For over a year, I have been dying to try a class at Physique 57 in New York City. I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but I knew it was a combination of dancers’ exercises with pilates, yoga and strength training flair. Kelly Ripa, gym-rat extraordinaire is a self-proclaimed follower of the studio and I am a fan of the peppy talk show host.
No, I didn’t see her but I did see Tory Burch on my way there!
On Monday, I found out I’d be visiting “The City” from Sunday to Monday for a couple business meetings. Right away, I sent an email to Physique 57 asking if I could come in and try a class. Not even an hour later, they responded! The brand immediately grew a magical halo for that kind of customer service/social media attention in my eyes.
I went in Monday morning for an Open class with Nora at 8:30 am at the studio on 57th street (which I guess is where they get the name). We began by grabbing a pair of weights. I grabbed a set of the 5 lb dumbbells. After a few warm up exercises to get our heart rates elevated we picked up the dumbbells for a few upper body exercises like bicep curls, tricep rows and kickbacks. Basic strength training moves that threw me through a loop because I was expecting more “dancer” movements. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the arm portion of the class. Next time I would opt for the 8 lb weights (my bad).
Like Body Pump, it seemed that each song was dedicated to a body part. I like when classes do this, especially if they use popular songs because I like to know when the sets are going to end so I can really max out. I tend to hold back when I think I’m going to be doing leg lifts for 10 minutes.
The leg portion was the toughest. We didn’t use any weight, just the bar and a ball that looked like a dodgeball. We did simple pulse squats hanging on to the bar, fun hip rolls that made me feel sexy, plie squats with the ball in between our legs and a fun single leg kick series that burned my side bum. I needed to take a few leg stretch breaks during the songs. It was intense but I was able to complete most repetitions. I had never used a bar before and enjoyed the new challenge. We even did a few standing split leg lifts that I love from my favorite Yoga class in Boston, but that was it for Yoga influence.
The ab series was great, probably my favorite “sprint” as they were called. It had a very Pilates flavor but most movements were unique. We used a strap wrapped around the bar, the ball, a cushion and a mat for our core. I like it when my classes use props. That way I know it’s not something I would/could do on my own. They use the props to protect posture and increase intensity. It works. My abs were shaking, my neck didn’t hurt, and it was a good burn. At times, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, so beginners don’t feel bad.
In total I burned about 350 calories during the hour long workout (Yes, I wore my heart rate monitor). It was a good strength training hour that I supplemented with city walking for my day’s workout.
As with most of my class reviews, I acknowledge that if I took the class again and again, the calorie burn would increase. I would be able to choose the more appropriates hand weights, reduce “figuring it out” time, and be able to max out when I know the approximate duration of each sprint.
The class combined traditional strength training with a dancing/Pilates twist that I really enjoyed but would not rely on totally for my exercise. I would love to try a different class but as a beginner it is recommended that you start with the open class. They also offer classes that vary in levels of difficulty, specialize in prenatal fitness, yoga, strength training and Pilates. It is however a little pricey with classes ranging from $18-35 per class with 3 studios in NYC and one in LA. Thankfully they do have a DVD series that you can buy if you are interested in trying it out yourself.