When I was younger I was always picked last in gym class. No one wanted me on their team because I could never dunk the ball in a basket, kick if far enough or run faster than anyone on the opposing team. I didn’t have the stamina but I also didn’t care to try. In my mind sweating was disgusting. Why did people willingly sweat just to win a game?
Once I turned sixteen something inside of me changed. I still loathed gym class but I fell in love with the gym on my own time. Years later I regularly workout now, sometimes five to six days a week. Yet there are times when I still get the feeling that working out sucks. The thought usually creeps in my head when I start to get bored with my workout and I feel like I’m in a rut. When that happens I push myself to try something new.
This week, in lieu of another rut, I skipped my regular workouts and tried three popular fitness classes in New York City.
Here’s what happened.
I’ve never been on a trampoline before so using one to workout definitely had my stomach in knots. I tossed and turned the night before the class because I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What if I fell off the trampoline? What if jumping made me hurl? What if the person next to me turned out to be an Olympic athlete and made me look foolish? The last one isn’t so far-fetched. It is New York after all.
I forced myself to hop on the F train to my 7:30pm class I had booked in the beginning of the week. Since it was my first class the studio had a deal where you only had to pay $16.50. Classes in New York usually start around thirty-four dollars so i thought this was a steal since I more than likely wouldn’t be back. The commute from Manhattan to Staten Island isn’t an easy one.
The studio is located within a large building–common in New York–but when you walk out of the escalator and inside I found it to be a little confusing. The TrampoLean studio is within a dance studio. There were people dancing to loud music as I walked into the lobby. I was greeted by the woman who ran the studio who said we would have to wait until exactly 7:30PM to head to our class.
They had chairs and a comfortable sofa that people were already waiting on. I joined the rest of my class and counted down the minutes until we could get up. With each second that ticked by my anxiety over the class increased. What was I doing here? I can barely workout with my feet on the ground!
When the time finally came we got up and headed to the studio. The instructor has to sign you in before you walk into the studio. It was a tad uncomfortable standing there as she worked her iPad since we were all blocking a portion of the mirror that the dance class was using to check out their form. They also tell you, you need to sign a waiver before you can enter if you haven’t already. Since this took up some time it was a rush to hang our things up and then start the class. I would say we had a minute and a half to get ready before we started jumping.
Since it was my first class I would have liked more of an introduction. I know how to jump but I wasn’t sure if there was one part of the trampoline that could help stabilize me better or if there were certain moves I needed to get ready for.
The class started with a quick warm-up to hip-hop music. We jumped, lunged, hopped, flapped our arms like birds and used weights to work our upper body.
For me, the hardest part of the class was the upper body portion. Keeping my balance was difficult while trying to do bicep curls and hop on and off the trampoline. I kept staggering and falling backwards. Midway into the class I started to feel dizzy. It wasn’t from lack of oxygen or water but the consistent jumping up and down. I suffer from motion sickness and that’s what it started to feel like. From then on I had to lighten my jumps and couldn’t go as fast as the instructor wanted us too.
My favorite part of the class was the ab portion. We got to lay back on the trampoline and do regular ab exercises: crunches, bicycle crunches, and Russian twists but the weight of the trampoline helped my lower back so I could properly engage my abdominal muscles.
I would give this class a 6.5 out of 10. The studio was small so I didn’t love the fact that I was so close to the wall and stuck in a corner. I almost fell and nearly knocked down their hand sanitizer hanging on the wall.
The workout was fun but I don’t think it’s something that you would do regularly. I was sweating but when it was over I felt like I could still go for a run. However, this was a beginner class so the instructors tend to go a little easier on you. If this was intermediate or advanced I’m sure it would be a harder workout but for me this isn’t what I’m looking for.
The reformer is torture.
I understand why Jennifer Aniston looks like she’s almost forty thanks to the reformer. I knew before heading into SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone) this would be the hardest workout I’ve ever done. Even though I workout regularly my core is weak. It doesn’t help that I also have spaghetti arms. Upper body strength? Yeah, I don’t know what that is.
First and foremost I have to say I really loved the look of the studio. The light blue was inviting and helped calm my nerves. I was worried the moment I sat down on the reformer because the machine looked scary. There were resistance bands attached to it, weights underneath the bed of the machine and a very scared me sitting there praying to God for the best.
I turned to my left and right to check out the women around me. They were for the most part, tall, skinny, wearing matching yoga pants and sports bra, and it looked like they had zero percent body fat.
I self-consciously stared at my tummy and thighs in the mirror. I wanted to run off before the session started but held it together.
At SLT you’re required to wear grip socks but since I don’t own any I rented them for three dollars. Since this was my first class I paid $20 but a single class costs double! It seems it costs a lot of money to look good in New York City.
Before class started, the instructor introduced himself to me since I was the only newbie and gave me an introduction to the reformer. He explained in detail the different parts of the machine and how they were used. The arm rests were for planks and push-ups and there were bands specifically for your feet and hands. I felt overwhelmed as he went through each side of the reformer and how to properly position yourself but he assured me he would help me out during the class.
Class began swiftly after that with the hardest warm-up I’ve ever done.
We started off in plank position and sweat immediately began to roll down my face. Five minutes into our warm-up I was dripping with sweat.
It takes a lot of strength to hold your body into plank position for an extended period of time. I found it difficult to get used to the movement of the reformer. It would move underneath me as I tried to lunge or position my feet and I would instantly start shaking out of fear and exhaustion.
The instructor offered me several modifications because I wasn’t as flexible as everyone else. There were times when I couldn’t extend my leg fully out during leg lifts or lunges or keep my balance as we moved from one position to the next.
By the end of the class I could barely stand. My legs felt like jelly and I was dripping with sweat. It looked like I had just showered. I felt proud of myself for pulling through to the end and noticed all the model-like women were also sweating too so that made me feel better.
Even though the workout was low impact I felt like I got an excellent workout. I would rate this class a 9/10. The studio was impeccable, completely clean and aesthetically pleasing. The instructor was helpful and informative. He came over and adjusted my position whenever my hips fell or gave me modifications when I was struggling. Pilates is great if you’re looking to strengthen your core, better your posture and increase your flexibility.
The only reason I’m not giving this class a ten is because of the music. It needed to be louder (my heavy breathing was distracting) and the tempo should have increased during certain segments. I didn’t feel like the music matched our moves perfectly. To me, a class is great when your body is completely in synch with the music. The perfect playlist can motivate you and help you push yourself to the next level.
Try taking this class without smiling from ear to ear.
When I walked into Surfset’s studio I was impressed. The woman behind the front desk was inviting. Her energy was infectious.
She checked me and some other women in at the same time. She explained to us how the workout was going to go, who our instructor was and answered any of ours questions. She was bubbly, listened to all of our concerns and talked about her own experiences. It sounds crazy that I was impressed by that but I am a big fan of good customer service.
I have been to studios, restaurants, and stores where the managers and the rest of the employees are rude. If I walk into a gym and the manager is rude it can completely kill my workout. If you don’t care about the customer then the customer won’t care about your business. Simple as that. So it’s always nice to meet people that are truly interested in you and their job.
Again, something in common with New York City studios, the space was very small. All of these classes feel pretty intimate because at the most they can fit ten to fifteen people, which is great because that means the instructor won’t neglect anyone because they’re never overwhelmed by the size of the class.
All of the surfboards were clean. They had spray bottles and rags for you to wipe them down. The class is done completely barefoot and there are times when you aren’t on your surfboard. Doing jumping jacks, running in place or squatting in your bare feet on the ground can be dangerous and hurt your feet but they rectify this by placing thick ocean blue yoga mats behind each board.
We did a quick warm-up behind the board and then jumped on. Since it was a beginner class the instructor explained in detail how to find your balance on the board. I appreciated that he kept repeating it was okay if we couldn’t find our balance and it was okay if we were scared. He said we’d feel comfortable by the end of the class. Our body and our minds needed to get used to the fact that we were on this unstable board trying to find our footing.
I have no shame in admitting I was the weakest link in the class. I struggled to find my balance so the studio manager had to keep coming by and holding my board down to help me get stable. At one point she also held my hand as I tried to lunge on the board. Since she herself takes the classes and also surfs, she knew what the proper form was and took her time to help me get there.
The instructor could also tell I was struggling but never made me feel ashamed about it. He clapped his hands for me, yelled my name in the microphone when he saw the look in my eyes that said I wanted to quit, and gave me a big high five at the end of the class because I no longer needed any assistance by the time we were finished. My form and confidence improved by the end.
Even though I struggled I smiled through the entire workout. Pretending to swim through the waves, listening to summer themed music and using the actual lingo of surfers might sound cheesy and maybe it was but that’s what makes it fun!
This class is a solid 10/10. I was completely sore when I left. My core and legs were on fire the rest of the day because you had to engage them during the entire class in order to keep your balance. Surfers are notorious for have amazing bodies and abs that I could only wish for. Now, I might be able to make my wish come true.
Even though the class is pricey ($25 first class; $32 for a single session) I would go again because it’s so much fun. This is not something you would get bored of. No matter your level there’s always a challenge to take on-whether it’s trying to do a handstand on the board or something else that’s just as wild.
Also, I can now say I’ve been surfing…just not in the water!
What’s your favorite fitness class? Let me know in the comments below. I’m itching to try Soul Cycle (so expensive!) and some others in New York City. If you’re in NYC leave some recommendations for me down below.