With such busy day-to-day schedules, it can be tough to fit in a regular exercise regimen. One easy way to make time for some cardio and sculpting (and to indulge in pasta at Babbo guilt-free) is by booking a class during your vacation. In New York City, several specialty workout classes have evolved to target and tone just about any body part. Here are our top five picks:
This ballet barre class is about as intense as a sculpting class is going to get. (Kelly Ripa and Christy Turlington are big fans.) With arm weights and multiple reps kicking things off, the routine quickly revs up to pliés, leg lifts, and balletic squats. The unconventional exercises hit up all sorts of unused muscles, including those hard-to-work inner thighs. The hour-long class (well, technically 57 minutes, hence its name) closes with a tough set of ab exercises for a true full-body workout.
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Insider Tip: Be prepared to hold your own against a cadre of svelte females clad in Lululemon (you might want to leave the sloppy sweats at home). And though there is a separate locker room for men, note that very few members of the male species have endeavored to try this thigh-shaking workout.
Book It: Visit Physique57.com.
With pumping nightclub music and a fanatic following, SoulCycle has managed to breathe new life into your regular ol’ spin classes. This 45-minute grinder includes weights for a full-body workout. Diehard spin enthusiasts can opt to challenge themselves in the 60-minute Soul Survivor class, or test out our favorite, Soul Bands, which uses resistance bands to create long and lean upper-body muscles.
Insider Tip: Certain locations, like the one in Union Square, fill up faster than others. Try different outposts for more scheduling flexibility.
Book It: Visit Soul-Cycle.com.
The classes at this Midtown West location were created by two triathlon regulars: George Vafiades and Mark Merchant. As such, expect to burn off last night’s indulgences through spurts of interval training (think boot camp without the gimmicky angry "sergeant"). Exercises take into account your personal body weight, and the movements get back to basics, such as reeling in heavy rope or using resistance bands to create outer leg tone.
Insider Tip: Drop-in prices are costly. One class will set you back $50, but each session goes for a calorie-burning 75 minutes.
Book It: Visit As1Effect.com.
Pilates Pro Works
This new San Francisco transplant is getting underground buzz for its specially designed FitFormer—a slightly tweaked Pilates reformer machine made of titanium and bamboo. Unlike some slower Pilates classes around town, sessions here fly by quickly and build up some serious core strength in the process.
Insider Tip: Like most Pilates options, keep in mind that this one doesn’t involve much cardio.
Book It: Visit www.PilatesProWorks.com.
Alvin Ailey Extension Classes
Ever dream of being a dancer? Well, even if your nickname isn’t quite twinkle-toes, you can hop, skip, and twirl amongst the best of them at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center. The storied institution offers daily classes ranging from basic fitness (Zumba) to more advanced dance technique (like level 2 ballet or intermediate Capoeira). The instructors are top-notch and the beautiful glass-enclosed space (featured in such TV shows as Smash) is well worth the trip for dance buffs.
Insider Tip: Heed the level indicated on the schedule—certain programs can be quite advanced. If you do, however, have three or more years of professional training, contact the Ailey School directly for information on taking professional classes.
Book It: Visit www.AlvinAiley.org.
Thinking of a trip to New York City?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our online New York City Travel Guide.
Photo Credit: Courtesy SoulCycle