Fitness has truly transcended dingy gyms and uninspiring group workouts; particularly in New York, where trends and empires are spawned. These 10 studios offer innovative workouts, charismatic instructors and curated aesthetics — a magical combination that makes them the most raved-about exercise spots in the city. Book a class and get addicted.
Y7 Upper East Side Yoga Studio
Y7 is yoga reimagined for New Yorkers. Twenty-somethings in tank tops emblazoned with hip hop/yoga puns (“Brooklyn We Flow Hard”) flock to the city’s five locations for smart sequences practiced in a heated candlelit room. The soundtrack is exclusively rap / R&B — a huge contrast to traditional harmoniums and sanskrit chanting, but it more than works; it’s inspired. With the lights down low and the bass cranked up, you’ll get out of your head and into the poses like never before.
The original SKY TING YOGA (there’s now a Tribeca location, too) is perched on a rooftop in Chinatown. A giant stuffed toy giraffe — the studio’s spirit animal — watches on as sunshine streams through multiple windows, spotlighting rows of closely laid mats. Since opening in 2015 SKY TING has become one of the coolest yoga spots in the city, thanks to airy styling and some seriously slick sequencing by the co-founders Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan. Catch their classes for the full SKY TING experience.
One of the co-founders of Tangerine Hot Power Yoga — Downtown Brooklyn’s slickest fitness space — has a background in design, which is evident in the studio’s rustic wood panel walls and reflective metallic surfaces. The studio specializes in heated vinyasa with an emphasis on self-acceptance and empowerment — a signature style that has cultivated a loyal community. What’s more, freshly-laundered towels and Manduka mats are provided free of charge for all yogis. Increasingly rare perks in this city.
At WOOM Center immersive fitness finds its perfect match. This pioneering studio takes yoga to the next level, with a sensory twist involving kaleidoscopic light projections, sound baths and post-class healthy elixirs. Besides mats and props, WOOM also provides blindfolds — perfect for shedding your inhibitions during chanting, as well as enhancing breath work and deepening meditation. Reception doubles as a laid-back hangout area with food and drink, squishy sofas and a communal work / dining table. The kind of place you could happily spend a few hours before chaos (life) resumes.
Of all the trendy boxing gyms in NYC, The Dogpound — which opened in an industrial all-black space in Tribeca, in March 2016 — might just be the hippest. The studio has a roster of celebrity and supermodel clients who laud the workout for its calorie burning potential, many of whom rise for the exclusive invite-only 5:45am session. The studio’s signature class, ominously named “The Machine Gun”, is an ass-kicking blend of yoga, resistance training, core strength, cardiovascular endurance, and of course boxing, said to burn up to 700 calories an hour. Be warned: a brief break to re-tie your shoelaces or tighten your ponytail will get you 25 burpees as punishment. These guys don’t mess around, which is why they excel at getting results. The Dogpound, 1 Renwick St, New York, USA, 10013 +1 646 620 6533
After the Victoria’s Secret Angels made Gotham Gym one of the most popular places to punch a pad, it opened up a second ultra-hip location in SoHo, with a ring presided over by a video projection of Muhammad Ali. Sweat-inducing partner boxing drills are choreographed to a soundtrack of hard hip hop, and walls are stenciled with irreverent quotes like “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” (Mike Tyson). In other words, Gotham G-Box is one of the most Instagram-ready places to workout in the city.
A live DJ spinning throwback tunes and swirling disco lights make 305 Fitness feel like a party without the booze, and the decor — from the pink neon Girls Girls Girls sign to the portraits of Beyonce that line the hall — aligns perfectly with the girls’ night out vibe. The workout is a high-energy blend of dance cardio, strength moves focused on one specific body part, and sprints that will leave you breathless. Good news is, it’s so much fun you’re likely to forget how hard you’re working.
One look at the rock solid core and taught limbs of a reformer Pilates devotee and you’ll be convinced that these machines do the trick, even if they do bear an erie resemblance to medieval torture racks. New York Pilates was founded by former ballerina Heather Andersen, and focuses on providing a head-to-toe workout that enlists all the muscles groups, large and small, to sculpt lean, capable bodies. The studios are white-washed and sun-drenched with strategically placed emerald-hued plants, like the minimalist New York apartment of your dreams.
A relative newcomer to the New York fitness scene, it didn’t take long for crowdfunded SHAKTIBARRE to make its mark, garnering a slew of press coverage and an engaged community. The multifaceted space — which is home to a studio, workspace, therapy room and community cafe serving seasonal dishes inspired by ayurveda — is like the Cheers of yoga studios; welcoming and inclusive every time you stop by. SHAKTIBARRE’s signature workout is a mix of yoga and barre. A hybrid that gives good burn, with the addition of mind-body benefits to leave you serene and ready to face the city.
Billed as a “cathartic mind-body experience,” The Class blends the cardio and strength elements of calisthenics and plyometrics, with the mindfulness of yoga. It strengthens and challenges you physically while calming and releasing you mentally. Founder and figurehead, Taryn Toomey, has steadily built what can only be described as a loyal fanbase, with popular bi-coastal studios and international notoriety. The newest studio, down in Tribeca, is a bright and breezy space with quartz crystals embedded in its pale floorboards — all the better for banishing “sludge”, Toomey’s word for heavy, negative energy.