New York is a city of chaos and creation. Every year it draws in the world’s greatest minds, creators, schemers and dreamers. The result of all this dynamic action and competition is never-ending turnover; a city that never stays the same, always surprises and pushes ideas further. With so much going on It’s hard to choose what to focus on, but in our guide you can read about incredibly challenging workout studios like Tone House, daytrips out of town to epic mountain climbing range, the ‘gunks’, unparalleled dining at paleo mecca Hu Kitchen, and inspiring runs from Central Park and across the East River. Plenty to keep you busy in a city that always is.
If you’re looking for a climbing gym with more routes than you could get through in many months, head to The Cliffs. This diamond in the rough of Long Island City is BIG; take a virtual tour of their 30,000 square foot site to see what we mean. Roughly divided into three large areas, the clean, modern facilities have a wide range of clinics and helpful instructors on hand to guide you whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned climber. The facilities on offer include tightrope set-up, auto-belaying machines, bouldering, lead climbing, top roping and a fully functional gym on the upper level. Membership or day passes are available. A tip if it’s your first visit: download and pre-fill the waiver form to save time.
Things get intense in the dim, red-lit studio of Tone House. It’s home to what’s been labelled New York’s hardest workout, burning up to 1000 calories per hour. The centre offers professional grade equipment and techniques in effort to “Unleash your inner athlete”. Set to a nightclub soundtrack, with a team and coach style dynamic, clients work to encourage themselves and each other through a full range of explosive and progressive movements, medicine ball routines, lateral jumps, burpees and the like. Escape is not an option when hooked up to their infamous 70-pound resistance harness, the centrepiece of Tone House’s Union Square operation. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Swerve takes a unique approach to the spin studio formula: team sports. On arrival at the 3500 square foot studio, which is based in the Flatiron district, you’re assigned to a peloton of around 10, tasked with competing against 2 other teams in a series of ‘races’ over 45 minutes. Motivation comes in the form of team scores, measured by the advanced bike hardware, which are flashed on a large screen at the front of the class, alongside each team’s best performer. To save embarrassment – and possibly guilt – individual stats are emailed to you privately after the class. The studio is led by competent instructors, complimentary shoe hire is available, as well as showers and lockers. You can even pre-order a smoothie to pick up post session.
With its no-nonsense, industrial fit-out and approach to fitness, Gotham boxing gym in the West Village has become a hotspot for New York celebrities; from “it” models like Gigi Hadid to human superhero, Hugh Jackman. They, like the ordinary punter, come for the calorie-burning, full-body workouts of boxing, Muay Thai and body conditioning programs. Beginners are welcome and those more experienced also well catered for with the high-intensity routines that are structured like a round of boxing: 3 minutes exercise to 1 minute rest ratio. One-on-one training and, to a lesser extent, group classes are led by owner Rod Pielo, whose rising celebrity may soon eclipse some of his clients.
Exceed Physical Culture
Founded in 2010, the award winning Exceed Physical Culture has expanded to three locations: two in Manhattan (Upper East Side and Downtown Tribeca) and one further afield in the Hamptons. The spacious, open gyms are bright, airy and spotless, orbiting around their unique and always varied SUMMIT classes: a 50-minute functional fitness training workout. Expect an intense routine involving medicine balls, skipping ropes, TRX suspension bands, rowing machines, kettle bells and movements like pushups, lunges, planks, overhead presses, squats and deadlifts. Both small classes and personal trainers are available, with attention given to the quality of your form rather than a fixation on reps.