Fitreserve Review: April Workouts

Last week I wrote about my frustration with the ever rising price of fitness in NYC. It’s been really interesting and fun to further discuss the matter with all of you, and I’ve so loved reading your comments and thoughts.

Boutique fitness is not the only fitness choice in this city– I don’t think big box gyms will ever fully go away and there are a ton of free or very affordable classes out there. A big thing my friends have mentioned to me, though, is that boutique fitness has totally changed their attitude towards fitness. People that previously hated working out and let their gym membership go to waste feel motivated to workout because they found classes they love. Fitness has been a part of my life since college and I’m a certified personal trainer, but even I struggle to motivate myself to go to the gym and work out on my own.

I honestly don’t know what I’d do without Fitreserve (<— get $50 off your first month). I was first introduced to the service a little over a year ago and was offered a free month in exchange for blogging about my experience. I’ve been a paying member ever since. I love that I can visit each studio up to 4 times and peak classes are offered.

I skipped over writing a Fitreserve recap for the month of March since I was out of town for half the month, but here’s a glimpse of what my April looked like in workouts.

fitreserve review

Fitreserve Review: April 4th – May 3rd

Number of classes taken: 17
Number of studios visited: 9
Cost per class: roughly $9.71 (Note: I get a slight discount on my membership thanks to working in a WeWork office).

Where I Went…

Uplift Studios (4 times)

As always, I used up all 4 of my Uplift classes. I also bought some additional Uplift classes and tried to go twice a week, either to two strength classes or one strength and one Sculpt class. This studio really is my happy place, no matter how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life, I know I’ll leave in a better mood post workout.

Body Space Fitness (2 times)

I was really excited to take the new Kettlebell and Core class at Body Space Fitness. Any class with owner Kelvin is guaranteed to be a gooooood.

The class is all about building complexes with the kettlebell- think kettlebell swings immediately followed by some combination of dead lifts, high pulls and overhead presses. It’s deceptively tough, but Kelvin is great about offering modifications and coaching you through each movement.

I also took the Metabolic Burn class. It’s one of my favorite workouts to do on a Saturday morning.

 

Exceed Physical Culture (2 times)

You know I love a fitness instructor + class if I’m willing to trek up to the Upper East Side on my day off :)

With my new work schedule I’ve been able to squeeze in a mid-morning workout with Marianna uptown. It’s SO worth the trek (granted their other location in Tribeca is a bit of a trek too from me). Whenever people ask for fitness recommendations I always tell them to seek out Marianna, she’s the real deal.

 

Yoga Vida (4 times)

I’m always SO excited for my weekly class at Yoga Vida. I like that it’s a vigorous flow class, but I don’t leave so disgustingly sweaty that I need a shower. It’s perfect for weekday mornings before work.

 

Circuit of Change (1 time)

Sometimes I find myself seriously craving a certain workout. I was in a shitty mood one Saturday morning and knew the exact class I needed – Circuit of Change. The class is an interesting fusion of yoga, kickboxing, and typical bootcamp movements all rolled into one workout. I like that the class has a yin and yang vibe, you start with a bit of yoga, go into the sweaty workout and then end with some more yoga and shivasana.

It’s one of those classes that totally changes how I’m feeling mentally, I left in a much better mood and was really happy I went.

 

Brick (1 time)

I visited Brick this month with my friend Leslie. She’s more of a yoga and barre kind of gal, but I assured her she’s be fine at Bricks’ B|X class. Of course the class I took her to ended up being the toughest workout I’ve taken at Brick. We both survived, and don’t worry she enjoyed it!

I need to get my butt over to Brick more often this month, I love the workout but wish there was a studio a bit closer to me.

 

Dancebody (1 time)

I’ve been hitting up Tuesday classes with my friend from sleep away camp, we both have off and it’s been a ton of fun to work out with a friend and try new classes.

First up was DanceBody, a high energy cardio dance class. The moves were a bit hard to follow at times, I noticed that instead of repeating a move for a count of 8 like you would in a zumba class or at 305, moves only took up 4 counts so it was harder to grasp the dance steps and by the time I figured it out we were already on to something else.

I love a sweaty cardio dance class, though, so still had fun even though I felt totally clueless at times.

 

JumpLife (1 time)

I’m a believer that fitness should be fun, and JumpLife definitely fits the bill… is there anything more fun than jumping on a trampoline? My Tuesday workout buddy and I hit up JumpGym, a class that utilizes weights and interval training. It was harder than I thought, you definitely feel it in your legs and the ab section left me sore. I really want to check out their more dance focused class… and kind of want to have my birthday party there.

Check out us goofing around after class here.

 

I.AM.YOU Yoga (1 time)

I was going to I.AM.YOU weekly during the summer but I haven’t been back in MONTHS. Oh my god, I forgot how much I LOVE this class and starting my mornings there. There were two instructors so I got a ton of amazing hands on adjustments. It’s a really sweaty class, so it might not be the best bet before work, but holy crap I felt so good after class. It was exactly what I needed.

 

Question: What studios have you been loving lately? 

 

May 2016 Goals

may goals

As I mentioned last month, I’m trying this new thing when it comes to goal setting. Instead of trying to tackle big goals all year, I’m setting smaller, more digestible goals each month. My reasoning is that my life is unpredictable right now, I truthfully have no idea what my job situation will be 2 weeks from now, let alone 2 months from now. Despite this element of change and unpredictability, I want to continue to set goals for myself because I like goals and thrive on making checklists.

Revisiting April’s Goals

Find a routine in chaos. It’s hard to find a routine and schedule when you have so much free time. I’ve been sticking to my rule of working out first thing in the morning, and this has helped keep me on track to be productive during the day. I’m a to-do list kind of gal, so I’ve been making to-do lists the night before of what I want to accomplish on my days off. It makes me more productive and I’ve been getting errands done that have been on my to-do list for ages.

One of the best things for productivity has been heading to Starbucks for a few hours on days I’m not working. I’d be going to Starbucks anyway because I have an addiction to soy chai tea lattes plus it’s the perfect environment for me to get some writing done, answer emails, and leave my apartment for a few hours.

When I’m in my apartment it can be tempting to sit around all day watching HGTV marathons, so I’ve been conscientious about getting up off the couch and heading over to my desk to do blog stuff and apply for jobs. When I’m sitting at my desk, I know I’ll get some work done.

 

Cook lunch and dinner if I’m home. It’s a work in progress. After not cooking at all in March, I cooked a lot more in April. And by cook I mean make eggs and avocado toast– it’s still something!

One of my biggest issues is my lack of confidence when it comes to cooking, I hate spending time, money and effort cooking something that’s a total fail. I still need to find a few more fail-proof recipes I love. If you have any go-to’s for quick lunches and dinners I would love any suggestions.

 

Learn how to use my DSLR camera. I’m still clueless about my camera BUT I’m taking a course tonight that will teach me the basics. I pick up material much faster in a classroom, hands-on setting rather than reading a how-to guide. Fingers crossed I’ll be a photo-pro in no time!

 

Blog 3+ times a week. Done :)

 

May’s Goals

KonMari the shit out of my apartment.

Chances are you’ve heard of the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the book all decluttering. I’m almost done reading the book and of course feel inspired to tidy up.

I’ve lived in my small apartment for almost 6 years now and have accumulated a lot of crap. The time has come for me to do a serious apartment clean-up and get rid of the excess junk. This month is the perfect time to get started. My closet is getting renovated in the near future so I’ll be forced to clear out the entire closet for the first time ever plus I have some free time thanks to only working part time.

 

Update + reorganize old blog posts

A little over a year ago I went ham and started updating the categories on my old blog posts and did my best to create secondary pages for easy navigation of things like class reviews and race recaps. I haven’t managed these pages well nor have I done a good job at always categorizing my blog posts. One of my big projects for this month will be going through all my old content to reorganize my website plus implement better SEO strategy on some of those pages.

 

Up my networking game… in a way that works for me.

Ugh even saying the word networking makes me cringe. As an introvert, networking events are the things my nightmares are made of. Small talk is not my strongest suit nor am I good at striking up a conversation with total strangers. Know thy strengths and weaknesses.

I will probably never be good at networking the “conventional” way so I have to learn how to network in a way that feels more natural to me. Any fellow introverts and terrible small talkers have tips on networking?

 

Your turn: What are your goals for May?

Favorite Things From April

Helloooooo May! May is my favorite months because it’s also my birthday month! The countdown begins to May 16th. As always, here’s a round up of my favorite things from the previous month. Fun fact, my first “Favorite Things” post was now a year ago from last April. Craziness.

favorite things from april

Workouts I’m Loving…

Current

current fitness

Current is the newest rowing studio in town. I had a chance to check out the new Tribeca/ borderline Soho studio and it’s GORGEOUS. What can I say, I love a studio that emphasizes white spaces.

The rowers are a bit different than the ones I’ve used before– it took me a minute to get the hang of it because the motion of rowing almost feels backwards to what I’m used to. Once I got used to it, though, it wasn’t a problem. I noticed that these rowers challenged my core, something that doesn’t happen for me on other rowers.

If you’re a fan of rowing workouts, you definitely gotta check out Current.

 

TMPL

TMPL is the latest creation from fitness icon David Barton. True story, the first gym I EVER joined was the Astor Place David Barton. My friend wanted to take a tour out of curiosity… and then we both were like SIGN ME UP! Oops.

I was invited to visit TMPL and take a class a few weeks ago. Lemme tell you, it has some insane amenities. I was really won over by the fact that there’s a whirlpool (should’ve brought my bathing suit!) There’s also a salt water pool… but I’m a terrible swimmer so whirlpool is where it’s at for me.

The class I took is called The Trip. It’s a spin class that utilizes digital projections on a large cinema screen. The music was fully synced up with what was happening on the big screen which often times mimicked cycling in futuristic looking cities. I’ve never taken a class that’s anything like it.

 

Working out with Tony Horton

22 Minute Hard Corps Workout

I had the chance to workout with Tony Horton of P90X fame and take his 22 Minute Hard Corp class. As the name suggests, the class is only 22 minutes long. Every second counts and you’re getting a great workout.

The class was a media event, so a mixture of fitness bloggers and fitness magazine writers. Before class, he eased our fears regarding the workout we were about to endure and explained that he’s a huge supporter of modifications in fitness. Even though the class is based on the bootcamp mentality, Tony was far from a mean drill instructor. It was such a cool experience to get to work out with such a fitness legend, and I loved the 22 minute class format.

Foods I’m Loving…

Sweetgreen – West Village

I’m a long time fan of Sweetgreen, so this is really just a PSA that their new West Village location is OPEN on Bleecker and 6th Avenue. It’s close to my office and a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. My all time favorite salad is the guacamole greens and I sub pepper and cucumber for tomatoes and onion. Delish.

 

Airpopped Popcorn

airpopper

Jeremy got me an air popper for Valentine’s Day and I’m OBSESSED. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks and until now I was making it in the microwave in a brown paper lunch bag. It did the trick… but I also ran the risk of burning my popcorn. With my new air popper I don’t have to worry about burning my popcorn. I’m super boring and just eat my popcorn topped with salt. And yes, I use my air popper on the stovetop because that’s what happens when your kitchen is smaller than a closet.

 

Beauty Products I’m Loving…

The Beauty Blender

beauty blender

Anyone else totally guilty of going to Sephora for one item… and then leaving with like 10 new things you definitely don’t need? I hate going to Sephora for this very reason, what should only be a moderately expensive shopping experience always becomes SO expensive.

Anyways… I was seeking out a new foundation sponge because the type I was using kept “shedding” all over everything. I decided to give the Beauty Blender a chance. I’m happy to report it lives up to the hype. I like that it helps me apply foundation heavy enough that I’m getting the coverage I need, but light enough that it doesn’t look caked on. Definite upgrade from the old sponges I was using.

 

Eyebrow threading

I typically get my eyebrows waxed. Unfortunately I’ve always been super sensitive to eyebrow waxing and 99% of the time leave with BRIGHT red and/or burnt brows. The joys of super sensitive skin.

I had gotten my eyebrows threaded a handful of times in high school but never loved the shape of the final product compared to waxing. I decided to give eyebrow threading another chance and was amazed by how much less irritated my skin was after and I also really loved the shape. If you’re in NYC, I had a great experience at Unique Threading… and it’s right near Y7 and Uplift in Flatiron :)

Also, I’m so grateful that bold eyebrows are in now because mine have always been hella bold…

 

What I Read…

I’m Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck

liked this book, but I definitely didn’t love it. It’s a “will they or won’t they” love story about former high school sweethearts and where they are now a few years out of college. I thought I would enjoy it more, especially since the main female is an aspiring actress, something I once was.

This book made me realize that chick-lit books that are super focused on the central love story instead of the character’s bigger hopes and dreams don’t cut it for me… but I can see why people that love romantic tales would enjoy this book. It was a total change in tone from the recent books I’ve been reading that have been all about career focused women and their desire to “do it all”.

 

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess

brooklyn girls
I shamelessly loved this book and sped read through it at a record pace. It follows a group of 5 recent college grads living in Brooklyn and trying to get their shit together. It reminded me of a slightly more mature version of Gossip Girl, which I totally read in middle school long before the TV show became popular. I instantly got sucked into Brooklyn Girls and was SO excited to learn that it’s part of a series.

It’s far from highbrow, but it’s the perfect “beach read” for summer…or in my case, Washington Square Park on a gorgeously warm day, read.

 

What I Watched…

So many Broadway musicals!

Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler has never been one of my favorite shows… but I seriously love this current production and found it incredibly moving. It also helps that one of my favorite actors, Danny Burstein, is so perfectly cast of Tevye. I’m really happy I got to see this production with my Grandma and highly recommend seeing it with your whole family.

 

American Psycho
I’ve never read American Psycho or seen the movie… so I had no idea what to expect going into this show. I found the musical oddly entertaining and almost intoxicating. The visuals are overwhelming in the best way possible and I can see this show becoming a cult favorite.

 

Waitress
Much like American Psycho, I wasn’t familiar with the movie Waitress and went in with minimal expectations… although I had already heard from a number of sources that the show was amazing. Both Jeremy and I absolutely loved this show, especially the music by Sara Bareilles and the insanely talented cast. The cast recording isn’t out yet, so we’ve been listening to an amazing album that was produced of Sara singing all the songs from the show.

Since it’s literally impossible to get tickets to Hamilton on Broadway, this is your next best bet for a night of great theater.

 

Disaster
I knew I wanted to see Disaster based on it’s insane cast– almost everyone in the cast was a musical theater hero of mine growing up! The show isn’t highbrow by any means but is incredibly fun and campy. I have a soft spot in my heart from super cheesy musical that are self aware of how cheesy they are. I had a blast at Disaster, which is all that matters.

 

What I’m Listening to…

Podcast – Two Inboxes

share_two-inboxes
[image via]

I love listening to podcast while walking to work. I was excited to learn about this podcast from Molly Ford Beck whom I met while taking a course of her’s at General Assembly. This podcast focuses on the art of balancing your side hustle with your “real job”, something I can totally relate to.

I’m only one episode in and can’t wait to listen to Episode 3 which features one of my favorite bloggers Elana.

If you have any other favorite podcasts I should know about, let me know!

 

Other random things…

Jet.com

Have you heard of Jet.com? It’s website that’s similar to Costco… but without buying in bulk and membership fees. I stumbled upon it will trying to find this obscure mouth wash I love (<— now I sound like a weirdo…) and was impressed with Jet.com’s creative approach to pricing. I have no affiliation with the website, just thought it was cool and helped me save some $$.

 

New Starbucks App

A few months ago I mentioned my obsession with the new “order ahead” option on the Starbucks app. The app was recently updated and now allows you to pay with rewards. It’s a really small, seemingly unimportant thing, but I’m really excited about this because it means I can order my free drink ahead of time.

Previous Favorites

The Price of Getting Fit

In light of the recent fitness news that’s causing a bit of an uproar in the twitterverse, I’ve got a bone to pick with the fitness industry, particular in NYC.

the price of getting fit

Working out at boutique fitness studios in NYC is really effing expensive. Over the past 4 years I’ve watched the average price of a class creep up from $30 to $32 to now $34 for one 45 minute to 1 hour class. As someone that works out 6 days a week, that means I would be paying $850 a month to work out. Yeah, I definitely can’t afford that.

So, the alternative to boutique fitness studios are “big box gyms”, ClassPass/ Fitreserve and free options in the city. As with anything, you get what you paid for.

In college I belonged to one of those moderately priced big box gyms that boasted an impressive list of group fitness classes. I took the same Zumba class every Sunday morning for an entire year and the instructor never once asked me my name. If a particular class was popular, good luck getting a spot. On many occasions I found myself pushing and shoving past the hoards of people trying to grab mats and weights. The experience of just getting a spot was aggressive and stressful.

Even during my short tenure as an Equinox member last year, I was amazed at the overcrowding in classes and lack of personal attention. It’s a recipe for injury and also means that people who “don’t know what they’re doing” might not be getting the full benefits of the work out since they are doing things incorrectly or didn’t grab the right weights.

In recently years, the “middle class of gyms” have been struggling. New York Sports Club changed it’s membership model, which I fully believe happened because companies like Blink and Planet Fitness have made it easy to gain access to a treadmill and some free weights for a lower price. They even responded to the trend by creating BFX. David Barton also responded to the trend by doing away with it’s own cycling studio to partner up with CYC Fitness.

It makes me wonder how much longer NYSC, Crunch and New York Health & Racket Club will survive. How much longer until the only fitness options in NYC are boutique fitness, bare bones gyms like Blink, and then the expensive gym option of Equinox?

Once upon a time there were only a handful of boutique fitness studios in Manhattan, catering to a select few. Now it’s become far more the norm than something just reserved for the upper crust of Manhattan. The Flatiron district alone is home to no less than 15 boutique fitness studios in the short distance between 14th Street and 23rd Street. That’s a lot of fitness. Do all 15+ of these studios really expect to fill their classes if only a select upper crust of Manhattan can afford this luxury?

Yes, there are ways to workout besides boutique fitness and money will always be a barrier to entry for all the fun things in life, but this is fitness I’m talking about. Something that we are all expected to do to live a healthy life. These studios preach motivation and changing your life through fitness, but it seems they are only willing to offer this to those that can afford the luxury.

A common thing I hear among from my close friends, a crowd of young professionals working at roughly entry level salaries, is that they love the experience at boutique fitness studios when they go and would feel more motivated to workout if they could afford these $34 classes on a regular basis. I can totally relate to this and use Fitreserve in order to afford the classes I love, even though that comes with it own set of restrictions. If I had all the money in the world though you bet I would be spending more time at Soul Cycle, Uplift and 305 Fitness. Some people dream about buying Jimmy Choos, I dream of being able to afford Soul Cycle.

I would love to one day open a studio that offers the personal attention and curated workouts of a boutique fitness studio without a hefty price tag thanks to some creative pricing structure. The kind of studio that would’ve motivated me to get off the damn elliptical in college. The kind of studio where my friends would enjoy working out and could afford the classes without sacrificing all the benefits of boutique fitness. I understand that this dream might be impossible because NYC is an expensive place to rent space. I’m not blaming these studios or calling them greedy because you gotta do what you gotta do to make ends meet, but I questioning who these studios truly benefit– just a select few that can afford the luxury?

Edit: I know the true issue isn’t studios being greedy and pocketing this cash, this is the cost of running a studio, and unfortunately the price tag has to reflect the cost of running a business in NYC. 

With the ClassPass price increase that took place yesterday and the reaction that resulted on twitter, it seems to me that New Yorkers certainly want affordable yet personal group fitness options as an alternative to big box gyms and online streaming.

Question: What are your thoughts on the price of boutique fitness in NYC and the alternative options?