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Flatiron Fitness First-Timer

My name is Kim Lynch and I am the newest member of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership's staff. When I started working for the BID this summer and commuting to the area daily, I began to explore fitness studios in the Flatiron District for the first time. Much to my excitement, I found some go-to fitness favorites that offer enjoyable workouts that help ease my guilt over how much cheese I ate during lunch.

Broadway Bodies, 50 Lexington Avenue  

Broadway Bodies is a dance studio that teaches high-energy, achievable choreography inspired by favorite music videos and Broadway shows. My dance moves do not extend far beyond the classic combination of a head bob and rocking back and forth, so when I walked into a #TwerkThursday class to learn "Pony" by GINUWINE, I was unsure of what to expect. I naturally took comfort in a spot towards the back, but I quickly learned that this studio prioritizes a comfortable space for people to let loose and genuinely have a good time. Before class started, the instructor asked all first-timers to raise their hands, and then the instructor, along with the rest of the class, turned to all newbies to give a warm, excited welcome. Throughout the class, the instructor also asked participants to shake hands with the person next to them, and shift places around the room so no one is ever left feeling lost in the back. These gestures helped break the ice and made for a fun, welcoming group. During class, I definitely fumbled through some of the choreography, but no one cared. Everyone was too busy having a good time to notice and eventually, I was too busy to care, too. Class finished with a quasi-dance battle, which was more fun than competitive. It is a rare experience to laugh and smile so much during a fitness class that still felt like a successful workout. Broadway Bodies claims "enjoying yourself is truly the only thing that matters" and after taking a class, I can definitely vouch for that.    

Brrrn, 107 West 20th Street 

The buzzworthy, cool temperature fitness studio Brrrn is the first of its kind in offering classes at three temperature levels - 45, 55, and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with each having a unique class instruction. I hate the cold, and like most native New Yorkers, love to complain about the weather when the temperature starts to drop. But, I came to Brrrn with an open mind. Naturally, I signed up for the 60-degree "FLOW" class that fuses yogic-movement with mobility and meditative exercises. The workout felt like a remixed yoga class with some strength training, and walking into what felt like a giant refrigerator was a refreshing break from the heat outside. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the cool-temperature as I was working out. The instructor was super engaging, which helps keep your motivation and attention level throughout the 45-minute class. I liked the variation within the workout, as the group exercises shifted between yoga poses, strength training, and cardio. The class was different and exciting, which made the time go by fast. We even lifted these massive ropes that the instructor seemed to improvise on the spot as he was getting creative with the workout. Overall, Brrrn lives up to its hyped reputation. I felt challenged, and the temperature of the space begins to not feel as cold once your heart rate begins to rise. If you are tired of the same routine workout, Brrrn's fitness classes offer a unique workout experience led by informative, patient instructors.    

Exhale19 West 21st Street 

Exhale has an impressive following, and it's easy to see why after taking a class. The beautiful space and the friendly staff create an inviting studio atmosphere. When an instructor at the front desk realized it was my first time at the studio, she kindly offered to give me a grand tour of the studio. At exhale you have your pick of Barre, Cardio, and Yoga. I signed up for a "Cardio Blast" class that included kickboxing, high-intensity intervals, and weight resistance training. You certainly break a sweat during the cardio intervals, and the kickboxing helps you work out the stress of the day. The instructor and her playlist helped keep my momentum going throughout the sets. This cardio class was one of the more challenging workouts I have done - the type of class that leaves you sore for several days. At the finish of class, I was relieved and I felt a sense of accomplishment, which is a gratifying feeling after a good workout.  

INSCAPE, 45 West 21st Street 

I am a firm believer that mental health is just as important as physical health, so I was curious about INSCAPE, a community space for group meditation and relaxation. Classes are audio-guided with an instructor who sits in the middle to serve as an example and answer questions. I took "Balance: Focus 35", a class that focuses on channeling inner strength to help you find your center, and "Heart: Loving Kindness 35", a class that encourages an appreciation for everything in your life and increases self-awareness. When entering the meditation dome (a colorfully lit space that gives a Burning Man vibe to the room), the instructor puts a calming lavender oil on your wrists that I smelled frequently on my subway ride home. Once inside the dome, with pillows and a soft blankets, you pick a comfortable spot to sit. The meditations involved breathing exercises, intention setting, visualizations, and gentle movements all set to peaceful music. The class became something I looked forward to attending after work. Sessions help you let go of the stress of the day, as you feel noticeably calm and refreshed afterward. It is easy to find yourself wandering the studio's space after class. The studio is filled with bean bags, intention books, and a teapot, plus there's a cool gift shop with various books, oils, candles, et cetera. Inscape offers relaxation classes that are experienced lying down, which is next on my list. 

Mile High Run Club, 24 West 25th Street 

Anytime I leave Mile High Run Club, I have that very dishelved, dripping-in-sweat look, which is a rewarding appearance. Mile High Run Club is a gym that provides group treadmill classes. I signed up for an hour-long "Distance" run and a "Dash 45" class. During the classes, a knowledgeable instructor provides guidance and instruction while you run so you can get the most out of your workout. Even though this is a group class, runners can go at their own pace as the instructor shouts out level changes (that you personally define) as opposed to a specific speed for you to run. Whenever I take a class at MHRC, I run a distance twice what I normally would run if I were solo on a treadmill at a standard gym. Along with the instructor's encouragement, the dimly lit room with neon lights and upbeat music create a dynamic environment that motivates you to push forward. Mile High Run Club offers runners of all levels a class where you feel challenged and in control. 

Uplift Studios, 24 West 23rd Street 

Uplift is a women-only fitness studio and female society that strives for an empowering social community. I honestly feel a change in the environment working out at Uplift. The age range, level of fitness experience, and body types vary, which is something I appreciate in group fitness classes. I am sure I can speak for many that working out can feel intimidating, especially when you feel like the only person in a room who's not a fitness fanatic on an all-kale diet. The classes are pretty intimate with around 10-12 women working out at one time. The instructors make a genuine effort to learn your name, and they walk around the room to correct/compliment form and offer insight one-on-one. The workout itself is engaging in the sense that I’m not counting down the minutes until I escape and go home. The instructors coordinate unique intervals of strength training and floorwork with weights and resistance bands and the playlists are so good that I walked up to an instructor after class to compliment her selection and asked her the name of a song. Uplift creates a very welcoming space with intense classes that women seriously enjoy. 

Y7 Studio,  25 West 23rd Street 

Y7 is a hot yoga studio that offers a mirrorless, candlelit space kept at a temperature between 80 and 90 degrees. The "WeFlowHard Slow Burn Yoga" class focuses on holding postures for longer periods of time to allow deeper stretching and toning. This class is a slower-paced vinyasa yoga that is good for those just starting to explore yoga as a regular workout. The instructor was very informative and encouraging. The poses were challenging, and I definitely felt sore the next day. The dark, warm room, along with the soothing music, create a calming workout experience that you will want to do again.   

Picture Credit: Y7 Studio

For a full listing of the myriad of fitness options in the neighborhood, visit our Flatiron Guide.


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About: Kim joined the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership in June 2018 as Research & Marketing Associate after earning her Master's in Public Administration from Baruch College, and previously interned with the Flatiron BID. Kim enjoys photography, stalking puppy accounts on Instagram, and plenty of chocolate chip cookies. 

Note: Each fitness class featured in this article was purchased by Kim, independently of her work at the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership.