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Stay Classy

By Andrew Stone
Posted On Sep 15, 2016
Stay Classy

Find the most effective group fitness offerings (the Fhitting Room, Disq, Alvin Ailey extension classes). And with ClassPass, pick and choose to your heart’s delight.

Room at the Top

Mindless cardio? Boo. The elliptical may keep thighs from going viral, but they hardly take us to the next level. Kari Saitowitz, founder of the Fhitting Room (fhittingroom.com), felt the same.

Saitowitz—a former marketing exec at Pepsi-Cola Company—worked out often yet didn’t really feel in great shape. Eventually, she started personal training sessions and was introduced to high intensity training (HIT). “The results were incredible,” she says. “As boutique studios like SoulCycle, Flywheel, and CrossFit became popular, I knew this type of interval training would take off.”

The first Fhitting Room was born on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. (A second recently opened in Flatiron; new cities to come.) Saitowitz says it’s “the intersection of personal training and group exercise. Everyone leaves feeling accomplished.” Skilled instructors deliver an ever-moving cardio and strength-training workout via kettlebells, resistance bands, weights—anything that inspires instructor and guest.

HIT creates breathlessness through rapid-fire, ever-changing moves. “Your body works harder, which boosts metabolism, after-burn, and post-exercise oxygen consumption,” says Saitowitz.  The Fhitting Room also offers one big plus: “We have a co-instructor model. Having two instructors delivers a robust experience. They can play off each other, plus if someone needs attention the class won’t fall into a lull.” Expect tightening, toning, and endorphins galore.

Pass It On

As ever-more exercise studios open, consumers want to test the waters and avoid clunker classes. Enter ClassPass (classpass.com), an alternative to gym memberships that provides access to more than 1,000 exercise studios in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. (with more cities to come). For $99 a month, members avoid plateaus and beat boredom with access to oodles of yoga, Pilates, cycling, bootcamp, interval, dance, and martial arts experiences. Filter by neighborhood, time, and type, book on the site, and simply show up. (Guests can visit the same studio up to three times per month.) ClassPass is the brainchild of Payal Kadakia, a former strategist and founder of the contemporary Indian troupe Sa Dance Company. (She has danced professionally for 25 years.) “We began four years ago as a search engine,” Kadakia says. “It morphed into our current service a year and a half ago, and we’ve had over a million reservations since.” It’s every fitness fanatic’s prerogative to change her mind.

Dancing in Heaven

Before “group fitness” there was dance class, and it’s still arguably the best workout on earth. Offering classes for students of all abilities—street jazz and hip-hop to techniques based in West African, salsa, and Middle Eastern traditions—the Ailey Extension (part of New York’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) helps you connect with your creativity and transform your physique. If you’ve dreamed of gliding across a stage like an Ailey dancer or just longed to inhabit a strong, graceful dancer’s body, it’s never too late to get started. (Not in New York and ready to move? Explore your local YMCA!) Visit aileyextension.com or ymca.net.

Disq Drive

If you’re looking for a workout to help you feel like a true competitor, the Disq ($199, thedisq.com) was made for you. It was created by professional speed skaters to maintain their strength and stamina away from the ice. The device is worn on the body via a mobile belt and ankle straps, and has adjustable resistance for both indoor and outdoor workouts. It keeps tension constant, and as you get stronger, your resistance can increase. There are downloadable exercises available via the Disq app, as well as classes at Crunch Fitness gyms nationwide.

Get In Gear

Now that winter’s chill is going vamoose, gear up and get outside.

Track your progress with a Spree SmartCap and fitness monitor (spreewearables.com, $199). The temperature, heart rate, and movement monitor is built into the waterproof cap. Data is collected effortlessly as you wear the SmartCap, and syncs seamlessly with your smartphone via Bluetooth technology.

Have you been missing running and biking in the open air? Now’s the time to get outside, safely and in style, with illuminated items from 4id (4id.com). These waterproof and reflective glowing armbands, shoelaces, headphones, heel spurs, and bike wraps emit powerful strips of light in assorted of colors, and can easily be detached post-exercise. All items are prices under $25.

Another smart safety accessory for chilly late-spring evenings is the Strobeanie from 180s ($50, 180s.com), featuring a can’t-miss strip of LED light and moisture-wicking QuantumHeat fabric.

Get It Done

Danny Musico is our fave trainer to the stars, who holds court at his newly revamped training studio ABH (Above Beverly Hills) at the Sixty Hotel in Beverly Hills (sixtyhotels.com). The former Super Middleweight boxing champ, who has many irons in the fire, shares his top picks for training this spring.

Nexersys (nexersys.com) is a non-stop, interactive striking system that tracks your training, and gets your entire body ripped up. It can take a beating, too, no matter your size. I love that it calculates how hard you hit and how many punches or kicks you do, records workouts, and has a built-in virtual trainer.”

“The Real Ryder (realryder.com) is the ultimate spinning bike, with turning action that engages your core. Its handlebars and seat go up and down and in and out, so you’re comfortable and at the right height. The tension goes from zero to ‘climbing a mountain.’”

“The Helix Lateral Trainer (helixco.com) provides a great lower-body workout. If you’re after that skier or skater shape and looking to tone your glutes, butt, and legs, it’s got a great side-to-side motion which engages different muscles and burns tons of calories.”

“I’m a fan of David Weck, creator of Bosu balance trainers. He now has RMT Clubs (weckmethod.com) which are used like medicine balls. They engage muscles in many ways and are indestructible.”

Bauerfeind (bauerfeindusa.com) has arguably created the best made braces and supports out there. Kobe Bryant uses them, as do a lot of my celebrity clients. They hold up great in the wash, never lose their stretch, and have built-in padding. It lets you perform your favorite activities safely.”