With bikini season fast approaching, it’s time to get back in shape! I always like to change up my fitness routine to keep it exciting and try new classes. Even with all the new exercise options out there, I have my faves that are challenging and effective. Whether you’re stuck in a fitness rut or just looking to try something different, check out my picks for some of the best exercise classes to get you swimsuit-season ready.
Core Fusion at Exhale Mind Body Spa
Core Fusion at Exhale Spa is my number one go-to workout. I’ve been doing it for so many years now…ever since the Lotte Berk days with Fred De Vito and Elisabeth Halfpapp who are now the Founders of Exhale. This amazing barre class gives you a full-body workout and focuses on the core. The workout really gets results by offering a variety of exercises that include many of the disciplines used in pilates, yoga and ballet. If you have never experienced it before, make sure to go to a beginner class. The workout never gets easier but I promise will change your body! Exhale Spa has locations all over the country.
It’s impossible to write a workout article without mentioning the ever-growing popularity of spin classes, especially SoulCycle. These high-energy classes have a cult following and are a celeb favorite. They incorporate cardio cycling with core work and light weights to build upper body strength, all in a zen environment. The inspirational instructors are motivational and have some of the best music playlists in town. Studios are popping up everywhere in New York and LA.
Bootcamp classes are another fitness trend and Barry does it best with his challenging mix of extreme cardio (running on a treadmill) alternating with heavy weight work. This fave of Kim Kardashian and Katie Couric claims to be “the best workout in the world” and after trying it, I would agree that it was one of the toughest workouts ever! I think a great class for die-hard exercise enthusiasts or people who are in serious training mode. Studios are located in New York, California, Tennessee, and even Europe.
Zumba at Alvin Ailey
It sure is a treat to work out right at the Alvin Ailey theater in one of their dance studios. This Zumba class has a huge NYC following that includes dancers and broadway actors as well as anyone who wants to have fun while following the dance routines of famed instructor Ben Byrd. This latin-inspired blend of dance and cardio is a blast, although I did feel like I had two left feet compared to some the regulars in the class.
405 W. 55th Street (at 9th Avenue)
New York, NY 10019
Punch Fitness Center is a one-on-one personal training center that offers the ultimate physical challenge through kickboxing, boxing, and weight training (yes…it is a killer, no joke)! The complete body workout combines aerobic and anaerobic exercise with calisthenics. Adelino da Costa, the founder and creator of Punch Fitness, was previously a professional boxer and trainer. He and his talented group of trainers will greatly improve your strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness as you listen to upbeat tunes from West and South Africa. The intimate setting consists of cardio and cable machines, free weights, and a boxing area with a variety of punching bags and a 16X16 ft. boxing ring. The center welcomes children ages 7 and up to come in and train for fitness or for fun!
1015 Madison Avenue, Lower Level (Between 78th & 79th ST.)
New York, NY 10075
SoulCycle, the now-famous workout where spinning meets spiritual enlightenment, has a ton of celebrity followers including Nicole Kidman and Brooke Shields. It’s always difficult to get into one of Stacey’s classes, but we were lucky enough to steal a few minutes with the popular instructor! Keep reading for some of the talented trainer’s thoughts on the worlds of beauty and working out.
Melissa Meyers: In terms of exercise, what is a nice complement to spinning?
Stacey Griffith: Power walking and swimming.
MM: What do you eat for breakfast?
SG: I am a big sucker for a bowl of cereal in the morning! I love granola, fruit and skim milk, but if I’m running behind I’ll usually grab a low sugar-content protein bar. Cliff [bars] in any flavor are tasty and filling!
MM: What do you eat before and after a workout?
SG: I actually very rarely work out for myself, because I teach 18 classes a week. However, I try to eat half of a protein bar before, and a balanced meal afterward. (It doesn’t always line up balanced!)
MM: Favorite workout music?
SG: I love all music! All of the playlists in my classes are mixed by my girlfriend, and I love all of the music she chooses: hip-hop, dance, electronic, deep house, etc.
MM: Must-have beauty products?
SG: Oil of Olay. (My grandma Stella’s favorite)
MM: What is your post-workout beauty routine?
SG: Shower and, if there is time, a long spiritual bath with candles and Epsom salts!
MM: Which celebs work out at SoulCycle?
SG: A LOT!
MM: What do you drink to stay hydrated?
SG: My GrifFiT Green Juice, bottled at East Hampton Gourmet on Newton Lane (by the EH studio, [containing] green apple, kale, celery, cucumber, lemon). Phytonutrient heaven!