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What Exercise Classes Do You Like?

Five best exercise classes

Do you exercise? I’ve never really worked out (other than walking and biking around town), but recently I’ve grown curious about exercise classes. So many women swear by yoga or Pilates or kickboxing, and I was curious to see if I, too, could find something I loved. So, I tried five different classes, including one I was TERRIBLE at…

Henry Street Pilates Class

Henry Street Pilates, 45 minutes

What it is: Pilates uses slow movements to help develop core strength, improve flexibility and elongate muscles. (Amazing fact: The tower machine was originally designed on the bunk beds at the WWI internment camps where founder Joseph Pilates was a prisoner.)

How it felt: The towers always intimidated me (they sound like creaky roller coasters!), but you quickly get the hang of them. Henry Street Pilates can fit nine students, but there were only five people in each of the classes I took. The teacher learned everyone’s name and gave us very personal attention. We repeated movements over and over, while isolating muscles in our arms, then abs, then legs. (For an ab exercise, she said, “Imagine there’s a cactus in your lap, scoop your abs and don’t touch the cactus!”) The tower adds resistance and helps you control your body; since it’s sustainable and low-impact, you could probably do it your entire life. Our classmates were all different ages, and it was inspiring to see older women in such amazing shape. (That could be us!)

Soul Cycle Class

SoulCycle, 45 minutes

What it is: SoulCycle is an intense indoor cycling class, known for its super-sweaty classes with loud music and dark classrooms. It’s like working out at a nightclub.

How it felt: At first, I felt like I was in a sitcom parody of an exercise class: I joined 65 other riders on bikes in a small room, squeezed tightly together, with loud bumping music (Madonna, Jay Z). The room was pitch black except for the glowing red exit sign and candles around the instructor. You clip your bike shoes into the pedals, standing up to ride and doing push ups against the handlebars. The instructor yelled tough love (“What do you want?! What are you going to do to get there?!! Get your ass in the air!!!”). During the class, I was sweaty and red-faced, but didn’t really feel anything — I figured that since I bike around town, maybe my bike muscles were already strong. But the next day I was SO SORE. And then I realized: That’s the genius of it. You’re basically on drugs when you’re there. The music and darkness and crazy vibe distract you from feeling tired. I see why it has a cult following. If classes weren’t a whopping $34 (plus the $2 shoe rental), I would definitely go back.

The Cut at Equinox Kickboxing Class

Kickboxing, 45 minutes

What it isThe Cut at Equinox is a new fast-paced cardio class that mixes martial arts with challenging moves like sit-ups and planks, through five rounds of punching routines. You hold light hand weights for a lot of the movements, for added conditioning.

How it felt: My sophomore year in college, my roommates and I spent a semester obsessed with the Tae Bo DVD with Billy Blanks, so I was excited for this kickboxing class. And it didn’t disappoint. The teacher, who was like a brusque-but-encouraging drill sergeant, led us through combinations of punches, jabs, kicks and squats, along to an explosive soundtrack. The cardio was so fast-paced, the whole class was dripping with sweat just five minutes in. At the end of the class came “reactionary drills,” which were like Simon Says for adults — if the teacher yells, “up!” you jump into the air with your knees up; “down!” means squat, and “hit the floor” means dive on the floor. I was radiating so much heat afterward that I walked a mile home in my tank top, surrounded by people in winter jackets. Then I ordered a giant burrito and passed out at 9 p.m. If you did this workout twice a week, you would be a MACHINE.

Bar Method Brooklyn

Bar Method, 60 minutes

What it is: Founded by Burr Leonard in 1981, The Bar Method is meant to give students “lean, toned, healthy bodies for life.”

What it feels like: The teacher, who looked like a ballet dancer, led us through repetitions of teeny movements — e.g., squatting or lifting a leg while going “up an inch, down an inch, up an inch, down an inch” — that made my muscles burn. Just when I thought we were done, we’d do 30 more reps. I actually used labor techniques to power through them. In other bar classes, I’ve had a tough time following along and worried I’d pull a muscle; but here, the teacher explained each position first and corrected people’s movements without embarrassing them. At the end of a long day, I can feel anxious and stressed, but in this class, you have to stay SUPER present while concentrating on the movements; it’s almost like meditating. You pack so much into an hour and leave feeling proud of yourself. The welcoming studio feels like a lovely community of women, and this was my favorite of all the classes I tried.

Zumba Dance Class

Zumba, 45 minutes.

What it is: Zumba is a fast-paced dance fitness class combining hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. (Sometimes squats and lunges are also thrown in there, for “fun.”)

What it feels like: First, you should know: I am a terrible dancer. Terrible. Even at weddings, I do a sort of step-tap-step-tap move. So, heading to this class, I had major butterflies in my stomach, and would actually have bailed if Caroline hadn’t dragged me (she loves it). Our class was led by a professional dancer, who looked so joyful while shaking her hips, it was contagious. But then I saw myself in the mirror and actually laughed out loud at how insane I looked. Still, it was fun: She played everything from Beyoncé to Bieber, and showed us classic salsa movies and straight-up hip hop. The website says it’s easy-to-follow and good for all levels, but that ultimately depends on the instructor (and, of course, the dancer). I’ll leave that class to Caroline.

Do you take exercise classes? Which would you recommend? I’d LOVE to hear.

P.S. A beginner’s guide to running, and sneaky exercise.

(Top photo by Julia Elizabeth Photography for Cup of Jo. My shirt and top are from Tracksmith.)

  1. Lauren says...

    Orange Theory!! I LOVE it.

  2. Heather says...

    I haven’t tried soul cycle, but I do bike for exercise (spandex shorts and clip in shoes style). I have tried all of the other class types at least once and I think I’ve had a similar experience. I cannot dance or even clap to a beat at concerts, so Zumba was an embarrassment for me as well. It was still a good workout but too frustrating for me to commit to it. I’ll take Pilates over yoga and Barre over Pilates. Barre seems more difficult and though I know my technique was never perfect as a result, it was always a very satisfying and challenging experience. I love the cardio workout of kickboxing, as long as it is more kickboxing and less choreographed dancing. I like to focus on my form during the movements and I cannot do that if I’m struggling to keep up with a fast paced dance routing. I tried Turbo Fire from Beachbody at the recommendation from a friend and I just found it so frustrating. You need to be able to clap to a beat to keep up with those kickboxingesque dance routines!

  3. These are good exercises and I think choosing the best exercise depends on what type the person feels comfortable doing. As for me, I think I’d go for SoulCycle or Zumba.

  4. Colleen says...

    My favourites include: aerial yoga; TRX/ yoga (this is challenging for me because I cramp easily everywhere especially my abdomin); Pilates on the Reformer (again lots of foot cramps!) & Zumba.

  5. Anika says...

    My new obsession is rowing! I love the rhythm of it and it feels like a full body workout. Between that and yoga, I might have finally found exercise I actually love.

  6. Andrea says...

    I love Crossfit! I know it seems intimidating and I am by no means an athlete or in shape but the community is so encouraging. I have always hated going to gyms because I felt embarassed by my body but there is no shame at Crossfit. You do what you can today and tomorrow you will be surprised at how much stronger you are becoming!

  7. Andrea says...

    These classes are enticing, especially pilates. I took Bar Method religiously for a year and it cleared up all my aches and pains from working a 9-5 desk job. I now do the video at home every now and then. Zumba I took with my mom a few times at her gym and we had a blast!

  8. S says...

    Class Pass (is it in NYC?) is a great way to check out classes.

    Moksha Yoga is therapeutic for me. Not Bikram (crazyiness!).

    I wish classes weren’t so expensive now – so difficult to take individual classes to try certain classes in big cities.

  9. Kvramirez says...

    Joanna, did you have any favorites!?

  10. I used to love soulcycle, but I got out of the habit. My new favorite is definitely kickboxing, but I prefer the classes at Gotham gym. Also Model Fit is great!

  11. Jess Cash says...

    I live in Cape Town, South Africa so I tend to get outside for exercise. I recently decided I wanted to join a class based type of exercise to mix things up a bit and meet new people. I joined Roark Gyms, which has a cult following in Cape Town and Joburg. It is a combination of heavy weight training and cardiovascular work. The classes are small and lead by a personal trainer, so you get great one-on-one attention. I have been going three times a week for the past month and my body has been TRANSFORMED. I am completely addicted.

  12. I’ve tried all of the classes you did (maybe not the exact “brand”) but I always come back to spin and yoga. And I also will never do zumba again – I’ve never felt so uncoordinated in my life! My friend swears by Barry’s Bootcamp which I’ve been meaning to check out. It’s an hour class, half on the treadmill and half spent on the floor doing either arms, abs, or whole body depending on the day. I’ve also taken body pump classes (cardio/weights) and I really loved that.

  13. Ashley says...

    Which one was your favorite?!????!!!!

    (did I miss it, did you state which one was your fave?)

  14. Christina B says...

    I’ve been meaning to thank you for a post back in October of 2014, you were headed to see your sister and were going to try The Dailey Method barre class. I looked it up and founda class in my town (Birmingham, Michigan), bought myself a month of unlimited classes as a gift for quitting smoking for a year (almost 2.5 years now!) and have been giong at least 3 times a week ever since. I absolutely love it. The women are all amazing, warm, real people and are of all ages and body types. The classes do as much for my mental health as my physical well-being and I finally found a workout routine I love. So, thank you!

  15. Christina Rock says...

    Hi Joanna!

    What shoes are you wearing? So great.

  16. LOL love your commentary on each post! This is an awesome round up – thanks for trying each one and relaying your experiences with us! <3

  17. Catherine Davis says...

    Fun post. Try Elena Brower’s Deep House Yoga class next! Or any yoga class for that matter. You have so many great teachers in NYC.

  18. Sarah says...

    You should try y7 yoga in Brooklyn. And monster cycle in soho. And if you’re willing to try dancing again, banana skirt does Beyoncé dance classes in midtown. Definitely open to all levels and so fun

  19. Yoga, yoga, yoga and more yoga!

  20. I’m a huge fan of yoga, but definitely wanting to give Barre a try.

  21. Jess says...

    CrossFit! Anyone can do it, I’m middle aged and way out of shape, and work out with 60 year olds at my box. You gotta try it!

  22. Sophia says...

    I just really want to thank you for this post. It has inspired me to get back into working out. I’m two days in and already feel so much better than I did before.

  23. Katy says...

    Can’t believe you left out Hot Yoga!! I’m addicted… Core Power Yoga is a good company and reasonably priced. Can’t beat the burn for one hour class!

  24. Jodes says...

    Love the spinning at Byklyn on Flatbush and they are less expensive than Soul Cycle and less culty. I’ve also been taking kickboxing at a real DoJo, rather than a gym and it’s been great. The warm up alone is enough to kill you, but if you can get through that, you feel really accomplished :)

  25. Sarah says...

    Thanks, this was inspiring Jo. I want to take 5 classes of my own now!

  26. I am a huge fan of dance based cardio, Pilates, barre, and the occasional yoga class. After a long day of sitting in front of the computer, all of these classes serve me well by unkinking my muscles and making me feel amazing!

  27. Amy says...

    Orangetheory is my new fave!

  28. Aimee says...

    Would anyone be able to recommend a good yoga / prenatal yoga class on youtube? It’s been surprisingly hard to find a non-hot yoga class close to where I live. Thank you!

    • Katy says...

      YogaWorks online is pretty good and has TONS of classes. Subscription service. Was also a devotee of hot yoga before my pregnancy but am lucky enough to have alternatives :)

    • Emily says...

      I love https://yogisanonymous.com/ – there is a free trial you can check out. Tons of great content and wonderful teachers, including prenatal classes.

    • Karen says...

      Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube is good and free.

    • Sammi says...

      http://www.doyogawithme.com is great! fiji mcapline has some prenatal classes on there & there’s levels of all kinds. :)

    • Catherine Davis says...

      try yogaglo.com

  29. Taylor says...

    What type of shoes do you wear when you exercise, the ones in the picture are adorable!

  30. Mary says...

    Love this post. I’m addicted to classes. I simply can’t do DVDs or online videos at home, I need that person & place to hold me accountable. I do ClassPass and have tried out so many great studios & workouts. I fell in love with Pilates Reformer – I’ve been a mat pilates fan for a long time – and ended up buying packages from various studios in town after trying them out thru CP. Reformer is my favorite class, it makes me feel strong, balanced and confident. It’s all about the instructor and I tend to gravitate to classes with energetic, funny instructors. I also take a free HIIT (basically body weight, circuit training mixed with cardio) class 3 times a week in my n’hood, through the city’s parks & rec dept. It’s amazing, mixes just the right amount of strength training & cardio, plus it’s great to meet up with n’bors every week. Finally I throw in a spin class once a week too for added cardio. I’ve tried all the Soul Cycle-esque push up on bike classes and they’re fine, but feel so cult-ish & snobby. There’s a great studio here in DC – Off Road Cycling – that is high energy and fun and definitely intense, but doesn’t do any of the arm weights or push ups and it’s an awesome class – no drama, just a great workout. On top of that, I walk a lot – to & from the metro, to the store, just around town. Walking is a great form of exercise too!

  31. Hi Jo,
    If you have a chance to try a Lagree, do it! It’s fantastic.

  32. I’ve just started barre too, and I’m totally in love! I’ve also been going to a weekly yoga class which is much more about meditating and breathing. I feel so much better for doing something other than just running! Great read, soul cycle sounds insane!!

  33. Mallory says...

    I’ve been going to Zumba 1-2 times a week for 2 years now and I love it. It keeps weight off and is tons of fun!
    To stay toned I joined a beginner adult ballet class and it’s amazing! No recitals, just bar work and some routines. I’ve made new friends and gained a lot more confidence ever since I started going to fitness classes. It’s made working out “fun”.

  34. Jill says...

    I just joined a gym, and so far I’ve done zumba, yoga, and what they call body works – basically dumbbell strength training type stuff. I’ve loved them all!

  35. I’m starting a new workout class today! High intensity Pilates. And I’m so nervous! Do any of you have tips on how to overcome anxiety when starting a new class?

  36. Karen says...

    Hi! Thanks for the fun post. Much like your “favorite children’s books” post, I am enjoying the comments as much as the post itself. It is SO nice to hear from a range of different age groups too. I am 46 and have been struggling to find a workout that fits into my working mother schedule (I applaud you 5AM exercisers). I just took the plunge and signed up for a 6 week circuit training type workout, mostly because it fits into the 2 mornings/week time slot I have for exercise. Left my first class this morning with my legs feeling like wobbly rubber bands. Ha. But, I’m excited to build up my strength again so I can keep up with my very active 3 year old! In the past, I have enjoyed pilates, hiking, run/walking intervals, crosstraining-type group fitness classes. In the future, I hope to take a beginner ballet class and I would also love to try rock climbing.

  37. I’m a big fan of spin classes, like a few other commenters. There’s just something about getting up early and completing that workout that really drives the rest of my day.

  38. Thanks for this post! I have been curious about Bar Method and wanting to add it in with my CrossFit classes once marathon training is over (BARF). I adore CrossFit. I know it looks “scary” and it is tough but RESULTS, man. I started as a last ditch effort after trying a bunch of things to finally lose weight. It’s been the only thing that works.

  39. Janet says...

    O R A N G E T H E O R Y! Try it!! It’s the best comprehensive workout that combines treadmill work (walking/jogging/running), rowing, and weights/body weight exercises. I haven’t met anyone who has tried it and not signed up for a membership. It’s the best!

    • Megan says...

      I recently started Orange Theory as well and absolutely love it. I’ve always loved running, but after knee surgery a few years ago followed by another fall and persistent knee issues, running outdoors isn’t really an option anymore – and I’ve always hated running on the treadmill. But somehow I really love the running component of OT, and I always leave feeling like I’ve worked my a*^ off and am already seeing a difference in my body in a few short weeks…

    • I really want to give Orange Theory a try! I love the concept & I have to really feel the burn during a workout!

  40. Susan H. says...

    My sister, my co-worker and I (all 55+ in age) signed up for adult tap dance classes last summer and we are having a ball! The class is only 30 minutes once a week, but it really gets your heart going and you work up a good sweat. We have our first recital in a month and we are doing extra practices at the studio so we won’t embarrass ourselves in front of our families! The hardest part was trying to remember the routine from week to week; I finally had to write down the steps so I could imprint it on my memory.

  41. I box and absolutely love it. It’s so fun, fast, and you don’t even realize you’re working out (well you do in the sense that you feel like you’re dying, but you don’t because it’s just so fun!) Plus, the community is amazing. Everyone is so encouraging and kind.

    http://www.kelseymarie.co

  42. Jeezalou, I had no idea how expensive SoulCycle is!! How do people afford that? My husband and I have been walking our dog for 45 minutes every morning (it’s a very rare occasion when we don’t) for the last 4 years! We rescued her when we were still living in an apartment, so we didn’t have a backyard for her to play in, but she’s an aussie shepherd mix and needs a lot of exercise or else she’s pretty crazy. Now we live on 3 acres which is plenty of room for her to run and play, but we really got into the habit of walking her so we still wake up an hour earlier than we need to each morning to get a walk in. My husband lost 40 pounds over 3 years just from walking. It’s such a sustainable exercise for aging, I love it. I also like to add in yoga (a class if I can afford it) and skiing and hiking depending on the season.

  43. Alisha says...

    I really enjoy yoga & Pilates because my work is very detailed and I spend a lot of time hunched in one position, focusing intently. Stretching out is a must after that. As a broke 20-something, I created my own workout schedule at home: 2 days a week do a 3 mile jog, 2 days a week do an online strength workout or a free-weight routine, one day do 45 minutes of stretching. I’d also throw in a hill or stair climb workout once a week or so. I never got bored, used different muscle groups and was in the best shape of my life.

  44. Laura says...

    Right now my exercise is usually running outside (when it’s not snowy), walking (fast) on the treadmill during my lunch break, or some videos on the weekend from Pop Sugar’s fitness page (there are some good ones on there). However, I was also a huge fan of Tae Bo back in the day, and loved to hear it mentioned!

  45. Ann Marie says...

    My hubby and I do kettlebells. We are both nearing 50, and will probably do them for the rest of our lives! It’s a very empowering feeling to swing a 55 lb.. iron ball — yet so beautiful in it’s simplicity and graceful movement. Love it!

    • I hate classes. Or exercising in public in general. If there are any girls reading this like me, here goes. I workout 4-6 times a week in my basement (yes, I’m lucky to have the space, but maybe you could move that coffee table aside?) I do dvds, Popsugar and Nike Training app. I can stream Pop and Nike through my AppleTV. My dvds are Jillian, Kelly Coffee-Meyer and Cathe Friedrich. Check out collagevideo.com to preview dvds.

  46. I love running, i need it! I have been cycling indoor teacher also and i love it.
    I love also trecking, climbing little mountains we have closed to home in sundays and now we can do it with our 6 year old son which is great!!

  47. kgw says...

    I need group activities to work out. I have a running club that meets several times a week and I shoot to join them Tuesday nights. Several members of the running group got me into triathlons, so I also joined a local triathlon club’s beginner program last year and loved it. Now I try to do group rides on Saturdays and started swimming with the Master class just this week.

  48. Cynthia says...

    I don’t like exercise classes. I walk with my dog, and I can walk when it’s convenient for me without paying for and committing to a class.

  49. I’d love to try that Bar Method! Now I can’r exercise for a while, but I really like Spinning (because any sport that you can practice while seating is fine by me) and I’ve done the first round of the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines and even though it was terribly hard, I liked it because you can do it at home.
    Still, my favourite sport is sofa-ing ;)
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  50. I love how you gave us the scoop on each of the classes you tried! SoulCycle and Zumba are my go-to classes. But I am intrigued by the kickboxing class and I think I will definitely need to try it. Sounds like a killer workout.
    xo,
    Anika Yael Natori, aka, “The Josie Girl”
    http://www.josiegirlblog.com/

  51. I am addicted to Pop Physique. It is very much like Pure Barre or Bar Method, but for some reason I love Pop more. I have been interested in trying Soul Cycle, but that price tag has always deterred me! Maybe someday soon I’ll be willing to part with that money :)

    http://theadventuresofmrandmrs.com/

  52. Lauren E. says...

    What great breakdowns! I’ve learned that I truly despise the gym, and most other types of exercise but I grew up taking dance classes so I’ve gotten back into that. I actually take class at a neighborhood studio with teenagers! But it’s the best workout and it’s so much fun and I feel like I’m being creative for an hour out of my week, and I don’t really get that in many other ways. It took me forever to find exercise as an adult that I truly enjoyed but I’m so glad I finally did.

    • Jen says...

      I second!
      I love her online Zgym!

  53. I don’t like the gym; I usually get bored after 5 mins. Then I discovered Soul Cycle. I LOVE Soul (not an over statement). A once in a blue moon habit quickly became and every weekend routine. My week is not the same if I don’t take a weekend class. Its a chance for me to reset for 45/60 mins with nothing distracting me, just good music and the imaginary road. I have been going steady for over a year and now its making me explore other workouts like HIIT and circuit training. I got a foam roller the other day! Couldn’t have told you what a foam roller did a year ago.

  54. Kristien says...

    I loved this post! I’ve tried loads of different types of exercise, too. Everything from martial arts, swimming, yoga, running (which I just suck at so much). Basically, I’m like Anne Hathaway from the Princess Diaries when she tells her gym teacher that she’s more of a “Horse-back-riding, wall-climbing, yoga doing” girl. I do hot power yoga, and I love it. I did yoga on and off for about 7 years before I got serious about it this past year. It’s awesome and I feel so good after class. It’s also been great to see poses that used to be difficult become easier as I’ve gotten stronger. I love to hear women get excited about fitness. Strong, healthy women are bad-ass.

  55. Sandra says...

    I like spinning. I’m able to get into my bubble and just ride. It’s easy to adjust the intensity to your level as well. I find Zumba fun but didn’t get the workout I was hoping for as I had to concentrate on the choregraphy.

  56. Abbey says...

    I went through a long Zumba phase, but ended up injured too frequently in random ways. I now mostly do Yoga classes and like them so much more than I would have guessed.

  57. I’m not a workout gal. I hate the gym. I don’t like the machines, the atmosphere, nothing. I’ve done a bit of things here and there – yoga, pilates, bootcamps, etc. – but I never stick to anything. I ran for a few years, and I absolutely loved it. I think winter runs challenged me though, so I slowly cut back on my running. I walk a lot which is amazing, and I recently joined Hourglass Workout. Heck, yeah. It’s tough, and I already feel stronger! I wrote about my reasons for signing up for this particular workout at http://www.whitecabana.com/index.php/2016/01/29/the-friday-five-5-reasons-why-i-signed-up-for-the-hourglass-workout/

  58. I like slow-paced activities. My favourites are ballet barre exercises and Pilates.

  59. I just do videos from fitsugar. Usually 10minutes to 30. Its free and I can choose any exercise type that I want. I love HIIT! =)

  60. I used to go to gym’s that offered group classes according to the Les Mills programme. They consist out of a lot of specific yet popular classes, including stuff inspired by yoga, tae bo, lifting, dancing, etc. Naturally they all have catchy name like “body pump” and “body combat”.

    I rather liked the balance of these classes; everyone could join at whatever point in the season and there were plenty of options for people who couldn’t keep up. My favorite by far was “Body balance”, a class that consisted out of yoga, pilates, tai-chi and a but of meditation. It always left me sore the next day (so it’s effective!) yet it didn’t feel as monotomous as for instance one tai-chi or yoga class.

  61. I swim 3 times a week at a local masters team. Love it! And I hate exercise! But I like to swim. It’s demanding, our instructors are great, and you can do it on your own pace or race if you feel like it. It’s an individual workout, but in a group environment. In a year and a half I mastered (!) everything possible. Looove the butterfly and the fact that I can inhale air with some water and not drawn. ;)

  62. Jenna says...

    I used to go to yoga classes at the gym when we had a membership, or get deals through Groupon, but at the moment I’m doing classes through https://www.doyogawithme.com/. They offer a wide variety of free yoga and pilates classes and the classes set on Vancouver Island’s coastline remind me of home (I grew up in NW WA).

    If prices are an issue, it’s worth checking to see if your health insurance offers a rebate for joining a gym (usually you have to go a certain number of times per year). Lululemon stores also offer free classes in store and at different local studios. My favorite is the yoga in the park series the local store puts on in the summer.

    I’m definitely going to check out some of the online classes mentioned in the comments. CoJ gets some of the best comments online:)

  63. Keri says...

    This makes me miss living in a big city where there are always things going on – I live in Australia – the land down under where everything closes at 5pm… 6 if you’re lucky. By the time I’m done work at 7 I can’t even get groceries let alone find an exercise class.
    This has definitely inspired me to try to find one though!

    • Keri, where do you live girl?! I’m an Aussie and I don’t recognise this at all! Also, did you see that ClassPass is coming Down Under?

    • Anna says...

      Wait where are you? I’m in Melbourne and there are definitely classes here that start later than 7 even! And our Woolies is open til midnight!

    • Mrs D says...

      Me too, I’m in little old Adelaide and I get groceries at major retailers til 9pm every night (and midnight weeknights) and as for gym options I’m surrounded by places of this variety (barre, cycle, pilates, kick boxing) and with late classes – including my own amazing gym. Are you in a country town somewhere?

  64. I’m mostly a yoga girl myself…. although, I’ve done some pole dance fitness classes and loved them, although admittedly I wasn’t very good because I didn’t have the upper body strength for it. I’d do that more, but unfortunately, the packages at most of the studios in the city are out of my budget at this point.

  65. I do CrossFit! It kind of sucks. It’s REALLY realllllly tough and it really does take forever to get some of the movements if you haven’t ever done gymnastics or olympic weightlifting before. Yet, here I am, 3 years later and still chugging away at trying to get better. People say it is addicting or that you will get hurt doing it, but honestly you could get hurt jogging down the road. Anyway, if you want to try something kind of intense, but will show you what you are capable of, try it!

    • YEAHHHHHH CrossFit! I can’t believe how far I had to scroll for a CrossFitter! WOO! CF for the win! I started about 3 years ago at about 250 pounds and a size 20 (creeping into a 22…) and I’m 210 now, training for my 3rd Boston marathon and a size 12. I can’t say enough about the welcoming community and the RESULTS.

  66. Kate says...

    Fightmaster Yoga on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyfightmaster)! Lesley FIghtmaster makes yoga accessible, and her voice is so kind and gentle, even in the hardest of her classes. She also explains the positions so clearly. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  67. Dottie Louise says...

    I love yoga, it always makes me feel SOOO good afterwards!! I’ve never been to a class, I just watch ‘Yoga With Adriene’ on youtube. She has a great 30-day challenge and she’s currently doing another Yoga Camp challenge. I need to make more time to do it though! :P

    Good for you for checking out a bunch of different classes! Even if you were nervous, that’s so brave!

  68. Prudence Marule says...

    I do pole fitness! now every time i tell people this they always go straight to stripper and i can understand why but it is NOT the same thing.. thats exotic dancing, pole fitness is a full body workout that builds arm, leg, back and core muscles and improves your flexibility.. basic moves like sitting and standing on a pole work your core and thigh muscles. before pole i didn’t work out, ever!… i would joke that i barely walked, now i cant imagine not doing pole, its so rewarding because your focus in class is learning how to hold a new pose or get into a new position and then one day you look into the mirror and you’re like “woah were did these guns come from?!!..” and because the focus is learning the new move or routine its instant gratification when you nail and it doesn’t feel like working out until the next day when you’re sore and you realize your stomach is sore because of the lean back your were trying to nail… plus the names are so much fun, “Peter pan”, “Jasmine”, “ballerina”

    I love it! its tons of fun, both men and women do and i would highly, highly recommend it.. its low impact but it still gets your heart pumping and i can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.

  69. Plyojam – like Zumba but way better music. It’s follow along routines- so if you keep going regularly you learn the routines but you never have to memorize the moves. I have been taking it at Moore Dance in Brentwoob, in Los Angeles. Try it! Anyone know of a place like Henry Street Pilates in Los Angeles?

  70. So thrilled you liked Bar Metod best. I’ve been taking bar classes for 7 years and I’ve got nearly 20 years on you Joanna!! I always say if I was 20 years younger I would be so hot😉. It’s an amazing workout and never gets easier.

  71. I love this post Joanna! I also love workout classes (so much more fun than going to the gym). I’ve tried a lot- including the ones you did- but never actually coughed up the money for a Soul Cycle class! Would love to try it though! I actually really like boxing classes (where you wear gloves and actually punch things:)- but I’ve only really found one in LA through a Crossfit studio-and have had trouble tracking down something similar in my new Bay Area neighborhood. (My husband begged me to try Crossfit)- Crossfit wasn’t horrible, just not my thing… When I couldn’t move my arms one week and thought I’d seriously damaged my muscles, I decided not to go back to cross fit! Anyway, it’s funny because I also like yoga a lot and would say that’s my main stay. I like the community and mindfulness aspect of it. Plus, there’s so many different types of yoga (hot, gentle, prenatal/ mommy and me, flow, etc!) anyway, the post is encouraging- love that you shared your experience :)

  72. Natalie T. says...

    Too funny about the Tae Bao! (I also like that this wasn’t a sponsored post and we got your real opinions on the classes.) I used to go to kickboxing classes as part of the group exercise program but now I find they’re only offered at gyms. I wish there was a place solely dedicated to kickboxing. It’s such a good workout.

    As someone who is also “getting up there” in age, I’m also finding walking and biking are not just cutting it so I joined a club that’s dedicated to group personal training. The only time I can really go is at lunch and I love lunch time workouts because there’s really no excuse for excuses and you’re in and out in an hour. The gym is genius: the class max is 12 and if you cancel less than 8 hours in advance, you have to pay $20 (the day or or a no-show is $30) so you’re held accountable. The workouts are killer and I always feel so rejuvenated afterwards. So far, it’s working out! It’s not cheap but it’s worth it.

    I’d love to try a barre class though or a class pass type deal because I do miss aerobic type style of classes. That said, I am finding out of all of the workouts that I’ve done recently that the group personal training is working the best (and it helps that it’s less than 5 minutes from my work). Good luck with your fitness routine!

  73. Alexandra Baye says...

    I live in Carroll Gardens, and I love love love Henry Street Pilates. I have been going for a year, and I not only feel stronger but I also feel more aware of my body. Jan is really great, and her instructions allow me to feel more connected to nuances of my body–tuning into every muscle. You get great one-on-one attention, and (most importantly) the instructors make sure your form is correct, and that you are protecting your body while working out.
    Joanna, I am excited to hear that you tried them out. I have been reading your blog for years (since long before you moved to the neighborhood!) and I am a big fan of your blog. Your content is touching, relatable, funny, sweet, insightful. Thank you for always being so open with your readers xx

  74. Brianna says...

    I’ve tried yoga and pilates. I don’t mind pilates, but I prefer yoga. I did a Soulcycle-type class once and left less than halfway through because I thought riding a bike was literally going to be my end.

  75. Christine says...

    Can’t recommend enough CorePower Yoga. Besides straight yoga they also have Yoga Sculpt which is basically cardio sculpt with a few basic yoga moves included. You sweat like crazy. Love it!

  76. Morgy says...

    I was peer pressured into trying a hip hop class once. I left during the first song with tears in my eyes and low self esteem. It was awful! Now I do what I like to call “watered-down crossfit.” I absolutely love it! The trainer tailors workouts to our abilities and I feel so strong!

  77. Vix says...

    I teach a weekly DanceFit Club class at my gym, and I also take Les Mills Body Pump at least once per week. Group Fitness is my JAM. I love the collective energy of group classes!

  78. I highly recommend ClassPass to anyone who’s interested in trying out new classes! You pay a set amount ($125 in NYC) each month and you get unlimited fitness classes at something like 300 different studios throughout the city. It’s AMAZING and a great deal if you like to try out lots of different classes without committing to one place.

  79. Diana says...

    I live in your neighborhood and love the Bar Method on Pacific! Also DEFINITELY try Xtend Barre on Remsen- the best, most fun barre class with a bunch of cardio too. ClassPass allows you to try so many different studios- I love it!

    • Cat says...

      Cosign: Xtend Barre rules. Best barre class I’ve tried.

  80. Tricia says...

    I’ve been so obsessed with SLT for over 3 years and I haven’t gotten sick of it one bit. I’m so thankful they’re in NJ, too, since I moved back here from college. It’s such an amazing class and the instructors and playlists make the workout that much better. You really feel it the next day and it’s such a good sore feeling. 2 days later is even better!

  81. Hahaha I totally do the step-tap too. I hate zumba, I feel so awkward during it. I’m way too white girl for it. Also lol’ed at your using labor techniques to get through a workout. XD I want to try Barre so bad!! Right now I’m doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred – it’s easy to do it every day since it’s only 30 min and I don’t have to leave my house.

  82. Thanks for sharing this Joanna! Very helpful!
    I just started Daily Burn (dailyburn.com) and it’s great! Easy to do workout after bébé #2!!

    • Colleen says...

      Wow, I’ve never heard of this. Thanks.

  83. Sarah says...

    I go to an exercise class called Stroller Strides and it has saved my sanity. I don’t have a babysitter, so this has been a blessing to be able to exercose and meet other moms. Plus my daughter actually sees me working out, so I like to think that it’s setting a healthy example for her.

  84. Lisa says...

    I took IndoRow classes at a boutique studio in Boston (BTone) until my husband and I decided to buy our own WaterRower. We both use it every day. Like another reader mentioned, I also take Prana Power Yoga classes (in Newton, MA.) They have studios in NYC and Brooklyn. It takes a while to get used to the heat, but yoga makes you super strong and mindful. I always feel good afterward. These days I am focusing my yoga practice more on balance (literal and figurative) and flexibility.

  85. I don’t actually “do exercise” anymore. This made me think, what do I actually do ? I walk uphill to a farm where I feed the horse carrots then I walk back home. I do that twice a day .. if the weather allows .. that is my mile a day.
    When we lived in the city / Buenos Aires, we always walked everywhere and that was our exercise.
    The walking I do is exercise, the yoga I do keeps me bendy … :)

  86. Elisa Klein says...

    Barre3 has a great online workout program and so does Physique57. Both similar to Pure Barre and the Bar Method but different enough to keep it interesting!

  87. Sarah says...

    This post is so timely! I have recently been in this winter funk and so dug out some metabolic conditioning circuits that my trainer had designed for me. I don’t use heavy weights and just use my body as a weight most of the time. It is really effective (and short). And when I am too lazy to do that, I put on some Brazillian batucada and do funky moves until my heart is racing :D

  88. Betsy says...

    What a fun post! I used to love cross fit. I love barre videos and need to take a class once my daughter is a bit older. I know I’d hate Zumba too!

  89. Nancy says...

    I go to Orange Theory. I checked their website and they have three locations opening soon in Brooklyn! I, like you have been a walker and biker around my town. I tried Orange Theory in October and I am still doing it today. That is a world record for me! It is an interval training class. You work out at different “blocks” which are just different exercises for short periods of time like 3,4 5 minutes. The trainer tells you what to do. You wear a heart monitor which shows up on a tv in the studio. Your goal is to keep your heart rate in the “orange” zone. That zone is best for burning calories. I did not need to lose weight I just wanted to get fit. And it works! The music is loud someone tells you what to do, you move from exercise to exercise so quickly that the hour is over before you know it! It is great for someone who doesn’t like to do the same excersise for long periods of time. I don’t want to row for a half an hour or run for 15 minutes. Short spurts of time are great for my slightly ADD personality ! When they open by you, try it! Your first class is free. ( I don’t work there, I just really like it!)

    • Summer says...

      OTF all the way! Best workout ever. I’ve been going for 18 months and completely transformed by body. Highly recommend.

  90. Kate says...

    I’m with you, Joanna! No zumba for me- totally uncoordinated! and I also live the meditation like effect if barre, plus you can really tone up with those movements! I also enjoy yoga and I wonder if you’d dig that too?

  91. I swear by Hot Yoga. I started doing it over a year ago and it changed by body completely. I had always wanted to achieve a certain toned look and was never able to do it through years of weight training, cardio, spin, barre…etc. I grew up dancing, but never went back to it as an adult. I’d love to take classes now that I’m older again though. Either way, I can’t live without the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga now. The rewards are incredible. I’m a yogi for life!

  92. I love Refine Method!

  93. Anna says...

    Am totally with you with Zumba!! I love the idea of it and I’d love to be good at it but when your graced with tie left feet it kind of puts Zumba and step classes out of the equation! A mix of Yoga, boot camp and pump classes for me!!

    • Sorry typos galore!! ‘When you’re graced with Two left feet ‘

  94. Leah says...

    You know I love CrossFit. Also, readers seem really into this topic. How about a My Fitness Uniform series?? xo

    • Love this idea!

  95. MissEm says...

    Oh, I have no spare money and very little time, but I would love to try soulcycle (despite the parodies :)), Zumba, barre, and yoga, rock climbing, that circus silks thing…exercise daydreams!

  96. Amber Marlow says...

    Go visit Cadence at Brooklyn Strength for some 1-on-1 Pilates. She’s amazing and cool!

  97. rach says...

    You’re so cute in that picture! I will ALWAYS be a zumba gal!! Headed back in two weeks to the gym after having a baby! She’s almost 6mo & the gym doesn’t take babies till they’re 6 months. Cannot WAIT to shake it!!