Plank Time!

Yoga is a workout that has become a little bit of an obsession for me recently. After years of making fun of people who practiced Yoga I have to accept defeat and admit that they were really on to something. Here in New York there are loads of studios that offer all sorts of styles, practices and vibes and I’ve had a blast trying them all and discovering them while growing my practice.

I have been traveling to Miami a lot in the recent months so I needed to find a studio to visit whenever I am there, since I don’t wan to stop practicing yoga just because I am traveling. This is how I discovered and fell in love with Plank Yoga studio which is conveniently located 6 minutes away from where I live.
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The studio’s vibe is very clean, the decoration is minimalistic the floors are light wood which contribute to this cleanliness vibe and the color scheme is white and purple. There isn’t a whole lot going on in the studio, just the check in desk a small waiting area with an even smaller retail area. Yes the studio is tiny, but the number of people they accept is limited so you will never feel like you can’t stretch because you will hit a fellow Yogi.
I took a Power Vinyasa class with Taly Ostfeld who is the studio’s owner and man was that class challenging. It consisted of a traditional Vinyasa Flow sequence but on steroids. The transitions were incredibly  fast and the workout was mostly core-centric. My boyfriend who is a little less experienced in Yoga than I am, told me his abs were hurting for two days. This is not a class that I would recommend to someone who is a beginner but definitely one I would suggest to someone who wants to practice Yoga with a cardio component to it.
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Overall I was very satisfied with my experience at Plank and will be visiting it again in the future. There are two downsides to this studio which are the fact that they offer very few classes during the week and also the classes are super expensive. At $25 per class they are more expensive than even the most expensive studios in New York and buying big class packages does not lower the cost per class. Towels and mats are included which I guess compensates a little for the price of the class.

Model Boxing.

gotham gym 2

I have been following Gotham Gym on instagram for about two years now and have always been curious as to why so many models train there. In my mind I imagined this pristine, super high-end gym with vanity lighting, spa amenities and a very intimidating “you can’t sit with us” vibe. I mean this place is where Victoria’s Secret model’s get runway ready, there must be a huge luxury component to it, right?

To my surprise when I arrived there I encountered a small gym tucked away in the West Village with nothing too glitzy or glamorous about it. If you don’t know about it you can probably walk by it and not even notice it. Except you will thanks to the amount of models and celebrities who hang out there. The space consists of a Boxing ring which is probably the gym’s main attraction, weight area, small group fitness studio and a few cardio machines. No amenities like locker rooms or juice bars. What I really loved about the space is the fact that it has so much natural light, which is something very rare in New York especially at a gym.

Gotham gym

I went there for a one on one personal training session and was very close to dying at certain points but the adrenalin rush kept me alive (so poetic I know.) I will definitely have to try and review a group class very soon. The gym is membership based and classes are included in your monthly membership, personal training is not. However you can pay for a drop in class and the studio is also included in Classpass.

After trying this gym I have to say I was really happy with my training session which consisted mostly of boxing. Boxing is a great workout for the body and for the mind. It’s a mix of cardio, weight training, flexibility and agility. There is no other workout that encompasses so many elements, which is probably why so many models have made it their workout of choice. Now I still don’t know why so many celebrities flock to this particular studio but my guess would be that the main reason is because Hugh Jackman and The Dog Pound work out there. The other reasons I can think of is that Gotham is located in a very quiet corner of a very quiet neighborhood and unlike most boxing studios this one doesn’t stink, it actually smells great!

Gotham gym 3

The only downside I saw is that they don’t have a real locker room with a changing area, what they have is a room with old wooden lockers and you have to bring your own lock. This would make my gym to office transition very complicated since you sweat buckets when you box and they have no showers! Other than that this gym deserves an A plus and I will definitely be back to see if I run into Gigi Hadid throw some more punches.

Tuck And Squeeze, Tuck And Squeeze And Other Things You’ll Do At Physique57.

When I first decided to lose my boutique fitness studio v-card Physique57 seemed like the obvious choice to me.  Physique57 is a super fast paced barre class based on the Lotte Berk training method ballet dancers use to get into shape. It became really popular among the fashion crowd for its delicate moves and speedy results. Kelly Rippa and a bunch of models rave about it, the reviews said that your blowout would likely remain intact and they have a studio on 57th street (hence the name) which is 7 blocks away from my former office at Time inc. It just seemed like a no brainer to me.

physique57

When I walked into my first class at their Soho location I was automatically seduced by how great it smelled, how peaceful the blue and white color combo felt and how ridiculously hot and beautiful all the women who were going to take class with me were. But boy was I unprepared for what was about to go down in that class. The workout consists in doing isolated ballet and Pilates inspired movements to the point of exhaustion to achieve maximum results. While the movements are very small and delicate your legs will definitely quiver with exhaustion during and after the workout.You also have to wear grippy socks in order to not slip on the blue carpet, making it feel more like a ballet lesson than a trip to the gym.

After trying it for the first time I didn’t really think that I was going to achieve huge results since the class has a very low cardio component which consists on a 60 second set of thigh dancing. However I had bought an introductory two week deal on Gilt and figured I might as well use it. That is when I understood why this workout has such a big following. I have always worked out a lot and when I started doing Physique I had actually been working out with a trainer for a few months so I was in pretty good shape but after just 10 physique classes I had visible muscles everywhere including the defined abs I had always wanted but had never managed to get. This led to me buying  the one month newcomer special which was followed by the three month unlimited contract. As of now I have officially taken 162 physique classes and there are definitely many more classes to come in my future.

I rarely include myself in the blog but I think for this post I can make an exception.

I rarely include myself in the blog but I think for this post I can make an exception.

One of the best things about Physique is there are multiple options for classes – both in terms of levels (Beginner, Mixed, Intermediate, Advanced) and types (stretch, yoga, cardio, armed & fab in 30, mat, formula). So if you are newcomer you don’t have to go through the intimidation of having a 50 something year old woman with a better body than yours at 24 pulsing right next to you at the barre. They have a first class special where you buy your first class  and you get the second one for free which is pretty awesome considering each class costs $36. The locker rooms are great, fully stocked with showers, hair dryers, super fluffy towels, deodorants, body lotion. Basically the only thing you have to take is a change of clothing and your make up because the locker rooms at Physique supply you with everything you need. For me this was one of the things that kept me constant, since it made my gym to office transition really convenient.

If you are a person who finds it hard to get motivated to go to the gym have no fear! Physique has invented a system for you to get over this. You see at Physique you do have to book your classes in advance and are charged a cancellation fee if you don’t go. I highly advise to book you class well in advanced since this workout is so popular and has such a big following most times its hard to find a spot at peak hours even when you try signing up a week ahead of class. Think: Strict cancellation policy + High cancellation fee + Cost of the class = Me never skipping a class and toning muscles I didn’t even know I had. The best part is that I actually look forward to these classes every time I sign up for them.

The  entrance to the Soho studio.

The entrance to the Soho studio.

However after rambling on and on about the workout I have to admit that what sets Physique apart from other barre workouts (other than getting a free apple on the way out) are the instructors. They are incredibly friendly, they are always looking to motivate you and they pay a lot of attention to everyone in the class. Since I was a regular the instructors were always helping me tailor the workout to my specific needs. Although I think all of the instructors at Physique are great I do have a strong preference towards Lauren E and Emily Z. However my absolute favorite Physique instructor is Sherri Norige. Not only is she super upbeat and positive but she makes an effort to remember everyone in the class regardless of how many times you have taken her. Don’t be fooled by the niceness though, she will THOROUGHLY kick your ass and you will not be able to hate her for it.

Even though I have been going for over a year my body is still making progress. Physique is the type of workout where if you go enough times you will get very good at it, however Physique57 will NEVER feel easy. Yes, it is very expensive.  But you get what you pay for, which are RESULTS.