Smells Like Team Spinning.

In New York city there are no shortage of fun and entertaining ways of staying fit. However the funnest and most unique that I have been to so far is Swerve Fitness. Swerve is a boutique spin studio and it is unique because you compete on teams. Allow me to explain. In a Swerve class the room is divided into three teams: red, green, and blue. The class follows the choreography of your standard over-competitive New York spin class except that in this one you are actually competing for points. These points are displayed in two screens that are located in the front of the class. The scoreboard displays the team’s score with the team leader highlighted for each team. It’s a really great workout for the competitive since every class has a winning team, and for the extra competitive since seeing yourself as the team leader is really good on the ego.

swerve 2

I discovered this class through a friend of mine who really wanted to assemble a team of friends who would go spinning together once or twice a week before work, and it worked! The team component of the class is what motivated  the members of the Spanish green team to wake up at 6 am to take a 7 am spin class for about 30 consecutive weeks. Not only is Swerve a killer workout but the studio’s amenities make it the Ritz Carlton of spinning.The studio has a very clean and modern look. You can tell they gave the design a lot of thought

The spin studio itself is very dark and kind of feels like you’re in a nightclub, except you would never want to sweat that intensely in a nightclub.They have a smoothie bar with great smoothies you can pre order before class and also juices and treats from Liquiteria. My personal favorite smoothie is the “Rise and Grind.”This was also one of the added perks of team spinning, we would take the class and then we would all drink a smoothie together before heading to work. But not before a mandatory visit to the Swerve showers.

swerve

The showers OMG the showers. They are fully stocked with L”Occitante products, super fluffy towels, deodorant, dry shampoo, blow dryers and a vanity  area to get ready. The only problem is that there are only three showers so it takes a while for everyone to get their turn. However not only are they worth the wait, but you sweat so much in class that it would be an offense to the rest of New York to go out that sweaty.

Among the added perks of the studio are: Shoes are included in the class fee and lockers with lock. The former was especially good for me since I don’t own spin shoes and really don’t feel like renting for $3 after I already dropped $30 on a spin class.

3/4 of the green team

3/4 of the green team

Once you leave the studio you receive an email with your class performance. You can tell the studio belongs to 3 ex wall-street numbers dudes since they send you your stats and  you can access charts that track your progress. Aside from being a very innovative concept, Swerve feels more like an activity than a workout class. While I don’t know if I will be trading happy hour for Swerve anytime soon, this class is definitely a great way to see your friends while working out at the same time.

Boutique Fitness.

I have been going to gyms and working out consistently since I was 14 years old. This means that fitness has been a part of my life for over 10 years. Since I have moved around so many cities in the past years one could say that I have become really savvy at finding a new gym and fitness routine to incorporate into my new lifestyle. When I moved to New York for me the obvious thing to do was join Equinox since it is a large fitness chain that has locations all over Manhattan and it offers a really wide variety of group fitness classes as well as top-notch personal training and locker room with amenities that could put a lot of hotels to shame.

equinox

However in my first few months in New York I noticed something that really sparked my curiosity: Small specialized studios that offer the same type of classes as large gyms (think Spinning, Barre, Yoga) but at a much higher price and sometimes in a single location. I discovered this when one of my really close friends told me that she was going to ditch her gym membership because she would rather do Soul Cycle. To me this seemed really bizarre, I mean why would she ditch her gym membership that includes multiple classes that range through a variety of disciplines for a smaller, more expensive studio that only offered one class? So I decided to investigate.

SoulCycle-detail

After a year and four months of trying around 40 boutique fitness classes here are my conclusions: Usually when people have a gym membership they are loyal to only one or two classes and only take class when they are available. At a boutique fitness studio you can take the class you like every day of the week and it is offered multiple times a day so you don’t have to adapt your schedule around it. Boutique fitness studios are small, therefore they provide a community feeling that a large gym does not. At a boutique fitness studio the classes allow a limited number of people so the instructor is more likely to remember you and give you pointers on how to tailor the workout to your specific needs. Since most of these classes need to be pre booked, pre-paid and have high cancellation fees, you are less likely to skip a workout than if you are a member at a gym where the classes are included and you feel that they are “free.” At boutique fitness studios they really pay attention to the client experience. This means that most of them have a nice and welcoming waiting area, friendly front desk staff who remember you and locker room amenities that are comparable or superior to the ones at Equinox.

physique57

Of course boutique fitness classes are expensive, but they also keep you more honest. The pay as you go model makes you really evaluate how often you want to work out and what is a realistic plan that works for you. It also makes you more likely to pick an activity you really enjoy and look forward to, which is the whole point of working out anyways!

Reviews of my favorite boutique fitness studios coming soon!