Fitness in New York City, like all other things New York, is next level. From a plethora of classes that range from hip-hop yoga at Y7, to AntiGravity Flying Classes at ANYA (not kidding), to an introductory pole dancing class at Body & Pole, the options are endless and so are your reasons to work out. While ClassPass is a coveted option by many of my friends (the hot ones), it’s also not the cheapest. I don’t know about you but the option to spend $100+ on working out seems to me like a poor reason to tell myself that I can’t spend money on clothes (thrifted, of course). Like many of my fellow millennials, I simply opt to spend $26 a month for a membership to Blink Fitness; and when I say workout, to me that usually means going on the elliptical for 45 minutes. Sure I’ve gone to Soul Cycle, sure I like going to Yoga when I’ve got some loose cash for a donation but who has that kind of time, that kind of money?
Apparently on a Saturday morning in October, I did. It all began with an email whose subject line read, “Oh haay! Welcome to the ((305)) family! (impt info here!)” These fitness classes don’t just make you sweat, look! They have personality too. My roommate, Alex, and I had been talking for some time about taking a dance class and honestly, I’d filed it away as a pipe dream. She made the reservation for a 10:30 class and when I got (1) in my Inbox, I was pretty excited, but also pretty nervous. They even signed off with “Slay like it’s your birthday” instead of “Best,” or “Love,” I silently prayed that the moves that I practiced in the mirror would be good enough.
It was a chilly morning when we set out for class, meaning a beanie was necessary and I wore jeans over my workout pants, but things were about to heat up. ((305)) Fitness has two locations in the city, one by Washington Square Park and another at Midtown, East 33rd street. With a bit of help from Google Maps we found ourselves at the latter location on time, in my book that usually means 10 minutes before anything starts. Checking in was a matter of smiling, saying your name and acting like you belonged there as the hip instructors eyed you out, “first time is it?” OMG, well no shit. Heading downstairs, we were swallowed by neon pink light; there were sparkly streamers hanging from the stairwell creating the perfect “photo op” and the bathroom was so decked out that I couldn’t figure out how to use the soap dispenser and had to ask an unassuming blonde how she got the satisfactory suds on her hands (thankfully she had never been here before either).
But before I can divulge any more of my embarrassing yet liberating experiences, here are some helpful tips that will help you master class like a rump-shaking, booty-breakin pro (thots are welcome):
- Despite thinking you want to hide in the back of the class, being able to see yourself in the mirror helps: Yup, as soon as the studio doors opened, revealing a room with 2 walls covered in mirrors, the majority of the attendees headed for a spot in the back, in the corner. Alex and I were of the last people to enter the room and so inevitably, we got stuck in the middle of the class, front and center behind our lovely instructor Josh. Although it was by no means ideal, it was helpful to be able to check ourselves out, literally, as we moved between striking poses and cranking that souljah boy (one of my all time favorite moves). I mean how else were we supposed to see if we looked good or not? Because when it comes to dance, that’s half the battle until you’re ready to stomp the yard.
- This is not actually a dance class: Although I grew up dancing throughout high school and somewhat into college, and also spent a significant amount of time at cardio kickboxing classes at 24 Fitness alongside milfs of all ages and sizes, this was more of the latter than the former. While there were definitely some hyphy moves in there including the stanky leg, the elements of high knees, coupled with the weight training portion of the class (my underarm flab was thankful for this) made it definitely feel more like we here to sweat.
- Let go, LET. IT. GO.: “Oh my god, I can’t move like that! That’s embarrassing!” Might be your first reaction when your instructor gives you a sequence of hair flips, followed by a half-eight count of the shimmy – but isn’t that what you’re here for? The notion that everyone else in class is watching you to point out how “bad” at this you might be, is simply not the case. Alex and I were the only people of color in the class, but by no means were we made to feel like the odd women out. Once you let go, finding your own little place in the mirror, you’ll be astounded to see how much fun you can have. In tandem with that, the more calories you’ll burn because shaking your whole ass is so much more challenging than just shaking half of it. Here, you can be your extra self.
- Changing up your routine is just what you needed, but never knew: The gym, everyone knows that it’s more of an obligation than a way to stimulate those endorphins; but does that always have to be the case? After walking out of the 45 minute class at ((305)) I realized just how much I wasn’t having it during those 45 minutes of my adventures on the elliptical. While you won’t find me back at ((305)) anytime soon, my bank account is still shrugging its shoulders, I found myself more excited to go back to the gym as if some kind of metaphorical reset button was mentally pressed. Even if it’s perhaps only taking one workout class a month, switching it up can also mean turning up.
So what’s it going to be? Who is ready to become a part of New York City workout culture (Outdoor Voices leggings not included)? Hands up, if you’re a star.