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.

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!

New Year’s Resolutions.

On January 1st its impossible not to talk about new year’s resolutions. We spend the days before new year’s eve making mental notes about how we are going to become better people, lose weight, find true love, get our dream jobs and become the ultimate version of  ourselves. We examine our lives and take all the aspects we dislike and decide that next year will be the year we will get rid of them. However all these resolutions generally end up being empty promises since by the end of January most of us will have thrown in the towel and stopped working toward the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the new year.

Portrait and new menu items

So lets talk about the reasons why we generally fail to make these resolutions come true:

They are too vague – Saying “I want to lose weight” is not the same as saying “I want to lose 10 pounds by March.” If you don’t set up a very specific goal it becomes hard to know what you are working towards and it makes it even harder to hold yourself accountable for making your resolution come true.

They are too aspirational – Yeah its great to make a resolution such as “I’m going to lose 100 pounds” or “I am going to be a famous writer” but realistically speaking it is very unlikely you will achieve something so big which may end up discouraging you from pursuing these goals once you come to the realization that they are almost impossible to attain. Instead aim for something doable such as “I am going to write 500 words a day” or “I am going to lose 5 pounds a month.” You will then realize that these little goals will add up to huge results by the time December rolls around.

Lack of planning – Making resolutions such as “I will travel the world” or “I will work out every day” will not happen if you don’t plan accordingly. For the former you need to figure out where you want to go and when you will have enough vacations/ample funds in order to make this trip happen. For the latter you will need to join a gym, figure out which classes you would like to take and how to fit them into your schedule. This applies to pretty much every resolution, if you don’t plan accordingly you are more likely to drop the ball on whatever promise you made to yourself.

You are delusional – I’m sorry but finding true love is not something you can resolute to and you will never become Taylor Swift, no matter how hard you try.

You shouldn’t have to wait until January 1st to become a better person – Most of the time the things we put on our resolution list are things we’ve had on our minds for a long time. So why wait until January 1st to finally make them happen? Why not make them happen December 1st, October 31st, on the first day of summer or on Valentine’s day? Don’t put off anything you truly want to accomplish because you fear you will not make it come true.

So this year I have decided that instead of making a long list of things that I am going to change once the new year starts, I am going to set a new goal or two every month and accomplish it. The thing about starting small is that once you start making small changes you will see huge results, and by the time the year ends you will definitely be Taylor Swift that improved version of yourself you so wanted to see.

Here is my January resolution: I will start writing again (being specific here) I’m aiming at 3 blog posts per week and at least one published article a month (being realistic here) since I spent the majority of 2014 trying out basically every workout and boutique fitness class in New York I will begin by reviewing every single one of them (oh hey, a plan!) and I will start by reviewing my absolute favorite class in the city Physique 57.

physique57

Stay tuned!