried other flavors? Diverse trials are motivating and educational experience before going with a commitment (which is not less important). After all, I am ready for a commitment with Blink Fitness. My body feels happy with that. So does my pocket.

 

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