Ah, New York City. Home to some of the best restaurants, most beautiful people, and the best gym concepts. The fitness scene’s exponential surge over the last few years have triggered a global search for fresh, new ways of working out, and the Big Apple has been the incubator of choice for many startups.
After all, it’s no secret that New Yorkers are a bunch of fitness-crazed enthusiasts that won’t stop at anything to get ripped. Workout trends there come and go faster than the bagels at the local breakfast joint, but there’s one thing that always remains constant — their thirst for body perfection.
Which brings us to the facilities there. Known for being achingly trendy, these New York gyms are far from being your cookie-cutter franchised outlets. They’re not jam packed with equipment that’s too complicated to use and trainers that will only supervise you for a few extra dollars. While they might still cost a pretty penny, they’re worth every dollar, with instructors who’re dedicated in helping you get the most out of each time you step through their door. Then there’s the ambience. You’ll be working out with good-looking people in a thoughtfully decorated space, which should be motivation enough to push through those last few squats.
With a bit of research, you’ll easily find a New York gym that suits your needs, but if you seek a unique fitness experience, these five stylish New York gyms are the ones to mark on your map. Some are Victoria’s Secret Angel-approved, while others are go-tos for professional fighters — if it’s good enough for them, it’s definitely good enough for us.
It’ll be like any other Sunday at the gym, except you’ll be surrounded by a convention of Victoria’s Secret Angels — no big deal right? Within the raw black confines of this Fabien Baron-designed space in Tribeca are smoked mirrors, exposed lights, and an industrial-style door that would be your gateway to a very sweaty afternoon. The gym’s motto is “Smash It”, and you’ll be physically challenged by the Dogpound method, which mixes personal and semi-personal training with the trademark Machine Gun workout — a gruelling fusion of yoga, barre, core strength and cardio moves.
Who would’ve thought that Angels loved punching things too? Yet another supermodel magnet, Gotham Gym is a boxing-specialised facility that creates workouts to slim and tone, without bulking up. The new space at Soho is dimly lit and suitably painted a slightly intimidating red. Amongst the many celebrity sightings are Cara Delevingne, Josephine Skriver, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Sara Sampaio, who have all worked out there with owner and trainer Rob Piela. Besides working with a 3-to-1 ratio of all-out training to rest, the trainers at Gotham also concentrate on “proprioceptive” training, which involves staying slightly off-balance during some of the sequences. Piela is also known to not repeat workouts, ever, so that’s probably what keeps everyone going back.
For S$34,000 a year, you can show up for a one-on-one session the highest level “Tier 4” trainers on equipment used by professional athletes, and then guzzle Fiji water and re-energise on all the fresh fruit you need. The new exclusive zone — simply called E — is located within the notoriously exclusive Equinox’s Columbus Circle flagship. You’ll also get your own private entrance and can work out in total privacy if you wish. As part of that extravagant price tag, you’ll get to do your sun salutations to an amazing view of the Big Apple. Oh, and E members also get access to any Equinox in the country, so all you business moguls can get your fitness on in complete luxury no matter where you are.
If you’re one of the rare few who find generic yoga too slow-paced, then perhaps you need to pay this studio a visit when you’re in the city. There’re no gentle voices to guide you through the motions, only Hip-Hop and trap music that punctuates the candlelit, mirror-less space so you can focus on your own practise instead of being distracted by that lady who’s struggling to get into position. Designed to be fun and challenging without sacrificing the peacefulness of yoga, the 60-minute classes are designed to be your sanctuary away from the frenetic New York City life.
The door to New York’s next big training ground is barely marked, but it hasn’t stopped both models and aspiring fighters from turning up by the troves. This is, after all, a boxing gym that counts Sylvester Stallone and Justin Bieber as investors. Set within the dark confines of “the dungeon” are bubble-like punching bags that are actually filled with water instead of the usual sand. The group fitness classes are set to hip-hop and mashups that permeate through the dark underground-esque spot with a premium nightclub quality sound system. Expect a potent mix of HIIT, strength training, metabolic conditioning and cardio packed into each class.