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When it comes to getting (and staying) in shape, traditional gym memberships are usually the go-to option. But what New Yorkers might not know is that the city is rich with unique, out-of-the box fitness programs.
Say goodbye to the same old routine and check out some of these lesser-known classes that are sure to spice up your workout regimen.
Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp
If you're looking for a butt-kicking workout, why not do it on one of the city's most iconic landmarks? Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp offers high-intensity interval training that typically renders results in about five sessions. The program, which is an ideal cross-training workout, also uses specific types of resistance bands to support muscle definition.
"It's an outdoor, hour-long workout that takes participants across the Brooklyn Bridge and back," said founder Ariane Hundt. "We stop intermittently to do strength training exercises like pushups, lunges and squats."
Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp's biggest draw might be the view. With 6 a.m. classes, participants can get an intense workout while watching the sunrise over the East River. Similarly spectacular views can be caught during evening classes, when the sunset illuminates the Manhattan skyline.
For those who don't live near the bridge, the camp also offers classes in Central Park and Prospect Park. Class sizes range anywhere from 25 to 50 participants. Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp charges $15 for the first class, then $16 to $20 per class going forward. Clients can take advantage of a variety of perks including free birthday and anniversary classes. You also get a free class for every 10 that you complete.
If you're watching your budget, investing time in a no-cost, virtual gym might be worth exploring. Xmovo is just that — a social fitness experience where users interact with video content via their TVs.
"Xmovo delivers a unique option by making fitness truly social," said Ernesto Vila, President of Xmovo. "The platform opens on-demand virtual gyms with no more than 10 members capacity, allowing users a live interaction by commenting on, competing, and seeing each other's performance."
The program offers 45-minute, high-intensity classes that target fat loss, lean muscle gain, and total-body conditioning. Following their classes, users submit real-time data that is compiled on a dashboard. The platform's tracking system allows users to see their daily, weekly, and monthly progress, as well as the amount of work per body zone.
Users have the luxury of working out at home while still feeling the social connectivity that comes with group workouts. The program also praises individual efforts with reward points that can be cashed in for a variety of products and services.
"We believe that fitness and wellness should be accessible to everyone," said Vila. "Therefore, our platform has been carefully designed to provide a meaningful workout experience at no cost to its users."
You don't have to be a ballerina to take advantage of Pure Barre, a full-body workout performed alongside a ballet barre. The regimen is designed to amp up your hips, abs, thighs, arms, and bottom. Geared toward women, the program alternates between strengthening and stretching. Pure Barre claims that just 10 classes can produce real results.
"Pure Barre started as a way to tone up before my surprise wedding," said Keren Buynak, 30, of Manhattan. "After seeing my wedding photos, my friends and family finally understood why I was going so many times."
Buynak, a self-described "serial quitter" when it comes to workout plans, quickly became hooked by Pure Barre's instructors and lasting results.
"I started with a free week-long membership, but eventually went on to sign a 12-month contract."
The low-impact, 55-minute program avoids jumping, bouncing or any other movements that might strain joints. On the contrary, Pure Barre utilizes small movements aimed at creating long, lean muscles. Props like resistance bands and a small ball are used in addition to the ballet barre to deliver a calm (but intense) workout.
Classes are available at studios on the Upper West Side, Union Square, and in Brooklyn. For more information, visit www.purebarre.com.
Those out for a new take on indoor cycling might want to give SoulCycle a try. With core-engaging choreography, fat-burning cardio, and the implementation of hand weights, this wildly popular program is a big departure from spin class.
It's a high-intensity, hardcore workout that's also known for its upbeat, inspiring music. In fact, the best tunes for sweating it out in the studio are now available through a company Spotify profile called Soul Tunes. A typical SoulCycle class consists of dimmed lights, pumping music, and inspirational coaching. For clients like Louise Howard of Manhattan, that's exactly what makes it so appealing.
"I love SoulCycle for so many reasons," said Howard. "The workout, the instructors, the riders - many have become good friends, the energy, the music, the amazing staff, and the way SoulCycle uplifts and empowers you in so many ways."
Oprah, Madonna, and Lady Gaga are among the SoulCycle community, according to company spokesperson Vicky Land.
SoulCycle classes are available at 10 studios throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, but sessions don't come cheap. Classes go for $34 a pop in New York City.
For more adventurous fitness buffs, flying trapeze classes are an unconventional way to get your blood flowing.
That's right, flying trapeze.
Classes are available through Trapeze School New York (TSNY), with an outdoor location at Pier 40 at the South Street Seaport and an indoor location in Long Island City. Whether you're a trapeze pro or just a beginner, the school offers two-hour sessions for everyone.
"It's a very non-gym kind of full-body workout," said company spokesperson Nolan McKew. "You'll workout your shoulders, your lats, your core, your butt, your legs, everything. It's a great fitness routine."
McKew says that a common misconception is that you need to be able to do a pull-up and have really strong upper body strength to tackle the trapeze. In reality, this all develops as you go.
"We teach you everything you need to know," said McKew.
This includes learning the equipment, climbing the ladder, wearing the safety lines, and grasping the different required positions.
TSNY also offers 10-week intensive flying workshops in which participants train with the same class and same instructors to help them develop a full repertoire of tricks.
Classes will set you back anywhere from $50 to $70, but the thrill of flying through the air may be well worth it. To learn more, visit www.newyork.trapezeschool.com.