I work in fitness, and I love it so much, that sampling the city’s hottest boutique classes has become a hobby.
And, different from other bloggers out there who write about taking classes, I am actually certified in group fitness/yoga/personal training, and have been teaching and training for over 15 years. I know what works, what doesn’t, what’s dangerous, and what’s a gimmick.
Ratings- “Boost”: what was great and different/”Sweat”: how tough of a workout/”Safety”: what I don’t love/ “Fun Factor”: was it as much fun as a night out?
1=lowest 10=highest rating (60= perfect 10s)
Orange Theory Fitness (Tested in Tampa, Florida. Just opened in NYC!) (TOTAL= 56 out of 60: tied with my best score ever of adult gymnastics at Chelsea Piers!)
The Look: 9 – Shiny and bright! You walk into en energetic orange-lighted lobby where the friendly staff gives you an overview and fits you with a heart monitor under your shirt. The workout room is a row of treadmills, then a row of rowers, then a zone filled with TRX equipment, BOSUs, bands, free-weights and other gym toys. You’ll work as a group from one end of the room to the other three times, all the while seeing your heart rate monitor results on the TV screens, so you compete against yourself and your sweaty neighbors. (I may be slightly biased on the look being a former Syracuse Orangemen Cheerleader… but you just can’t feel lazy looking at the color Orange!)
The Boost Factor: 10 – I had no idea that in my daily workouts, even though I was going faster than most people at the gym on the treadmill, that I was probably working the easiest. I visited with my cousin who walks and plays tennis, but doesn’t do a lot more cardio than that, and as she was running at a speed of 5mph on the treadmill, I was at 7mph. However, her heart rate monitor showed she was working much harder than I was, so she was actually beating me on the TV monitors, and I was getting “encouraged” by the instructor/drill sergeant. I ended up having to get the treadmill up to a speed of 9.5mph to match or beat the effort my cousin and others were putting into their workouts. On the rowing machines, something I don’t normally do because of an old back injury, I was more on par with the others, but no winning because my weekly cardio workouts were making my heart rate stay low. The verdict is, these classes force you past your plateau so that even when you are in good shape, you need to excel each day. The heart rate monitor doesn’t lie and you’ll be forced into a really tough training zone no matter how in shape you are. If you’re like me and love to be pushed, as well as work well with more of a drill sergeant than a gentle motivator as a trainer, you’ll love it. What’s more… they’ve been doing this for a few years in markets smaller than NYC, so the metrics, measurement and competition lead the way, in my view, to other awesome measurement-based workouts like Flywheel.
The Sweat Factor: 10 – I had never even tried to go above an 8 on the treadmill, so 9.5 sprint intervals? Enough said. You’ll get cardio and strength training in one hour-long session and either love it, or not have time to focus on the hard effort long enough to complain. The strength portion uses tough, multitasking and innovative moves to boot.
The Safety Factor: 9 – Good warm up, cool down, explanation, instructor involvement and stretch.
Sore Factor: 9 – You’ll feel it the next day, even if you work out most days of the week.
Fun Factor: 9 – If you’re a gym rat, you’ll love how this pushes your body, past what you would do yourself. Even if you don’t think that’s fun, you can’t complain about the results.
Fitness – fit it in! Nikki