Tag Archives: workout review

Soul Cycle Review

Gosh, this review has taken me a long time to even attempt to write!  My love of SoulCycle is somewhat complex.  You see, people seem to either love or hate SoulCycle, even my most trusted sources seem to disagree.  For example, Kelly Ripa (who introduced me to Physique 57 and changed my life) loves it.  Well and Good, who I adore and respect, has some mixed reviews.  Neither is Andy Cohen for that matter.

Anyways, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

What is SoulCycle?

It’s a boutique indoor cycling studio with 36 locations in 8 states and not one but two cute logos!

soulcycle-logo-copy soulskull

 The Studios: SoulCycle studios are shiny, sleek and clean in fresh white and sunny yellow.  They are spotlessly clean with high end bathroom amenities. I will say that the studios vary in size by location. I’ve taken most of my classes at the NoHo location, which is large and bright with a more than ample locker area. On the other hand, the Union Square location is teeny tiny and the locker area is a madhouse. Did I mention that the Union Square location is a three minute walk from the location one block up on 19th street?  Crazy! The classes are that packed!

The studio itself has high quality bikes in stadium style seating.The bikes are pretty close together and have no measurement of resistance or RPMs–it’s a feeling not a calculation.  Most classes are done in candlelight, which adds a nice ambience. Also there are 2 pound weights that rest on the back of the bike.


The Workout:

45-60 minutes of spinning to upbeat music.  There is a mind body element–it’s sort of zen/yoga-esque.  You are encouraged to let go of your day and focus on your workout.  My classes have been heavy on the push ups and bike dancing, which I love. I always feel like I am being pumped with happy endorphins. However, the classes are very low on resistance, so you really have to self regulate to feel the burn.  There is a short weights section done with very light weights. This is followed by a cool down, where most people really bliss out!

What I love: I love how fun SoulCycle is!  It is literally a joy to be there.  The class is a non-stop good time with a side of work out. If I’ve had a rough day and just need to get away from it all for an hour; I immediately book a soul cycle class. I also think the instructors are very good and the front desk staff is always super friendly and welcoming. The general vibe of the place is great, it feels young, fun and a little bit fancy.

Why I’m not head over heels:  While I really enjoy soul cycle classes, I don’t think I get quite as good a workout as I do at Flywheel or even other similar studios. I like having the accountability of the RPM and resistance gauge. It ensures I push myself to the max. I don’t always leave spent At SoulCycle, I really have to keep on my resistance because it’s rarely even mentioned, so you can spin your heart out without really burning anything if you aren’t careful. On the plus side, SoulCycle will never bulk you up the way Tracy Anderson claims most spinning studios do. As a friend put it, “I feel like I can go to Soul Cycle if I’m a little bit sick”, meaning you can kind of phone it in if you want to.  For example, the 2 pound weights that are attached to your bike are pretty wimpy, you have to take it upon yourself to pick up heavier weights at the front of the class.

Bottom line: If you are someone who can push yourself without someone screaming in your face and telling you exactly how hard to push, SoulCycle will be perfect for you. If you want your workout to actually feel enjoyable, Soul Cycle will be perfect for you. However, if you pay to get whipped into shape, Soul Cycle may not get you there, even though you will leave with a smile plastered across your face.

Cost: A single ride in NYC is $34, your first ride is $20.

City Row Review

I tried City Row once over the summer and last week with Ashley, so it’s definitely time for a review!  Let’s do this.

Source: NYRacked

Source: NYRacked

Logistics are always important to me when considering a workout and City Row gets an A+ for ease of use.  The studio is less than a 10 minute walk from my apartment, so I can get up 30 minutes before the class and still make it on time. Hu Kitchen being right next door is a nice bonus too!

The studio itself is small, but sleek.  There is a check in desk with friendly staff and a small hallway with coat hooks leads right to the studio space, a big room with about 20 (estimate) ergs.  There is also a small bathroom and cubbies for shoes and bags right in the studio, so you don’t have to worry about locks.  It’s a very well laid out functional space and I really like the great views down 5th Ave and 14th Street.

The workout: I’ve tried two classes, the Signature Row and the Row+Flow.  Descriptions here.

Source: NYRacked

Source: NYRacked

The signature class alternates 6 minutes of hard core rowing with 6 minutes of strength.  I love how you are constantly alternating, so the class never gets boring.  Even if you’ve never rowed, it’s pretty easy to pick up the basic motion and even add some fun oblique twists.  In my classes, you were often rowing for short bursts to achieve as certain amount of meters or split times–sort of HIIT-style. The strength was tough also, even the light weights really burned as we did a full body circuit by the end of the class.

The signature class was a great mix of sweat and strength, the short intervals, kept it interesting and I felt like I got a good workout in.  I also think Frank would really like the class, and I love any workout we can do together.

The Row+Flow class started with about 15 minutes of rowing followed by 30 minutes of yoga.  The instructor was equally good at teaching both row and yoga, she paid lots of attention to form and expected us to row at challenging pace. However, I prefer the signature class to row and flow, 15 minutes of rowing didn’t seem like quite enough time to really get my sweat on, although I did like that the 30 minutes of yoga was short yet effective.

Price: Classes are $32.  Typical.  But they are on ClassPass, so you can get a bit of a discount that way.

Will I try it again?  Yup. I’d like to try the SignatureX and Signature Row–Core Focus classes as well!


Circuit of Change

Last week, I had the awesome opportunity to join one of my very favorite health publications, Well and Good at an event featuring Circuit of Change and Mio’s new line of workout essential skin products.

I had heard about Circuit of Change from friends and even overheard people talking about it at the gym, so I was eager to try it.

I have to say, it was not what I expected. I thought it would be a circuit training workout, but it was really a fusion of yoga, martial arts and cardio.  The ambience was warm and glowy. The room was filled with orange yoga mats with windows all along the front and side and even a fireplace filled with candles.  Two live drummers set the soundtrack for the class.photo-18

We stayed on our mats the entire class, going through a fairly intense mix of jumping jacks, punches, kicks, push ups, ab work  and several boats of just shaking and jumping like crazy.  Throughout the class the instructor yelled motivation phrases about letting go and working hard.  My personal favorite was when he yelled BE ALIVE, BE ALIVE repeatedly.

The class is a really interesting mix of the intentionality and release of yoga mixed with a good cardio workout.  However, it has a decidedly hippie vibe.  The crazy shaking parts of the routine make you seem really silly and a little crazy, although, I think that’s the point.  I feel as though Mind, Body, Crazy really sums up how I felt about the overall experience.  While it was fun to try, I don’t think I’ll be going back regularly.

Mio’s line of products for pre and post workout, on the other hand, have me totally sold! I already love the workout wonder, which is an extremely refreshing, cooling cream for post workout.  It really invigorates the skin and it could be a game changer in the summer. I’m also super excited about the workout wipes they will be releasing soon.  I’m going to save a full review until I’ve had a chance to use them for a little longer!


Review: Uplift Sculpt Fusion

Wow, I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a workout review.  First off, you probably know I love Uplift.  I love what the represent, I love what they are trying to do, I love their overall philosophy–and I love their workouts.

Given all this, it will come as no surprise that I was beyond thrilled when I learned that they had added a new class–Sculpt Fusion.  I’m still hoping workit circuit will come back, a girl can dream.

I’ve now tried Cardio Sculpt twice, which (btws) is the minimum amount of times that I typically try something before writing a review.

The class offers itself as a low impact alternative to the popular Uplift Cardio and Uplift Strength classes.  So popular that I’ve been waitlisted all week long for strength and cardio classes. I’m happy for uplift, sad for me!

You start out with a little yoga flow and then go into a full body strength routine using 3-5 pound weights.  There are lunges, squats, mountain climbers, push ups and planks intermixed with some standard yoga poses like downward dog and warrior 1.  There is also a good ab workout at the end, involving side planks and those killer reach under and lift rotations.  Throughout the workout are a few bursts that are aimed at getting your heart rate up, but no crazy burpees or intense jumping moves.

Overall, I liked the workout. It reminded me a bit of Core Fusion Energy Flow. It’s toning work with a yoga slant. As a fan of barre-esque classes, I think this a great addition to the Uplift schedule. A few friends that I’ve brought to uplift, felt like the strength and cardio classes were too intense, so this is the perfect solution. It’s a good workout, but it’s not a high impact, high sweat, balls-to-the-wall workout.

My favorite class is still Uplift Strength; I love how it absolutely kills me.  However, I’d take Sculpt Fusion on days where I needed an easier workout. I can see it being a great option once I start marathon training. I’ve never been able to successfully do lots of strength training and lots of running simultaneously.

For more Sculpt Fusion Reviews, check out Preppy Runner, WerkitinNYC , Jen’s Best Life and Pawsitively Delightful and Rate Your Burn.

Another awesome thing about Sculpt Fusion is that it’s almost always a blogger party–if you’re into that kind of thing.  Probably because bloggers love 6:30AM workouts so much :).

As 1 Review

Last night, I attended my second Fitmapped-sponsored workout class.  I didn’t really know much about the As 1 workout so I hopped on to their website and saw that it was small group high intensity, conditioning classes created by trainers that were also athletes.  The first thing that came to mind was Cross-fit.  The website had a no frills, no gimmicks, hard core feel.

I arrived as a group of about 10-12 was stretching in a circle. I took a look at the studio:

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to use those scary looking ladder machines back there!

Stepmills–hands down one of the highest-calorie burning machines in the gym.

Retro bikes.  In the back you will see the workouts written on the boards, just like cross-fit.

The studio was pretty much what I expected. It’s no frills, down and dirty, hardcore workout studio that’s about the intensity of the workout not the amenities.

The six fitnapped fitreps got started with a dynamic warm up of stretching.  I think all of us were a little nervous about the 65 minute cardio/strength interval training ahead.

Our warm up consisted of 5 rounds of 20 jumping jacks followed by five burpees..whew!  I was glad when that was over.

Next we got into the heart of the class, the intervals.

We divided into two groups of three, one group on the floor, one group on the machines.  My group started with squats and mountain climbers and after 1 minute, we moved to the stepmill.  Then we were back to the floor for push ups and sit ups.  Then on to the bike for a minute, we continued these one minute intervals for 8 minutes.

Here are some action shots:


Then there was a 30 second rest, which really wasn’t quite enough for everyone to use the water cooler, but we had to get back to work.  We repeated the circuit 5 times total with some slight variations. By the end, I was ready to be done.  I definitely felt like I got a workout and I knew I would be sore the next day from those weighted deadlifts.  While I like that each interval was only a minute and we were constantly switching it up, I might have liked two completely different circuits, so we weren’t doing so much of the same.  That said, the 65 minutes flew by.  We ended with some foam rolling and light stretching and we were out the door.

Overall thoughts,

The good: It was a good workout with a nice balance of cardio and strength.  The instructors were very attentive and paid a lot of attention to form.  As all classes are kept small (max 16), I am sure this would always be the case. I liked the variety and the length of the intervals.  As someone who likes Crossfit, I enjoyed this class and I think that the studio probably has a good community of regulars.  They also allow you to cancel up to 5 minutes before or walk in anytime, which is awesome. As One caters to athletes, so it’s definitely a good way to fit in strength even when training for a race.

The less good: While I don’t mind a small locker room, a little more changing space would have been nice. I was kind of stuck between the shower and the bathroom.

Bottom line: if you like hardcore, balls to the wall, no frills workouts, you’ll like this class.  And your first class is FREE, so why not try it? It’s a solid workout and their other classes  (As 1 Afterburn, As 1 Strenght and As 1 Cardio) give the opportunity to hone in on strength, cardio or conditioning, depending on your needs.  However, if you are a Reebok/LA Sports Club kind of gym-goer, come here expecting more of an NYSC kind of vibe.  It’s not upscale and it doesn’t pretend to be.

I do wish it was closer.  Being as I live in downtown east and the studio is on the UWS, I probably won’t travel an hour round trip for it. But there is really no workout that I am willing to travel for since I have a lot of options in my neighborhood.  If Physique 57 came to Union Square, it would be like my best friend (if I was a millionaire), but as it’s not very close to me, so I only go on rare treat occasions.

Stay tuned for As 1 discounts coming your way, and don’t forget to try out your free first class!

As 1 is located at 1845 Broadway, 3rd Floor (at Columbus Circle). You can see all Fitmapped reviews of As 1 here.

Pilates ProWorks–BarreX

As I sit here listening to “I Wanna Go” by Britney Spears, I realize that I have been in a bit of fitness rut for a while.  I hadn’t tried anything new in a while. I spent one too many workouts phoning it in on the elliptical.  In the past month, I’ve spent more time trying new things, like Revolve and semi-new-to-me Uplift (still obsessed fyi) and last night, Barre X.

I’ve been wanted to try Pilates ProWorks for a while, but never quite made it there. Fortunately, my good pal, Ashley asked if I was interested in trying out a free class sponsored by GapFit. Of course, I said yes, but alas, almost all the classes were full and we weren’t able to find a class that worked for both of us.  Then yesterday at 6AM, I got an email saying that I was off the waitlist and in the 6:30PM class that evening.  Score!!! I had forgotten I was even on the waitlist.

First impressions of Pilates ProWorks=WOW!  The studio is really nice, it has a zen vibe, airy, spacious, sleek and, bonus, it has a full coffee table of magazines to peruse before your class starts!

GapFit was not only kind enough to sponsor my class, but they also provided a free pair of gFlex pants. They fit like a glove since they even had ankle length options, which is rare in workout pants!

As I waited, I checked out the stocked changing room and locker area. In one of the two studios, there was a ProMethod class going on which reminded me of SLT. People looked like they were working hard on the FitFormers.  From what I know, classes like “PilatePlus” are huge in LA and is just now gaining popularity on the awesome east coast.

Pilates ProWorks offers many class options, including Barre Pro, Barre X, TRX, CardioSculpt and Pre/Post Natal classes, as well as Mommy and Me classes.

When I walked into the Barre X studio, I thought I might be in the wrong place because there were TRX bands hanging from the ceiling. I soon realized what the X stood for, silly me.

Holy fitness, the class started out with a killer set of planks with your feet in the trx loops.  Planks aren’t easy normally, let alone when you are supporting your entire lower body with your arms!  I didn’t make it through one whole set without having to rest!

Then we moved into a standard arm section with weights. Follow by arms in the TRX bands.  From there it was pretty much your typically barre class format with added challenges coming from the TRX bands and a few cardio bursts. While I was happy to have a familiar format, arms, legs, glutes, legs, abs, done; all the moves felt new and different with the TRX bands. It was a fun combination, albeit, crazy difficult.  The leg work on the barre was cake compared to the barre work on the bands.

I should mention that the instructor, Lenea, was awesome. I would recommend her to anyone. She really kept us going, even though many of us might have needed the beginner class. Before I knew it, we were done.

I’m hoping to have a chance to try some of PilatesProWorks other classes. Although, I am now terrified to try TRX!   The new member specials are pretty good, 8 classes for $225.  I definitely like that the studio strikes the right balance between posh and friendly.  They even sent me a congratulatory email for finishing my first class!



Revolve Fitness-the New Spin on the Block

Hello!  I just got back from a fun weekend in Atlantic City!  We arrived back just in time to catch the coldest days of winter so far!  Brrrr.

As you may know, I live downtown.  I love downtown. It feels real to me.  As much as I love and worship Central Park,  I’ll always be a downtown girl at heart. Lucky for me, the Union Square area is currently prime real estate for boutique fitness studios.  New spinning, barre, and pilates places seem to be opening their doors every week.

Revolve was an exciting addition to the Union Square spinning scene, which currently houses Soul Cycle and Flywheel. I was excited to check it out the new comer.

The studio is sleek and new with one large spinning room with about 48 bikes off the lobby and a full locker and changing area downstairs.  The one thing to remember is that the locker area is co-ed, so make sure to change in the bathrooms. I may or may not have noticed the obvious sign clarifying the rules the first time around. blush.

The first class I took was the real ride, which is your standard 45 minute ride. It was a bit of a blur because I arrived a little late and was totally flustered trying to get my shoes in the clips.  I require like 3 minutes a foot to get each shoe in the darn clip! I left feeling like I had a great workout, but it was a little too short. Like the Rip Ride that’s 60 minutes would have been perfect.

Last week I took the Body Ride.  The instructor Heidi was really great.  She said all the right things, gave really clear cues and had a rocking soundtrack that made me grin from ear to ear (check it out below!). The real ride was a series of hills and sprint intervals with a mini strength section with weights in the middle. The break for strength gave us enough of a break to really push it in the second half of the class.  I liked that Heidi also reminded us that we were almost done and had nothing left to save for.

Overall, I like Revolve. It has a neighborhoody, casual feel to it. The staff is really friendly.  It doesn’t have quite the intensity of Flywheel and it doesn’t feel as competititve, but Revolve gives you a great workout if you are willing to push it.  I had hoped it was a little cheaper than the other studios, but they all end up being about the same (once you factor in renting shoes).  That’s the thing about boutique studios in NYC, they are all almost exactly $30-32, it’s almost uncanny.

I look forward to trying out some of Revolve’s specialty classes, like their request and mosh up classes. As well as some of their celeb instructor classes! There community initiatives seem very strong, so I am excited to see what’s to come.

Here is Heidi’s killer playlist! It really made the class for me!

10000 Lovers-IDA Maria

Catch My Breath Remixes-Kelly Clarkson

Stereo Hands-White Panda

Gangstar Trippin--Fat Boy Slim

Coming Home Part 2-Skylar Grey

Extreme Bootcamp with Lacey Stone App!

If you live in NYC, you’ve probably heard of Lacey Stone and her hardcore “booty camp.” If you don’t live in NYC, you still might know her, she’s been a Made coach on MTV, she’s been a trainer on Pregnant in Heels, she’s been featured on GMA, and Dr. Oz.

When I got a chance to preview her new Extreme Bootcamp App and meet her in person, I said yes right away.

OMG, can we say energy?  This woman has it!  She explained that she started out teaching a class called the Big Game at Equinox, which became so popular that she took it out on her own and eventually created her signature workout, “Booty Camp.”  Due to clients demand to be able to take her everywhere, she recently worked with Appcession to create an app for a  series of 8  15 minute workouts that you can download to your iPhone or iPad.

The Extreme Workout Series is based on a game with four 15 minute quarters, but you can do one video or all 8 (each is 2.99).

We got a live preview of the app via an workout with Lacey. I have to say, despite being under the weather, I had a BLAST.  I felt like I was working out with Jillian Michaels meets Gwen Stefani.   Lacey is incredibly energetic, funny and charismatic. She was jumping around, dancing and singing to the point where I felt like I was at a concert. Plus, the soundtrack had me in total top 40 heaven.

We started out with a warm up and then moved through 4 quarters of lunges, jump ropes, planks, push ups and running drills.  My favorite move was the burpee ending with a tuck jump.  When I saw Lacey demo it, I never thought I could do it, but it really wasn’t that bad. It actually made me feel very powerful.

I totally get why Lacey has become so popular, she is just so much fun and so passionate. I tried the app itself as well, and I think it’s a great budget option for working out and I will totally be using it when I travel.  While in person and video workouts are never exactly the same, I think you can get a lot out of video workouts and they are great for your wallet.  You can check out the preview Lacey’s Extreme Bootcamp videos here and download them at www.appcession.com (or just search your app store).

Bonus: Lacey will soon be teaching spinning classes at Flywheel!


Uplift Studios!

Whoever says upscale has to be snobby has never been to Uplift Studios! I love this place. Every time I go, I feel so welcome.  The studio is like a girl’s retreat, it’s set up for sweating, relaxing and socializing–and often a cocktail or two.

Let me give you a brief tour!

Personal Training Area

Comfy Chairs with Mags+Books!

Plenty of Membership Options :)

Bathroom Stocked with supplies and Lockers with locks!

Small Group Studio not pictured–use your imagination :)

Last week, Dori invited me to a Fit and Flow class, which I was really excited about because it’s on my fall fitness must try list. Unfortunately, I put the wrong time in my calendar and got stuck at work to boot, so I arrived 45 minutes after the class had started.  Oops.  Rather than make me feel like the ditz I sometimes am, I was invited to either stay and hang out with the ladies or to take the next set of classes.   I ended up briefly chatting with Dori, Missy, Ashley and Mariell and hopping into the Guns and Gams and Hardcore classes.

Guns and Gams was a 30 minute class focusing on–you guessed it, arms and legs!   We started standing with 5 and 10 lbs weights.  The first few sets focused on standing combination exercises, like lunges and curls and one leg deadlifts. Then we moved to the floors for exercises with the magic ring and exercise ball. Most of the exercises were pretty much what you would expect from a strength training session, nothing crazy or exotic.I liked that we never did the same thing for more than a couple sets, so I never got bored, in fact I couldn’t believe when we are on to the next class.  I also really liked the instructor, since the class was only 6 people, we got lots of personal attention and form correction–which I always need.

Hardcore a 30 minutes ab class. We spend most of our time on the ground with a mix of pilates and class ab work.  30 minutes of ab work is tough!  I was definitely suffering through some of the sets, but again the class went fast overall.  I also definitely felt a little sore over the next couple days–score.

Overall, I liked the classes, and loved the instructor and the studio itself.  The classes weren’t as unique as some boutique studio classes tend to be, but they definitely served their purpose and worked the intended muscle groups! I definitely want to go back and try some of the other classes as well.  The Workout and Wine classes are genius because it’s the perfect girlfriend time activity.


Yes, I am talking about the work out–not my current mental state.   Insanity the crazy 10 DVD workout program that promises to get you a body like Shaun T’s through a hardcore polymeric workout.  I’ve seen it on blogs, on infomercials and even have a few co-workers who rave about it, but beyond that I can’t say I knew much about Insanity…until yesterday that is!

Yesterday, Powerade Zero sponsored a workout with Shaun T. himself at Chelsea Piers for Insanity Groupies, and somehow I got invited as well.  I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to get my butt kicked, I mean, find out what all the Insanity buzz was about.

God early, I made my way to Chelsea Piers and was escorted to a large area in the center of the track where at least 100 Insaniters were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their king.  I really can’t exaggerate the level of worship.  Shaun T. is a LOVED man.

While we were waiting for the man of the hour to arrive, a trainer warmed ups up with some butt kicks, lunges and cardio moves.

Then it was the moment we all had been waiting for….

Honestly, the crowd went wild.  Total love fest. While this was my first Shaun T. experience, I kind of got it.  He’s super down to earth and almost like a motivational speaker.  You almost felt like he was just a normal guy, a normal guy with hip hop abs. :)  After a pep talk, it was time for business.  I was one of many 5 people who were brand new to Insanity, so I was a little nervous I would look like a fool.  However, for the most part, the moves were pretty easy to follow.

After a brief warm up, our first set was two crisscross jumps, two power jumps, lunges, butt kicks and a plank move.  Each move was done  for 30 seconds and the set was repeated that four times.  

Definitely got my heart rate up!  We went through 3 more circuits and then had a few “challenges.”  Throughout the whole workout Shawn was there with us, often running into the crowd and really  getting us going and pushing harder. Our challenges were pretty tough!

There was a crazy set of burprees, followed by plank jack push ups and moving plank.  Oh yeah, and that 60 second V seat hold. We finally finished with some scissor kicks.

It was definitely a good workout.  It wasn’t Crazy hard to the point I wanted to die. But I did have to take a few breaks during the plank section. It flew by!  45 minutes felt like 15!  I think the fun factor is why people love this so much.  Shawn is also a really motivating person, he helps you push yourself to your limit, but nobody else’s.

After our the workout,  Shaun changed his shirt on stage and oh my god, the room blew up.  Men and women alike couldn’t get enough.   Then it was Q and A time or a “little talky talk” as Shaun said.  This was when I really understood why people were going so crazy.  So many people shared their personal stories of losing anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds on the program.  They wanted to know everything from what Shawn ate for breakfast (granola and peanut butter or oatmeal) to how to make the weight come off faster (generally just stay the path or eat more).  One woman who had lost 36 pounds on round one wanted to lose weight even faster and Shaun was like, 36 pounds! What do you want! You’re doing great, just keep doing what you are doing!  I really liked that response.  So often, no matter how well we are doing on our health and fitness program we want more.  If I ran 3 times, I wish I had run harder or farther or done more speed work. Sometimes you have to just give yourself credit for what you are doing.

So will I be purchasing the Insanity collection? I’m not sure. I thought Insanity was really fun and I could see it being a good workout.  And we all know that I love  a workout video, that’s for sure. However, if I did Insanity, I would want to do the program exactly as it’s meant to be done and I am not sure if I could commit to doing all my workouts at home. I like to get out sometimes.  I guess only time will tell if curiosity will get the best of me!

Are there any Insanity fans out there? I’d love to hear your experiences!