Although I normally love running, a few weeks ago I started to get super bored with my runs. To mix things up a little, I decided to try a few different workout classes offered in NYC.
As a disclaimer: I don’t usually love workout classes. I really like to work out to my own music, on my own timeline, and with my own thoughts. That said, I am always down to try something new, and try to be as open as possible when it comes to workout classes. This probably makes me a tough critic, but that’s a good thing! You’ll know if I’m rating a class positively, then it must be a pretty good class.
As another disclaimer: this is definitely NOT a list of which class is the best workout, or which burns the most calories, or which class you should do. Not only am I not certified to give that specific kind of advice (I’m a dietitian, not a personal trainer!), but also, every person is different. Use this as a guide to give you more insight into different classes. Then, try the classes that sound fun or appeal to you.
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – the guide below has a brief description of the classes I’ve tried so far. Beyond what Instagram or the class website tells you, here’s my personal experience with them and perspective on them. I’ll keep updating this as I try new classes – and if there’s any specific class that you want to see on here, comment below!
305 is a 55-minute, dance-based workout class. It’s super high energy and really fun. The class takes place in a normal workout studio, but has a live DJ in class playing club music and with club lighting. I was super excited to try 305 because I love to dance. But, I’m also probably the most uncoordinated person like… ever. The beauty of this class is that you really don’t have to be a good dancer (or even coordinated!) to do it. Naturally, there were a ton of moves that I couldn’t get down right away, but I still had fun and was surprised at the crazy sweat I worked up doing it. The instructor also made it seem like the more you go, the more you start to get the moves down (I’m guessing they repeat themselves!).
The class I tried was the Cardio Abs class. We danced for about 20-25 minutes, then took a break to grab mats and do 5 minutes of ab exercises, then danced again for the rest of the 55 minute class. To be totally honest, while I appreciated the break between so much high energy movement, I also found it to be a little weird and inefficient. Grabbing mats and then putting them back for a short 5 minutes of abs seemed like of waste of time to me; I would’ve probably expected that to come at the end. But honestly, this is me being reallyyy nitpicky. All in all, it was a super fun class with great music and I really enjoyed it. If there was a location closer to me (hint hint), I have a feeling I’d be going at least once a week.
I’ve done Barry’s Bootcamp classes a decent amount of times over the past 5 years or so – most recently, a few months ago. I should mention that my husband, Jordan, is literally obsessed with Barry’s. He does the 5AM class 5 days a week (insane – I know). Because Jordan is so obsessed, I feel like I’m already a little biased towards Barry’s… but, then again, I’m not the one going to the 5AM every day... so, here’s my own opinion on it:
Barry’s is a high intensity, 55-minute, interval class. The class is split up between time on the treadmills (running, sprinting, and walking as needed) and time on the floor. The floor exercises depend on what day of class it is – abs, full body, butt & legs, etc. It’s a tough class, and you’ll definitely leave super sweaty and feeling accomplished. I like that when you first start going, you can make the class as easy as you need and modify as needed – with slower running on the treadmill and lighter weights. As you keep going to class, it’s easy to progress the class with you (with fasting running and heavier weights) so that you never feel bored. The only con: for me personally, as a huge germaphobe, sometimes the class format starts to get to me a little. Because you’re switching back and forth between treadmill and mat, you’re also sharing a mat with a super sweaty person in between. For most rational people, this is literally NBD, so we’ll barely even consider this a con. A lot of people tell me they're intimidated to try Barry's and my advice is: just try it. It's a hard class, but you can truly start it at any level you need.
This is a stock photo - it's not me or any class here!!
As a runner, I kept hearing that I would love Mile High Run Club – it’s a 45-minute, treadmill running-based class. I first tried the DASH 28 class, which is 28-minutes of interval running on the treadmill, followed by 15-minutes of kettlebell work. It actually reminded me of the format of Barry’s, but without the back and forth mat-sharing aspect, which I obviously loved. More recently, I’ve been doing the HIGH 45 class, which is a full 45-minutes of interval running.
In general, here’s the format: you’ll run for about 3-5 minutes (with intervals of fast/slow and uphill), then either walk or jog for a minute or so in between to catch your breath. This interval format allows you to really push yourself for those few minutes, knowing that you only have a few minutes of running. I love that you can truly go at your own speed and make the class your own. You’re told to run at *your own* level 2, or low level 3, or high level 3 etc. - there’s a list on each treadmill of recommended speed ranges within each level. So far, I really love MHRC classes. Especially as a runner, I like that it helps to switch up my workouts, while still letting me run. I’ve been taking the class once a week, and I definitely feel like it helps me enjoy and appreciate my solo runs more too. It’s a great class for runners (some of the classes I’ve taken have been to help with marathon training!) but I’d also definitely recommend it to anyone looking to start running - it's the perfect way to start. (By the way, if you’re totally not a treadmill person, MHRC also offers group outdoor runs!)
I feel like everyone already knows everything about SoulCycle… but here’s my own experience for ya. The first time I tried SoulCycle was probably about 7 years ago. Honestly, I don’t think at that time I appreciated the “soul” aspect of the class – where the instructor says encouraging and inspiring things that sound almost like you’re in a yoga class (I also rarely do yoga, so this analogy might be way off, but hopefully you get the reference). Since then, I’ve been back sporadically over the years, but most recently, a few weeks ago.
SoulCycle is definitely a fun class. It’s upbeat with good music, in a dark room with candles – there’s also definitely a vibe. You’re often trying to pedal to the beat of the music, with random different things added in like “tapping it back” (which can best be described as leaning your butt back while standing on the bike) or light weight arm workouts. I’ve heard that SoulCycle is cult-like, but honestly as a newbie a few weeks ago, I really felt the community aspect of the class (the instructor, Kelly, also happened to be amazing, which I’m sure helped!). All in all, I thought it was a really welcoming and energetic environment; I left feeling like I got a good workout and also, as cheesy as it sounds, felt inspired and ready to tackle my day. Right now, I’m not super into spinning in general. But, whenever I do feel like spinning again, I wouldn’t hesitate to take another SoulCycle class. Just a heads up if you’re newer to spinning like me: the seats can really hurt your butt! I don’t know what the regulars do, but I feel that you should be appropriately warned about this.
Any other classes you love or want to see reviewed? Have you taken any of these and had similar or totally different experiences? Comment below!
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