My Favorite NYC Workout Studios & at Home Options
I’ve spoken about this in a post before, but It wasn’t until I graduated college in 2013 that I really had to start thinking about working out. Growing up I always played sports and went on to play lacrosse in college, so I never really had much say in my choice of exercising. It was either practice, games, conditioning, or team lifts; that was pretty much it. When I graduated and moved to NYC, I was so completely overwhelmed by the options of boutique fitness classes available. As much as I wanted to try them all, I found comfort in a gym doing things on my own between the treadmill and the free weights section. Hell, it was what I knew best! Plus, it should be mentioned that my work schedule in the beginning severely limited the amount of classes offered in the morning since it was an ungodly hour (5:00 or 5:30AM classes were the only that worked). After a few years of working and getting a bit run-down by the treadmill, no pun intended, I decided it was time to venture into the boutique fitness world. I strapped on my big girl leggings and began exploring. Although there were plenty I walked out of early and decided I did not enjoy, for the most part I really thrived off the packed room and an attentive instructor.
When I quit my job in the beginning of 2018, I decided to also bid farewell to my gym membership. With that, it has been a bit more of a struggle to maintain a “consistent” routine, but hell, that seems to be the trend of all aspects of life when working for yourself. I’ve explored plenty of studios and found ones that I truly love and not only enjoy visiting but feel warrant the expense. That being said, it can get pricey, especially in NYC. I’ve recently been working on finding the balance of boutique classes and at-home workout options. This not only provides some schedule flexibility, but also saves some money in the long run.
Below I’ve broken down all of my favorite NYC studios, depending on the workout, and the few at-home services I use. Also, since there are hundreds of studios that I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting and my community is a very in-the-know crew, I included a handful of the most popular studios you all enjoy.
Time to get our sweat on!
New York City Studio Workouts
Studios that I visit often and recommend:
New York Pilates: three locations in NYC and truly the most gorgeous and inviting décor of any studio I’ve ever been to. Has four main types of classes: burnout (more intense), arms/abs/ass (you get the idea), sculpt & restore (a slower class – perfect for a Sunday activity), and core cult jump (personally, I’m not a big jumping board fan so this is not my favorite). I personally really love and appreciate their focus on breathwork.
Nofar Method: I cannot speak to other instructors at this studio, but Nofar’s class is unlike any other pilates I have ever taken. She pushes the boundaries with moves I’ve never done in any other studio.
BK Pilates: three locations in NYC across Manhattan & Brooklyn (I prefer the Chelsea location) offering classic Pilates
Avenue A Pilates: two locations in NYC (East & West Village) offering classic Pilates
Uptown Pilates: four locations in NYC (I visit the West Village one) offering small classic Pilates
SLT: multiple locations around NYC and other cities offering the lagree method. I go back and forth on my emotions towards this style. Currently, it is not my favorite, but it sure will make you sweat.
Y7: multiple locations around NYC (I visit the meatpacking one) and other cities. A dark, candle-lit, heated room where you practice yoga in a way unlike any other class. There are a total of three flows and you do each one three times: the first, slowly through instruction, the second to “one breath one movement” pace, and the third, with music blaring and on your own. Hip hop Wednesdays are especially fun here! Since it is in the dark and a bit less focused on instructor correction, I recommend having a yoga practice before attending
Laughing Lotus: one location in NYC (also in NOLA & San Fran) and the true “yogi” vibes. Very welcoming and community based and where I go to feel good. There is nothing quite like the high I feel after leaving Victor’s class (filled with loud music and a disco ball)
Corepower: multiple locations around NYC (I prefer Tribeca) and other cities. Hot yoga with two main methods: corepower flow (more focused on a yoga flow) and corepower sculpt (with light weights and less of your classic “yoga”)
Lyons Den: two locations in NYC featuring hot yoga
Yoga Vida: four locations within NYC (Manhattan & Brooklyn) offering a variety of yoga classes
Sculpt / Barre:
DanceBody: two locations in NYC (I prefer the Tribeca one) offering dance-inspired fitness. They offer the signature class (dance routine that builds on itself over a 3-month period), follow-along (perfect for dance cardio newbies), full-out (a step-up from Signature, which means for serious experts), and sculpt – my favorite (some dance throughout but also included sculpting exercises with bands & weights)
Barre3: In the West Village; a quicker moving barre class with some almost dance-like movements that act as cardio.
Cardio / HIIT / Boxing:
Switch Playground: two locations in NYC (I prefer the Soho one). A full body HIIT workout that is partner based (but fine to still go alone!) where you go through about 20 circuits, each one for only 2 minutes, with 2 exercises per circuit unless cardio based. It is in a dark room with a live DJ and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. The East Village location also offers classes in their downstairs floor that are smaller and without the DJ or dark lights.
Barry’s Bootcamp: multiple locations around NYC and other cities
Soulcycle: Many locations around the city & in others. I don’t necessarily love spinning (at all), but if I am joining someone or a group for a spin class, this would be my preferred type. It’s the mecca of boutique fitness and has really led the way of this movement.
Flywheel/Flybarre: offering both cycling classes in a “stadium”-like arena and barre classes that are a bit quicker than the ones you’re used to
Rumble: three locations in NYC (I prefer Chelsea) offering a class that is half floor strength work and half on the bag boxing
Gloveworx: one location in the WTC Oculus offering an extremely legitimate boxing experience unlike a lot of the other studios out there. These professional trainers care a lot about form and provide a much more individualized and focused lesson
At Home Workouts
To help build out my at home “gym” and encourage more exercising within my apartment, I have purchased the following items:
Programs that I use and enjoy:
Kayla Itsines via the Sweat app (formerly known as BBG): an app that walks you through the workouts with demonstration and timer for a total of $120 (yearly) or just under $20 per month. It is circuit based with two circuits, each including 4 workouts, that you go through a total of two times each. In total, the workout is about 30 minutes and works up a serious sweat.
Melissa Wood Health: just under $10 per month, focuses on at home program featuring yoga & Pilates moves with the goal of #longleanlines. Workouts are published every Monday morning and have 12 available at all times. The workouts vary from around 15-45 minutes.
Obe fitness: monthly subscription includes unlimited access to all live and on-demand classes that include a large variety of workouts
Peleton: I personally do not have the bike, but my parents do so I’ve used it quite often. As someone who does not love spinning, again, it’s not necessarily for me, but if you are a fan and have a tight work or parenting schedule, I cannot imagine anything better. My personal favorite instructor is Ally Love
Programs that I haven’t tried but come recommended: