New York City. My second home. Or maybe third, or fourth. Who actually knows at this point? I’ve left so many pieces of myself in different cities I’ve travelled to, but New York holds a special place in my heart. Its bustling streets, sweaty and smelly as they are in the heat of summer, are alive with a kind of electrifying hum that is hard not to get caught up in. It’s contagious, and every time I’m there I spend most of my time just roaming the streets, hungrily soaking up the city’s energy.
But for a city famous for its pizza slices and pretzel carts, how does a herb nerd and health nut keep himself fit and healthy?
I was recently there for seven (yep, seven) weeks on a very (very) extended holiday—I mean, vacation. But despite all the talk that New York is a tricky city to be healthy in, I always find the opposite. The sheer size of it—as well as the diverse tastes of people who call it home—mean that it’s grown into a city of almost endless options. You can have anything you want in New York City, if you’re willing to look for it. In fact, and particularly in terms of its fitness offerings, I think the New York health scene is as exciting as that of its west coast competitor, Los Angeles.
You just have to know where to go.
These guys need no introduction, and claim to be the original high-intensity workout. Their combination of resistance exercises with treadmill work (and I mean WORK) has made them the choice of celebs, as well as us mere mortals looking for a killer session every time. The days are split by body type—arms on a Monday is a favourite of mine, but legs and booty Tuesday is pretty a close second.
If you’re not heading to the states any time soon, you can still get a taste of Barry’s at their first ever Aussie location in Surry Hills.
Don’t forget to refuel with a smoothie afterwards—try the Salted Caramel Macadamia, Bombshell, or Minted Vegan for a protein hit that I helped design. You won’t regret it.
Founded by an ex-Barry’s trainer, the similarity in look and feel is obvious when you arrive for this boxing-inspired workout: like Barry’s, the rooms are dimly lit and pumping with music. But instead of a treadmill, you’ll be stationed at a water-filled bag and will move between throwing punches, and doing resistance movements at your floor station.
Seriously fun if you’ve got some pent up frustrations and want an inanimate object to take it out on.
Who would have thought you could do a whole circuit session based around the rower? Well, you can. These guys focus on technique, and so you start very slow. Once you’ve learnt how to perform the movements with good form, slowly but surely the intensity creeps up. Add in plenty of repetitions of a few light dumbbell exercises, and you have a complete workout. I wouldn’t say the workout is as sweaty as Barry’s or Rumble, but it’s fun for a change.
Warning: only go here if you like working out to the point of passing out. I’m a pretty fit guy, but I was clutching my chest ten minutes into it—and we hadn’t even finished the warm up yet! This place promises to train you ‘like an athlete’ and run you through a full-body workout that keeps your heart thumping for every single second of the hour you’re in the room. To be honest, I found it to be a little too much. A handful of people left halfway through, and others were made to feel bad for sitting out exercises when they’d worked beyond their limit.
But if you’ve done every other class on the list and want a fitness experience that will take you above and beyond the next level, this is it.