ClassPass Love.

Recapping highlights from when I tried ClassPass for a month and fell in love a little bit.

For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: ClassPass allows members to explore unlimited exercise classes in their city for a set monthly price. Class types range from barre to martial arts to pilates to dance, and everything in between. The only caveat — each studio can only be visited three times in the course of one month. Otherwise, all bets are off. (Really, you could take four classes a day if you wanted, but that would be nutty.) ClassPass is currently available in 29 U.S. cities, with monthly membership rates subject to change depending on the locale. Shocker of the year: NYC boasts the highest rate, at $125.00 per month.

So, with way too much free time on my hands during a month-long break from school, I was able to sweat it out at studios I’ve been wanting to try but not wanting to regularly spend exorbitant amounts of $$$ at, thanks to ClassPass.

Here’s a rundown of some of the places I tried during that month.

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Pop Physique. This boutique-y studio in the West 20’s occupied an awesome space. Renderings of fishnet-stockinged legs danced along the wallpaper that lined the room and resistance bands, balls, and weights were magenta and purple. ‘Twas was a good barre workout to match, with all your standard groups worked, including arms, legs, seat, and core. Expect a whole lot of arm reps with light weights and a burn that’ll stick with you through the next day (or two, if you’re me).

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Mile High Run Club. This studio’s Dash 28 class was some kind of wonderful for me. After not having run since, oh, May, I was hesitant to hop back on a treadmill. Thankfully, this 45-minute class combined 28 minutes of treadmill intervals with strength training exercises on the floor — just what I needed to ease back in. What’s more, each tread had a pace guide, so runners could choose to follow a jogger’s or sprinter’s speed (or a mix) for their 28 minutes on the machine. I wasn’t a huge fan of the kettlebells section of class (the strength training portion, done on the floor during the last few minutes of class), but the studio’s bomb soundtrack and ambient lighting made up for it by making the space clubby enough to make me forget I was doing weighted squats. Always appreciated.

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Physique57. Unlike most barre studios, Physique57 offers nine different types of classes. I tried their beginner class on account of my newbie-ness and the fact that they require clients to take five beginner classes before trying any of the others. Challenging despite its title, the class worked thighs heavy, with leg portions of the workout done both at the barre and on the floor. Also, though the studio space itself wasn’t particularly memorable, the UWS building that housed it was. Hence why I took a photo of the lobby..

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Flywheel. / Flybarre. Cycling junkies have probably tried their hand (or foot?) at Flywheel already. A Flywheel and Flybarre virgin, I tried both the studio’s cycling and barre classes while home. Things I liked: Flywheel’s integration of weighted bars during class for a hit of strength training and toning during its 45 minutes of mostly-cardio, as well as Flybarre’s use of resistance bands during its core portion of class. Of all the barre classes I’ve tried, Flybarre’s left me the sorest by far.

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Y7. This studio’s vibes put it at the top of list. Bottom line: Y7’s candle-lit hot vinyasa practice is set to beats by artists like Lupe Fiasco and Biggie, and with no lights or mirrors in the studio, yogis are left to sweat it out in their zone while instructors cue flows. It’s definitely not your mama’s vinyasa. Perfect for those looking to sweat to sick music without even a moment of cardio. Count me in.

Other studios I tried but didn’t take photos at included Barry’s Bootcamp, 24Hour Fitness, Circuit of Change, Bikram Yoga NYC, Cyc, Peloton, and Pure Barre. Of those, favorites were unquestionably Barry’s and Cyc.

That I’ll ever have the time and energy to work out this often again is highly unlikely, but it was indeed fun (and sweaty) while it lasted. No doubt I’ll be rejoining once I’m back in NYC for good. At the top of my list to try next? You better believe it’s a Bollywood dance class.

P.S. If you like my recaps, be sure to check out my articles on the soon-to-be-live The Sweat Scene, where I’ll regularly contribute class reviews. Read up!

What’s Working (Out) For Me

A low key finals schedule had me searching for ways to fill the days at the close of this semester. With high summer temps fast approaching, I decided to take advantage of the cooler weather and get up and out for a variety of workouts. Here’s a recap of my favorite recent sweat sessions:

piedmont park

A 3-mile run through Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. My favorite route consists of the 1-mile dirt path that wraps around the park’s lake and offers peeks at the city’s skyline between super lush trees.

free yoga atlanta

Yoga at the Old Fourth Ward Skatepark, hosted by King of Pops. The event, open to the public and free of charge (!), takes place every Tuesday evening at 7pm. Basically a flawless way to wind down your workday.

blast 900

The ultimate workout, indeed. Remember when I tried Blast 900 last year? I returned for an encore and was (not surprisingly) wiped out once again. The class combines treadmill intervals with strength training for a high intensity session. Be prepared to take a rest day (or three) afterward.

nyc 10k

Some 12 hours after arriving in NYC from ATL, I made my way to Roosevelt Island for a Mother’s Day 10k. I snapped this pic post-race: dripping in sweat and with goodies (free samples of chai-flavored roasted almonds and a superwoman-themed race tee) in hand. Can you say #victory?

hudson river workout

After sitting still for what felt like forever during two days of jury duty service, I needed to get moving. So, I took my bike along the Hudson River for an easy 8-mile ride in the evening, then parked myself on a bench and basked in the sun until it set. *Sigh*

What’s working (out) for you lately?

workout roundup

interning at a health and wellness website this summer has confirmed for me what every fitness expert advises: vary your workouts, and vary them often. with what little free time i have, i’m trying my best to spice up my exercise regimen. that means ditching the trusty (and yawn-inducing) elliptical machine for outdoor rock climbing and the like. of course i’ve taken photographs along the way. here they are with brief descriptions of the kinds of activities i’ve tried lately.

workout roundup

sometimes getting up and out is exactly what you need to start your day right…and then sometimes it isn’t at all. i realized that when i got myself out of the house at 7:30 a.m. this week, expecting to jog myself awake. after running an embarrassing three quarters of a mile, i was tired, weak, and contemplating my breakfast options. knowing i’d feel defeated if i turned around and went home, but nauseous if i kept on keeping on, i decided to walk another two miles to the monument pictured above before returning home for a big bowl of superfood-packed cereal (you’ll probably see it in an upcoming the week’s healthy eats post). this easygoing exercise session reminded me of my very favorite fitness rule: anything is better than nothing.

workout roundup

 part of my intern duties include attending and reviewing fitness classes around new york city. the above pic was snapped before i took a core yoga class at the your movement wellness center in midtown manhattan. i loved the words that lined the mirror –balance, harmony, joy, and inspiration — and the 45-minute practice that was entirely geared towards strengthening the muscles that serve as the foundation of a handstand pose. click here for my full review about my experience in the class.

workout roundup

i snapped this photo on a simple hike through backroads in connecticut. i’m a firm believer that exercising outside is enormously superior to exercising in an air conditioned, florescent-lit gym. when summer temperatures are cool enough to allow for it, i head outdoors.

workout roundup

perhaps my most extreme attempt at varying my fitness plan was at jumplife, the nyc studio that offers dance cardio classes on individual trampolines. yes, you read that correctly. each participant gets their very own trampoline on which they can jump, kick, and squat (as per the instructor’s cues) for 45 minutes straight. check bitesizewellness.com soon for my review on this class, as well.

as for next week, aerial yoga is already on the schedule. just don’t hold your breath for a photo of me hanging from the ceiling while attempting a warrior pose.

blast 900.

it’s called “the ultimate workout” for a reason.

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last saturday, a fit friend convinced me to try blast 900, a total body workout that combines cardio work on a (tricked out) treadmill and strength training on the floor. the company’s website calls it a “fat shredding, muscle toning, personalized exercise group class,” and i can’t say i disagree.

apparently every class is different, but the one i attended was bookended by two ten-minute intervals (one on the treadmill and one on the floor) and filled in with four five-minute intervals. make sense? i promise it does when you’re there. you will keep your eyes on the ticking timer like your life depends on it. and you will probably finish this complimentary water bottle within the first half of class:

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don’t worry, though, there is an assistant that replenishes water bottles and also provides lighter weights when participants need them. this feature probably contributes to the steep cost of $28 for a single class. on the bright side? your first class is absolutely free!

back to the sweat plan. the treadmill work covered all kinds of cardio: we walked at a 3.0 pace at a 30% incline (yep, that exists), then we sprinted at an 8.0 pace at a -3% downhill (yep, that also exists), and tried every level in between. strength training on the floor mixed free weight, body bar, and body weight exercises. aka curls, dips, and planks, oh my.

despite the craziness that is blast 900, the instructors really do cater the class to varied levels. for instance, for every treadmill interval we were given a walker’s, jogger’s, and runner’s pace to choose from and set as our speed. i stayed at the jogger’s pace for the entire class, which i happily considered an accomplishment in itself.

oh, and here is the only acceptable post-blast 900 selfie: mostly weights and a blurry me in the mirror. any more up close and personal would’ve been scary. trust me.

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thankfully there was a juice bar strategically located in the same mall, which we diligently sought out for some refueling. i opted for the chocolate peanut butter cup smoothie (shocker), made from peanut butter, chocolate vegan protein powder, pure cacao, frozen coconut water, avocado, flax, hemp, almond milk, and bananas.

it was thick enough to eat with a spoon and reminded me of mousse. i was absolutely fine with it.

a little bit of healthy.

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my birthday was this week. so was halloween. let’s just say it was a week full of heavy eating. between the foodie gifts–s’mores layer cake, chocolate sea salt toffee bar, and lindt truffles, to name a few–and the wine and cheese party i threw to celebrate, i felt the weekend was a perfect opportunity for a health kick.

as is often the case, those big exercise plans were harder to get to than i had hoped, and the leftover chocolate-covered caramel popcorn from the party that sat on my desk while i worked was too tempting. nevertheless, i can celebrate some mini health accomplishments, one of which is this exercise plan from fit sugar, shared with me by a friend over the weekend. she prefaced the workout by saying she hates the elliptical, but this 35-minute plan made time fly for her on the machine. so, i gave it a shot.

while i am no new-comer to the elliptical, i must say this plan was a challenge for me. between the recommended resistance, incline, and strides per minute count, i was huffing and puffing more than usual. indeed, i found it nearly impossible to meet the suggested strides per minute at the specified resistance levels. for now, i will just subscribe to the belief that with repetition, this routine will become easier…wishful thinking? maybe, maybe not.

after completing the elliptical workout, i did my own 12-minute floor routine that i try to practice daily, either on its own, or in addition to some other form of exercise, such as cardio (zumba, the elliptical, or the treadmill), yoga, or plain old walking in the park. that routine will undoubtedly be shared in another post sometime soon.

in the afternoon, i did my weekly sunday walk (of about two miles) to the nearby grocery store, where i picked up my essential dorm room provisions.

once back in bed, i snacked on my newest purchases: a chocolate rice cake topped with sunflower seed butter and sliced banana, and a cold glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk on the side. fulfilling my sweets cravings the healthiest way i know how.

i failed to snap a photo before polishing off that simple snack, but here is a little healthy recipe inspiration for you (from the same site as the elliptical workout above):

cauliflower crust pizza. get the recipe here.

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i made the recipe this summer and fell in love. it is absolutely worth a try. see my homemade version below.

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let’s just say it had character…yes?

yes.