Many fitness studios claim to cultivate community, but Shaktibarre genuinely walks the talk. Co-founders Corinne Wainer and Shauny Lamba are on a mission to make the studio’s signature class – a sweaty barre-yoga hybrid with a strong feminine influence (Shakti is the Sanskrit word for divine female energy) – accessible to everybody. Both this location and its Harlem studio were crowdfunded, and Shaktibarre gives back with sliding-scale prices and a vibrant café/hangout space where you can stick around after class and grab a matcha.
Flywheel, Williamsburg, Brooklyn | Courtesy of Flywheel Sports
Expertly assembled playlists and a leaders’ table designed to ignite competitive drive will have you working full tilt at Flywheel. A combination of heavy climbs and flat sprints activates the muscles in your lower body and core, while a hand-weights section ensures your arms get fatigued too. There’s no slacking off at Flywheel. Each bike is fitted with a monitor tracking your speed, power and torque (resistance), so you’ll keep pushing yourself and competing with your neighbors.
With Y7, fitness entrepreneur Sarah Larson Levey proved once and for all that yoga is a serious workout. At this studio you flow through dynamic vinyasa sequences that build strength and flexibility while raising your heart rate. The room is atmospheric – lit by candles, heated to 80-90F (27-32C) using infrared technology and reverberating with hip-hop tunes. You move, you sweat, you breathe. By the time class wraps up with savasana pose, your body feels wrung out and euphoric.
This barre franchise is flourishing for a reason. Its collection of precise workouts uses isometric movements to exhaust all muscle groups, building strength without the risk of injury that can come with high-impact exercises. For a sweatier, more cardio-intensive class try fast-paced Pure Empower, which mixes elements of the signature Pure Barre class (ballet barre-focused moves) with interval-training elements like mountain climbers and speed squats.
New York is saturated with boutique boxing studios, but only Overthrow has that rough-around-the-edges fight-gym atmosphere, the kind that makes you feel like a badass. The Underground Boxing class, taught by pros and top-level amateurs, incorporates bag work with shadow-boxing and conditioning drills. Expect to be completely spent and in need of a shower by cool-down time.
The Orange Theory workout is essentially a circuits class incorporating cardio machines like treadmills or rowers with equipment for strength training – all modifiable to meet you wherever you are on your fitness journey. Sign up and you’ll be given a heart-rate monitor. The aim is to get into the “orange zone” – 84-91 percent of your maximum heart rate – ramping up the so-called afterburn effect (the number of calories you burn post exercise session). If you love digging into science and tracking metrics, this studio is for you.
Sequences at Modo Yoga studio are built around a set of 40 specific poses, performed in a hot room – 98F (37C) and 35 percent humidity – to soften muscles and increase flexibility. In the classic Modo class each posture is held for up to five cycles of breath, enough time to consider your alignment and challenge your muscles in order to build strength.
SoulCycle class in session, Williamsburg, Brooklyn | Courtesy of SoulCycle
The fact that SoulCycle is still winning new devotees more than a decade after its launch speaks to just how transformative this workout can be. The rhythmic rides, candlelit ambience and motivational mantras are addictive. To lead a SoulCycle class instructors must go through a rigorous training process. By mastering all the right elements – words, music, choreography – they provide an experience that will leave you feeling emotionally uplifted and physically released.
If you want to understand your body in a deeper way, Progressive Pilates will facilitate that education. The studio’s experienced practitioners are trained in a variety of modalities, from Alexander technique and Thai yoga bodywork to reflexology, giving them a unique understanding of how to teach biomechanical movement and postural alignment. Several sessions in, you’ll feel stronger in body and calmer in mind.
Kula Yoga in Williamsburg, Brooklyn | Courtesy of Kula Yoga
The Williamsburg outpost of Kula Yoga Project is housed in a warehouse building with red-brick walls and wooden beams. The Shanti Shack – its adjoining healthy food and beverage bar – is a great place to fuel up after class. Creative sequencing and fastidious alignment are the best descriptors for Kula’s signature style of yoga. Don’t miss the Honey Flow – a one-hour, dynamic and challenging vinyasa followed by 20 minutes of yin yoga (long, deep stretches) and a 10-minute restorative section to finish.